A guide to caring for your senior dog's joints.
As your beloved dog begins to age, it can be difficult for you, especially if he is unfortunate enough to live out his later years with joint pain. Joint deterioration is part of the aging process, but many people are unaware that with the right actions this experience can be much less painful for your dog and for you.
Natural remedies for joint pain in dogs:
- Exercise daily
One of the most common misconceptions is that exercise should stop
when the dog gets older. In reality, the older a dog gets, the more important it is to keep him active!
Older dogs have a higher risk of becoming obese, developing heart problems and suffering from some form of degenerative joint disease, and exercise is the perfect way to combat these problems.
Frequent exercise helps to lubricate the joints and limit stiffness.
That being said, it's important to know what exercises are appropriate for an older dog.
We have compiled a list of exercises that will not put unnecessary strain on the body
- Swimming (hydrotherapy): It has been scientifically proven that water activities can help ease the impact on your dog's joints while providing a much-needed workout. If you don't have a pool, you can take your dog to the beach or lakeside. You can also book a place in a specialized canine hydrotherapy unit.
- Walking: Older dogs may need to adjust their walking schedule, especially if walking is their primary form of exercise. Long walks are not beneficial for dogs with joint pain. Instead, try breaking up your usual 40-minute walks into several short 20-minute walks throughout the day. This way, the exercise doesn't tire your dog's paws and he has time to recover between sessions! Avoid steep hills to protect his joints.
As a general rule: Eliminate activities that require your dog to jump or bounce after toys or balls and replace them with less energetic interactions.
- Provide the right diet and supplements
One of the most important changes you need to implement for your furball is its diet. Most older dogs already have limited mobility, so moving around with extra weight will only make life more difficult for them. To find out if your dog is overweight consult a veterinarian for an official weigh-in.
If your dog falls into the overweight category, simply reduce his food intake by 10% until he reaches his ideal weight. He'll hardly notice the difference!
In addition to weight control, diet can also play an important role in how quickly your dog recovers from pain. To do this, you need to provide the right nutrients. We recommend that you use the right supplements.
How to choose a supplement?
Choose supplements made of 100% natural ingredients, as you do not want to expose your dog to harmful chemicals. Make sure they contain glucosamine, an ingredient that is known to help painful joints.
- Create a comfortable home environment
One of the most overlooked factors in improving a senior dog's joints is his environment! Think about everything around him physically: is everything working to maximize his mobility and improve his joint health? When asked this question, many owners find that they need to make changes around the house. Here are some areas you can improve to give your dog the best possible chance for an active, joint-pain-free future:
Invest in bedding: If your senior dog used to rest high, consider moving him lower to the floor for easier access. It may also be worth investing in a memory foam dog bed, which is very comfortable, gentle on joints and can help relieve pain.
Adapt your flooring: Hardwood and laminate floors (or any other type of smooth, slippery surface) can make it extremely difficult for a dog with joint problems to get around. Adding carpeting to a room where your pet spends the most time, or in the hallways, can really help your four-legged friend move more easily and quickly.
Install steps or ramps: If you and your dog take regular car trips, a step pad can be a useful addition. The same goes for bed steps if you and your dog like to cuddle at night! If your dog has severe mobility issues or extremely fragile joints, installing a ramp on hard-to-climb steps is a good idea that your pet, and his bones, will appreciate!
- Provide consistent, gentle care for your dog
Caring for a senior dog requires extra time and attention! As dogs age, they lose some of their abilities. Remember to show your love and attention to your pet by petting them more often, talking to them and relaxing together.
Canine massage can be a way to interact with your dog while relieving his pain. While there are professional canine therapists trained in the art of pet massage, the best way to bond with your dog is to learn a few tricks yourself and give your four-legged friend a relaxing massage to relieve pain and improve circulation, flexibility and overall well-being.
In conclusion, we understand that you are very busy and wonder how you will find the time to implement the above. But know that your dog's health does not wait for you! The number one regret of deceased dog owners is that they did not take sufficient care of their joints. We don't want that to be the case for you.
Take action now! Work on each of the four points above as a priority and, in the end, you will remember your dog's journey and know that you did everything you could to give him an active and happy life.