With no voice of his own, there’s a lot you probably don’t know about your dog. He can’t tell you what he’s thinking or how he’s feeling, but it’s your responsibility to figure it out anyway. Sometimes it’s as easy as filling up a bowl of food, but more often, your dog’s secrets are harder to uncover. Joint pain is one of those secrets dogs are especially good at hiding. They live with pain for months and even years without their families knowing. As they fight to mask their pain, it gradually gets worse. Eventually, the pain is so bad they can no longer pretend everything is okay. By this point, there isn’t a lot that can help—the damage is done. You can avoid this scenario by paying close attention to your dog’s behavior and actions. He might be giving you subtle clues that something isn’t right. It’s your job to answer the question, “Is my dog suffering from joint pain?”
What Causes Joint Pain?
Joint pain most often affects older dogs, but that doesn’t mean younger dogs are immune. Dogs as young as one year old can struggle with pain in one or more of their joints. Regardless of age, joint pain happens because the cushion in the joints (called cartilage) wears away. In healthy dogs, cartilage is supple and elastic and allows the bones in joints to move freely and painlessly. As that cartilage deteriorates, it loses its lubricating properties. The bones are left to grate and grind against each other. This causes inflammation that leads to pain and inhibited movement.
Damage to the cartilage is progressive, and once it starts, it cannot be undone. It can only get worse until the cartilage is completely gone. Sometimes it starts with an injury that puts extra strain on a joint, and other times, genetics are to blame. Most often, however, cartilage suffers from normal wear and tear as a dog ages. The hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows are the joints most commonly affected, but joint pain can happen anywhere, including the spine.
Is Your Dog Suffering?
For dogs, hiding pain is instinctual. Researchers think it relates back to life in a pack where weak pack members risked slowing down the pack or being left behind. You know you would never leave your dog behind because of joint pain, but that doesn’t change his instinct to keep quiet. He does his best to hide it, but there are subtle hints that a dog is suffering. Here are a few of the most common signs:
- Unwillingness to exercise or do other activities they used to enjoy
- Slow to stand up
- Trouble climbing stairs
- Yelping or whining when touched
- Obsessive licking of specific joints
- Sudden and unexpected aggression
As the pain gets worse, so will these symptoms. If you notice your dog showing more than one sign on this list, there’s a good chance he’s secretly suffering.
What You Can Do About It
Once a dog starts experiencing joint pain, there is no cure. It will be something they’ll have to cope with for the rest of their life. But that doesn’t mean they have to live the rest of their life in pain. There are several ways to control and manage your dog’s joint pain. The first step is to talk to your veterinarian. Sometimes prescription medications can help, but also talk to your vet about more natural ways to bring your dog relief.
Obesity not only makes joint pain worse, it can even be the cause. Joints are in charge of holding up the body, and when that body has a lot of extra fat, the job gets significantly more difficult. Extra weight puts unnecessary strain on your dog’s joints, and it can hasten the deterioration of cartilage. You can slow it down by helping your pup stay at a healthy weight. Talk to your vet about what his goal weight should be and what you can do to get him there.
Whether a dog suffers from joint pain or not, regular exercise is always an important part of their health. For your dog suffering from chronic joint pain, moving around on a daily basis will help keep joints moving smoothly. It’s important to remember, however, not all forms of exercise will be good for your dog’s joints. Fast running, long walks, and jumping will put too much strain on his compromised joints. That kind of intense exercise can make pain worse. Talk to your vet about safe forms of exercise like slow walks and swimming.
Your dog’s diet can help relieve his joint pain if you know what to feed him. Most vets recommend a dietary supplement including glucosamine with chondroitin. Glucosamine is one of the main “ingredients” in cartilage. It has lubricating properties that can help keep joints moving smoothly. A daily dose of glucosamine in your dog’s dish won’t regrow his cartilage, but it will help protect what he still has. For a good supplement, check out Project Paws™ Hip & Joint collection at iHeartDogs.com.
CBD Oil for Pain Relief
CBD oil is a compound found in cannabis, and researchers and veterinarians are just starting to understand its potential for pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory properties. When CBD enters the body, it bonds with specific receptors that are part of the body’s endocannabinoid system. Responsible for all health and healing, the endocannabinoid system has receptors all throughout the body. They communicate in ways that trigger specific reactions to correct imbalances and promote healing. In the case of joint pain, CBD oil instructs the body to reduce inflammation that causes pain. The result is less pain in the joints so the dog can move freely and easily.
Choosing CBD Oil for Your Dog
When choosing CBD oil for your dog, it’s important to choose a product that is organic and made specifically for your canine friend. Cannanine™ Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil from Hemp is made from organically grown Colorado hemp. It’s tested and retested for heavy metals, mold, and other toxins to ensure you know exactly what you’re giving your dog. Pet owners whose dogs used to limp and whine with joint pain, report that they’ve started living their best lives shortly after beginning a CBD regimen. In addition to the oil that can be dripped directly on your dog’s food, there are also Cannanine™ Bacon Flavor Soft Chews. These chews are great for picky eaters and can be used in combination with the oil or in place of it. Talk to your vet about using CBD oil to stop your dog suffering from chronic joint pain.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.