As they age, your dog will likely start to exhibit signs of joint health problems. These can include early and severe symptoms of arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia and overall joint inflammation.
Fortunately, there are ways to help your dog avoid these problems before they begin. The most important thing is to give them a healthy diet with adequate joint building proteins.
How Old Is Your Dog?
If you’re a pet parent, one of the first things you’ll want to know about your dog is their age. Unlike humans, dogs age a lot differently than we do, and understanding how old they are is an important part of caring for them.
In general, most dogs will reach their middle age around 5 years old. Smaller dogs may mature more quickly, while large breeds will age more slowly and not become seniors until they’re about 10 years old.
You can estimate your dog’s age using a variety of clues. They can often start to lose their coat of hair as they get older, and some areas of their skin can change color over time.
Another way to estimate your dog’s age is to look at how they act. For example, younger dogs have sharper hearing, but as they get older, they may become more hesitant to approach or respond to your calls. A senior dog’s bark will also tend to be less loud and more muffled.
What Causes Arthritis in Dogs?
Arthritis is a common condition in dogs that develops as they get older. It is caused by the wear and tear of a joint’s cartilage, which protects the surface of the bone.
The cartilage can become worn down and the lubricating fluid in a joint can leak out, making movement painful. This can happen with any of the joints in your dog’s body, but it is most common in the hips, elbows, knees and shoulders.
Pain relief is important to help your dog live a better quality of life. Treatments can range from painkillers to exercise and weight control.
Keeping your pet healthy is the best way to prevent arthritis and improve their joint health. This can be done by providing a well-balanced, nutritious diet and maintaining a lean body weight with regular gentle exercise.
Early detection of the symptoms of arthritis will allow your vet to implement a plan for managing your pet’s condition. With proper care and attention, your dog’s arthritis will gradually be able to be controlled, so they can enjoy a good quality of life for many years to come.
What Can I Do to Help My Dog?
If your dog is suffering from arthritis or joint pain, there are things you can do to help them. Diet and weight management, exercise, glucosamine supplements, NSAIDs, chondroprotective agents, and veterinary care are all ways to reduce inflammation, decrease pain and improve your dog’s mobility.
A holistic approach to your dog’s health is the best way to maximize their quality of life and fight off diseases such as arthritis. This means a whole-food diet without the inflammatory additives found in processed foods, and frequent exercise.
Overweight dogs are more prone to arthritis, so losing weight can help reduce the impact of weight on their joints and muscles. Regular exercise is also critical to promote joint health and keep your dog at an ideal weight.
Often overlooked, a natural supplement that can help your dog’s joint health is Hyaluronic Acid (HA). This gel-like substance naturally occurs in your dog’s joints and helps lubricate the fluid that makes up their joints. HA given in supplement form can help replace damaged HA that may occur due to age, overuse or injury.
How Long Will Arthritis Last in My Dog?
There is no definite answer to this question as there are many factors which can influence the outcome of your dog’s arthritis. However, with proper management and regular physical examinations dogs often live a normal life expectancy.
When a dog develops arthritis, it’s usually because the cartilage within one of their joints (such as hips or elbows) has become damaged or deteriorated, leading to increased friction between the bones and resulting in pain, inflammation and stiffness. The condition usually starts gradually and will not be apparent until a dog is in their late teens or early twenties.
As the disease progresses, the dog will show signs of joint stiffness, loss of mobility and lameness. Your vet will use a variety of methods to help ease your pet’s pain and discomfort.
These include anti-inflammatory medication, dietary supplements and chondroprotective agents. In addition, weight loss can help take pressure off the arthritic joints. These treatments are usually prescribed together to get the best results for your dog.