Does Your Agility Dog Need Joint Care?

healthy joints with exerciseRegardless if you start your older dog or get a puppy to play with, all competitive agility dogs should have special attention paid to their overall health and that includes good joint care.  From what they eat to how they play and how much exercise they get, you need to make sure it is healthy for your individual dog’s breed, age and lifestyle because it will all play a part in the longevity of their joints.

For the puppy it will mean ensuring they get a healthy diet that promotes healthy growth of muscles, mind and joints.  It also means supervised exercise routines to be sure they don’t get too heavy a workout or access to jumping and large drops.  Both of which could cause permanent joint injuries to soft and developing joints or lead to future joint problems due to the abuse the bones and joints get while developing.

A healthy diet and appropriate exercise is equally important to the older dog.  Excess weight and lack of activity will have it’s toll on the joints as well.  Exercise nurtures the joints and keeps them healthy and agile while keeping your dog fit and trim so the joints are not strained by excess weight goes a long way to healthy joints. You want to avoid extreme exercise or over exertion in the older dog as you do with the puppy.  Be sure they have warm up time and if possible stretching before agility practice and competitions to avoid muscle, tendon and ligament strains.  A sore or injured dog will put more strain on the joints as it compensates for those injuries.  It will also benefit you and your dog if you can learn and implement massage to help relax muscles and keep the skeleton working correctly.

Depending on your dog’s work load, good quality dog joint supplements can help delay or even prevent joint problems in your dog.  You want to look for supplements that include Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Hyaluronic Acid and other effective joint support ingredients.  You will need to work with your vet to learn proper dosage for your dog at his level of work.  They can also provide you with good sources for your supplements.

Some other ways you can help protect and prolong good joint health in your dog is to have a dog ramp for your dog if there is a lot of height into his travel area to cut back on joint stress of jumping down onto hard surfaces.  If your dog shows signs of stiffness or soreness after competitions or practices a heated bed can help relax and heal those pains as well as massage.  And if you have a breed that is prone to joint issues, regular vet check ups are a must.  Early detection and treatment of joint issues can greatly prolong your dog’s comfort and mobility as the years creep in.

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