You love your big best friend. And you want to give them the best.
Unfortunately, caring for big dogs — making sure they not only live long but enjoy life to the fullest — can be challenging.
Because while 50% of Americans 65 or older experience pain from arthritis and other joint ailments, a full 80% of older dogs suffer … often in silence.
The most common and serious conditions include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Cushing's Syndrome
- Cruciate Disease
- Wobbler’s Disease
Just like people, every dog responds to discomfort differently. Some hide their pain instinctively, even beneath the daily strain of severe conditions. Other dogs cry or limp when X-rays or physical exams reveal only mild maladies.
Unlike people, your furry family members can’t tell you what’s wrong. At least, not in so many words.
Many of us spoil our buddies — with special treats, holiday gifts, and even providing for our dogs in our wills. Still, all those non-health-related expenses pale in comparison to vet visits, surgeries, and medication. In 2017 alone, Americans will spend an estimated $16.62 billion on vet care and $14.93 billion on medical supplies and over-the-counter medicine.
And the bigger the dog, the bigger the bill.
Thankfully, caring for larger dogs comes down to two things...
First, recognizing the signs of big-dog joint pain by putting yourself in their paws:
- Getting up slowly or not at all: “I’m in too much pain to greet you at the front door or even to jump up for treats.”
- Stiffness and staggered movement: “I don’t enjoy exploring new sights and scents like I used to.”
- Walking with particular care: “It hurts too much to go on long walks and play; sometimes I’d rather stay home.”
- Sleeping longer than usual: “I get tired so much easier and wish I didn’t have to rest as often as I do.”
- Swollen or tender joints: “I'm so sore it makes me grouchy and sometimes I growl if you touch the parts that hurt.”
Once you know what to look out for …
Second, taking the right steps to prevent those symptoms from worsening. At a big-picture level (pun intended), prevention takes three forms.
Start off on the right paw by feeding large breed puppies the right food to ease their rapid growth (ask your vet about options). Always monitor an adult dog’s food intake and weight. And add joint-supporting supplements to slow arthritis progression.
Keep arthritic dogs from remaining sedentary and putting on excess weight. Take 10-15 minute walks 5 days a week to lubricate stiffening joints. Limit high-impact activities, instead try swimming or other low-impact play times.
The most impactful one-time purchase you can make that will have an ongoing, permanent, and positive impact on a big dog’s quality of life is their bed. A dog bed with at least two layers of foam — produced by a CertiPUR-US® certified manufacturer — is essential to keeping a large dog’s joints elevated off hard surfaces.
For a comprehensive list of the symptoms, treatments, and veterinarian recommendations, grab...