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How to help your dog's joint health with Dr Katrina Warren

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Just like us, dogs can suffer from poor joint health. This can affect any dog but it is most common in older animals, previously active animals or those with a history of a joint or bone-related injury.

Signs of poor joint health

Just like us, dogs can suffer from poor joint health. This can affect any dog but it is most common in older animals, previously active animals or those with a history of a joint or bone-related injury. Large dog breeds have a tendency to hip and elbow dysplasia and other orthopaedic growth problems. Inflammation of the joints can progress to the point where your pet may become reluctant to exercise and lose muscle tone. Signs include:

  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Reluctance to walk up stairs or jump in car
  • Slow to get up from lying down

Consult your vet

Your vet needs to diagnose poor joint health properly and put your pet on a management plan depending on their level of pain and mobility. Some cases may require medication but there are some things you can do to make their life more comfortable.

How to help your dog's joints at home

  • Weight management - keep their weight on the lean side to take pressure off sore joints
  • Always handle and groom gently and be aware of sore spots
  • Gentle exercise only – it is important to keep their joints moving and improve muscle tone. Increase low impact activities such as swimming and avoid runs or highly active playtime.
  • Don’t let them sleep on hard concrete or tiles – offer a soft, supportive bed away from draughts. And make sure your pet is warm in winter
  • Supplement – there are a range of supplements on the market that may help alleviate the pain associated with poor joint health, as well as slowing arthritis progression. PAW Osteocare® is a tasty kangaroo chew that contains Glucosamine & Chondroitin sulfate, which may improve joint function in younger and older dogs. PAW Osteosupport® is a highly concentrated green lipped mussel powder that may help with the relief of symptoms.
  • Medication – this must be prescribed by your veterinarian after a complete health examination – human medications can be dangerous for your pet and should never be given without direction. Your vet will be able to advise you of the benefits and possible side effects of using these products

Although prevention is not always possible, it is important to know that early detection and management can significantly slow disease progression to give your dog as many happy and active years as possible.