With this sudden snap into really cold weather and now the rain with it too, many pet owners are noticing the signs of stiffness and joint pain in their older dogs.
While nobody likes to accept the fact that they’re pet is getting on in years, there is much that we can do to help the senior pet live their later lives well. Have you noticed your dog struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Does it take a bit of time before they are moving around more freely? Do you need to help your dog into the car now when they used to leap in unaided? These are all signs that your dog or cat is feeling their age and suffering from some joint pain.
One thing you can easily do, is feed your pet well. Feed your pet food that will nourish and care for their joints and support them as they age.
Here are a few of my tips to help your pet live a young life.
- Senior pets need good quality protein and enough of it. This means meat that is simply cooked or fresh and raw. Meat is easily digested by our pet carnivores and is needed to support muscle strength and metabolic functions. Keep in mind that the protein in dry food has been rendered and extruded which makes it harder to digest, promoting inflammation.
- Feed a fish oil supplement. Increasing the Omega 3 fatty acid balance in the diet will naturally reduce joint inflammation and will also support their skin and coat, brain, kidneys, and eyes. PAW Fish Oil is a measured dose for dogs and easy to feed. Feeding canned oily fish such as sardines or mackeral can also help.
- Senior dogs need increased levels of B vitamins in their diet. This can be achieved by feeding fresh leafy green vegetables, or by adding Wellbeing Essentials Complete22 to their diet. Feed a variety of different vegetables and some fruits and berries to offer the most micronutrients and vitamins.
- Feed healthy fats and oils in addition to fish oil. Olive oil, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil and the fats found in full fat yoghurt, kefir and cottage cheese or ricotta are all good fats to feed to an older dog. Not all at once and not a huge amount, but a little bit, in rotation will help your dog get the energy they need and you will notice a softer coat and healthier skin in return.
- Feeding anti-inflammatory foods that are also joint health supplements can also battle arthritis. Turmeric, and green lipped mussels can naturally reduce the pain from arthritis.
- To continue to support the less affected joints, feed animal cartilage with has the cartilage building blocks glucosamine and chondroitin in them. Chicken frames, beef trachea, duck feet – these are all foods with a high level of cartilage in them.
- Regularly feed a joint supplement that reduces joint pain. The best available are Antinol Rapid (for cats and dogs), Epiitalis Forte Gel & 4Cyte Granules for dogs.
Some other simple measures you can offer your senior pal
- Keep your dog at a lean body weight. Arthritis pain comes from the strain of carrying weight through damaged and inflamed joints. If you reduce the weight, you reduce the pain, it’s as simple as that. Lean dogs also have less inflammation in their bodies than obese dogs so suffer from arthritis to a lesser degree. LEan dogs live longer!
- Foot care. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed back. With less exercise, senior dogs’ nails can grow quite quickly and long nails make it harder to walk. Cut them back. Likewise keep the hair trimmed around thier feet to better allow them to grip the floor. Regular foot maintenance will help your dog stay on their feet (mani/pedi time!).
- Give your dog a firm but padded bed. One that is not too difficult to get up and out of, but one that gives their aching joints some padding and support. Snooza have great beds but you can update your dog’s bedroom furniture just about anywhere.
- Gentle regular exercise will keep the joints moving and the muscles strong. Keep their mobility going by keeping them moving. Don’t overdo it, you are not trying to tire your dog out just keep them interested in their surroundings and having a gentle stroll around the block each day.
If you would like some tailored advice on how to feed your pet well, or would like a review of the joint supplements your pet should be taking now, book in for an appointment with any of our lovely vets at Bentons Road Vet Clinic. Golden Oldies is where we excel! Let’s keep your pet feeling their best and support them into their senior years.