How to Maintain Joint Mobility in Aging Pets

Dr. Danielle Bernal

By Dr. Danielle Bernal
10/30/2017

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As the days start to get colder many pet owners begin to notice that their pet shows signs of slowing down or experience increased difficulty moving around as freely as they would normally do.  Whilst these joint and mobility issues can affect dogs of any age and size the most prevalent groups include those who are older pets, overweight or obese or those from larger breeds. 

There are many conditions that can present as mobility challenges and left untreated these conditions often exacerbate over time leading to long-term mobility and general health issues that can significantly impact a pet’s quality of life.   Affecting 1 in 5 dogs the most common cause of a mobility issue is osteoarthritis which may affect more than one joint and is highly predisposed in a joint that has been impacted by age, trauma or genetics.

What are the signs to watch if you think your pet has a joint or mobility issue?

 

•   Reluctance to stand

•   Difficulty walking and climbing stairs

•   Lameness/limping

•   Stiffness

•   Sudden weight gain

•   Moving slower/low activity level

•   Cautious when walking

•   Change in behavior/hesitant to play

Treating and supporting pets with joint and mobility issues is exceptionally important. Conditions like osteoarthritis are chronic diseases that become progressive due to its nature of causing degenerative changes to the structure and function of the cartilage within the joint. 

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So what should a pet owner do if they are starting to see these signs in their pet?

There are several treatment options available that will vary dependent upon the cause and severity of a dog’s condition as well as most importantly the recommendation from their veterinarian.  They treatment choices include pain relief and anti-inflammatories to help them feel more comfortable, nutraceuticals to help support cartilage health as well as minimize further wear and tear and then lastly nutritional support to promote overall well-being and a healthy body condition to support muscle and joint health.

The role of nutrition

Nutrition is essential to support a pet’s lean body mass and promote joint health so that they can be in the best shape possible to enjoy an active and happy life.  Given mobility issues are caused by such a wide array of conditions, the most important factors to consider when selecting a brand are the following three focuses:

  1. Keeping them lean with strong muscle and a healthy weight
  2. Increased levels of omega 3 fatty acids
  3. Adding glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate

A Feeding Strategy that Keeps Pets Lean

Pets that are overweight and obese are significantly more predisposed to suffer osteoarthritis. Maintaining a healthy body weight as well as strong lean muscles is one of the best ways to help support joints and mobility as well as delay the onset of osteoarthritis in some pets.   To achieve this healthy body condition you want to select a diet based on higher meat content to build muscles.  Muscles help protect joints and when combined with lower in carbohydrates these recipes are proven to build the right body condition that will increase the muscle in pets already suffering mobility concerns as well as help prevent the onset of any issues in those pets who are at higher risk. 

Increased Levels of Omega Fatty Acids

Omega fatty acids play an important role in reducing the presence and severity of inflammation that is associated with joint swelling and pain which intern lead to mobility issues. Selecting a diet rich in fish oils and flaxseed delivers a recipe that naturally contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, making it an ideal choice for pets with joint concerns.

Adding Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin Sulfate

Nutrients such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate occur naturally in the body and are the building blocks of healthy cartilage. When contained in a dog’s diet, they can help support healthy joints by constantly replenishing the nutritional reservoir for normal cartilage maintenance

About This Page

Pet Type:

Cat Dog

Topic:

Health Nutrition

Date:

10/30/2017

Author:

Dr. Danielle Bernal
Dr. Danielle Bernal

Dr. Bernal has over a decade of experience in veterinary medicine, specializing in animal nutrition. In her role as on-staff veterinarian with Wellness Pet Food, she educates pet parents on the importance of natural ingredients like wholesome meats and nutrient-rich superfoods. She passionately believes that proper nutrition helps pets lead happier, healthier lives. Dr. Bernal has been featured in radio, TV and print stories in numerous countries.

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