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Many mature and senior dogs slow down as they age, enjoying their walks less and struggling to get up from laying down or going up and down stairs.
Age is not a disease. If you see changes in your dog’s behaviour, such as being less interactive with your family or less interested in walks, talk to your veterinary team. They are your partners in caring for your dog and can help you determine if there is an underlying medical concern.
RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF DISCOMFORT
Dogs have a natural instinct to hide their signs of discomfort. The first signs of discomfort are often subtle behavioural changes and are unlikely to be as clear as your dog limping. The earlier you intervene to help your dog’s mobility and comfort, the more you can do.
Particularly in a chronic or progressive condition, signs of discomfort will be subtle (1,2). You may notice that your dog is:
▸ Eating less
▸ Aggressive, if you handle a sore area
▸ Excessively licking a specific area (often dogs will lick the joint that is causing them physical discomfort)
▸ Reluctant to play
▸ Stiff when getting up
▸ Difficulty lying down
▸ Unwilling to jump into the car or onto the couch or bed
▸ Flinching when handled
▸ Not wanting to be pet or groomed
If your dog struggles with specific movements (for example, climbing up stairs), take a short video with your phone that you can share with your veterinary team. Your dog may not show the same symptoms when in the exam room; videos can help your veterinary team understand the challenges your dog has at home.
HELPING YOUR SENIOR DOG
Being able to keep your senior dog comfortable and mobile can have a dramatic impact on their quality of life. Mobility is one of the critical indicators of overall quality of life. Many natural ingredients can support healthy joints.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to support joint health. Two specific omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help decrease inflammation, reduce discomfort, and increase mobility.
Supplementing with EPA and DHA can help keep your senior dog mobile and comfortable.
The aging process is a result of oxidative stress. Your dog’s body is exposed to oxidative stress every day from sunlight, chemicals and pollutants, anaesthesia, etc. Oxidative stress creates free radicals, which cause damage throughout the body.
A free radical is an unpaired electron in the body. Electrons like to be in pairs; when they are unpaired, they start causing damage throughout the body resulting in visible signs of aging like greying hair. Antioxidants can donate an electron to rebalance these free radicals and stop their destruction, effectively slowing down the aging process.
Supplementing with a robust blend of antioxidants can help slow down the signs of aging and keep your beloved senior dog healthy for longer.
Building Blocks for Joint Health
Your dog’s body is naturally designed to produce the active compounds they need to maintain healthy joints. As they age, their joints may need additional support to maintain enough of these active compounds. You can help keep their joints healthy by providing the necessary building blocks in a supplement. Remember to always look for Veterinary Health Products (VHP) approved by Health Canada that display a Notification Number (NN) on the front panel of the product.
Glucosamine sulphate is an essential building block for healthy cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and synovial fluid (the dense liquid that provides lubrication in the joint).
Supplementing with Glucosamine sulphate can help your dog rebuild their damaged cartilage and support their joint health.
MSM is a powerful antioxidant and a natural source of organically active sulphur. Sulphur in an organic format is absorbed more readily by the body. Sulphur plays a fundamental role in cellular and metabolic functions throughout your dog’s body.
Supplementing with MSM helps to support the normal function of joint tissue and cartilage.
Hydrolyzed collagen type II
Collagen is a naturally produced protein. Around a third of all the proteins in your dog’s body are collagen-related, so your dog requires significant production. As dogs age, their bodies produce less collagen.
Supplementing with collagen helps maintain joint health.
Sodium hyaluronate (Hyaluronic acid)
Sodium hyaluronate, a salt form of Hyaluronic acid (HA), is a clear, viscous liquid naturally produced by your dog’s body. Its primary function is to retain water around the joint to promote normal lubrication and shock absorption. Older dogs have lower concentrations of HA in their joints, which can contribute to a loss of flexibility and decreased range of motion.
Supplementing with HA can help support healthy joints by maintaining regular lubrication.