Perhaps you have noticed your dog is having difficulty getting up from a nap, making her way down the stairs, or is walking a little slower than usual.
Like us, our furriers can suffer from hip and joint issues, including arthritis, making it difficult (and uncomfortable) to get around.
But knowing what to look for and how you can help your dog, will not only put your pup at ease but you, too.
Symptoms of Hip and Joint Disease
There are many types of arthritis, the most common type is osteoarthritis. This disease causes pain and swelling in the joints, such as hips, knees, and elbows. This happens when the dog’s inflamed or injured joint results in the breaking down of cartilage tissue. Cartilage is the rubbery material chiefly made of water and proteins, and serves as coverage for the joint’s ends of bones, acting as a cushion.
When cartilage tissue is degraded, it causes pain, swelling, and even deformity.
It is important to visit a vet if you believe your dog is suffering from arthritis, but but here are some of the tell-tale signs your dog may be experiencing discomfort:
Your dog is limping and/or favors one leg over the other. When getting up or down, he seem to be in pain and is stiff while moving. Sometimes the legs becomes thin due to muscle atrophy.
Cries When Touched
Inflamed joints are highly sensitive to touch. If you pet your dog and he cries out in pain, his joints may be severely inflamed. Sometimes, it may be so painful that not only will he avoid your affection, but he can become protective of the area, growling or even biting if accidentally touched.
When your dog’s joints are flaring up with pain, you may see him excessively licking the spot. Often, he is trying to soothe the pain and heal the area. Sometimes he may take it a step further and chew or bite the area that hurts him the most.
Differences in Sleeping, Drinking, and Eating
Many dogs will sleep more when in pain because they’re trying to heal or because it’s too hard to move around. In this vein, a loss of appetite and changes in the way and amount they drink are common.
Changes in Breathing Pattern.
If you notice your dog is panting but hasn’t been exercising, it may be a sign he is in pain. Same goes if the breathing is shallower.
A Different Dog
His behavior may seem unusual. He can seem uncharacteristically tired, always in the dark, or not up for the usual playtime or fetch. You’d also notice that he doesn’t enthusiastically follow you around like he used to. He may seem depressed.
When you witness these signs, best to consult your dog immediately and discuss with them the best herbal supplement for treatment.
Visiting a vet is imperative to set up a plan to help alleviate pain and improve quality of life, there are things you can do at home to help your dog, including giving your pup a daily supplement.
What Dogs Are Prone to Joint Issues?
Usually large breeds tend to be more prone to arthritis. Some of the known breeds that can suffer from joint diseases are:
- German Shepherds
- English Bulldogs
- Golden Retrievers
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Great Dane
- Saint Bernard
Other factors that cause joint diseases in dogs are obesity and other health issues. For instance, in younger dogs, arthritis is more typically caused by orthopedic diseases or injuries, like elbow and hip dysplasia, luxating patella, or a cranial cruciate ligament rupture.
Treatment for Arthritis
Veterinarians often subscribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as a way to ease the pain of arthritis in dogs, as they can help with pain, swelling, and stiffness. But there are side effects, so it is important to monitor your dog.
- Black tarry poop
- Not eating
- Change in drinking habits and/or urination
More serious side effects can result in liver, kidney and digestive issues. They may include:
- Gastrointestinal ulcer
- Liver toxicity
- Kidney toxicity
- Kidney failure
If you experience any of the above symptoms reach out to your vet as soon as possible.
Thankfully, there are also other options that you can do at home to help your dog, including giving your pup a daily supplement.
Check out eight powerful ingredients that may help your dog’s joint and hip pain. (But keep in mind, before you introduce anything new to your dog, consult with a vet.)
If you have a dog who is predisposed to arthritis, suffers from hip dysplasia, or has trauma in the joints, glucosamine may help.
Glucosamine is one of the most popular over-the-counter supplements as many believe it helps reduce arthritis pain.
