Has your pet slowed down since getting older? It is a sad fact of life that many of our pets develop arthritis or other joint problems as they age. Arthritis is a very common problem in dogs, particularly in seniors and larger breeds. While there is not a cure for this progressive and debilitating disease, identifying it early and initiating appropriate preventative management will help keep your dog active longer and greatly improve the quality of life.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is also referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). This is a progressively worsening inflammation of the joints caused by the deterioration of cartilage. It affects nearly half of middle-aged dogs and 90% of senior dogs.
In healthy joints, cartilage acts as a cushion. It allows joints to glide and move smoothly. When suffering from OA, the cartilage breaks down. The loss of this protective cushion results in pain, inflammation, and a decrease in range of motion.
There are some factors that make pets more predisposed to joint issues:
- Larger dog breeds, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers
- Age, particularly middle-aged to senior dogs
- Being overweight or obese
- Poor nutrition
- Injuries and infections
It is important to get your pet checked regularly by a veterinarian – Especially if prone to joint issues. Maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle.
Signs of Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis can be hard to detect in the early stages. Usually, symptoms do not appear until the affected joint is damaged. Also, dogs will instinctively hide their pain. This is why it is particularly important to closely monitor middle-aged to senior dogs and those predisposed to arthritis. Here are typical signs to look out for:
- Difficulty getting up
- Weight gain
- Reluctance to run or play
- Irritability or behavior changes
- Pain when petted or touched
- Having accidents indoors
- Loss of muscle mass
Preventing the development of joint issues through diet, exercise, and the use of protective joint supplements is the best way to keep your dog’s joints healthy. When arthritis develops, treatment is typically focused on controlling the pain, decreasing inflammation, improving quality of life, and slowing the development of the disease.
If your senior pet is exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, we recommend consulting your veterinarian for guidance and support. Should joint supplements be advised as a course of treatment for your pet, Flexpet joint supplements will donate a portion of any sale through our website to our organization. Flexpet joint supplements are made in the USA in FDA regulated facilities by Flexcin International. Flexcin has been making acclaimed joint supplements for over 20 years.