I don’t know who has more fun hunting - Trigger or me, man or dog? At 27-years-young, I can bounce back from a hunt in a no time, but Trigger started showing signs of slowing down at just 6-years-old. That might sound incredibly young, but keep in mind that dog years are calculated differently than human years. Within one human year, a large dog is already developmentally comparable to a 14-year-old. And while 6-years-old is practically still a baby in the human world, it is equivalent to around 45 in dog years.
Popular culture right now is all about promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle. This is based on the realization that people who commit to a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise tend to live healthier, happier and longer lives with less health problems. That very concept is true for your dog, except your dog's lifespan is already much shorter than yours, averaging about 10-13 years. What is more important than the amount of years your dog lives, is the quality of life those years offer.
Seeing Trigger slow down after a hunt at just 6 made me nervous to imagine the future. What would he look like at 8, 9 or 10? Every thing your dog eats, their overall physical fitness and weight play a role in the development of arthritis. That’s why identifying the early signs of arthritis in dogs is so beneficial to their long-term prognosis.
The Most Common Dog Arthritis Symptoms
Hunting is deeply embedded in my bones; I’ve been hunting birds with dogs since I was just a kid. Throughout the years I’ve seen first-hand how common it is for hunting dogs to start slowing down with age. I’ve learned how to identify the earliest stages of canine arthritis: like wanting to sleep more than normal, or that less-than-fluid motion that’ll take your dog's back legs hostage for a few days following a hunt.
The more canine arthritis has a chance to develop, the more noticeable the “clinical” signs become, such as:
- Your dog is limping on and off, or showing intermittent lameness
- You dog is not getting up when called, reluctant to move
- Joints are swollen, warm or tender to the touch
- Your dog appears stiff when walking, especially the day after a hunt or following other types of vigorous exercise
- Your dog is sleeping more than they used to
- Reluctance to participate in physical activities
- Weight gain
- Depression, irritability or otherwise not as happy as usual
- Gets aggressive or irritated when you touch certain parts of their body
- Loss of appetite
- Walking with their pelvis tucked under, or some other unusual stance
Canine arthritis tends to start off slow and gradually worsen with time. Some of the early warnings signs can indicate a wide range of issues, not just arthritis. Even if you are an extremely alert and diligent dog owner, it’s easy for arthritis to slip under the radar until it gets bad enough to cause your dog considerable pain. Dogs are well-known for hiding their discomfort.
If you see any signs at all that indicate your dog is slowing down, it is time to take the next steps towards treating the condition - such as choosing the right supplements for dogs with arthritis.
Treatment For Dogs With Arthritis
Even if you’re not 100% sure if your dog is developing arthritis, early forms of treatment, such as supplements for dogs with arthritis, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise, provides ample benefits.
While the earliest warning signs of arthritis in dogs doesn’t typically impact performance, agility or speed out in the woods, I know exactly where they lead. I remember my dad’s last dog, a white Field Setter that would zip around the property so fast all you’d see was a streak of white. As quick and agile as she was, I still recall the earliest warning signs that indicated what was to come.
Eventually, dogs get so stiff and weak they can no longer go out on hunts anymore. The look of pure sadness on their face as you pack up your gear and load it up into the truck will break your heart. Then there is that sinking feeling as you back out of the driveway, knowing your favorite old hunting pal is sitting by the window watching you drive off to hunt without them.
I don’t consider myself too much of a softy, but the thought of leaving Trigger behind one day just kills me inside. So my goal is to prevent this scenario from happening to Trigger for as long as possible, and I want to help do the same for your dog.
Maintaining Alpha Status With Alpha Dog
Alpha Dog Nutrition requires no prescription or trip to the vet, making it an excellent first step to pushing back the clock and extending the quality of life for your hunting dog. We worked with Dr. Susan Lauten PhD, an expert in animal nutrition, to formulate the perfect supplement for dogs with arthritis. Every last ingredient is specially tailored to the needs of active hunting dogs, making our product truly one of a kind. Plus it’s made in the USA!
Maintaining Alpha Status has never been so readily available. Learn more about Alpha Dog Nutrition today.
Vol. 2: Types Of Hunting Dogs Prone To Arthritis
Vol. 4: What Causes Arthritis In Dogs?