If you’ve noticed your dog getting more stiff and sore as they age, you’ve probably also been wondering what you can do about it. Any good pet owner knows that loving your pet comes with good times and bad, and that precious puppy seems to turn elderly in the blink of an eye.
Arthritis in dogs is one of the most common issues that happen to senior dogs, and all of the pet lovers here at WINPRO Pet wanted to help you do something about it. Learn how to prevent aches and pains in your aging dog with tips and tricks that you can start using today to improve your pup’s quality of life.
The Most Common Issues With Dog Bones
Let’s get the unpleasantness out of the way. As much as we want to believe that our dogs will be young and healthy forever, that just isn’t the case. That’s part of what makes loving a dog both rewarding and heartbreaking… it forces you to really have to live in the moment and appreciate the now.
When it comes to dog bones, there are a few common issues that you might run into during the life of your pet. Arthritis is one of many common dog bone issues, and having an overall understanding of your pup’s possible diagnoses will help you be able to determine whether your dog is experiencing arthritis or another disease.
Recognizing them can also help you catch them sooner and potentially minimize the damage they can do. They can happen due to infection, trauma, nutrition, or they can be born with them.
Developmental Issues With Dog Bones
When it comes to developmental issues, they’re usually related to genetics. Most dogs that deal with them are just born that way, which may or may not be obvious right away.
Purebred dogs tend to deal with them more than mixed breeds, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen in a mixed breed. If you have a purebred dog with those cute, short legs (Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, Bulldogs, etc.), keep an eye out for angular limb deformities.
Giant breed dogs (Great Danes) may be predisposed to hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Make sure you research what, if any, developmental or genetic conditions may come with your breed.
Even though they’re on the inside of the body, dog bones can also get infected. The most common type of bone problem in dogs is osteomyelitis (basically, bone irritation).
Hypertrophic osteopathy is another potential issue, although this usually happens after a bigger issue (like a tumor or mass). Infectious bone issues are less likely to occur than other problems, but you should still keep an eye out.
The diet you feed your dog can be make or break for a lot of different reasons. A good diet doesn’t have to be expensive to be well balanced.
However, a diet that isn’t well balanced can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can really mess with your dog’s bones. Not having enough calcium, vitamin D, or phosphorus in the diet can weaken their bones, as can metabolic problems (like thyroid issues) that throw their system out of whack.
When we talk about arthritis in dogs, we’re mostly talking about a specific kind known as osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). While many people think arthritis is a condition that happens to the bones, it is actually an issue with the joints like knees, hips, and lower back and the cartilage and connective tissue around them.
When your pup has healthy joints, there is plenty of cartilage to cushion them. The cartilage also supports the joint so that it can move through its entire, normal range of motion. Think of how bouncy your pup is when they’re younger… they can run around all day long and not so much as limp the next day.
Unfortunately, as they age (and yes, this happens to humans, too!), that cartilage starts to degrade naturally. The process can go even quicker if your dog gets injured or suffers from a certain disease, and it can be hard to watch.
The good news is, in general, arthritis doesn’t have to impact your pet’s lifespan.
Are There Any Risk Factors For Arthritis In Dogs?
Every dog is at risk for developing arthritis, especially the older they get. However, there are also a few different risk factors that can make arthritis more likely to happen at some point. The good news is, knowing what they are can also help you be able to slow down how quickly your precious baby develops issues:
- Being a larger breed (or giant breed) dog, like German Shepherds, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers
- A previous diagnosis of either elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia
- Being overweight or obese
- Having developed one or more of the infections that can impact joints (Lyme Disease, etc.)
- Diseases such as Cushing’s disease, anemia, diabetes, or bone cancer
- Poor nutrition and nutritional deficiencies
- Leading a more athletic than normal lifestyle (dogs that regularly practice and compete in agility, diving, and flyball are often susceptible)
- Genetic predispositions
- Being allowed to grow too quickly as puppies, leading to body “confirmation” issues
- Injuries to the bone, joint, or cartilage (fractures, ACL tears, etc.)
What Should I Be Looking For That Could Indicate Arthritis In Dogs?
While arthritis in dogs can be difficult (if not impossible) to detect by the average pet owner in its early stages, keeping an eye out for the following symptoms can be a little clue.
Keep in mind that dogs have learned through evolution to hide any signs of discomfort or pain because it helped to keep them safe from predators. You’ll have to pay close attention to your dog to see the symptoms of arthritis at first, but that just gives you more reason to spend time with them!
