Watching your dog lose his mobility can be heartbreaking. Suddenly, your formerly active four-legged friend is unable to run, play, climb stairs or otherwise act like the dog you used to know. For dogs, just like for people, mobility is a key factor in a happy, healthy life.
Fortunately, there are many easy and effective ways to keep your dog active and pain-free. Let’s take a look at the warning signs you may see in your dog, which indicate various mobility problems. Then we’ll cover four great natural remedies you’ll want to know about.
Common Signs of Mobility Problems
Joint, hip and other mobility issues can occur in any breed and age of dog. So if your dog currently is young and active, you’ll still want to take steps to prevent problems from developing in the future.
Certain types of dogs have an elevated risk for mobility problems:
- Large breeds such as German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers and more
- Active dogs such as sled dogs, service dogs and other “working” animals
- Dogs over the age of seven
1. Physical Exercise
Dogs who are overweight and in poor physical shape move less than healthier dogs. Unfortunately, excess weight can put a lot of strain on joints. This not only leads to pain, but the dog will be less inclined to stay active. This can be a vicious cycle where your dog continually grows more obese, moves less and hurts more.
Young, healthy dogs have a lot of exercise options such as going on walks, swimming, playing fetch and even running obstacles courses. With older dogs, you’ll want to minimize the intensity by sticking to low-impact activity. Gentle walks on level surfaces will help your dog lose weight without bothering their joints.
Other types of physical therapy you might want to try include water therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy. You’ll likely want to ask your vet for help in finding qualified pet care professionals in your area. Some of these conditions are covered by certain types of pet insurance.
2. Essential Oils
There are a variety of non-toxic oils that can help your senior pets. These oils can either be placed directly on the pet or used similarly to aromatherapy. Some common oils include:
- Wintergreen, chamomile and camphor – This topical blend helps ease discomfort along the spine.
- Chamomile – Helps reduce inflammation. Can be used topically or as aromatherapy.
- Peppermint – This anti-spasmodic stimulates circulation and helps treat symptoms of arthritis.
3. Natural Foods
This is another area when you’ll want to consult with your vet for advice. Generally speaking, however, you’ll want to give your dog high-quality pet food. This means the first ingredient listed is a protein instead of corn, wheat or another grain.
Avoid giving your dog people food! This includes uncooked meat and even bones, which can cause throat damage and even contribute to pancreatitis. Only feed your pet foods that are specifically formulated for dogs.
4. Mobility Supplements
Dog food is usually not enough to maintain your dog’s health. You’ll want to supplement their diet with supplements such as:
- Glucosamine – Helps rebuild lost cartilage while also restoring joint fluid.
- Vitamin C – Improve nerve function while reducing general inflammation.
- Elk Velvet Antler – This powder supplement improves joint lubrication, kidney function and immune system health.
Helping your dog regain lost mobility doesn’t have to involve expensive, complicated surgical procedures. Natural methods including exercise, a healthy diet, essential oils and supplements can reduce pain, improve mobility and generally help your dog enjoy life again.