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Protecting Joint Health in Pets

Joint health for dogs and cats

Bones and joints endure constant wear and tear due to activities such as running and jumping. Over time, this can cause problems, making it harder for pets to keep up quite like they used to.

Generally, dogs do not show signs of joint pain and discomfort until an issue has been prevalent for some time. This is especially important to keep in mind with elderly dogs and those with genetic predispositions towards hip and joint problems, such as retrievers, shepherds and most other large breeds. Others, like corgis and dachshunds, are predisposed to spinal issues due to their elongated torsos.

Whether you have a Siamese cat or a Great Dane, pets are tough on their joints. Thanks to their aptitude for running around outside, climbing stairs and leaping across furniture, over time, pets’ joints can become worn and damaged.

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Taking a preventative approach to joint health and providing your dog or cat with a daily pet joint supplement can help to protect their joints in the long term and give them more quality years to run, play and enjoy life!

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Supporting bone and joint health in dogs

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How can nutrition support your pet’s joint health?

What many pet joint supplements fail to mention is that trace minerals are the building blocks of different components of joints, such as the bone, cartilage and collagen. For example:

  • Zinc has been shown to have a stimulatory effect on bone formation and an inhibitory effect on bone resorption, thereby increasing bone mass.
  • Copper is a co-factor of the enzyme lysyl-oxidase, which is necessary for the development and cross-linking of collagen.
  • Iron is a co-factor of the enzymes prolyl- and lysyl-hydroxylases, which are important in the synthesis of collagen.
  • Selenium helps improve long-term joint health and is also thought to help prevent hip dysplasia.
  • Manganese is a co-factor in the formation and elongation of the glycosaminoglycan chain, which forms the basal substance of the cartilage model.

Signs of pet joint problems

  • Inability or reluctance to move, go up or down stairs or get into the car
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased willingness to exercise or play
  • Stiffness and/or limping
  • Swollen joints
  • Excessive licking of painful areas

Supporting your pet’s joint health

Prevent joint disease in your pet by taking these steps:

  1. Prioritize proper nutrition and manage their weight. As per usual, providing the proper nutrition is the number-one act of preventative care you can take for your pet’s joint health! Feeding high-quality foods — in the proper amount — is imperative. Overfeeding, especially over the long term, can lead to joint pain in cats and dogs.  
  2. Exercise appropriately. Keep your pet exercising before joint problems occur! Exercise helps with weight management, and the appropriate amount of exercise increases blood circulation and “pumps” the joints with beneficial nutrients. Don’t overdo it, but definitely make it a daily priority.
  3. Check out your environment. If you can offer choices for your pet that are less concussive to the joints, do it! This could include a ramp to get into the car, stairs to get on the bed, etc. You can also provide them with orthopedic pet beds to increase their daily comfort levels. Minimizing behaviors that create excessive repetitive stress to the joints could prevent future joint problems.