- Lethargy (excessive sleepiness)
- Pain when you pet or touch them
- Difficulty with mobility, such as getting up stairs or changing position
- Stiffness, lameness, or limping
- Less excited about playing, running, going on walks, or jumping
- Having accidents around the house, or trouble squatting to urinate or have a bowel movement
- Losing muscle mass, especially around the back legs or spine
- Weight gain
- Behavioral changes, like getting “snappy”
If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
What If My Dog’s Pain Is in Its Hip?
While the above symptoms are a good way to tell whether your dog is experiencing arthritis, a few more symptoms will appear specifically relating to hip pain.
Knowing your dog is essential, as you can catch those subtle changes in demeanor and movement that people who don’t know your dog may miss. However, regular vet visits (even when there are no obvious problems) really are key to catching issues before they can get out of control.
Here are just a few of the more common signs to look out for:
- More limited range of motion
- Muscle atrophy in the hind legs, making your dog’s rear end look “skinnier”
- Loss of balance or wobbling
- “Bunny hopping,” which is moving both hind legs together at the same time
While this isn’t a complete list and every dog shows their pain differently, it’s a good place to start. If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or how much they seem to be enjoying life, take a trip to your veterinarian. They can help you diagnose your pet’s health issues and give you a solid guide to how to treat them. This may include physical rehabilitation like physical therapy, medications, or natural support like supplements.
X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI are some of the most common ways that dog hip pain is diagnosed and staged, and any prescription medications that your dog may need should always come from your vet as well.
How Can I Tell the Difference Between Dysplasia and Arthritis?
Hip dysplasia is actually a form of arthritis. With hip dysplasia, arthritis is occurring specifically in the ball and socket joint of the hips.
In many cases, hip dysplasia occurs in large breed dogs like Great Danes and Saint Bernards. Some dogs are more genetically prone to developing the condition, including German Shepherd Dogs and Labrador Retrievers.
Hip dysplasia is normally caused by a general laxity (looseness) in that joint, which can cause too much movement. This is what leads to eventual arthritis and pain. This is not a reversible condition; in the best-case scenarios, it can only be slowed down and kept at bay.
What Can Hip Dysplasia Lead To?
Any condition that our furry friends develop can be incredibly scary. After all, they very quickly become important members of the family, and you likely can’t even imagine what life would look like without them in it. If your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, or if you have adopted a breed known to have issues, you’re probably wondering what to expect.
Veterinarians are your number one source of information, and you should schedule an appointment if you’re concerned that you may be dealing with dog hip pain of any variety.
Management of dog hip pain may include several options, depending on your vet’s diagnosis and how advanced the condition is. Hydrotherapy has proven to be very useful, as it is easy on the joints while still allowing your dog to get its necessary exercise. Physiotherapy has also been used, as have more alternative forms of management like acupuncture.
For more advanced conditions, your vet may recommend surgery. There are normally three different surgeries to help manage dog hip pain: pelvic osteotomies (where the ball and socket joint are surgically placed in their correct positions), femoral head ostectomy (replacing the ball and socket joint entirely), and even total hip replacement.
How Can I Prevent Arthritis In Dogs?
Unfortunately, there really isn’t a way to “prevent” your dog from developing arthritis… if you’re lucky enough to have your dog live to a ripe old age, they’ll likely deal with at least a mild form of it. But, instead of looking at it as a bad thing, consider how blessed you’ve been to continue to have your sweet pup around into their senior years!
Instead of looking at it like prevention, look at it like finding ways to minimize the severity of arthritis that can develop.
It really starts, like all other health conditions in dogs do, by making sure to take your pup to regular wellness exams at your veterinarian. There are so many benefits to following through with routine vet care, including helping to keep your pet at a healthy weight and catching problems (not only arthritis in dogs but also colitis, allergies, and even behavioral problems) before they have a chance to really take hold.
Your vet can also make sure that you are feeding your dog the right food for their specific needs. Because nutritional deficiencies are one of the potential triggers of worsening arthritis, their guidance is so essential toward making sure that you’re getting it right. Lastly, you can support them with an inflammation-fighting supplement, like Hip & Joint, to ensure that inflammation doesn’t take hold in your pup as they continue to age.
Can Arthritis in Dogs Be Treated?
Arthritis in dogs is progressive, meaning that it continues to get worse. There also isn’t a cure for it, which is why it is so important to pay attention to your pup and do as much prevention as possible.
