Joints and Arthritis

Senior Dogs & Dogs with Limited Mobility- Joints and Arthritis

 

Tips to help an older dog, or one with limited mobility.

Around the House

  1. Make sure that their bed is in a warm place, and with lots of padding and cushioning to protect their joints.
  2. If you have slippery floors, put down non-skid mats or runners, and keep their nails short. Long nails can cause slipping because your dog does not have a proper full padded grip on the ground.
  3. Use ramps to access furniture, steps and the car.
  4. Raise their bowl up off from the floor, so that they do not have to bend to eat.
  5. If they are particularly sore, block their access to stairs to prevent injury.
  6. If they have become too stiff to take themselves out to the toilet, there are products designed to help.
  7. Sore dogs are often bored dogs. Unable to run around and sniff any more, they can end up over-grooming just to pass the time. Get some good quality interactive toys to keep them busy
  8. There are many supplements that will help with joint health and well being. Most come in powder or chew forms that can be used as a treat or sprinkled over their dinner. Look for a product that contains glucosamine and chondroitin. These two ingredients are clinically proven to reduce inflammation.
  9. Keeping them up and moving strengthens their muscles and stabilises their joints. Swimming is a great, impact free sport. Use a lifejacket, as they don’t have the mobility or stamina of a younger dog.
  10. Feed them a good quality, complete food designed for joint health.
  11. Massage your dogs lower back, and back hips as often as you can to help increase blood flow and lessen the effect of spinal degeneration.
  12. If you believe your dog to be in pain, please see your vet.

For more advice and assistance on specific, joint care products, please see one of our store team members.

Weight Management

About 50% of dogs in Australia are categorized as overweight or obese.

A healthy weight is breed specific, what is a healthy weight for a toy poodle may not be for a Chihuahua.

Health Issues Caused By Weight

  • Arthritis – just a little extra weight, puts added stress on joints, bones and ligaments, and can make daily living painful for a dog.
  • Diabetes – dogs can develop an inability to process sugar or carbohydrates. Diabetes is a life threatening disease with many complications, and requires daily management.
  • Heart – an increased blood pressure causes the heart to have to work much harder. Combine this with higher cholesterol levels and fatty deposits in the blood vessels and you have a recipe for a heart attack.
  • Heat intolerance – dogs cannot sweat as humans can, and with all that extra insulation, panting to lose heat can become more and more difficult.
  • Immune function – fatter dogs lose the ability to fight off diseases, and can also become more susceptible to cancer.

Managing Weight

  • Cut back on the treats. Human food in particular can be fattening to a dog. A single Frankfurt cut up and used for training is the equivalent of a human eating 3 hamburgers in one go. Use light canine treats instead.
  • Use weight loss food rather than maintenance – some high quality kibble designed for weight loss will keep them feeling full without the calories.
  • Weigh out his meals and then put it into a treat pouch to use during the day. You can then easily use the allotted amount and any leftover goes in his bowl at night. If he gets treats during the day and then his full dinner afterwards at night, weight gain is inevitable.
  • Use interactive food toys – having him work for his food will make him take longer to eat it, expend energy getting it out, as well as leave him feeling more satisfied.
  • Is he getting food elsewhere? – Neighbours over the fence, raiding the bins, eating the cat’s food or from other family members. Try not to allow the dog around the dinner table, particularly if you have children. If you have to, use a crate or a baby gate.
  • Exercise – particularly important, there are lots of fun ways to get active together.
  • When using food as a training tool make sure you cut back on actual meals, giving your dog less at meal times instead of the same amount.

De-sexing

There are many benefits to de-sexing your male or female dog. In male dogs, it can cause less territory marking, which means he will pee less frequently on walks. For a female dog, being in “season” causes the vulva to drip blood, which attracts male dogs from miles around.

Males

When you walk an “intact” male dog he will mark his territory. He may also demonstrate aggressive or dominant behaviour towards other dogs. Marking can also occur in the home.

Male dogs who are not being shown or used for breeding should be desexed. Most vets recommend desexing at around six months of age. Some large and/or giant breeds are desexed later than six months. This allows these bigger dogs a brief flow of testosterone, to assist in their growth.

In terms of health, desexing will reduce the risk of testicular cancer, as well as reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer and other diseases.

Females

Female dogs in season exhibit bloody discharge and a clearly swollen vulva. This is unsightly and unhygienic around the home. Undesexed females should not be taken out of the house whilst in season, if it can be avoided.

In terms of health, de-sexing will help eliminate the risk of uterine cancer, as well as relatively common infections of the uterus, false pregnancies and other sexual related diseases. The chance of mammary cancers developing as they get older is also greatly reduced.

Are There Any Negatives?

Some females will be more prone to gaining weight after being desexed. However, a healthy diet and normal amounts of exercise can help to avoid this problem.

The Procedure

If you would like more information about what happens before, during and after your pet’s surgery, speak to your local vet. They are more than happy to provide you with all the information you need, and most will have fact sheets for you to read.

 

 

Dental

Despite what many people might think, chronic doggy breath is not normal. Nor is it something your dog needs to live with. Doggy breath can be a sign of rotting teeth, as well as gum and periodontal disease. There are breeds of dogs, especially smaller breeds, which are predisposed to teeth issues, but it can happen to any dog, at any age. Choosing the right food products for your dog at a young age, can reap long term benefits. There are numerous reasons for doggy breath, including genetic predisposition and breed. There are also many ways you can help your dogs breath smell sweeter.

Here are some of them:

  • The number one way to keep your pets teeth clean is to brush them, just as your brush your own. Use a double sided toothbrush and a specially designed doggy toothpaste, and begin very slowly. At first, just some toothpaste on the finger and rubbing it around the gums for a few seconds will be all they can tolerate. But, with a little patience, treats and building up slowly, eventually you should be able to brush their whole mouth.
  • Daily dental chews are a fantastic way to help clean their teeth. One after meals will dislodge all the food and leave them with a clean mouth.
  • Raw bones will also have the same effect. Many dogs can occupy themselves for a long time chewing away.
  • Soluble products can be added to their drinking water, which contain enzymes that will help remove tartar build up.
  • There are also dry foods designed for your dogs oral care. These foods will contain cross-woven fibres that clean the teeth as they are chewed,  along with tartar removing enzymes.
  • An annual dental check up at the vets will keep them in tip top shape. If you have become behind on your oral care, a cleaning may be necessary to bring their mouth back into perfect health.

For more information about how to best care for your dogs teeth and gums, please talk to one of our store team members