Many dog breeds have genetic predispositions to a variety of different health problems. Golden Retrievers happen to be prone to a variety of joint problems including hip and elbow dysplasia as well as osteoarthritis. Dysplasia issues are developmental in origin whereas arthritis develops with age, but there are some similar steps you can take to help support the health of your Golden Retriever’s joints throughout their life.
4 Strategies for Maintaining Your Golden Retriever's Joint Health
1. Weight Management
Extra pounds on overweight or obese dogs puts excessive pressure on their joints which can result in cartilage breakdown and decreased joint fluid production. Maintaining your pet at a healthy weight is one of the best ways to prevent arthritis, as well as a variety of other health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
2. Regular Activity
Keeping your pet in good physical shape with regular activity can help keep the joint fluid healthy and productive, which helps to prevent their joints from stiffening up as they age. Additionally, keeping pets in good physical condition will help to promote strong muscles that better support their joints, improve balance, and reduce the risk of injury.
3. Joint-Friendly Exercise
While it’s important for your dog to get plenty of exercise, it’s best to choose appropriate activities that won’t put excessive stress on their joints. For example, running a puppy too hard or taking an older dog for a long walk on hard pavement is not recommended. Instead, try playing fetch in the grass, walking on a soft track (if you have one in your neighborhood), or taking your dog for a swim.
4. Complete and Balanced Nutrition
Like all parts of your pet’s health, joint health is directly related to nutrition. Feeding a diet that meets AAFCO’s complete and balanced standards and is appropriate for their size and age will promote optimal bone and joint health. This is especially important for puppies while their bones are actively developing. Once they have matured (usually around 12 months), switching to an adult food is also important to help maintain a healthy weight as they advance into their adolescence and later years.
5. Joint Supplements
Conditions such as arthritis can be prevented, managed, or even slowed with proven joint supplements. Dogs who are at high risk for joint problems are working dogs, agility dogs or dog’s with underlying musculoskeletal conditions and can benefit the most from starting joint supplements early in life. Older dogs could also benefit from supplements, even if they are not pounding the pavement every day, as it is estimated that 20% of dogs will experience arthritis in their lifetime. Talk with one of our veterinarians about adding a joint health supplement to your Golden Retriever’s diet.
Heartworm Screening and Prevention With Our Veterinarians in Sleepy Hollow
At Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital, we are proud to provide our patients with highly personalized care. We tailor our veterinary care to the specific needs of each individual animal based on their age, species, breed, medical history, and current condition, ensuring we provide them with everything they need to have their best chance at living a full, healthy, and happy life.
To learn more about the comprehensive, personalized care available for pets at Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital or to schedule your pet’s next checkup with us, we welcome you to contact our office today.