Our vets are passionate about joint comfort and good mobility for all pets! So, we’ve compiled a list of veterinary recommendations for keeping your pet’s joints in top form throughout their life.
Puppies and kittens
The best way to help your pet’s bones and joints to grow and develop healthily is to ensure they’re fed a balanced, complete diet appropriate for their age, with the correct levels of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. It’s recommended that large and giant breed puppies are fed a specific large breed puppy diet, designed to support the slower, steadier growth that is healthiest for them.
Our vets can provide personalised advice on the healthiest diet for your pet at their initial puppy and kitten vaccination appointments.
Keeping all pups and kittens in a lean, healthy body condition during growth will reduce excessive strain on their joints, and can reduce the likelihood of future joint problems.
For certain large breed puppies or any pet showing signs of joint discomfort, we may also recommend the option of hip x-rays to screen for potential joint conditions.
Even when your pet is fully grown, it’s recommended to keep them at a slim, healthy body weight to help maintain their healthiest joint condition.
If your pet has suffered a significant joint injury (such as a cruciate ligament tear), or has been diagnosed with a developmental joint condition (such as hip dysplasia), our vets will discuss options for joint support supplements, also known as chondroprotective agents. For a pet with an affected joint or joints, these supplements can reduce inflammation and cartilage damage, and help them to remain more mobile and comfortable in the long-term. Although they will generally benefit any pet with joint issues, for the best results, it’s recommended to start these supplements before your pet starts to show significant symptoms.
For dogs over eight years old, and cats over ten, we recommend six-monthly health checks, as many pets of this age will develop painful arthritis. As well as asking you about your pet’s general activities (such as their ability to jump and climb stairs), we’ll also perform an examination of their joint mobility and comfort.
If we find any joint problems, we can make recommendations on the safest and most effective joint support for your pet. This will usually involve varying combinations of:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs)
- Long-term joint pain relief injections
- Additional pain relief medications
- Chondroprotective injections and supplements
The best treatment option for your pet will depend on the severity of their joint problem, any other underlying health conditions, and your preferred mode of treatment administration (e.g. injections vs oral medications).
You can also support your elderly pet’s mobility at home by keeping their claws short and providing them with warm, padded bedding to sleep on. Elderly dogs will generally benefit from tracks of non-slip matting being placed over smooth floors.
At all ages, it’s recommended to exercise your pet daily at a level appropriate for their age and abilities, as this will support a healthy weight and keep their muscles strong for joint support.
For more personalised recommendations on supporting your pet’s joint health and comfort, consult our veterinary team.
Good quality of life for all pets? It’s a joint effort!