5 Ways to Improve Joint and Bone Health of Your Senior Dog
Although many dogs can experience decreased joint and bone health throughout various life stages, this is often observed in older dogs.
While this is part of the aging process and generally not a cause for concern, keeping them on their paws is more enjoyable for both the dog and the owner. Here are five ways to improve the joint and bone health of your senior dog.
Senior Dogs and Decreased Mobility
The aging process often comes with a host of dogs’ problems, including a duller coat, temperament changes, and chronic inflammation or pain. While most of these are natural and not a cause for concern, they can decrease the senior dog’s quality of life. In particular, impaired joint and bone health can be highly inconvenient for the dog, and as the owner, it is hard to see your furry friend in pain.
Most telltale signs of decreased mobility are apparent. These include a slower walking pace or limping, finding it hard to move from sitting to standing, and continuously tripping or slipping on their feet (1). While most of these symptoms are unfortunately unavoidable, there are several ways your senior dog's joint and bone health can be improved to keep them on their feet for longer, hopefully. The result? A healthier, happier dog and peace of mind as an owner.
5 Ways to Improve Your Dog's Joint and Bone Health
There are several ways to improve your dog's joint and bone health, ranging from lifestyle and nutritional changes to supplements. Because all dogs' needs will differ, checking in with a professional before implementing any of these changes is advisable, especially for severe cases.
1. Maintain an Ideal Weight
Keeping your senior dog at a healthy weight is essential, as this puts less stress and pressure on their back, knees, and other joints. This stress and anxiety increase the risk of your dog developing osteoarthritis (2).
To combat this, lifestyle changes are recommended. A gradual calorie deficit may need to be introduced, especially if your senior dog is significantly overweight in combination with an active routine.
2. Regular Exercise
While regular exercise is vital for building stronger bones in younger dogs, older dogs can also benefit from the various perks exercise provides. Regular exercise can maintain bone strength in senior dogs by allowing their bones to adapt over time to forces, becoming denser, and building more bone.
This can reduce any age-related bone loss that can naturally occur as dogs get older. This is important, as bone loss can result in bad posture, back pain, and bones that break easily (3).
3. Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C has also been observed to be beneficial for bone health. This is because it is essential to collagen formation, which is an important foundation for bone growth. Recent studies have also linked increased vitamin C levels with greater bone density (4).
While vitamin C is found in many different types of fruits and vegetables, certain foods have higher vitamin C levels than others. In particular, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, and other leafy greens are excellent sources.
A safe and easy option to incorporate vitamin-C-rich foods into your senior dog's diet is through tailored food supplements, like AppleLove Fruit & Vegetable Blend.
This blend is packed full of fruits and vegetables, like apples, blueberries, strawberries, and bananas, which provide an extra punch of antioxidants and vitamin C for your dog.
4. Eat Foods Rich in Calcium
Calcium is another nutrient that is closely associated with joint and bone health. Because the body needs sufficient calcium levels to make healthy bones, incorporating more calcium-rich foods into your senior dog's diet can result in stronger, denser, and more flexible bones.
Alongside this, studies have suggested that calcium plays a role in reducing joint inflammation and pain, especially in the joints of the knee and elbow (5). Thus, calcium should be an essential part of any older dog's diet and can usually be found in foods such as leafy greens and meat.
5. Other Supplements
Other forms of supplements that may help promote the health of your dog's joints and bones are omega-3s, vitamin D, and glucosamine. Omega-3s can reduce joint pain and swelling by the fatty acids present, which help increase blood flow throughout the body.
On the other hand, vitamin D can work in conjunction with calcium to prevent or decrease bone loss while lowering fracture risk. This is achieved as vitamin D must be present in adequate amounts before calcium can be absorbed effectively.
Glucosamine has an anti-inflammatory effect on your senior dog's joints, helping to reduce the pain that may occur naturally. It also works to improve lubrication in the joint sockets, therefore increasing mobility.
AppleLove Healthy Joint & Senior Blend is packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C from apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots with the extra added benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from chia seeds.
This blend is great as a tasty treat and promotes healthy joints and connective tissues while fighting inflammation.
The Bottom Line
While decreased mobility and increased joint pain are often part of the natural aging process, there are several ways to improve your senior dog's joint and bone health. Lifestyle changes, including weight management and regular exercise, have many benefits on joint tension and bone density. Incorporating more vitamin C and calcium-rich foods can help benefit your dog from the inside out.
Because it can be tricky to add new dietary options into their diet, a fool-proof option is incorporating these nutrients from dog food supplements. Adding some of these extra add-ins can prove beneficial for their wellbeing and quality of life.