The 10 Things You Can Do for Your Dog’s Joint Pain
It can be heartbreaking to see your dog having increasing difficulties walking around and moving. It is terrible to watch our dog’s joint pain worsen, but is common with old age. Our dogs have run/played/walked so much throughout their puppy and adult lives that now in their seniority, the pressure on their joints catches up to them. It is estimated that 20% of dogs will experience joint pain, which makes it all the more important to do what you can to reduce those chances. Take steps to prevent or to alleviate pre-existing joint pain by changing up your dog’s routine, watching food intake, and giving them natural supplements. Use these tips to provide the best comfort and care possible for your best friend!
Keep Them a Healthy Weight
Excessive weight can increase your dog’s joint pain and cause other health related issues as well. Maintaining a healthy weight (Every Dog’s Weight Problem – The Result of an Overweight Dog) is important to ensure your pet is of good health. Oftentimes, owners are unaware that they are overfeeding their dogs (either with fattening treats or too much food) paired with not enough activity. If you are unsure whether you are feeding your dog the correct amount, speak with your vet to ensure that he is getting the nutrients he needs. As well, most dog food bags will identify how much to give him dependent on his weight and age. Your vet will have recommendations on which brands of dog food to purchase. Buying good dog food will supply your dog with the nutrients he needs without causing weight gain, and in turn, joint pain.
Raise Food Dishes off the Floor
One of the simplest things you can do to relieve your dog’s joint pain is to lift up her dishes. Raising her food dish even a few inches off the floor can reduce the distance she has to lean over when eating and drinking. When dishes are on the floor, it takes more strength and balance to lean over and eat/drink. You can purchase food dishes that have a stand, or you can get creative and find a way to raise them up (pallets, boxes, etc.). When your dog doesn’t have to lean as far forward, the stress in her joints reduces.
If it is possible in your home to provide a ramp, this is an extremely impactful option to reduce your dog’s joint pain. Stairs can be hard for older dogs, especially those already experiencing joint pain – taking away those extra steps can make movements easier. For those who have backyard decks with stairs, providing a ramp to go outside (a daily task) makes those trips easier for him. In addition, if your dog sleeps in your bed or has a bed raised up off the floor, providing a ramp for him to step up rather than jumping will not be as taxing on his body.
Give Your Dog Natural Herbs
Many seek to avoid medicinal options such as anti-inflammatory drugs that may be recommended by some veterinarians. Until absolutely necessary they would prefer to stick to natural healers, and herbs are a wonderful choice! Because herbs are natural, they lack the added preservatives or chemicals that could otherwise cause problems. Here are some of the herbs that can help your dog’s joint pain (plus other added benefits)! Remember, before you give your dog these herbs, speak with your vet about the correct amounts to give – too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
- Ginger (also benefits the digestive system)
- Licorice Root (acts as an anti-inflammatory)
- Alfalfa (used primarily for joint pain)
- Turmeric (also an anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties)
- Cayenne (can be used as a pain blocker)
Provide Carpeted Surfaces
If your home is filled with linoleum, tiles, or hardwood flooring, it can be hard for your dog to walk around. The slippery surfaces do not give her a good grip when walking and she uses her muscles more to maintain her balance. In many circumstances, your dog will probably slide or slip and fall when active, which can result in more pain. Adding carpeted surfaces to your home will prevent these slips and give your dog’s paws traction. Something as simple as adding bathmats in the bathroom, or rugs and carpets to areas of high traffic for your dog can be life changing. Saving her these few tumbles will save her joints and relieve that pressure.
Give Your Dog a Soft Bed
One of the easiest purchases to reduce your dog’s joint pain is a soft bed. Laying on the hard floor can be difficult on his joints as he is feeling the brunt of all his weight with no ‘give’. Floors may also be cool, chilling your dog and causing more pain to the joints. Find a soft and comfortable pillow, mattress, or blanket for your dog to sleep on at night (Let Sleeping Dogs Lie – The Best Places for Your Dog to Sleep). The soft bed will cushion his joints and relieve any tension that would normally be felt on the floor. If you are willing, having your dog sleep in your bed is also an option that can help him feel better, and comfort you as well!
Surprisingly enough, acupuncture is available for dogs too! It works the same way for dogs as it does humans – a small needle is inserted into body tissue where nerves are located. This helps muscles relax, stimulates the body to release the pain naturally, and improves blood flow. These benefits can be used to reduce your dog’s joint pain naturally. An added benefit to acupuncture is that it can work to heal the body in other ways in addition to joint pain (disk, kidney, respiratory, and digestive problems). Of course, as with most things, acupuncture is not an immediate fix. It will take time to for the body to heal itself and may require frequent sessions before an impact is seen.
Keep Nails Trimmed
To relieve your dog’s joint pain, help him in small ways like trimming/cutting his nails. When a dog’s nails get too long it can put pressure on his back and legs. This pressure then can result in further ligament degeneration near the joints (which causes the joint pain). If a dog has long nails, it is as if they are walking on his tippy-toes and require more balance. The change between long nails and short nails is dramatic and can actually correct his stance and posture, taking the strain away from the spine and muscles surrounding joints. But remember to only cut off small bits of nail at a time so you do not cause him to bleed.
Give Them Supplements
Because your dog’s comfort is your greatest care, you may want to consider looking for natural options to improve his health and reduce discomfort. In particular, the Canine 15 Natural formula, helps improve joint and muscle health. The Canine 15 Natural formula contains a blend of sulphur and lignin sulfonate, which has been seen to have substantial health benefits. The Canine 15 Natural formula is just that – natural, so you can feel good about giving your dog the best. It has been found that natural products will reduce other risks such as allergies, digestive problems, and also increase animal immunity. By giving your dog these supplements, he is able to move easier and return to the things he loves doing best!