If and when your furry family member starts to show signs of arthritis, it really comes down to minimizing the symptoms instead of “curing” them. That means a trip to the vet, possible massage or acupuncture treatments, and potential prescription medications like gabapentin and rimadyl to help treat the pain and inflammation while improving their quality of life. That comes with its own trade-offs, though, as long-term use of certain medications can lead to other issues like GI troubles and a change in appetite.
Below, we’ve outlined some ways to minimize the severity of your dog’s arthritis.
Exercise Is Key
Keeping your dog active is great for both of you. It’s one of the easiest ways to prevent obesity in your pup, which can also put more pressure on their bones and joints. Plus, just like when we work out, when our dogs “work out,” they also gain muscle.
The more muscle they have, the better the rest of their system is supported and protected. However, too much exercise can actually do the opposite, especially if your dog is still growing. Walks are really the best exercise because they can be taken at any distance or speed you and your dog need.
This should also be partnered with regular rest and relaxation time, preferably on a supportive, orthopedic dog bed that will be gentle on all of your dog’s joints (not just the hips).
Learning to read your dog and not pushing him or her when they’re tired gives them the time to rest and recuperate that they need to not put too much stress on their bones, whether they are old, young, or somewhere in the middle.
Annual Wellness Visits Are Essential
A lot of people think that vet visits are just for when your dog isn’t feeling well. Why would you want to spend the money on a healthy dog, right? As we’ve mentioned above, this mindset is totally wrong.
Making sure to follow up with annual wellness visits (twice annually if you have a senior dog) not only keeps them healthy by guaranteeing they are fully protected with the recommended vaccines, it also helps catch small issues before they become bigger. The relationship between you, your dog, and your vet is one that will last your pet’s entire lifetime, so make sure that it’s a good one.
Make Changes Around the House
You can also focus on making changes around your house to help make your arthritic dog as comfortable as possible. Having orthopedic, comfortable dog beds, using plenty of skid-proof rugs and carpets over hardwood floors around the house, raising the height of your dog’s food and water bowls (elbow height is recommended), and finding ramps that can help your dog get onto and off of the furniture can all make a serious difference in their comfort level, especially as they age.
Focus on a Supportive, Well-Balanced Diet
Focusing on your dog’s nutrition, especially in regard to helping your dog maintain a healthy weight, can take excess pressure off the joints all over the body. Heavier dogs tend to have more problems with arthritis overall, and overweight dogs also have other health conditions that can affect both their quality and the length of their life.
Portion control is important, which also means not feeding him or her table scraps or excess amounts of treats. Fresh fruits and vegetables make great, healthy treats, as long as they are not on the list of potentially dangerous foods (namely grapes, onions, and citrus fruits). Feeding your dog on a schedule can also help keep their nutrition on track.
There are also specifically formulated foods to help large breed dogs grow at a controlled pace. In some cases, quick or excessive growth can lead to all kinds of skeletal issues, including eventual hip dysplasia. Starting these formulas as puppies is a great place to start, as it can help reduce the risk of problems developing later on in life.
Ask your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific nutritional needs.
Can Dog Supplements Help?
There are many ways that dog supplements can help positively impact your dog’s health. Let’s run through some of the reasons that adding a supplement to your dog’s daily routine can prove to be extremely beneficial.
Dog supplements help your dog age happily and healthily. Yes, that’s what we’re talking about when we say, “supplements to help your dog feel like a pup again!”
You can take certain steps to help give your dog the best chance at living a long, healthy life. Providing them with the correct supplements falls under that category.
Your dog’s health requirements will change as they age. Therefore, their supplements should change with them. You can choose supplements that will support your dog’s needs during their puppy days -- such as a Gut Health or Allergy formula.
You can also choose supplements that support your dog’s needs during their older age. Older dogs could benefit from supplements that offer body restoration, decreased inflammation (which all of the WINPRO supplements provide!), and increased energy levels. Our Hip & Joint supplement is one of the most commonly used WINPRO supplements for senior dogs.
Supplements help minimize the effects of your dog aging, and that’s why you should get them started on supplements when they are still a puppy. So your dog gets the support they need throughout their entire lifetime. Supplements can be taken preventatively, so giving your dog WINPRO Hip & Joint before they become a senior dog can help tackle inflammation before it really takes root.
Hip and Joint Supplements
Supplementation, especially the type meant to help protect the health of both dog bones and joints, is also recommended. When the joints start to go, your once spry dog may start to slow down and even lose interest in chasing around the ball or going for longer walks.
