A is for Alleviate: Keeping seasonal changes in mind is vital. Alleviate this “Autumn Effect” by making sure your dog is able to avoid draughty areas and gets plenty of low-impact exercise to keep muscles strong and joints supported as winter comes to call. Limit a lot of running and jumping as it puts further strain on joints and can be painful if osteoarthritis is present. Swimming, underwater treadmills and low-impact games that promote agile movements are ideal. Choosing a pet food that’s specially formulated to support joint health through expert nutrition can also help alleviate symptoms by providing joints with the nutrients they need to stay strong.
B is for Bedding: Where your dog sleeps is perhaps more important than you think; many dogs prefer to rotate sleeping locations for daytime or night-time slumber, so having several warm, draught-free slumber zones will help your dog avoid cold hard floors or other areas that can cause joints to become stiff and sore. Options are virtually endless, so pick what works best for your dog and budget – and décor! Memory foam beds or those with warmth-retaining materials such as ceramic-infused fabrics are especially great for dogs with joint issues. Just be sure never to leave your dog unattended with an electric-heated bed, since injuries such as burns can result.
C is for Condition: Keeping your dog in good physical condition is key to avoiding further unnecessary strain and pressure on joints. Since added body weight puts added pressure on already-painful joints, keeping excess weight off is key. Weight loss in dogs with activity limitations is tough, which is where the right food comes in – lower calorie content, fat burning ingredients, and sparing lean body mass such as muscles are important features to look for. Low-impact exercise, as mentioned before, is important for keeping ligaments and muscles toned, limber and better able to support joints.
Of course, there are plenty of other things you can do to keep your dog’s joints ache-free, but these ABCs should be a good place to start. Seeing your vet regularly to keep on top of any joint and mobility changes, along with stretching exercises (get the low-down from your vet) and feeding the right Hill’s dog food to support healthy joints and cartilage are also key to success. Good luck with keeping autumn out of your dog’s joints this season!