Dogs

The ULTIMATE Joint Care Guide For Elderly Dogs

The ULTIMATE Joint Care Guide For Elderly Dogs

Watching your beloved dog get older can be one of the toughest experiences as an owner, especially if they are unfortunate enough to live out their later years suffering from joint pain. Whilst it is true that joint deterioration is part of the aging process, what many owners don’t know is that with the right plan in place - this can be a far less painful experience for both you and your pup.

So, regardless of whether your pup already has joint pain or is just generally older and has yet to experience any issues, it’s important that you as a pet owner take action - now. We’ve developed a comprehensive guide below to ensure that your pooch has the best possible chance of improving an existing joint condition, or just not developing one in the future.

1. Daily Exercise Routine

 

One of the most common misconceptions about ageing dogs is that exercise should stop becoming a key part of their lives. The truth is, as a dog ages, it’s more important than ever that they keep active! You see, older dogs are at higher risk of becoming obese, developing heart problems and experiencing some form of degenerative joint disease, and exercise is the perfect way to help fight these issues off. Specifically with regards to joint health, frequent exercise helps lubricate joints and limit stiffness, which means a more active, happier dog - all year long.

That being said, it’s very important you know what type of exercise an older dog can do. Given that they will be less active, we’ve identified a few exercises that will give them a great workout without creating any unnecessary strain on their body. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Swimming (Hydrotherapy): It has been scientifically proven that water-based activities can help lighten the impact on your dog’s joints while still offering them a well-needed workout. If you don’t have a pool, taking your dog on a trip to the beach or a lake can help, or you can book in to specialist canine hydrotherapy units for the ultimate Puppy Personal Trainer!
  • Walking: Older dogs (especially those who already suffer from joint condition) might need to have their walking schedule adjusted, particularly if walks are their primarily means of exercise. Long walks are not beneficial for dogs suffering from joint pain; instead, try dividing your usual 40 minute walks into a couple of short, 20 minute strolls throughout the day. That way, this exercise doesn’t strain your dog’s legs, and they have time to recover in between sessions!
  • Keep it low: Jumping or leaping high after toys, balls or frisbees may put a higher strain on dogs with sensitive joints, so maybe scrap those activities, and replace them with more gentle, less energetic interactions

2. Provide The Right Diet & Supplementation

One of the most important changes owners need to make in their elderly four-legged friends is represented by diet. Most older dogs already have reduced mobility, so lugging around any extra weight is only going to make their lives more difficult. Certain breeds may not show their added pounds as easily, so make sure to check with a vet for an official weigh-in. As well as controlling their weight, diet can also play an important role in how quickly they recover from pain, and keep their joints lubricated and strengthened with the right nutrients.

The easiest and most rewarding action an owner can take for their pet’s benefit is introducing a supplement in their diet. Our Joint Care Chews are the perfect addition to your pet’s daily food intake, as they are scientifically formulated to promote strength and flexibility. Choosing a supplement made from natural ingredients is crucial, as you wouldn’t want to expose your dog to harmful chemicals, and our chews are 100% natural and contain glucosamine, a well-known aid for painful joints.

Related: Read our blog about the benefits of Glucosamine, here!

Tip: Dogs are creatures of habit, and they can be trained to recognize certain actions as a scheduled event. Offer your pet a Joint Care Chew right before or after an activity they like (such as playtime or a walk), and they will associate the chews with an exciting time of their day!

3. Create a Comfortable, Manageable Environment

One of the most overlooked factors in improving an older dog's joints is their environment! Have a think about everything physically around them - does it all work together to maximize their mobility and improve their joint health? When asked that question, many owners will discover they need to make some changes around the house. Here are a few areas that you can improve to give your dog the best possible chance of an active, joint-pain free future:

  • Invest In Bedding: If your elderly dog used to have a high up resting spot, consider moving it lower down to the floor for easier access. Also, it might be worth investing in a memory foam dog bed, which are very easy on their joints and can help alleviate pain.
  • Adjust Your Flooring: Hardwood floors (or any type of smooth, slippery surfaces) could make it incredibly difficult for a dog with joint issues to move around. Adding a rug to a room where your pet hangs out the most, or in the hallways, could really help your four-legged buddy travel easier and faster.
  • Introduce Steps Or Ramps: If you and your dog take regular road trips, buying a car step could be a useful hack - same goes for bed steps if you and your dog like to cuddle at night! If your dog has severe mobility issues or incredibly frail joints, fitting a ramp over impossible-to-climb steps is a nice touch that your pet will appreciate!

4. Offer Constant, Gentle Care

Taking care of a senior dog requires extra time and attention, but it is definitely worth doing! When dogs get older, they tend to experience behavioral changes, become more irritable, or lose the ability to do the things they used to love. Remember to show your elderly pet some love and attention by petting them more often, talking to them, and relaxing together.

Dog massages are a lesser known way of both interacting with your dog while also providing it with pain relief. While there are professional dog therapists who are trained in the art of pet massaging, a better way to bond with your dog is to learn some tips and tricks yourself, and offer your canine buddy a relaxing massage to alleviate its pain, and increase their circulation, flexibility, and overall well being.

Last Thoughts:

Look, we get it - you’re really busy, and probably don’t have time for a lot of the above. Here’s the thing though: your dog’s health won’t wait for you! The #1 regret amongst dog owners who’ve had a pup pass away was not taking enough care of their joints - and we don’t want you to have that same regret!

Take action right now! Work on each of the four points above as a matter of priority, and when all is said and done, you’ll look back fondly on your dog's journey, and know you did everything you could to give them an active, happy rest of their life.