There are various dog breeds in a sporting group, ranging from Cocker Spaniel, to Labrador Retriever and a Pointer. These breeds are often classified as gun dogs as well, used for hunting birds or small game. So their main activity includes a lot of running, leaping and even swimming, and that can cause some side effects.
The dog jumps cause similar pressure on joints as human ones, for which it was measured that the pressure caused can be up to 10xbodyweight. You might know or not know, that dogs have 113 more bones in their body than humans do, and a great number of those bones are actually joints.
All joints could be sorted in two categories, synarthroses (fibrous, very little or no movement) and diarthroses (freely movable). Taking this into consideration, you can see that a lot of that could go wrong, as joints are mostly dependent one on another, so it is enough that one joint at least cracks and the whole system might suffer.
Gun dogs sustain extreme pressure put on their joints, so it is important to take some actions, in order to keep them from arthritis and other medical conditions that could occur. But how can we keep our dog with healthy joints and bone disease free?
What are the Joint Diseases that Your Dog could Suffer from?
Few joint degenerations might occur, with most common being osteoarthritis (chronic inflammation) and arthritis as well. Though these happen mostly to older dogs, it can occur in younger aged ones as well both due to genetics, and joint overpressure.
Symptoms are mostly decreased motion and stiff gait, as well as joint swelling. Once that disease is diagnosed, it has to be treated, as if not it could lead to more serious conditions, even potential early death, and there are few ways do approach it:
- Surgeries are a common way to at least slow the progression of the disease, mostly including joint removal/replacement or some other reconstructive procedures.
- Also physical therapy is really important, to increase the motion range of that joint, mostly done through massage, though swimming is also common. Exercise should be included as well, just be careful not to over force your dog.
- Some even suggest cold and heat therapy, using pads, to manage dog joint and muscles pain.
- At the end there are longer-term drugs that could be used to reduce inflammation, pain or swelling successfully. Of course do not use these ones, if your veterinarian did not tell you to.
If you could not affect the occurrence of bone disease, then it is the best to do everything in your power to slow it down and treat it step by step. But, if your dog is still relatively healthy, it is important to keep that, and there are few ways to maintain joint health.
How to Maintain Healthy Joints?
So as we said joint diseases are common, both in old dogs and in some younger ones, that have their joints exposed to high pressure. If you are an owner of the gun dog, this might be the case, so the best you can do is to prevent any possible issue, by maintaining the health of your dog’s joints:
Exercise is the first and best thing that you can do to protect your dog. But we are not talking about time to time exercise, which most of the people like to practice. No, this has to be throughout the whole year. Having your dog do some running and catching every day, will help him get a toned, muscular body, needed to hold bones and joints at their place. It is more than normal, that your dog gets injured if you take him to hunt after your dog has not done anything, but laying under the table or on the couch, for last few months.
Providing your dog, a healthy and balanced diet is the second best choice you can make. The diet would need to include mostly protein and fats, being omega 3 healthy ones. Though this diet is much more expensive than feeding your dog granules, it will be worth it believe us. Also, do not overdo even if it is a healthy diet, as the last thing that you need is an obese dog, vulnerable and open to even more possible medical conditions.
Do not shy away from giving your dog some vitamin and mineral supplements, as in normal doses it cannot hurt him. Look for the ones containing glucosamine as well as chondroitin, and increased intake of D vitamin and calcium is recommendable as well.
At last, do not be scared to take your dog to the veterinarian. The first thing you should do as a dog owner is to appoint few visitations a year, just to check if everything is okay, even if you feel that your dog is 100 % healthy. Along with that if the possible injury might have occurred, do not do anything until veterinarian takes a look and conducts X-Ray testing.
If you are a dog owner you should be really happy, as they truly are our best friends. So if you already got one, it would be nice that you do your best in keeping him happy and healthy as well, by spending time with your dog and supplying him everything that he needs for a healthy life.
As we said a lot of breeds belong to gundog group, and those dogs often sustain serious joint pressure, especially if they have not had any intense activities for a while. This could lead to serious joint degenerations, which could develop really fast, and break down the whole body of your dog.
So by doing everything in your hands to prevent this, you are doing both a great thing for your dog and yourself, by securing a long friendship between you two.