Joint discomfort is one of the most common reasons dogs are taken to the vet. Inflammation is the source of the pain. When left untreated, it can progress and cause damage to the cartilage surfaces lining the joint and affect normal range of motion.
Signs of joint discomfort include*:
- Difficulty climbing stairs
- Difficulty jumping on or off beds, couches, etc.
- Not wanting to go for a walk or play
- Loss of appetite
- Behavior changes like aggression, avoiding social time with people or other pets in the home
*If any of these signs are present, it is important for your dog to be examined by a veterinarian. Some of these symptoms are present in other ailments like infections, dehydration, organ failure, tendon or ligament damage, and more.
A proactive approach to joint care can often help dogs enjoy many years free from discomfort and inflammation. The key is to begin early – as early as puppyhood.
- Provide a high quality, small fish sourced omega-3 fatty acid supplement made especially for pets. Omega-3s lubricate joints and can reduce inflammation. Look for a product that needs to be refrigerated, as that indicates no preservatives have been added.
- Offer a supplement containing DMG (dimethylglycine), MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) and chondroitin
- Use a harness for walks – this helps keep body weight evenly distributed
- Provide pet stairs/ramps for getting on and off of beds. Over time, repeated impact can impair joints
- Keep your dog’s weight in check. Obesity can put extra strain on the joints
An Integrative Approach to Treatment
If your dog is already experiencing joint issues, there are a variety of ways to address the discomfort and inflammation. While NSAIDs can help mask the pain and reduce inflammation, often times the side effects can be harmful. There are other approaches to consider instead of or in addition to prescription medications that work very well to reduce both pain and inflammation, including:
- Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan injections that benefit joint health and rebuild cartilage
- Acupuncture – promotes the release of the body’s own pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory hormones
- Cold laser therapy – safely and painlessly promotes tissue repair, blood flow, oxygen and nutrient delivery, and the removal of metabolic waste
- Physical therapy using an underwater treadmill and complemented with massage
- Offering Treatibles daily (or multiple times per day). The phytocannabinoid rich oils are effective in reducing both pain and inflammation. Treatibles helps bring calm and balance to the whole dog.