Our dogs are our family. And just like with any family member, seeing them in pain or suffering can be heartbreaking. As much as we may wish for them to remain as puppies forever, as they inevitably age, specific health problems may arise due to different factors which may not be within our control. As our dogs age, their bodies change too and, more often than not, become weaker. Thankfully as pet parents, there are things that we can do to mitigate the impact of some of the most common health concerns found in dogs.
Dog Joint Pain
One of the most common problems or health conditions that may arise is joint pain. By age 7, 60% of all dogs will suffer from chronic pain due to osteo disease or arthritis.
Differentiating Joint Pain from Arthritis
Arthritis and joint pain are often intertwined. Arthritis is a joint disorder that is described by inflammation in one or more joints that causes pain. Therefore joint pain could be a sign of arthritis. Though not all joint pains are caused by arthritis as they may occur without the presence of inflammation.
Joint pain cases that aren't due to arthritis
Injury (dislocations, fractures, soft-tissue tears)
Complex regional pain syndrome
How to determine if your dog is suffering from joint pain?
Joint pain in dogs can be uncomfortable, and because of this, the signs can often be evident and easy to spot. It's essential to watch out for dog joint pain because noticing this early and getting treatment may help reduce pain and suffering.
Signs to look out for are:
Your dog may limp before and after walks. And walks may get slower and slower.
May be reluctant to make significant movements such as climbing up or going down the stairs, rising, or doing exercises.
The surrounding areas of the affected joint may become swollen due to inflammation.
They may yelp, get irritable, and become aggressive due to sensitivity when joints are touched.
Slowness and stiffness when getting up or lying down
They may also tend to lick the painful joint areas.
Arthritis in Dogs
Degenerative Joint Disease/Osteoarthritis
Due to the permanent and progressive deterioration of the connective tissues in the affected joint areas, a chronic joint inflammation called Osteoarthritis occurs.
Partial or complete lameness
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
is caused by the inappropriate response of the dog's immune system to the protein production of its body. Its immune system produces antibodies whose purpose is to attack the protein. When this happens, they all get stuck in the joints area, which causes inflammation to occur.
Decrease in appetite
Partial or complete lameness
Difficulty when walking or standing
Swelling in the joints
Septic or Infective Arthritis
It could be caused by several factors but generally by the bacteria in the joint area. What this means is that it is more of an infection rather than a disease or disorder. Thus, immediate treatment has to take place as it could be fatal when spread through the bloodstream.
Tenderness to the touch
Redness and skin irritation
Difficulty moving or walking on the affected limb.
How to Help Dog Joint Pain
We recommend that the first time you notice signs of joint pain in your dog, particularly as they age, you should consult a vet. Treating joint pain and most other diseases at the early stages is the best way to help reduce any long-term effects of the disease.
If joint pain persists, vets will often recommend surgery; however, it is also best to consider alternatives that may help prevent the need for surgery. Although we recommend this list for managing joint pain, many of these items are worth considering as a preventative measure in healthy dogs.
Ideas to manage joint pain before the need for surgery:
Some analgesics or pain relievers may also be used if pain cannot be controlled with other medications.
Reducing their weight could lessen the pressure and strain on their joints and decrease the inflammation; hence it could also reduce the pain. In Australia, over 40% of dogs are overweight or obese, which puts enormous pressure on their joints. If you're unsure if your dog is overweight, we recommend asking your vet at the next checkup.
Strong muscles can help in protecting the joints. This can be achieved through regular exercise or therapy. Going for walks every day is crucial for healthy dogs; however, if your dog is experiencing joint pain, we recommend consulting your vet before any strenuous exercise or long walks.
Food & Supplements
A natural way to help joint pain is through choosing healthy food that is full of nutrients. Keeping a joint-friendly diet is also an excellent preventive measure for dog arthritis. Supplements such as glucosamine, a specific joint and osteo supplement, or Bell & Bone Collagen Sticks may also be administered for an adequate supply of vitamins needed to support and protect the joints.
There could be certain cases wherein a prescription is already necessary. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are the most commonly prescribed ones. This drug offers relief from joint pain and inflammation. We recommend consulting a vet before giving your dog any medication.
What Food is Good for Joint Pain?
Green Lipped Mussels is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and glucosamine, a naturally occurring substance found in bones and bone marrow that helps build the connective tissues near the joint.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids or usually called essential fatty acids, which implies that they are not naturally produced by the body and must be supplied with anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation and pain.
Ginger - an excellent anti-inflammatory agent that helps in managing joint problems. Bell & Bone Freeze-Dried Treats with Chicken, Broccoli and Ginger or Bell & Bone Superfood Treat with Carob and Ginger may be a great option to increase your dog's ginger intake.
Celery - rich in antioxidants, fiber, and anti-inflammatory nutrients that support good digestion and help aid arthritis and other body inflammations. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, vitamin A, K, and C.
Coconut Oil contains lauric acid that serves as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which could help reduce joint inflammation, especially those linked to viral and bacterial infections. Coconut is also a good natural lubricant to joints and could act as a remedy for constipation. Bell & Bone Superfood Range all contain a significant amount of coconut oil. We recommend giving your dog a handful of these each day.
Blueberry - is known to be one of the richest in antioxidants kind of fruit and does a great job in reducing inflammation and weight loss. It is rich in fiber and vitamin C that could keep the connective tissues and bones healthy.
Collagen for Dog Arthritis
Collagen comprises the overall proteins in our dogs' bodies and what work does it do to their bones, muscles, joints, and connective tissues. Collagen is mainly responsible for keeping them at their best health and lessen the chances of deterioration. This is why collagen supplements could be significant to dogs with arthritis, considering that it is the senior dogs most likely to develop joint problems as their body decreases its capacity to produce the amount and type of nutrients needed to support and protect such parts.
Our New Bell & Bone Collagen Sticks
Bell & Bone Collagen Sticks are made from natural ingredients and are rich in collagen, other vitamins, and nutrients needed to support our dogs' joints and overall body condition.
They come in two flavors, Beef and Manuka Honey and Chicken with Blueberries — both available for adult (large) and puppy (small) sizes.
Chicken and Beef are good sources of protein. At the same time, Blueberries are full of fiber that helps manage our dogs' weight (which could also help reduce joint pain), vitamin C that keeps the connective tissues healthy, and vitamin K and antioxidants that help repair damaged cells.
On the other hand, Manuka Honey has antibacterial and healing properties that help in healing wounds, scratches, allergies, and even gastrointestinal issues. It can also aid in reducing body inflammations.
Click here to shop our Collagen Stick Range.
Being a dedicated dog owner often involves:
Asking the right questions.
Seeking the right advice, and, most importantly.
Checking in with your pup to make sure that it's healthy and happy.
We are in line with you on this, so if you have questions, you may head to our FAQs page for more answers to dog treat-related queries or send us a message, and I would love to chat with you. More than anything, it is my priority to keep you informed and empowered.