For humans and dogs alike, aging comes with a variety of changes. Dogs naturally slow down as they get older, opting for more senior snooze sessions in favor of energetic puppy play.
If your slow-moving senior’s behavior is the result of joint issues, though, you may want to look into the different options when it comes to easing your dog’s discomfort. Does your dog need prescription medication or even surgery, or can you slow the progression of joint issues and ease related discomfort with natural remedies?
Signs of Dog Joint Discomfort
Joint and mobility issues are not uncommon in aging dogs. Age, breed, weight, underlying health issues, and prior injuries can all be contributing factors when it comes to dog joint issues. Plus, with all that running, jumping, and playing, your dog’s joints are bound to experience some natural wear and tear throughout his lifetime.
As an instinct, dogs tend to hide any signs of discomfort for as long as possible to avoid appearing vulnerable. With that in mind, you may have to pay extra close attention to your pup in order to notice his joint problems, especially early on.
Common signs of dog joint discomfort include (but are not limited to):
- Decreased physical activity
- Difficulty moving (such as getting onto the couch, into the car, or up and down steps)
- Sleeping more than usual
- Irritability or other behavioral changes
- Limping or other changes in gait
- Change in regular standing and sitting posture
- Aversion to being touched in certain areas
- Frequently tending to a specific area near or around the joints
You know your dog best. If you notice any changes in his appearance, behavior, or demeanor, it’s never a bad idea to contact your vet to rule out any serious health issues.
Alternative Joint Health Remedies
When it comes to your dog’s joints and mobility, there are many alternative health options to choose from including acupuncture, laser therapy, massage therapy, and physical therapy.
Acupuncture involves placing small needles into the body in order to stimulate the nerves and muscles to promote healing. It may sound painful, but it can actually be quite relaxing—in fact, many dogs even fall asleep during their acupuncture sessions!
Laser therapy is another pain-free alternative health option, which involves using lasers to stimulate cells to promote healing.
Physical therapy often includes muscle and joint strengthening exercises, and can also implement massage therapy to provide relief from discomfort and encourage healing.
Keeping your dog’s weight under control is one of the best things you can do for your dog’s overall health. After all, the added pressure of excess weight can exacerbate joint and mobility issues.
Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise on a regular basis. If his joint discomfort leads to mobility issues, try joint-friendly exercises such as swimming, or simply going for several shorter walks rather than one or two long ones.
A healthy diet is also critical for boosting your dog’s health from the inside out. While kibble can be a perfectly acceptable option, some dog owners find that a raw diet boasts many benefits, including improved mobility.
Dog Joint Supplements
In addition to a healthy diet, there are several supplements you can give your dog to promote healthy joints.
Popular dog joint supplements include (but are not limited to):
- Fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin C
Whenever you give your dog supplements, make they’re specifically formulated for dogs—not shared from your medicine cabinet or spice rack.
If you’re not sure where to start in terms of dog joint supplements, Pet Honesty offers several joint health products designed with your dog in mind. For example:
Turmeric Joint Health chews are made with natural ingredients including turmeric and fish oil; these tasty chews support healthy joints and promote a healthy immune system.
Advanced Hip & Joint Chews, made with glucosamine, turmeric, and MSM. These chicken-flavored chews ease joint stiffness, promote cartilage development and connective tissue support, enhance bone health and joint function, and promote mobility.
- Hemp Mobility chews are made with a blend of hemp, glucosamine, and turmeric to promote bone and joint health, boost mobility, and ease joint stiffness.
In some cases, dogs with joint discomfort may need prescription medication. Please note that supplements should not be used as a replacement for vet-recommended treatments, though they can be used in addition to medications to enhance your dog’s health. For best results, talk to your vet about which remedies are right for your dog.