As winter approaches, our thoughts turn to mobility and we’re reminded that older, stiff dogs aren't the only ones who can experience mobility impairments - younger dogs too can show signs of joint stiffening once temperatures begin to drop.
But how do you know what joint supplement is right for your dog?
The pet supplement market is booming and with so much available, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of information – we know this from personal experience. So, we asked veterinary experts to break it down for us.
Spotting changes to your dog’s mobility & what it means
As we transitioned from summer to autumn and the weather gradually cooled, your dog might have already started to show signs of joint stiffness, subtle or otherwise.
Experts tell us that the signs our dogs will show us may vary depending on their age, adding, “It’s important to care for your dogs’ joints (and health!) whatever age they are. The healthier they are today, the healthier they are tomorrow!”
According to their veterinary team, these are some of the most important questions we should ask to spot the signs of mobility changes in our dogs.
Owners of older dogs should answer the following questions:
- Is your dog starting to lag behind on walks?
- Are they more reluctant to walk, jump and play?
- Is your dog sleeping more?
- Do they seem stiff or have trouble getting up after a rest?
- Are they looking uncomfortable?
Since joint and mobility concerns can affect dogs of all ages, owners of younger dogs aren’t excluded from the conversation either. They should monitor their dog’s mobility and consider:
- Does your dog take a while to recover after exercise?
- Are fast growth and over-activity putting a strain on your young dog’s joints?
- Are they often injured?
- Or are they looking uncomfortable?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then it might be time to consider finding a supplement to help.
This is very important to look for when choosing a dog joint supplement
Once you know if your dog is beginning to show signs of stiffness you can begin to look for a comprehensive joint supplement that’s tailored to their age and needs.
Here are the three most important pieces of advice for dog owners we learnt after speaking with experts.
1. Don’t underestimate the value of a product’s clinical proof.
“Using a product that is clinically proven is a way to ensure that its ingredients have been tested and proven to work – at the end of the day you want to see (and your dog wants to feel) the difference!”
2. Look for a comprehensive supplement.
“A comprehensive joint supplement with Glucosamine/Chondroitin will not only support the structure of the joint, but will also support mobility and provide comfort for a dog’s stiff joints as well. Another ingredient to look for is Green Lipped Mussel. ”
3. Know the purity of the ingredients in the supplement.
“The quality and purity of the ingredients is also important to ensure maximum efficacy (which will help your dog get the maximum response achievable from a supplement).”
How long do dog joint supplements take to work?
Once you begin giving your dog a supplement, you might not be sure how long it will take to see signs of effectiveness, so we asked the experts.
They told us it generally will take 4-6 weeks to see changes, but in some cases, dog owners have reportedly seen positive changes within 7 days – it completely depends on the individual and the signs a dog will display to show if a supplement is working will be just as unique.
Remembering what your dog’s initial signs of joint stiffness were, look for signs of mobility stresses changing.
For example, if your dog was having difficulty to get up or roll over from a lying down position, then monitor this one action and see if they’re able to move from the same position without the same struggles you first noticed.
Pet experts also say there can be visible signs in how a dog responds to normal daily activities and their behaviour.
“We get great feedback from customers saying things like their dog is active and excited to go for walks and jumping on the bed/sofa/car. While for other dogs, it may be that they get up quicker and easier, or that they have energy on walks.”
If your dog isn’t showing signs of joint stiffness just yet, consider preventative care
Supplements are a very good natural way to give your dog some added assistance when needed or preventatively.
Experts remind us that younger, active dogs can benefit from supplements too, which might help them before they reach middle age.
My own dog, Mia is now 12 and was very active in her younger to middle ages playing football and running around outdoors chasing tennis balls. About five or six years ago, we started upping her supplement intake to try and give her a bit of preventative assistance along the way, so she has spent a few years navigating her way to supplements to support her in her older age.
Experts say, “Using a joint supplement designed for younger, active and growing dogs would be ideal. Young dogs that are super active, doing things like agility and putting additional pressure on their joints need extra protection. Large breeds or breeds that are more pre-disposed to joint stiffness will also benefit from taking a joint supplement.”