Maintaining Joint Health for Dogs Through Nutrition

Joint health for dogs becomes more of an issue as a dog ages, but it can be better prevented early through good nutrition. Common joint problems for dogs are dysplasia of the hip and elbow, an abnormal growth or development on the joint, and arthritis, the painful stiffness and inflammation of the joints.

Some Breeds More Susceptible to Joint Problems

Larger dog breeds are susceptible to joint health issues due to both rapid growth as puppies and more pressure on joints. Some smaller breeds, like bulldogs and pugs, can also be prone to hip dysplasia, because of genetics. All dogs can experience joint discomfort or issues from strain or injury.

Nutrients That Minimize Joint Issues

To maintain your dog's joint health, make sure he is receiving the proper amount of nutrients for a dog of his size and breed. Too little of calcium and other minerals can contribute to poor bone density. Too much can contribute to excessive weight gain which puts additional strain on all joints. If you are feeding your pet ready-made dog food and following package directions, this should not be a problem. If you are preparing homemade dog food, make sure to consult your vet to ensure a proper nutritionally balance diet.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are nutraceuticals, extracts obtained from food believed to have health benefits. Glucosamine helps synthesize new cartilage. Chondroitin fights enzymes that breakdown joint cartilage. Some dog food formulas, labeled senior or joint health, are available with these as additives, or you can purchase supplements separately.