How to Prevent Joint Problems in Dogs and Cats

reducing joint problems

We all love our pets and as they reach their senior years, we want to make their lives as happy and comfortable as possible. Joint problems in dogs and cats can be a common issue as they start to age. It’s a particularly big problem in larger breed dogs. However, there are steps you can take early on in your pet’s life that will help to reduce joint problems later.

Prevent Joint Injury

Injuries that your pet sustains in their younger years can have an impact on their joint health later in life.

Joint injuries can occur as a result of over-exercising, jumping from heights, and running too fast when a puppy or kitten’s bones are not yet mature enough.

This means that it is important that you keep a careful eye on your pet’s exercise habits and the way they move around, especially in the first few months of life.

If you suspect an injury, treating it as soon as possible will minimise associated problems further down the line. Any lameness or stiffness should be checked out by a vet, as it might be the result of an injury.

Feed Them Appropriate Foods

Larger breeds tend to grow very quickly when they are young. This can put a lot of pressure on their young joints.

While you cannot prevent this fast growth, you can alleviate the stress it may cause their joints. Do this by giving them the correct food for their breed and age.

Brands like Royal Canin create diets specifically tailored to different breeds of dogs and cats, using ingredients scientifically shown to be optimal for their health.

You can also supplement your puppy’s diet with joint support tablets like Synoquin Growth. This supplement is specially designed to support large breed pups over the age of three months that are prone to developmental joint damage. Always speak to your vet before introducing supplements to your pet’s diet.

Keep Your Pet’s Weight in Check

Be careful not to overfeed your dog or cat; being overweight increases the pressure on their joints even further. This increased load on the joints will exacerbate any existing issues.

Obesity may also cause ongoing inflammation. This may lead to problems such as osteoarthritis.

Add Supplements to Your Pet’s Diet

Some vets recommend introducing joint supplements for dogs or cats as a preventative measure. Using them from an early age can help support cartilage as well as reduce inflammation, maintaining healthy joints.

Joint supplements for dogs and cats contain active ingredients that can support joint health in different ways.

Glucosamine-based supplements help to maintain cartilage. It acts a bit like a building block for the body and can help ensure smooth movement between joints. Similarly, chondroitin can help slow the loss of cartilage.

Green Lipped Mussel is an extract containing a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. Supplements containing this ingredient include the YuMove Joint Care Daily Bites.

Always speak to your vet before introducing supplements to your pet’s diet.

Exercise Your Pet the Right Way

Just as overuse of joints can lead to joint problems for your pets, under-use can also have a damaging effect. Regular gentle exercise will help to keep joints naturally lubricated. It will also prevent excess weight gain that could put pressure on your pet’s joints.

It’s important for pets to engage in the right kind and amount of exercise, however. Too much running on hard surfaces for example can impact bone growth.

For some breeds of dog, swimming can be a great form of exercise. The main benefit of swimming is that it is non-weight bearing, so does not put as much stress on the joints. However, swimming is not suitable for all breeds.

Consistent, low-level exercise is the key. Have a chat with your vet about what the best exercise regime would be for your pet.

Unfortunately, joint problems are common for pets as they get older, and can cause dogs and cats significant discomfort. However, taking these preventative steps early on in your pet’s life can help avoid these issues, and help your cat or dog to enjoy their senior years comfortably.