Are Your Pet's Joints a Jumpin'? - Tips for Pet Joint Health
By Brooke Sloate
Do you or someone you know take your dog to the dog park? How about taking your dog for a walk or a run? What about just playing with your dog or cat in the yard or in the house? I’ll bet you all know a lot of people who do these activities with their dogs and cats regularly…probably most pet parents -- every day! And why not? Part of being a pet parent is enjoying daily activities with our pets!
Well, in order for our dogs and cats to be able to participate and enjoy these activities, they need to feel good. That’s why joint health is critical for our pet’s quality of life.
Joint issues are one of the most commonly seen problems in vet clinics today. Unfortunately, as a result of the aging process and high levels of activity, many dogs and cats will face hip and joint issues and limited mobility during their lifetime. In fact, 1 in 5 dogs suffer from some kind of joint problems due to everyday activities. And about 1/3 of cats have joint issues by age 6, especially due to an epidemic of obesity in cats. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) Pet Owners Survey, 55% of dogs today are given a supplement for joint health and mobility - especially medium and large-size dogs. So as you can see joint problems are an important issue with pet parents today, and there’s a lot of awareness of it out there.
Some Basics About Joint Health:
Your pet’s joints are composed of soft connective tissue, cartilage and joint fluid. Their role is to provide cushioning between bones to allow for normal movement. Cartilage contains nerve endings, and when cartilage breaks down and the surface becomes rough, the movement of the joint creates a firing of these nerve endings, which your pets know as pain. Joint fluid and cartilage are necessary to support joint and musculoskeletal health in dogs and cats. Over time, all of the nice viscous joint fluid that keeps your pet’s joints lubricated, tends to dissipate as part of the aging process.
Giving a daily supplement will actually help those joints maintain their state of lubrication and prevent them from rubbing and getting worn down. Though many people think this is a “big dog issue”, this really affects all dogs, small, medium and large – old and young; as well as all cats. A good joint supplement is necessary to help keep their joints healthy and keep our dogs and cats active and comfortable, because every dog and cat is going to have some loss of the natural lubrication in their joints as they age.
We need to supplement every day because our pets are active every day. There’s nothing we can do to prevent joint problems as our pets age, but we can slow them down. This is done by replenishing the building blocks for healthy joints every day to promote thicker joint fluid…as this fluid is broken down on a daily basis by hydrolyzing enzymes. That’s why it’s important to supplement each day to thicken the fluid again.
The food I feed has glucosamine in it…isn’t that enough to support healthy joints?
While some dog foods may contain glucosamine, it’s not nearly at the therapeutic level your pets need. It’s not necessarily that pet food companies don’t want to provide the higher, therapeutic levels, it’s just that it’s very expensive to do so.
What can I do to help my pets?
You can use a premium joint supplement. Be aware that most joint supplements out there only address the thickness or viscosity of the joint fluid but don’t address the role that soft tissue plays in joint health. A premium joint supplement will address both aspects.
For Dogs: Look for a premium joint supplement that uses a combination of these ingredients:
- Glucosamine, Green-Lipped Mussel, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic Acid to promote thick viscous joint fluid to absorb concussion within the body or joint.
- All of these are referred to as ‘GAGs’ or glycosamine-o-glycans, which promote healthy cartilage.
- MSM (METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE), is an organic source of sulfer, that manages aches and discomfort associated with every day activity and helps reduce inflammation.
- Herbs – Boswellia, Corydalis, Turmeric and Yucca to help to maintain joint, bone and supporting soft tissue health, while managing discomfort caused by normal everyday activities. These herbs cause immediate relief of discomfort – think of them as ‘natural pain relief’ as opposed to using pharmaceutical medications.
What about cats?
As mentioned, for cats it’s a similar story. About 1/3 of cats have joint issues by age 6, especially due to an epidemic of obese cats. How can you tell? Well, they’ll tend to walk with a limp, they’re more likely to be stiff and less active, and they won’t jump on the bed or window sill. Every cat needs joint help for everyday activities as well.
Do the same ingredients work for cats as dogs?
The difference between the dog and cat solutions is that the cat formula should not contain certain herbs, like Corydalis, as certain herbs aren’t good for cats. Other than that, look for the same combination of ingredients to provide a well-rounded solution for all of your cat’s joint care needs.
A final word…
Pet parents need to be proactive with their pets, and not wait until they show signs of discomfort. Don’t think of joint heath as a ‘big dog’ issue or an ‘older dog or cat’ issue, because it’s not. If your dog or cat is active at all (even just going for daily walks, running around the house, or jumping up or down on furniture), you should consider adding a joint supplement to your pets’ daily nutrition plan as a ‘preventative measure’ to ensure a fun, active, pain-free life for as long as possible.
At pawTree® we are committed to providing pet parents with a line of premium products to help pets thrive. Look for products from pawTree that include the recommended ingredients listed above, including our Joint Support Plus (one formulated just for dogs and one formulated just for cats).
Brooke Sloate, Director of Product Development at pawTree LLC, is passionate about solving problems for pets and creating products that truly make a difference to pet parents.
With over 20 years of experience in the pet industry working for a variety of pet companies prior to pawTree®, including Nature's Variety®, Hill’s®, Mars®, Petmate®, Applica® and Sergeant's®, Brooke has developed a wide range of innovative pet products including pet food, treats, and pet accessories.
Brooke loves pets! She enjoys the unconditional love of her family of Shih Tzus and responds by spoiling them every chance she gets!
Joint Support Plus