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What You Need To Know About Joint Health In Dogs

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What You Need To Know About Joint Health In Dogs

As active animals, regular ‘wear and tear’ is bound to happen when it comes to your dog. Good joint health is vital to a happy, active dog for many years. However, joint pain can be common among dogs – regardless of their breed and size – and especially as they age. 

Anyone who has arthritis in their joints can tell you that it is a debilitating condition that can cramp your lifestyle. The same thing goes for our furry friends, which is why maintaining your dog’s joint health is very important. 

Common joint pain conditions to look for in dogs

Some breeds of dogs are genetically predisposed to joint problems, such as larger breeds like German Shepherds, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards and other heavy giant breeds. These types of dogs often suffer from conditions like hip dysplasia and/or elbow dysplasia, both of which can be very painful and cause chronic health concerns. 

If these conditions aren’t properly and quickly addressed, it can sometimes lead to more serious, debilitating conditions too. Dogs experience and exhibit pain much differently than humans. As such, it can be easy not to notice early signs of joint pain in your dog. However, if you start to notice symptoms like your dog slowing down, limping, or dragging their feet (literally!), it may be time to intervene.

On that note, here are some of the most common causes of joint pain in dogs:

  • Hip Dysplasia: A disease of the hip in which the ball and socket joint is malformed, so that the ball portion and its socket don’t properly meet one another. This results in a joint that rubs and grinds instead of sliding smoothly. Causes are thought to be genetic predisposition for hip looseness, rapid weight gain, obesity, and nutritional factors as well as a lack of pelvic muscle mass to support the hips. 
  • Elbow Dysplasia: A condition caused by the abnormal growth of cells, tissue, or bone, which leads to malformation and degeneration of the elbow joint.
  • Luxating Patellas: Many smaller breeds suffer from problems with their patellas (knee joints in the back legs). This condition occurs when the dog’s kneecap (patella) is dislocated from its normal position in the groove of the thigh bone (femur).

How to support healthy joints 

Regardless of whether your dog is predisposed to joint disease, there are healthy habits you can incorporate into your day-to-day routine to support joints in your furry best friend. 

  • Weight management: Always aim to keep your dog at a healthy weight throughout all stages of life, but especially during the growth stages when bones are still soft. Keep in mind it’s better to have your dog on the trimmer side than overweight to reduce the risk of strain on its joints.
  • Exercise your puppy appropriately: It’s especially important to keep in mind that while your puppy is still in the growth stages (typically the first 12 months), to avoid strenuous exercise for long periods. This means don’t take your puppy on miles-long runs or let it jump on and off furniture or up and down stairs too much.
  • Ensure your adult dog is in good physical condition: To support healthy joints, keep your mature dog in good physical condition so that it has the muscle mass to support its joints. By helping your dog strengthen its muscles with regular exercise and helping keep him/her at its optimal weight, you are giving your dog the best chance at a happy and healthy life.

Nutrition and ingredients that can support your pets’ joints

In addition to exercise, your dog’s nutrition plays an important role in promoting healthy joints. There are amazing, superfood ingredients available that can support healthy joints and longevity, so it’s important to do your research to pick the best food for your pup. Here are some ingredients to look for when it comes to supporting sore joints and your furry friend’s diet:

  • New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels: This species of mussels is from New Zealand. They are dark brown/green shells with green lips around the edges, which is what gives them their name. Green Lipped Mussels are a natural source of chondroitin and omega 3’s. They also provide a unique omega-3 fatty acid, Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), which has potent anti-inflammatory effects. These are key ingredients to supporting hip and joint health, as well as healthy mobility.
  • Eggshell Meal: Eggshell meal is simply dried, ground eggshells which provides a natural source of calcium to promote strong bones. It also contains eggshell membrane, a source of glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid and collagen to support overall joint health.
  • Omega-3s: Salmon is an excellent source of Omega 3s, which are potent anti-inflammatories that can help older dogs suffering with arthritis or support important health functions in puppies such as brain development. Other common sources of Omega-3s can be found in fish oil or krill oil.

Like your own nutrition, eating well as we age is just as important for our furry family members and there are recipes available that are designed specifically to support joint health. For example, Petcurean’s expert nutritionists have formulated delicious recipes that provide perfectly balanced and minimally processed goodness to support your dog’s health through all life stages. Their NOW FRESH dry dog food recipes are made with functional ingredients and fresh deboned muscle meat so they can carefully balance mineral levels to support healthy bone growth, and help maintain healthy, mobile joints. So, whether you have a senior pooch that you are trying to keep healthy and fit as it matures, or a large breed dog that is more susceptible to joint problems, there are nutrition-packed options available to support optimal joint health in your dog.

Regardless of your dog’s age, size, or breed, when it comes to joint health in dogs, there are no guarantees. But, as your pooch ages, they will at the least experience joint stiffness if nothing else and our dogs rely on us to do what’s best for their health and happiness. Keeping your pet in good physical condition and supplementing with nutrition-packed food from early on will help support your pet’s overall joint health, while allowing them to live a long, healthy and active life.

Submitted by the NOW FRESH Nutrition Team

About NOW FRESH
Since 2007, NOW FRESH has provided pet parents the ultimate peace of mind knowing they’re feeding their cherished companions perfectly balanced recipes tailored to their specific size and age, to help them live long, healthy, and happy lives. NOW FRESH is part of the Petcurean family of premium-quality pet food products. For more information, visit www.nowfresh.com.

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