Your dog is smart, well-behaved, and an all-around good boy. Whether he’s running around in the park or curled up on the couch, you can tell that he deserves only the best.
But have you ever heard of osteoarthritis? It’s a disease that is commonly associated with people, but you may be surprised to learn that more than one out of five dogs in the United States are diagnosed with a form of arthritis. The highest chance of developing the condition is between 9 and 11 years old, which is why pets need to be examined by the vet regularly. While more common in older pets, osteoarthritis can develop at any age.
Maintaining a lean body conformation through proper diet and feeding practices is the most important cornerstone of effective osteoarthritis management and prevention. To attain and maintain a lean body conformation through proper nutrition and feeding practices is the most important cornerstone of effective osteoarthritis management and prevention. This is because dogs fed as much as they wanted or restricted feeding (the ones that lived longer) were shown to have less arthritis and a longer life expectancy. In fact, in a recent study, 25 percent restriction of food intake increased median lifespan by 15 percent (an average of two years), and delayed the onset of osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases.
Regular physical activity is crucial to the treatment of arthritis both in humans and animals. A lifestyle of regular activity that is moderated away from intermittent extremes of exercise (such as going on long car rides) and heavy activities to which your pet is not accustomed is essential. Ideally, multiple shorter walks are better than one long one. The same activity every day (or slightly increasing if tolerated) is ideal. Prior to high-impact activities (such as chasing balls or swimming) a “warm-up” period of walking is ideal. We believe in and have seen the benefits of therapeutic exercise and physical rehabilitation on pets with arthritis.
REMEMEBER: Regular activity is critical for your pet’s health. A well-exercised dog is a happy dog and a mobile dog that can keep up with the pack.