Top tips to help your pet’s joint health

Maintaining excellent joint health for your pet is essential to ensure they lead a good quality of life.

There are a number of reasons why your pet might need help with their joint health, which includes, old age, being overweight, as well as trauma or injury. Joint problems tend to occur more often as your pet ages, with dogs being more susceptible. Some large breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds and Rottweilers can be more prone to developing joint issues such as osteoarthritis.

During the colder months, joint problems, like osteoarthritis can appear more pronounced in your pet. It is especially important to support joints in senior pets, as they may feel the cold more. The mobility of your pet’s joints can have a dramatic impact on their quality of life, even affecting their sleep.

Here are some top tips on how to help maintain optimum joint health for your pet:

Weight management

Excess weight can put pressure on your pet’s joints. Aim to keep them at a healthy weight for their breed and age to reduce the risk of developing joint problems. Keeping their weight down will also help to reduce the symptoms caused by joint issues. Many vet practices offer weight management clinics to monitor this and provide advice.

Regular exercise

It is important that your pet gets regular exercise to avoid stiffness and muscle wastage. Exercise can help to strengthen the muscles that support joints. Avoid long or infrequent walks, think little and often to keep the joints mobile.

Diet

Feed your pet a good quality diet. Reassess your pet’s food and consult a veterinary professional who can recommend the best diet for their needs.

Key nutrients

Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Boswellia and Omega 3 can help, Boswellia supports the natural systems that control inflammation. Glucosamine HCL and Chondroitin Sulphate are essential for maintaining healthy joints, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and synovial fluid. Omega 3 can also help.

Bedding

Move your pet’s bed away from cold floors such as tiles. Keep your pet warm and avoid cold and drafty or damp conditions, which can aggravate joints. Add extra bedding for senior pets and shorthaired dogs to help pad around their joints.

Grooming

Help to groom your cat, when their joints become stiff as they may not be able to groom as freely.

Help at home

Helping your pet to move around the home easier could reduce the impact of joint problems. Raising their food bowls so they don’t have to bend down to them or using a ramp to help them get upstairs or into the car would help to make their life easier.

Visit your vet

Regular vet visits ensure your pet’s joints can be monitored frequently and the best up-to-date advice can be given. Ensure you follow your vet’s advice.

Alternative solutions

You could consider alternative methods to help your dog or cat, such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy can be a useful exercise that does not put too much pressure on your pet’s joints. These can help to increase circulation and mobility in your pet.

Joint supplements

There are many supplements on the market to support pet joint health. Some contain similar ingredients, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as Boswellia and Omega 3. One the face of it many joint supplements for pets can appear good value, however many are very low in strength. For this reason, Vets will often recommend products like Nutraquin+, and Vetpro because of their high strength ingredients.

NSAIDS/Drugs

In more painful cases of joint problems, your vet may prescribe special anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help manage their symptoms. These are usually given as an ongoing daily dose or in pulses for a few weeks at a time. Your vet will be able to advise the best course of action for your pet and which would be appropriate for them.