We all love our dogs, so it’s disheartening to hear that an estimated 80% of dogs in North America develop arthritis after their 8th birthday.
Fortunately, there are ways to promote joint health for dogs and relieve their discomfort when symptoms develop.
Here’s what you can do today to ensure your pet’s comfort down the line.
Promoting Joint Health for Dogs
The most common supplements used to promote joint health in dogs include glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM.
Glucosamine for dogs is available in the form of palatable chew treats which are easy to administer without any fuss. Glucosamine is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It contains glycosaminoglycan, which helps repair cartilage and other body tissues.
Chondroitin is a natural substance found in the cartilage of dogs that works to slow down cartilage degeneration. You can supplement your dog’s diet with chondroitin in supplement form, but it works best when paired with glucosamine.
MSM, or methylsulphonylmethane, is a type of sulfur compound. It can help improve flexibility by reducing inflammation and pain in dogs’ joints.
Joint supplements are a safe and effective way to reduce the effects of age-related dog joint pain. It’s most effective when administered at a higher dose initially, followed by a decreased dosage as time goes on.
Always talk to your vet about the correct dosage for your pet before you embark on any supplemental program.
Joint Pain Medication for Dogs
In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend stronger joint pain remedies to deal with your pet’s pain and discomfort. These are:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can really help provide joint pain relief for dogs. Etogesic, Metacam, Deramaxx, and Rimadyl are the best known joint medicines for dogs.
Human medications like aspirin and ibuprofen are not approved for animal use and may have harmful side effects.
Unfortunately, NSAIDs can also cause gastro-intestinal disturbances and possible kidney and liver problems in pets.
Corticosteroids, like dexamethasone and prednisone, can dramatically reduce inflammation and swelling in joints.
The downside is that these substances can interact badly with other medicines, and can contribute to the additional breakdown of the joints over time.
For these reasons, corticosteroids aren’t commonly prescribed by veterinarians unless there is no alternative.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
It’s always better to avoid exposing your pet to unnatural chemicals. Rather, take steps to preserve your dog’s health with good-quality joint supplements and a healthy diet.
Obesity can help accelerate joint degeneration. So, try to avoid feeding your dog too many treats or table scraps. Keep their diet low in fat, and ensure they get regular exercise.
A good-quality dry or wet pet food is the easiest way to make sure your pet is getting a balanced diet. If you prefer to feed raw foods, try to stick to lean protein like chicken and fish.
More About Pet Health
As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure our animals’ lives are as comfortable as possible when they start to age.
Learning more about joint health for dogs is a good start.
Keep reading our blogs for more ways to keep your pet healthy and happy.