Pet owners often first notice dog joint problems when their dog has trouble getting up, moves slowly or stiffly, or refuses or is reluctant to climb stairs. Sometimes it's the result of age-related degeneration, sometimes the dog is born with it, and sometimes it's the result of an injury or some other factor. Whatever the cause, it's important to get your vet to properly diagnose any joint problems in your dog & discuss treatment options. You can also help your pet continue to lead a happy life by making a few adjustments to the household. A few joint health issues include:
Ask your veterinarian about treatment options, including the effectiveness of each option, the costs, risks, and appropriateness for your dog's age and condition. Surgical options may be available, but may not always be a viable option for repairing a dog's joints (for instance, if his age is an added deterrant in administering general anesthesia). Try doing the following:
However, don't overdo the exercise. Take a few shorter exercise outings rather than one big long one. Let your pooch rest a while if he's panting hard. Try short swimming sessions (water exercise isn't as hard on the joints).
Remember, exercise is important, but not to the point where your dog gets hurt! Even dogs with joint health problems may be enthusiastically ready to keep going for what seems like a long time - reign them in for their own good. Keep your exercise sessions smart and appropriate for your dog's condition.
Dogs don't all respond to supplements the same way. You may need to try different brands before finding one that works for your dog.
If your dog has joint problems, work with him to ease his pain or discomfort. Sometimes medication or even surgery may be required, but as always, they carry some risk. Discuss the options with your vet and don't be afraid to ask questions and bring up any specific concerns you have. After all, it's your best friend's health you're talking about!