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Critter Chatter, Dogs

Hip & Joint Health Tips for Dogs of All Ages

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

Critter Chatter by Dr Phil

Start a little movement in your sacroiliac

Wiggle like a snake, wobble like a duck

Frank Sinatra,The Columbia Years (1943–52)

According to some estimates, one in five dogs experience joint issues in their lifetime, resulting in discomfort and possible mobility changes. Mobility is key to a healthy quality of life, and there are many ways to promote bone and joint health throughout life and at least slow down the progression of mobility changes as dogs age.

It is essential to maintain proper weight through all stages of life. Bones and joints bear more strain and are prone to damage in overweight animals. The best way to manage weight is to feed a high-quality pet food appropriate to your dog’s life stage–puppy (less than one year of age; adult (1-7 years); or senior (over seven years.) Try to avoid feeding table scraps or too many treats.

Regular exercise is good for all pets, but especially important for breeds predisposed to joint problems as it helps maintain muscle tone and joint health. Walks and hikes are great exercise, and swimming is an activity that does not put pressure on joints. If your dog has been diagnosed with joint issues, be gentle and provide an exercise regime under the guidance of your veterinarian. When it hurts to move, dogs stop exercising and can gain weight that in turn puts increased stress on joints. Gentle exercise helps joints stay limber and healthy, slims down chubby dogs and just helps them feel better overall.

Prevent injury. Dogs can hurt themselves running, jumping on and off furniture or in and out of automobiles. Discourage couch jumping (good luck) and provide a dog ramp for access to the car. Always use a canine seat belt when your dog travels with you.

Treat any injury promptly, especially as your dog ages, to reduce the potential for a bigger problem. Don’t use aspirin or other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) without checking with your veterinarian first.

A large percentage of dogs may benefit from natural joint support supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin (alone or in combination), methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), green-lipped mussel, hyaluronic acid or collagen. Capsaicin, boswellia and omega-3 fatty acids are also formulated into joint support products for their supportive properties. Active dogs of any age can benefit from their use throughout life but check with your veterinarian first to see what’s right for your dog

Starting as a puppy and continuing through adulthood and senior years, you can naturally build and strengthen muscles around joints, keep joints nutritionally healthy and reduce the potential of injury so your dog can always start a little movement in his sacroiliac. And if you are active yourself, join him and wiggle like a snake and wobble like a duck.

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a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden Doodle named Charlotte.

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