General Canine Advice - What Can You Do To Help
Tips & Information To Help Keep Your Dog In The Best State Possible!
Just by changing things in your dog's world you can help to slow down and limit stresses and strains on your dog's body.
Whilst occasional jumping on its own doesn't ordinarily cause joint issues its the repetitive explosive nature which causes the issues. Frisbee and ball throwing are notoriously bad on a dog's joints. Each time a dog jumps down, the load going through the front legs, shoulders and neck is huge. Eventually, this repetitive force starts to cause an overload.
There are other games you can play with your dog that not only means it gets the reward of the ball but also uses his brain as well. Great for tiring your furry friend out.
Its no great shock that carrying additional weight can increase the stress and strain on joints. Feed your dog the correct about of food, limit calorific treats or use treats out of their daily food allowance.
If you dog is feeling under the weather or has some niggles and is not as active as they could be this is the time when weight can be steadily increased leading to an overweight dog with more joint pain and discomfort.
Being overweight also decreases life expectancy so keeping your dog lean and within its correct weight will have life long beneficial effects!
About The Home!
There are lots of factors in the home which may be contributing to issues going on with our dog's muscular and joint systems.
Furniture is obstacle within our home environments that can cause an issue. Whether it is a chair, sofa or a bed, is built to a human scale. All of these items of furniture offer a comfortable alternative to a dog's own bed or the floor. The problem is that they are generally too high for a dog to step up onto, and step off easily. Because of this they present both a potential hazard, and a potentially perilous playground. Dogs are naturally extremely athletic and can jump, proportionally very high for their size. So their actual ability to jump onto furniture is generally not really an issue with medium to large dogs. But like all actions and activities, muscles and bones damage if the activity is repeated too often. Jumping up onto furniture can be marginally less harmful than jumping off. This is because when a dog jumps off, they land on their front legs. When they land their “wrist” hyperextends, or bends to absorb the load or force of the jump, like a spring. The shoulder muscles also act to cushion the load. Therefore limit the amount of jumping on and off furniture or lift the dog off.
Slippery floors within dog’s environment, or perhaps I should say, our environment, is actually filled with obstacles for the dog to confront and tackle. And we often do not consider how difficult it is for our dogs to navigate it. If we imagine ourselves as our dog, smaller with slippery shoes on our feet, we would have a better idea of how our homes could present potential hazards. One major obstacle is the slippery flooring we put down in our houses. It is great to clean dirty paws marks and clear up dog hair, but it causes major problems for our dogs, because a dog's feet are designed to gain grip and traction on softer surfaces. Laminate, marble and wooden floors can be very slippery and this means that when there is no grip, the dogs legs go in all directions. Therefore the simple addition or rugs and runners on slippery surfaces will be greatly appreciated by your furry friend.
Learning New Things
Dogs love to learn new things and like us quite easily get stuck in a rut with what they like and don't like. Learning new things is similar to enrichment and treat searches in that it gets the dog's brain working but having to think and using his body in different ways. Some ideas to consider are:
Raise The Dog Bowl
The height of a dog’s bowl for both eating and drinking is very important. There is a lot of discussion about suitable heights for dog bowls for intestinal health but also in relation to your dog's muscular system and comfort. The bowl should be positioned at a height that is comfortable and easy to use. Not all sizes of dogs will be comfortable at the same bowl height. It’s very individual based on a dog’s physical capability.
I am a great believer in enrichment for your dog because if gets your dog using his brain and mixes up his life for the good. Simple things such as treat searches is great for brain stimulation and this could be taken further in that you could ditch your dog's food bowl - not only great for getting them to use their noses to find their food so stimulating their senses it also helps improve their digestion by encouraging them to eat slower.
There are also lots of enrichment toys available which are great, affordable and easy to get.
There are lots of things that can be done to encourage your dog to use its brain and body in different ways - it could be by enrichment, learning new tricks and skill and even mixing up how your dog gets his exercise, for example if he is always on the lead try some off lead walking and vice versa.
Again, as always, happy to chat about how you can help at home!