Dogs are naturally playful creatures, but they become less active as they age. Changes in health, especially bone, affect a dog’s desire to play. Like humans, canines also experience bone and joint issues.
Hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, nutritional osteopathy, and osteochondritis dissecans are a few bone-related issues that dogs develop in their lives.
If your canine companion shows reluctance to physical activities, limps, or struggles to use the stairs, it is suffering from bone problems. While adult and senior dogs are more prone to bone conditions, canines as young as one year old can develop them.
As a pet parent, maintaining good bone health of your Fido is essential for its well-being. Here, we’ll share a few tips you can follow to strengthen your canine’s bones.
Table of Contents
#1 Buy High-Quality Commercial Dog Food
Be it small dogs or adult dogs, the best thing you can do to maintain your canine companion’s bone health is to meet its nutritional needs.
A diet rich in magnesium, Vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus will provide your Fido with the building blocks required for bone development. As protein contributes to the development of strong bones, you must include it in your canine companion’s diet.
Finding nutritionally balanced dog food is the easiest way to ensure your Fido receives all the nutrients needed to maintain optimal bone health.
Commercially blended foods are your best bet. We say so because they include the right proportions of all nutrients required to support the development and maintenance of strong and healthy bones. Plus, they are packed with high-quality ingredients.
Go for the Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Dry Dog Food if you own a pug, chihuahua, or miniature American Eskimo. That’s because it contains all the essential nutrients small breed dogs need to maintain strong bones.
The Purina small dog food is high in protein as well as phosphorus, calcium, and other minerals that help improve bone health. Besides, this small breed chicken rice formula dry dog food supports a healthy immune system, thanks to the essential antioxidants.
For large breed dogs like a Labrador Retriever, a large breed-specific dog food such as the Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Large Breed Dry Dog Food will be the best bet. This food supports bone growth, making them strong and healthy.
PetCareRx advises pet parents to choose high-quality food from trusted brands. It also suggests that they must consider their furry friends’ size, lifestyle, and life stage before buying dry or wet dog food.
#2 Supplement Wisely
A balanced diet is the cornerstone of good bone health in dogs. However, certain dogs require additional supplements to maintain healthy bones because they are at an increased risk of developing joint problems.
Factors like size, breed, previous illness or injury, or activity levels decide whether your Fido needs bone-building supplements.
Large and giant-breed dogs, such as the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever, are prone to hip dysplasia due to genetics. Adding a bone-building supplement to their diets early in life will be beneficial, as it will help maintain healthy bone formation during the growth phase. It will also prevent the softening of the bone or osteomalacia during development.
Besides supporting healthy growth, the right supplement will mitigate their risk of ligament rupture, which many large breed dogs are susceptible to.
Opt for supplements that contain glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin. Both substances alleviate pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and joint damage. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation and promote healthy joint lubrication in dogs. These are excellent for dogs of all ages.
You can skip supplements if you’re feeding your Fido commercial pet foods. That’s because they contain the right amount of nutrients needed to maintain healthy joints. In such cases, supplementing with additional minerals and vitamins could cause nutritional imbalance, which would impact bone growth.
Consulting a veterinarian is the best way to determine if your canine companion needs additional supplements for healthy bone growth and maintenance.
#3 Stay Consistent With Exercise
Whether you have an adult dog or a small dog, the key to keeping your dog healthy is plenty of exercise.
A great way to get started is to take your Fido on walks regularly. Playing a game of fetch for about 15 to 20 minutes every day is also beneficial for dogs of all ages. The act of chasing and catching the ball strengthens their legs while providing mental stimulation.
An excellent low-impact exercise that helps strengthen joints is swimming. Dogs with joint disorders such as dysplasia or arthritis benefit the most from this non-weight-bearing and non-concussive exercise.
Swimming is also considered therapeutic for canines recovering from a neurological or orthopedic injury. That’s because it aids recovery by facilitating blood circulation, strengthening joints, and fortifying muscles.
While exercise is important to maintain healthy joints, be sure not to overdo it. Keep an eye on your furry friend’s energy to know when to stop. Avoid exercises that require your Fido to push itself hard, as it could lead to injury.
#4 Maintain a Healthy Weight
It’s tempting for pet parents to spoil their canine companions with treats and wet foods. However, the high fat content in these foods can make your Fido obese, which will affect its joints.
Excess weight puts strain on the bones and joints of dogs. Besides affecting mobility, this increases their risk of developing conditions like hip dysplasia and arthritis. Therefore, maintaining your dog’s weight is vital to prevent joint-related issues.
As different breeds of dogs have different nutrient requirements, choosing breed-specific food is important to maintain a healthy weight. Don’t overfeed your Fido. Stick to the portion recommended by your veterinarian. Also, take them for walks regularly to prevent them from being obese.
As bones shield internal organs from damage and provide a rigid structure to the body, maintaining the bone health of dogs is important.
Simple changes in your Fido’s lifestyle can strengthen its bones. Opting for high-quality breed-specific commercial food, feeding the right supplements, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight will prevent bone-related issues in your canine companion and keep it healthy.
Regular veterinary check-ups are also recommended, as the vet can identify potential signs of joint-related conditions that could impact your canine companion’s bones.
For more tips about dogs and pugs, read our other blogs.