Many of us love our dogs as we love our children — in fact, some people would rather have dogs than kids! With 44% of American households including at least one dog, millions can attest to how important dogs are to the human experience. However, just as dogs are a part of the family, they must be cared for in the same way that a human family member must be cared for. This can involve taking them to the vet, and having their health checked up upon and maintained. But what happens when your dog comes back from a vet appointment with the reveal that they aren’t perfectly healthy?
In an ideal world, our dogs would maintain their health without issue. This isn’t always the case. One of the most common health problems that can plague a dog is joint discomfort. Joint discomfort, as well as back stiffness, can be a problem for dogs just as it can be a problem for humans. But how does this issue occur in the first place? Furthermore, how can we help our dogs if they suffer from joint issues? Let’s find out.
Why Do Dogs Suffer From Joint And Back Issues?
Joint and back problems are among the most common health issues that dogs can face. It can have a lot of sources. For some dogs, joint and back problems build up over years. This is especially true for “working dogs”, which can include herding dogs, as well as dogs with “jobs” like service animals or police dogs. Even dogs that jog alongside their owners or compete in agility contests can develop stress-related joint problems over the years. It comes with age. Of course, some dogs are predisposed to these problems; and unbeknownst to their owners, the stress of activity causes them to worsen without their owners knowing. Not all joint and back issues result from stress injuries, however. In fact, one in four dogs in the U.S. are diagnosed with arthritis which can be a major cause of joint discomfort. Hip and elbow dysplasia are also major problems for many dogs. Although these issues can affect theoretically any type of dog, larger breeds are especially susceptible to them. Certain breeds’ bone structures, as well as faulty genes, make it easier for them to be affected by these health problems.
What Should Dog Owners Do When Their Pets Have Joint Problems?
If your dog suffers from typical stiffness or chronic problems like hip dysplasia — which cannot always be corrected completely through surgery or medication — what do you do next? Don’t assume that because your dog suffers from discomfort, it cannot live a happy life. It’s estimated that about 76% of dogs suffering from severe dysplasia and arthritis can live happy, healthy lives. Products like healing mattress pads, support braces, and therapeutic blankets can assist in your dog’s ability to live a great life. Healing mattress pads in particular can be incorporated into your dog’s daily routine — simply replace the typical mattress your dog is sleeping on with a healing mattress pad, and your dog will likely be more comfortable. More specialized products, such as dog wrist braces and dog leg wraps, can also be used to aid your pet.
When Should I Be Concerned?
Before you invest in healing mattress pads and dog hock braces, know what you’re dealing with. The older your dog gets, the more regularly you should be keeping an eye on its joints. If your dog shows signs of stiffness or difficulty in rising, take them to the vet. Many dogs will not whimper when experiencing chronic discomfort — so make sure that you treat instances like this seriously. Dogs often become more irritable when experiencing discomfort; don’t take sudden snappishness to be a sure sign of a behavioral issue. Even good dogs can be reactive when they don’t feel their best! By taking these steps, however, you’ll ensure that your dog has its best chance at a long, happy life.