Some veterinarians believe the earlier you start giving a dog predisposed to joint and hip conditions glucosamine, the better. This supplement can be given to your dog as early as 8 weeks old. The dosage depends on your dog’s weight, so you need to seek help from a vet to determine the correct glucosamine dosage for your dog.
It is believed to stimulate the growth of your dog’s cartilage, according to studies. (When cartilage is damaged, there is no cushion between the bones and joints, causing them to rub against each other, which, as you can image, is agonizing.) In doing so, it may help alleviate pain from joint issues, arthritis, and hip dysplasia. It is also believed to help with inflammation.
The New Zealand green-lipped mussel, also known as Perna Canaliculus, is another popular supplement for dogs due to its effects on arthritis. Full of omegas, the fatty acids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties known to treat arthritis. And they have other compounds, including eicosatetraenoic acid, or ETA, and glycosaminoglycans to help protect joints. According to one study, after eight weeks of usage, dogs’ pain was reduced and mobility improved, while another study showed a reduction of inflammation. They are also considered relatively safe.
Derived from animal cartilage, chondroitin is frequently used in combination with other ingredients such as glucosamine for optimal absorption. Chondroitin is believed to have multiple benefits, including promoting water retention and elasticity. This creates lubrication, giving your dog more shock absorption, meaning less wear and tear and more mobility. It may also prevent inflammation.
Manganese is an essential trace mineral that may contribute to the health of a dog’s bone by supporting the formation of collagen, which helps keep the integrity of cartilage in joints. Also, when combined with glucosamine and chondroitin, manganese may significantly reduce your dog’s arthritis pain by helping with absorption. Make sure to talk to your vet before giving, as it may not be recommended for dogs with chronic kidney failure.
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is a naturally occurring sulfur-containing compound found in the body and in fruits, vegetables, and animals. MSM is believed to relieve joint pain and arthritis by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. Plus, when combined with other ingredients, like glucosamine and chondroitin, it can enhance the effects of these nutrients. It is also believed to reduce inflammation by increasing cortisol levels. Lastly, as an antioxidant, it may boost immunity by binding to dangerous free radicals.
MSM is not considered toxic in high dosages, but it may cause diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD oil is given to the dog in several ways, including directly using a tincture, in a treat, or mixing in your dog’s food. CBD oil is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and may do wonders for a dog suffering from arthritis. CBD oil can reportedly reduce your dog’s joint pain, helping with mobility. (If your dog is also suffering from other health conditions, such as seizures, nausea, stomach issues, and anxiety, CBD is believed to help aid in those, too.)
It works by targeting the dog’s endocannabinoid system that regulates bodily functions and helps control homeostasis in the body. The system interacts with natural cannabinoids found in the brain, but they can also be found in CBD, a plant-based endocannabinoids.
Make sure you do your research and look for products that have the correct dosage for your dog, are tested by third parties, and know the correct concentration level.
Astaxanthin is a powerful compound that comes from a number of foods, including krill. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with dogs’ joints and reportedly can stop the chemicals that cause pain in dogs.
Astaxanthin also contains antioxidants that help to improve your canine friend’s immune response, which is known to be more powerful and effective compared to beta-carotene.
Boswellia is an anti-arthritic natural supplement that is extracted from the plant Boswellia serrate. Also called Indian frankincense, it is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties, which helps support healthy hip and joint function.
This herb also significantly contributes to keeping joint movement smooth and comfortable while also alleviating pain from everyday exercise.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to promote a healthy heart, kidneys, and even skin. But did you know that they also serve as a powerful supplement for dogs of all ages?
Yes, because omega-3 fatty acids contribute to joint lubrication and can help reduce pain and inflammation of the joints.
This supplement is commonly included in store-bought dog food, however, the levels of omega-3 fatty acids are not always enough. Therefore, you may also add fish oil or krill oil to your dog’s diet to boost levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Keep in mind, that adding vitamins and supplements to a dog’s diet may interact with each other or prescription drugs, so it is important to discuss with your veterinarian before introducing to your dog.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.