Shockingly, one out of every seven dogs is badly affected by arthritis. The painful condition affects the joints and surrounding cartilage and can arise in a dog’s, hips, elbows, shoulders and spine. Just like the joints in a human body, dogs rely heavily on them to freely move their limbs. Without movable joints animals and humans would be inflexible and find ordinary movements such as walking, running, sitting and jumping almost impossible to do.
With this in mind it’s vital for any caring owner to understand the importance of looking after the joints of their pet as if it were their own body.
Keep A Close Eye On Your Pet
Remember, animals can’t always tell us how they are feeling and aches and pains in their limbs can sometimes go unnoticed or mistaken as signs of fatigue or lethargy. In the same way we can benefit from joint and muscle exercise, so too can our pets.
Max: My Old Companion
Very recently, my old companion Max, a rescue dog had developed severe joint pain. He had been fed a poor diet with missing nutrients from a young age which is fundamental to bone and muscle development. After a trip to the Vet he was diagnosed with Canine Hip Dysplasia , common in most elderly dogs. Once he was diagnosed I took even extra care to give him the best care his joints needed in order to live a healthy and happy life.
How to Strengthen your Dog’s Joints
A dog’s muscles and joints need regular exercise which helps to strengthen cartilage. This can be a particularly easy process for your pet to do. With the help of my sewing machine, I made a simple exercise mat from foam cut to size and then positioned Max on the ground. You can use any type of soft material, but I advise foam cushions or a cotton pillow as they provide support and texture. I massaged his joints slowly making sure he was comfortable at all times. You should also try the following outdoor activities…
• Walking your pet is a great way to build their muscle tissue. Base the time of the exercises on their age. A simple 10 minute morning walk around the corner is more than enough for your dog’s joints followed by a few more exercises at lunch time..
• Games of fetch and tug of war are equally great at building muscle and strengthening joints.
• Make sure your pet is fed a nutritious diet as they need natural protein to build muscle, strengthen bones and repair cartilage.
So, if your dog is showing signs of joint pain or just starting out in the world, make sure as an owner you give them the best start possible by providing them with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise to ensure they live a long and healthy life.