Welcome back to the Sun Valley Animal Center blog. Like their pet parents, dogs are susceptible to arthritis and other joint issues as they age. Canine arthritis is typically age-related but can also be caused by an injury, overuse, weight gain and obesity, and genetics. Typically, arthritis and joint problems in dogs affects the joints in the hips and extremities, which can be painful for your pup while limiting their mobility. While there are many medications that can help manage your dog’s arthritis, as well as surgical procedures that address severe cases of canine arthritis, there are preventative measures pet parents can take to not only reduce their pet’s need for surgery, but which can also improve their overall quality of life. As nationally-renowned pet surgery specialists located in Ketchum, Idaho, we offer surgical solutions to correct your pet’s joint problems. However, we understand that pet parents often look to surgery as a last resort. Therefore, in part one of a short blog series, we will offer advice for protecting the health of your dog’s joints so they can live healthier, happier, pain-free lives.

Maintain a Healthy, Nutritious Diet

Good joint health starts with your dog’s diet. One of the most common causes of joint-related issues in dogs is weight gain and canine obesity. When dogs are overweight, the extra weight they carry places additional stress on their spine, joints, and supportive tissues. Plus, overweight dogs have a harder time getting around, which can make it challenging for them to lose weight. Feed your dog healthy food that is free of added sugar and fillers. Try adding in some fresh, low-calorie foods to their diet like carrots, blueberries, cantaloupe, and green beans. You can even replace their normal boxed treats with these fresh fruits and veggies. These treats not only support a healthy diet, but also support healthy joints.

Exercise Them Regularly

Dogs of all ages need exercise but once they reach a certain age, some exercises can do more harm than good. While your puppy may race up and down the stairs and jump with ease onto your bed, middle-aged and senior dogs may find these activities too hard on their joints. Exercises like walking, swimming, and playing with other dogs can help manage your dog’s joint health.

Consider Alternative Therapies

There are many alternative therapies available to dogs that can help manage their joint health. Canine sports medicine, acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and laser therapy offer effective solutions for preventing and treating joint issues. These are effective treatments for dogs in all stages of life.

Schedule Regular Vet Exams

Scheduling regular pet exams for your dog gives your veterinarian the opportunity to examine and assess your dog’s joint health, regardless of their age. Plus, your vet can recommend any nutritional supplements, dietary needs, and alternative therapies that can prevent and manage the onset of arthritis and other joint problems common among dogs.

These are just a few of the ways you can prevent your furry friend from developing joint problems. If your dog is in pain and you’ve exhausted your options for managing their joint discomfort, call Sun Valley Animal Center to schedule a consultation to see if your dog is a candidate for pet surgery.