While you may think it’s obvious when a dog suffers from inflammation from joint disease, they can also struggle with chronic, hidden inflammation. This low-grade form of inflammation stays for long periods of time and is behind many of the degenerative and inflammatory health issues that your dog could suffer with. Researchers have found that chronic, low-grade inflammation is one of the biggest drivers in joint degeneration.1 So, if you think your dog is a bit too young to be slowing down, it could be because they’re experiencing joint pain.
How do dogs get sore joints?
A normal joint is made up of joint fluid, and soft and hard tissues – together these allow bones to move and support the body. The soft tissues are made up of tendons, ligaments and the joint capsule. The hard tissues consist of the cartilage and underlying bone. These hard and soft tissues can weaken over time due to injury, developmental disorders, or even general wear and tear.
How to tell if your dog has sore joints
If you’re afraid your dog’s get up and go has gotten up and gone, you may need to consider ways you can help them get their mojo back.
Large dogs are more likely to suffer from a degenerative joint disease, primarily due to their size - adding more weight to joints creates more wear and tear – but also because of genetic disorders. Working service dogs, hunting dogs over the age of two and dogs that compete in agility or flyball could also be at a higher risk of joint pain.
Knowing the signs to look for keeps you a step ahead of your dog’s health, so you can take them to the vet and discuss symptoms – they will be able to advise you on what treatment is best for your pup.
Watch for signs of:
- Difficulty getting up
- Not wanting to go on walks
- Changes in behaviour (i.e. grumpiness or sleeping more)
How to improve dog joint health
Adding nutritional supplements to your dog’s diet can help promote healthy joints and reduce pain and inflammation, although you should always seek advice from your vet before introducing something new.
One ingredient commonly found in joint supplements is glucosamine. This is naturally found in healthy cartilage and it can help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. As your dog ages, the natural production of glucosamine in the body slows - so adding it into your dog’s diet can help rebuild cartilage, aiding joint function and activity levels. Combining these two vital ingredients with vitamin C and E will help keep maintain the overall health of your dog.
Filled with vitamins and minerals to help keep bones and joints healthy, nutritional treats are an effective way of making sure your dog receives the nutrients it needs to stay active.
Turmeric is well-known for its distinct yellow colour, but this spice has been used traditionally as a medicine 2
because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It also suppresses the production of immune chemicals such as TNF-alpha to reduce pain and swelling.3
Adding turmeric to your dog’s diet if they suffer with inflammation, whether chronic and hidden or due to joint disease, is a good idea.
For more information see our article on how turmeric could benefit the health of your dog.
1 Sokolove, J. and Lepus, C. (2013). Role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis: latest findings and interpretations. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, 5(2), pp.77-94.
2 Funk, J., Frye, J., Oyarzo, J., Kuscuoglu, N., Wilson, J., McCaffrey, G., Stafford, G., Chen, G., Lantz, R., Jolad, S., Sólyom, A., Kiela, P. and Timmermann, B. (2006). Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 54(11), pp.3452-3464.
3 Akhtar, N. and Haqqi, T. (2012). Current nutraceuticals in the management of osteoarthritis: a review. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, 4(3), pp.181-207.