How to Prevent Arthritis in Dogs
How to prevent arthritis in dogs
How do we protect our best mates from this horrible disease? Well, there are many, many things that we can do. Let's start right at the beginning.
If you're getting a puppy, choose the right breeder
Choose the right breeder. Let's make sure that we get a pup from a good breeder, and we've had their parent's background checks. They've got good hips and they've got good elbows. So, making sure that you follow canine health schemes and choose a puppy appropriately is a really good starting point.
Take special care in the early months
Then we need to look at their early months, early weeks. We need to make sure that they're not putting those joints through forces that we don't want them to. So, dogs can exercise quite well, but we don't like sharp turns and impact forces. Don't throw balls for young dogs. Don't allow them to run up and down the stairs crazy. Don't let them jump in out of the car, like a mad thing. Let them grow up and grow up with healthy joints.
Watch their weight
Another way to make sure they grew up with healthy joints, is to make sure they don't carry too much weight. We know that carrying too much weight as a young dog, is going to have a negative impact on them for the rest of their lives. And it really, really can bring on the signs of arthritis, and progress it quickly. And even worse than that, the fat that they carry, is like petrol on an inflammatory fire. So if they carry fat, it's going to make that pain worse too. So weight control is key.
Keep an eye out for early signs and act quickly
Another way that we can prevent arthritis is to look out for signs of discomfort, such as behavior change, capability change, posture change and gait change. That's limping, moving differently, behaving differently. If we see that, get it checked out, so that if that dog has got a problem within the joints, we start attending to it early.
That's when your supplements will work, that's when diet change will work, that's when your lifestyle modification will work, waiting until they really, really show you severe signs of pain, too late. So yes, we can prevent arthritis. We can't stop it completely, but we can certainly have an impact on it.
For additional information about canine arthritis, check out Dr. Capon's work at Canine Arthritis Management.