While this is a normal part of life, keeping up with your pet’s health and wellness can slow down how quickly that happens.
At WINPRO, we’re passionate about creating supplements that help your dog live comfortably. That’s why we’re excited to share with you some information about our WINPRO Hip & Joint supplement.
The supplement includes crucial ingredients designed to support normal canine joint function. The goal is to help your dog maintain mobility, especially when experiencing increased activity or stress.
We developed our Hip & Joint supplement to help dogs maintain normal joint function, flexibility, and lateral motion. That means that even if your dog suffers from stiffness, soreness, or another hip and joint ailment, we’re giving them what they need to help reduce that inflammation and, therefore, the pain and other negative symptoms that come with it.
Give your dog support for their training and exercise with the WINPRO Recovery supplements. If your dog has completed a strenuous activity, including competition, play, or work, this can help them “bounce back.” It’s ideal for dogs of all ages, too!
If you have an anxious dog, WINPRO's Calming supplements help. This product reduces your dog's anxiety, improves mental calmness, and helps your dog maintain mental alertness, which is a big win!
What About Anti-Inflammatories?
WINPRO promotes a dog free of inflammation. Your pup will be able to do all of the things that they love to do, whether that be playing fetch or going on walks. It can help decrease inflammation and works to reduce it as time goes on.
While humans typically use Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Aspirin, and ibuprofen, these medications can have significant side effects for dogs' kidneys and liver, as mentioned above. Thankfully, blood proteins are a safe and all-natural option in place of these harsher medicines.
What Are Blood Proteins?
WINPRO is the only company that offers a line of animal blood protein supplements explicitly crafted for dogs.
Dogs can benefit tremendously from blood proteins because they deal with tons of stressors—both internal, in their body, and external, in their environments.
Think of it this way: blood proteins are the enemy of inflammation. These products work to effectively and naturally tackle inflammation at its core. The result? Your dog is living a healthier, happier life with WINPRO Pet by their side.
The History of Blood Proteins
Let’s talk a little about the history of using blood proteins. It all started several decades back, during the 1980s. One of the first trials of this in animals occurred at Iowa State University. This research was centered around using spray-dried blood plasma while weaning baby piglets.
The product ended up being so successful that it was named one of the Top Ag Innovations in the past 100 years. Later on, that work was expanded to other species, including aquatic animals, dairy and beef calves, goats, lambs, and poultry.
Fast forward to 2013. Products that contained animal blood proteins were actually launched in the U.S. market for performance horses. The use of blood proteins in performance horses proved incredibly effective. In fact, leading riders and trainers even started to refer to this as “a performance revolution.”
Now, WINPRO harnesses the power of blood proteins to reduce inflammation in your dog and get them back to doing what they love. We want your dog to get back to going on walks, playing, or doing what they love as soon as they can.
The WINPRO Difference
You might be wondering how WINPRO’s products are unique. We’re happy to tell you more! Our supplements are proven to work on a biological level to reduce the impact of inflammation effectively. Therefore, WINPRO is not a source of calories or fat--and you should never confuse your WINPRO products for simple dog treats or food.
You can pick and choose the perfect WINPRO supplement for your pet to reduce inflammation--or you can use a combination of our lineup. They’re safe to use together and all-natural.
You can also use WINPRO supplements with your dog’s other supplements or medications. Of course, if you have questions, you can always reach out to your vet or contact us at email@example.com.
You should feed your pet WINPRO in the morning because this allows their blood proteins to work throughout the day. This is when your pet is most active--and when they need the support the most!
While arthritis in dogs can’t be prevented, it can be slowed down when you know the right things to focus on.
All of us at WINPRO Pet want to help you keep your dog happy, comfortable, and around as long as they can be. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight, feeding them the right food, and watching for symptoms of pain and stiffness can help you help them as best as any of us can. They all deserve the best!
Bone Disorders in Dogs - Dog Owners | Merck
Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) - Dog Owners | Merck
Unraveling the mysteries of dog evolution | BMC Biology
Hip Dysplasia in Dogs - Musculoskeletal System | Merck
Hip Dysplasia In Dogs: Prevention, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | American Kennel Club
Get Healthy, Get a Dog: The health benefits of canine companionship | Harvard Health
Arthritis in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital
People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets | ASPCA
Nutritional Requirements and Related Diseases of Small Animals - Management and Nutrition | Merck
Dietary Supplements for Pets: Harmful or Helpful? – Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School | Tufts