As your dog ages, they might have trouble going on hikes, going up and down stairs, or even lying down. A dog with mobility issues may be reluctant to move, show signs of limping or lameness, have a strong reaction to being touched, or simply be more tired than normal. Mobility and joint issues are common in older dogs, and can greatly impact their quality of life.
If your dog is having trouble getting around in its old age, here are some ways you can help care for them at home.
A dog with mobility issues will greatly appreciate having mobility aids around the house. Gently-sloped ramps will be easier to climb than stairs. If your dog is really struggling with stairs, they may need to be blocked off altogether. Older dogs may have a fear of falling, and carpeted, non-slip flooring or grippy dog socks can help them secure a stronger footing.
Orthopedic dog beds can also make it easier for dogs to lie down and get back up. The memory foam in orthopedic dog beds is ideal for an older dog because the firmness prevents sagging, giving extra support to joints and making it easier for dogs to get back up.
Your dog may even need their food and water bowls to be elevated if they have trouble bending over. In some cases, you can also consider purchasing a dog-lift harness to help your pet get around the most difficult areas. These small adjustments can make a big difference for a dog who is having trouble getting around.
Massages and Body Work
Many dogs appreciate having their achy joints massaged to help promote mobility and flexibility, as well as circulation. Gently knead your dog’s stiff muscles, but be careful not to press on the joints. Your dog might also appreciate a heating pad, which can keep their stiff muscles warm. However, you should avoid using human heating pads on dogs since their skin can burn much more easily.
Some dogs may benefit from professional treatments such as acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, or aqua therapy. Consult your veterinarian to see if specialized care might be beneficial for your dog.
Even with mobility issues, regular, age-appropriate, and low-impact exercise remains an important way to maintain weight as well as bone and muscle density. Weight control is important for mature dogs in order to avoid putting additional strain on joints and bones. Your dog may not be able to jump around like they used to, but walks or low-impact exercise like swimming can still be beneficial. Some older dogs may not be able to walk for as long as they used to before, but even a shorter walk for 15 to 20 mins twice daily can help provide health benefits.
While there is no replacement for a balanced diet, joint supplements contain the essentials required for this part of your dog’s life, so you can be assured that your pet is getting everything they need to maintain optimal health. Joint supplements for dogs contain ingredients such as omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA in particular), which can help reduce inflammation and reduce cartilage damage. Another important nutrient is glucosamine sulphate, one of the essential building blocks for healthy tendons, ligaments, cartilage and synovial fluid (the dense liquid that lubricates joints). Ingredients such as omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine sulphate are critical to maintaining the healthy function of joints, eyes, skin and the brain in older dogs.
Hike Again Remedies is proud to produce quality supplements specially designed to promote mobility and joint health in older dogs. We created our supplement for senior dogs to improve joint health for older dogs. Our formula combines an optimal blend of 100% active ingredients (without added fillers, gums, preservatives, sugars or colours) that supports mobility, joint function and cartilage health in older canines, so that you and your mature dog can continue to enjoy the activities that you love.
These adjustments can help to keep your dog healthy and happy as they age. It’s important to monitor changes so that any concerns can be reported to your vet immediately. Your vet can also advise on which strategies would be most beneficial to you and your pet in terms of maintaining health and quality of life.