Sadly, one in seven canines is diagnosed with arthritis. The agonizing ailment targets a dog’s joints, usually around the paws, shoulders and lowers back. They say dogs are like their owners and this is true, regarding joints. Just like humans, dogs depend on joints for flexibility and movement. Joints allow your pet’s limbs to move and help them go about their day. Imagine for a second how hard it would be for you to walk, sit down or run without the ability to move your limbs. This would be no different for your dog and so when their joints are affected, they are unable to do even the simplest of tasks.
Looking after your pets joints is vital and just like our own aches and pains our pet’s health is down to us to look after.
Keep A Close Eye On Your Pooch!
Unlike their owners, dogs cannot vocalise how they feel. If you have a dog that has poorly joints and is in slight discomfort, the signs are not always so easy to spot. Your pet relies heavily on you to keep a watchful eye on their health as aches and pains in their joints can be mistaken for fatigue. With this in mind, gently feel your pet’s limbs and joints and always take them to a Vet should you have the smallest inkling that something is wrong.
Lately my beautiful, old greyhound Ruby, a rescued and abused track dog had experienced extreme agony in her joints from being overly raced around a dog track in the first few years of her life. In the beginning of her life she was continuously raced without any rest or care and this had affected her health in later life. Prior to her being rescued, she was also fed a poorly unbalanced diet and neglected. Her limbs and joints were strained and her cartilage was worn away which left her with severe aches and pains. Although since her rescue her limbs have improved considerably and her muscles have strengthened, she still has problems with her joints to this day.
Canine Hip Dysplasia.
The problems in her joints and limbs continued to cause her pain in her later life and after a trip to the Vet, she was identified as having an early form of degenerative joint disease (DJD) and Canine Hip Dysplasia.
Ruby’s Pain Increased
Before Ruby was diagnosed she was unable to move or even lay down on her favourite bed to sleep. She was on pain killers but it her joints still remained stiff which left her lethargic and unable to do the things she used to enjoy. After coming back from the Vets with her medication, I was reduced to tears as I watched my beautiful baby try and race over to greet me, only to stop and clumsily collapse, due to the inflexibility of her joints. So, with some research and a third opinion from the Vets I was recommended a set of exercises that Ruby could take part in and some special dog bedding that was made from specialized material at CutFoam. The foam material in her bedding molded to the outline of her body and didn’t put any pressure on her joints and limbs.
Exercise is Vital
Exercising your pet’s muscles every day will help to strengthen the tissue and provide better support for cartilages and joints. All you’ll need is an open space to work out in and dedication to help strengthen your pet’s muscles and joints.
• Walking your dog is a great form of exercise and helps build their muscle tissue. Based on the age of your dog begin with a ten to fifteen minute routine, just a few times a day and gradually build to an hour or more at least twice a day.
• Take your dog to a local pet or open space and play fetch using a ball, Frisbee or toy. Likewise, tug of war with a chewy toy helps build the muscles up around their legs, back and neck.
A balanced nutritious diet is one of the best ways to help build muscle and provide calcium to grow strong bone marrow. Obesity is one of the major causes for a dog developing poor joints as the excess weight can cause added pressure and pain.
Remember, your dog relies heavily on you to provide it a healthy and happy life. It is your responsibility as a caring and loving owner to keep a close eye on your pet’s health regularly. Through providing your pet with a routine of regular exercise and a nutritiously balanced diet, you will ensure your cuddly companion lives a long and wonderful life free from pains and aches in its limbs.
My name is Hillary Thomas and I work full time at CutFoam. I raise money regularly for animal charities and awareness around canine exercise.