One of the most common afflictions of age is the development of problems in the joint, and dogs, like people, are often affected by this problem. Excessive use of the joints leads to wear and tear, injury, and strain, which can eventually become arthritis.
Arthritis develops when the cartilage between the joints starts to degrade, causing the bones to rub against one another. This condition can cause swelling, tenderness, and pain. As a result, walking, running, jumping, and other simple movements can become difficult for dogs.
Larger dogs are more susceptible to arthritis. Since they carry more weight, their joints endure more strain, thus resulting in more wear and tear; however, all dogs are at risk of developing problems in their joints, including arthritis and hip dysplasia. The elbows, knees, and hips are the most commonly affected areas.
Preventing Joint Problems
While the development of joint problems is a natural part of life, and while you can’t reverse it, there are ways that you can slow down the progression and prevent worse problems from developing.
Here are five ways that pet parents can help keep their dogs joints healthy.
- Prevent Injury
Arthritis often develops as a result of an injury that was sustained at some point in a dog’s life. Excessive running or jumping too high, for example, can injure the joints. This is particularly problematic in younger dogs, whose bones and joints haven’t fully developed. In order to prevent injury to your pup’s joints, always supervise his activities and ensure that he is playing safely.
- Change his Environment
Dogs can easily injure themselves when they are exposed to hazards in their environment. Things like jumping off of a bed or a sofa that is too high, or climbing stairs that are too steep, can increase the risk of injury to the joints. In order to prevent injury, modify the environment that your pup is exposed to. For instance, if your dog likes to sleep on your bed, provide him with a ramp that he can use to get on and off of the bed.
- Get Prompt Treatment
If your pet does sustain an injury to a joint, getting prompt medical treatment is imperative to the future health of his joints. For example, if your dog is hit by a car, or has a hard fall, and his leg is affected, ensure that he receives immediate care from his veterinarian.
- Feed him Right
Excessive weight can put too much strain on your dog’s joints. To help prevent this unnecessary strain, make sure you feed your dog properly. Dogs who are overfed or who are fed the wrong food are at a greater risk of become obese, and thus, are at a greater risk of developing arthritis and other joint problems.
While too much exercise can lead to joint problems, too little exercise can also be detrimental. If your dog is developing problems with his joints, they can atrophy, which can lead to greater pain and decreased motion. Make sure you provide your dog with opportunities to participate in gentle exercises, like daily walks.