We’re taking a closer look at joint care for dogs – from puppyhood right through to happy, healthy old age! We’ll be answering some of your most-asked questions, including what to do to support your dog’s joints at different life stages, how to keep oldies happy and healthy, and how to get your young dog off to the best possible start.
Whatever age your dog, joint care is an important consideration to keep them happy, healthy and mobile. Here, we’ll be taking you through from puppyhood to the senior years to answer your most-asked questions on how to support your dog’s joints at different life stages.
Welcoming a new puppy is an exciting time. However, it’s also an important time to care for your dog’s joints as he’ll be growing quickly.
First, avoid over-exercising your young puppy as this can cause damage to their developing joints. According to The Kennel Club, your pup should get 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, up to twice daily. For more information on preparing for puppy walking, take a look at our blog here. Keep puppy walks short and fun until your dog is a little more grown up.
Be mindful of the kind of exercise your puppy is doing, too. Jumping (on and off the sofa or at beginners’ agility!) isn’t a good idea until your dog is at least 12 months old, and it’s sensible to restrict rough play with adult dogs or larger pups to avoid accidental injuries.
It’s also important to provide the right nutrition to help your dog develop properly. A supplement like YuMOVE Young & Active can help once they’re on solid food; it aids joint development, supports active joints and promotes mobility.
Remember that different breeds grow at different rates, and it’s a good idea to get your vet, rescue or breeder’s advice on what’s best for your growing puppy’s joints.
Your puppy becomes what’s known as an adolescent when they lose their baby teeth – and this stage lasts until they’re a fully-grown adult, at around 18 months.
Just like human adolescents, ‘teenage’ pups can be a bit of a handful. Right now, you might be thinking the more exercise the better in order to tire your dog out, but it’s really important to stick to the 5-minutes-per-month rule. Different breeds grow and mature at different rates, and generally the larger the breed, the longer it will take for their bones to develop fully. So, even though your puppy is no longer puppy-sized, it’s important to remember that they’re still growing; some big breeds may not be fully mature until 18 months of age.
Avoid putting strain on their growing joints by focusing on play, and stepping up their mental stimulation with challenging brain games and doing lots of fun, positive training. You’ll find that putting in the time now will really develop your bond, too. There are lots of great books out there to get you started on clicker and trick training, while training classes are great for ongoing socialisation, and can be a great way to let off steam and compare notes with other pet parents!
As your dog’s walk length starts to increase as it reaches its first birthday, again it could be worth thinking about supporting his diet further with a dog joint supplement such as YuMOVE Young & Active.
So you’ve enjoyed puppyhood, and survived adolescence – what next in your dog’s joint journey? Here are some pointers on dog joint care in adulthood, whether your dog is active, stiff, working, or entering their senior years.
Is your dog an active athlete? That might mean any number of dog-sports like CaniCross, Agility or Flyball – or maybe adventurous treks and countryside hikes. Though such busy dogs may not seem like they need joint supplements, it can help to support their active lifestyle.
If you and your dog take part in sports, it’s a good idea to focus on several shorter training sessions instead of one intensive stint. This makes it more fun for your dog and can reduce the risk of injury.
It’s important not to overdo it too early – too much too soon can put strain on their joints. The Kennel Club only allows dogs of 18 months or older to compete in agility competitions, though you can start gentle, fun training sessions from around 12 months old according to Your Dog magazine.
Unfortunately, some dogs develop stiff joints before they become grey and wise. Breeds to keep an eye on include Labradors, Old English Sheepdogs, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, Dachshunds, Newfoundlands, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Samoyeds and Mastiffs. If your best friend is one of these, it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs that indicate it might be time for extra joint support.
If you spot these signs, it’s a good idea to get to the vets for a check-up. They can work out what’s going on, and help you modify your dog’s routine. When young dogs develop stiff joints, they can still enjoy great quality of life – you'll just need to keep an eye on things and provide a little more support. From acupuncture for dogs to hydrotherapy and joint supplements, there’s lots you can often do to keep them happy and active.
1) Talk to your vet. The sooner you know what’s going on, the better. They can provide clarity, advice and prescription medication if necessary.
2) Try hydrotherapy. It’s a fantastic low-impact way to support your dog’s joints. Water provides resistance and builds muscle around the joint, so it is stronger and better supported.
3) Consider veterinary acupuncture. This is now becoming more popular, and many vets recommend it alongside conventional medication.
4) Support their diet with a joint supplement like YuMOVE Dog. This will help to aid stiff joints, support joint structure and promote mobility.
5) If your dog has diagnosed joint problem and is under veterinary care, it’s also worth talking to your vet about our vet-only formulation, YuMOVE ADVANCE for Dogs.
Joint care for working dogs
Share your working life with a canine? Whether they’re a sheepdog, sniffer dog or help you in the field retrieving or flushing, you’ll want to keep them fit for the job. Like dogs who are active for fun, working dogs can benefit from a little extra joint support to keep them on top of their game.
Start with the basics: great quality food, a comfortable place to rest, and a pre-season fitness routine. Then, you can further support your dog’s joints with a supplement such as YuMOVE Working Dog. This promotes mobility and joint health and supports digestion so your working dog has more energy and stamina. It’s an extra boost to help them do their best for you every day.
1) Take good general care of your working dog, and ensure he is well prepared for a hard day’s work.
2) Support your dog further with an additional joint supplement, such as YuMOVE Working Dog.
Joint care for older dogs
Old age is when your dog’s joints need a little extra support – and thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to make sure your oldie is getting the most from life if they’re seeming a little stiff.
As your dog gets older, it’s important to keep up their exercise. Though older dogs may prefer to take a more sedate pace, daily exercise is vital to maintain a healthy weight and provide a good quality of life. From taking frequent, shorter walks to changing the activities you enjoy together, there are lots of ways to keep your senior dog active – we’ve written a whole blog about exercise for older dogs here.
1) Change your activities to suit your dog as it enters its senior years – this may not be the time to introduce Fly Ball!
2) Adapt your walks so your dog still enjoys them; this may mean shorter, more frequent walks or easier terrain.
3) Senior dogs often suffer from stiffness and could benefit from a joint supplement; try YuMOVE Dog or YuMOVE Plus if your dog is starting to feel stiffer.
If you use our dog joint care guide as a starting point, you’ll be able to support your dog in living a healthy, active life right into old age. If you have any more questions, be sure to get in touch – you can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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