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Monday, October 29, 2012

New Tricks Caring For Old Dogs

Old age comes to us all, even man’s best friend. While your dog may have been by your side for years as he passes middle age it’s important to be aware of some of the conditions he could suffer from.

Some of the most common age-related problems for dogs are what we might call aches and pains. At one end of the spectrum are sore joints; at the other, arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Sore joints are common in all breeds of dog, regardless of size. Arthritis and hip dysplasia are hereditary so keep a careful eye out if you know your dog’s history and it’s in their blood line.

Hip dysplasia tends to affect bigger breeds. Unfortunately neither hip dysplasia nor arthritis is curable, so it’s down to you to help manage the pain.

How to spot if your dog has sore joints
If you dog displays any of the following behaviors he may be feeling a bit stiff or sore in his joints:
• Hesitation before going up or down stairs
• Trouble jumping up, for example on to the sofa or into the car
• Changes to the way he walks, especially if his back legs are closer together as this is a sign of hip dysplasia
• Trouble sleeping
• Stiffness in the morning
• Not wanting to play as much as usual
• Limping

Care for sore joints
Ideally you would take preventative measures to help minimize the effects of joint deterioration on your dog later in life. However, if your dog has already reached his senior years there are dietary and lifestyle changes you can adopt to help minimize aches and pains.

To begin with it’s important to ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight. If your dog is carrying around excess weight this can put unnecessary strain on already sore joints and could potentially exasperate the problem.

A healthy weight can be achieved with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Your dog may have slowed down as he’s aged, but exercise should still be an integral part of his everyday routine. However, while exercise is good, for a dog with achy and painful joints, it should only be done in moderation. Little and often is best.

While age is certainly a contributing factor to sore joints, this condition in dogs – and in humans – is also a result of a diminishing supply of glucosamine in the body. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is produced naturally by the body to help build cartilage.

However, the amount of glucosamine the body can produce declines with age. Fortunately, glucosamine for dogs is available in supplement form and can be added to your dog’s diet to help ease joint pain and aid in the regeneration of cartilage. While joint pain may be the most common of conditions affecting senior dogs, you may also want to look out for other age-related problems such as dental disease and deteriorating eye health.

4 comments:

ra husky said...

We've found that the OTC duralactin has really helped Isis. Also, adequan is a very helpful injection for older pups battling arthritis, thanks,

RA

meowmeowmans said...

Thanks for this informative post, Pam and Oskar. Our cat Sammy is 19 years old, and has arthritis. Cosequin and Adequan injections have really helped.

Lovable Lily said...

We gotta keep our little one's healthy! thanks for the info.

Hugs,
Lily Belle

Katie http://myminipetpig.com/ said...

Really informative and valuable post.

Oink oink,
Katie and Coccolino the mini pig

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