The cold weather is here, at least for this week, as I am reminded every morning when I get out of bed. Wait, maybe that’s just old age. Anyway, I noticed that Karma seems to be stretching more lately. I think maybe I should do the same. Karma is better than I at that. But, on a serious note, older dogs do have more aches and pains, just like we older people do. They just don’t complain as much. Following are a few tips to help them out during the cold winter months.
What you can do
- Don’t be too quick to dismiss your old dog’s inactivity or stiffness as normal for his age; he might have an acute condition that requires treatment.
- Have your older dog examined by your holistic veterinarian twice a year and discuss your dog’s diet and supplements with the vet.
- Try an improved diet and natural, gentle treatment before using prescription pharmaceuticals.
- Vitamin C helps many dogs with arthritis; use sodium ascorbate, rather than ascorbic acid.
Diet is the key
Good quality protein – based on its digestibility and completeness of its amino acid composition – is at the nutritional core of arthritis prevention. However, many commercial dog foods (especially the inexpensive ones) are made with poor quality ingredients.
Whether you care for an arthritic elder or are planning long-term prevention strategies for a new puppy, start feeding the best food you can afford right now. At the very least, avoid foods that use by-products (meat and grain) as their main ingredients, and those with chemical preservatives or artificial flavorings.
Going with glucosamine
If, like my dog Karma, your companion is already experiencing the effects of old injuries or chronic arthritis, you should consider glucosamine.
At the very least, most dogs will need at least 350mg of glucosamine each day to realize the benefits of the supplement, but those with pre-existing joint problems may need considerably more. I have found that Karma likes the liquid, and it seems to work a little quicker, plus it’s very easy, just add it to the food.
Last but not least
The last line of defense is the proper type and amount of exercise. It is very important that like any athlete, your dog needs to stretch and warm up before any strenuous exercise. Stiff joints and sleepy muscles are easily injured.