It’s in the nature of a dog to be excitable, loving, and energetic. If you’ve witnessed your dog suffering from joint discomfort, then you know how their very essence can be affected by something like hip problems. When they struggle to stand, limp, or in the worst cases, become completely debilitated, it’s like their entire personality changes. To that end, understanding proper joint help is necessary for your dog to retain that excitable, loving identity.
Simple preventative measures such as hip and joint supplements for dogs can be all the difference for your pup, but it’s important that you know all there is to joint discomfort in dogs so that you’re ready to face it should your dog ever have it.
Signs and Symptoms of Hip Problems in Dogs
Understanding the signs of joint problems can allow you to be extra vigilant and establish preventative measures early. Additionally, if you’ve noticed behavioral changes with your dog, this might help to explain that. Constant joint issues and decreased mobility can cause stress, mood swings, and changes in your dog’s personality.
The Obvious Signs
First: the telltale signs. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, you’ll want to start helping as soon as possible.
- Refusal to play, climb stairs, jump, or perform strenuous activities
- Limping when walking
- Bunny hopping when walking (when both back legs move together like a jumping rabbit)
- The hip is sensitive to the touch
- Difficulty rising from lying position (only uses front legs)
The Subtle Signs
The subtle signs are harder to catch but they’re incredibly important to know. Noticing the subtle signs allow you to get a handle on the issue before it progresses.
- Back legs are closer together when standing
- Loss of thigh muscle mass
- A gain of shoulder muscle mass (as compensation)
- Popping sound in the hip when walking
Hip and Joint Support in Dogs
If you own a dog breed that is more likely to suffer from joint problems (see below for the list of breeds), then it’s best important to consult with your veterinarian and take preventative measures.
Nutritional Needs for Joint Health
Malnutrition is a common source of many pet ailments. While any pet food you buy will “guarantee” total health for your pet on the packaging, owners need to dive into ingredients labels and research what food they’re providing their dogs to ensure proper nutrition.
The nutrients specific to joint health include:
- Vitamin C
- Fish oil
Also, keeping your dog hydrated is important to keep joints lubricated and working optimally.
Glucosamine is the term to know when it comes to joint health. Glucosamine is a natural anti-inflammatory, and it helps to restore disaffected joints by rebuilding cartilage. Cartilage acts as the pillow between bones to dampen the impact force as dogs go about their important daily activities—you know, like racing up the stairs or fetching frisbees.
Pet Honesty offers joint supplements with glucosamine, hemp oil, and other natural anti-inflammatories to support joint health.
Holistic Support For Hip and Joint
Many people peg the holistic medicine approach incorrectly. Its methodology is simple: how can you optimize the body (dog or person) so that it has everything it needs to perform optimally. Instead, it utilizes the idea that the body is full of complex organs that are fit to deal with all types of stressors.
By providing the body with all the nutrients, physical exercise, and stress relievers it needs to work optimally, you’re supporting your dog’s overall health. These include:
- Weight management – Joints develop to hold as much weight as a healthy dog should be. If your dog is obese or overweight, that’s just extra force applied to the joints. Keeping your dog’s weight balanced can relieve stress and joint issues in their hips.
- Exercises to rebuild strength- – Much like with humans, physical therapy helps to rebuild underutilized muscles, correct alignments, and to ensure the proper development of skeletal and muscular structures.
- Proper nutrition – As mentioned above, nutritious meals are a key ingredient to the holistic approach.
Lifecycle Stages and Joint Health
It is important to understand how your dog’s joints develop throughout their lives, and what you can do to support their joint health.
- Puppy Prevention – The reason large breed dogs commonly have problems with their hips is due to the rapid development of the joints during their puppy years. When young dogs are still growing into their body, over-exercising can cause early wear and tear on hip joints.
- Senior Prevention – As your dog ages, less lubricating fluid (technically known as synovial fluid) is produced, making it easier for joints to degrade. Once in their geriatric years, be sure to limit their strenuous activities and provide them with plenty of time to nap and recover. Their joints will thank you for it.
Supplements offered during these stages of life can assist with the proper care and development of the hip joints. Pet Honesty offers different blends of joint-healthy ingredients designed with your dog’s age in mind.
Dog Breeds Likelier to Develop Hip Problems
Mother Nature has presented the world with every different type of dog imaginable. Or so it seems. And through all that randomness, certain genetic predispositions have arisen. Thee Orthopedic Foundation for Animals amassed a database of different dog breeds and the likelihood of developing hip problems. Here are the dog breeds which are most likely to develop serious hip problems:
- Old English Bulldog
- French Mastiff
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Brussels Griffon
- St. Bernard
- Clumber Spaniel
- Black Russian Terrier
To find your particular dog breed’s dysplasia susceptibility, you can find more information here, with the OFA.
Dealing with Hip Problems
While suffering from joint discomfort can dramatically impact a dog’s health, it doesn’t mean they have to live a life of immobility.. When determining the right course of help, consider a combination of the options above to personalize a plan for your dog.
And of course, never hesitate to talk to your local veterinarian about the best options available.