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Showing Signs of Joint Stiffness?
As we get a little older we all start to feel a few more aches. pains and stiffness, even if we are still very active. This is usually more noticeable in the winter months when the weather is colder. The same can be true for our dogs. In fact, up to 40% of dogs show signs of joint sensitivity and mobility is one of pet parents top three health concerns, even more so than their pets weight.
Mobility Issues and (Osteo)Arthritis
“Arthritis” is a general term for changes in the joint caused by normal or abnormal wear and tear. “If not managed properly it can become extremely painful and debilitating,” says Dr. Guy Fyvie Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s veterinary advisor. Because your dog’s joint pain directly impacts his mobility and how well he’s able to get around, it can have a serious effect on his quality of life.
What Causes Mobility Problems?
There are many reasons why your dog could be experiencing joint sensitivity and pain associated with arthritis.
AGE - as dogs get older, joint cartilage will progressively wear away. While it is much more common in senior dogs, younger dogs can suffer from arthritis, too.
BREED - certain breeds are more prone to developing arthritis. “At-risk” dog breeds include large dogs, like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers and breeds with abnormal limbs, like Bassets and Bulldogs.
EXCESS WEIGHT - puts extra stress on your dog’s joints and cartilage, increases joint inflammation, increasing the risk of pain and arthritis.
ACCIDENTS OR TRAUMA - Trauma to cartilage and growth plates may lead to arthritis later in life, and adversely affect mobility.
CONGENITAL OR HEREDITARY DEFECTS - Some breeds may have congenital or hereditary conditions, that make them more prone to developing arthritis later in life, for example large breed dogs prone to hip or elbow dysplasia.
What To Watch Out For
It’s never too soon to start looking out for the signs of joint sensitivity, catching them early can help manage this painful condition. It’s often easier to spot the signs in the winter cold- your dog may be stiff, less playful, move around less and sleep more than usual. The signs can often be misinterpreted as pets ‘slowing down’ due to old age, and include:
- Stiffness, especially after resting
- Hesitation to go up and down stairs
- Lagging behind during walks or tiring easily
- Preferring to lie down rather than sit or stand
- Whimpering, growling or snapping when you touch his joints
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
Although not curable, there are plenty of things pet parents can do to reduce arthritis pain and improve their pet’s quality of life including managing his weight, the right kind of exercise, comfortable warm bedding, avoid stairs, anti inflammatory medication and the right nutrition. It’s best to work with your vet for a comprehensive plan to manage your pet suffering from the pain of arthritis.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
The good news is you can start helping before the trouble starts. Hill’s expertise in therapeutic nutrition has shown us that proper nutrition, even when they are young and healthy, results in the best success in supporting the joints throughout their lives, into the senior years.
Hill’s Science Plan Healthy Mobility is enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils (EPA) and clinically proven antioxidants to support active mobility, joint flexibility and ease of movement through healthy joints.
- EPA from fish oil helps decrease inflammation and keep joint cartilage healthy
- Glucosamine & chondroitin are building blocks of healthy cartilage
- L-carnitine helps limit weight gain and load-bearing on the joints and maintains lean muscle to support the joints.
Ideal for active dogs and breeds that are prone to joint sensitivity, it’s suitable to be fed to the whole dog family from 1 year onwards.