Arthritis is a common condition, affecting one in five adult dogs. It can cause them to slow down but – with regular veterinary attention and daily care – there’s no reason why senior dogs can’t continue to experience a very happy, healthy life.
When is a dog considered ‘senior’?
Dogs age differently depending on breed, diet, exercise and medical history. In general, giant breed dogs age faster than smaller breed dogs. A Great Dane is considered to be senior by the time they are about five to six years old, whereas a Chihuahua would usually only be middle-aged by then, and probably not considered a senior until 10 to 11 years-old.
Large breed dogs fall somewhere in between – a Labrador Retriever, for example, may be considered senior by eight to 10 years of age. Genetics, nutrition and environment will also play a role in how quickly a dog ages.
What are the signs of ageing joints?
Regardless of your dog’s age, the most practical way to tell if his joints are ageing is to observe his behaviour. Signs your dog may be suffering from arthritis include:
- Not able to walk as far
- Not able to play as long
- Tires more easily
- Stiffness in joints
- Difficulty getting up or finding a comfortable position to sleep in
- Reluctance to go up and down stairs
- Difficulty getting into and out of the car
Another sign of arthritis in dogs is a tendency to sleep more during the day, but less at night. Some dogs may even prowl around the house at night because of sore joints.
What you can do to help your senior dog
By adjusting your routine and taking a few precautions, you can minimise the effects of arthritis so your dog can continue to lead a happy, healthy and active life. Regular check-ups with your vet are highly recommended, as is gentle exercise to keep your dog lean and maintain healthy joints and muscles. Walks should be regular, and short – if your dog pulls up stiff or lame, shorten the walk the next day.
If your dog is not used to exercise, start slow and gradually increase the intensity – for a safe, customised advice tailored to your dog’s specific needs, please seek advice from your vet. They will be happy to write you up an exercise plan.
Last, but certainly not least: keep your dog at an ideal body weight. Extra kilos significantly worsens arthritis, and increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, skin disease and even cancer.
Combined with 4CYTE joint health with supplement, these steps will promote quality of life in your dog’s senior years. Not sure which product to choose? Take our quick survey to help you decide whether 4CYTE Epiitalis Forte Gel or 4CYTE Granules are most suitable for your dog’s circumstances.