What Types Of Hunting Dogs Are More Prone To Arthritis And Why?
Certain hunting dogs are more prone to canine arthritis because of genetic predispositions, improper cartilage development, body type and past injuries. For instance, take my 6-year-old hunting dog Trigger. He is an English Setter, an awesome breed but with a known predisposition to canine arthritis. He can hunt with the best of ‘em, but I know I’ve got to take the right steps to keep him going strong for many more years.
Trigger is only 6 and I already see signs of ageing following a hunt. It started off as stiffness in his hips but my concerns increased when "my shadow" disappeared. On a typical day, Trigger follows me everywhere I go, but I soon began noticing that after a hunt he wasn’t so keen on shadowing my every move. Instead, he’d stay where he was for about 15 minutes to see if I was coming back before following in pursuit.
I’m not going to lie; this brought literal pangs to my heart! Just a couple of years ago Trigger could hunt like no tomorrow and bounce back to normal - no signs of stiffness or soreness the next day.
If you’re noticing stiffness, soreness, mood or behavioral changes following a hunt, you might be wondering if your dog is developing arthritis. Arthritis typically starts off slow, especially since dogs tend to hide when they're in discomfort. If caught early on, there are steps you can take to decrease damaging inflammation.
The Most Common Causes Of Arthritis In Dogs
Abnormal rubbing within the joint is the leading cause of arthritis in dogs. There are several potential factors that can cause this to occur, including:
- Ligament damage: Any type of ligament damage can increase the risk for arthritis, for instance an old injury or overuse/repetitive movements
- Improper cartilage development: This leads to imbalances and a greater risk for ligament damage
- Damage caused by trauma: Lingering side effects following a traumatic injury can lead to the development of arthritis
Are Certain Types Of Hunting Dogs More Prone To Arthritis?
Yes! Every dog breed can develop arthritis, but certain breeds are at a greater risk. Some of the best hunting dogs are born with a predisposition to canine arthritis—like my beloved Trigger (currently pestering me to play right now). Enough of this blogging-thing, Dad!
Dogs are more likely to develop arthritis for a number of reasons, including genetic predisposition to hip or elbow dysplasia, size and weight or chondrodystrophoid.
Dog Breeds More Prone to Arthritis Due to Hip or Elbow Dysplasia:
- English Setter
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- German Shepherds
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
Hip and elbow dysplasia both result in improper cartilage development, which makes a dog more susceptible to arthritis. This is the case for Trigger; English Setters are commonly impacted by hip and elbow dysplasia. Both conditions cause improper joint development, increased risk of inflammation, and ultimately arthritis.
Dog Breeds More Prone to Arthritis Due to Weight and Size:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Some English Setters
Large dogs are more prone to arthritis because of the additional stress joints are forced to carry around. All large dogs are at a greater risk, but obese dogs are at the greatest risk of all. Certain dog breeds, like the Rottweiler, are so densely muscled that they are too heavy for their frame, leading to joint deterioration.
Dog Breeds More Prone to Arthritis Due to Chondrodystrophoid:
- Basset Hound
Chondrodystrophoid is a disorder that causes improper cartilage formation. Instead of developing the tough connective tissues needed for proper bone growth, chondrodystrophoid causes characteristically angular limb deformities and often very short legs. These issues promote congenital joint and cartilage disorders, like elbow incongruity or patellar luxation; conditions with the potential to lead to joint deterioration at any stage of life.
Note: Just because your dog’s breed is not listed above does not mean they don’t fall under these categories. Try conducting a Google search of your dog’s breed followed by arthritis (Ex: Black Lab arthritis) and you might be surprised what comes up.
How To Help Hunting Dogs Avoid Painful Arthritis
I have seen first-hand how even a little bit of pain and soreness changes Trigger’s mood and, at times, even dampens his pride. There’s no doubting that canine arthritis brings about physical and emotional pain. I know good and well that once a dog starts showing signs of age-related pain, it’ll only get worse unless you do something to slow down the progression.
So I began learning about every available joint supplement for dogs in hopes of finding the right product for Trigger. In the midst of my hunt for quality nutrition for hunting dogs, I quickly discovered disappointment. Every supplement on the market was geared to all dogs; a one-size fits all solution to a problem that is anything but.
Just think of all the hard work your dog puts in on a hunt: all of that running, jumping, and leaping. Sure, it keeps them happy, fit and young, but it also puts a considerable amount of strain on joints, limbs and bones. The extra exertion requires a nutrient-rich diet specially formulated to hunting dogs.
So for the love of Trigger, and every other hunting dog out there, I embarked on a mission (some might call crazy, but I call absolutely necessary) to develope Alpha Dog Nutrition. The result? A high quality nutritional supplement formulated specifically for hunting dogs. Which leads us to…
Best Dog Arthritis Supplements For Hunting Dogs
Dogs don’t live long enough to begin with, so like every devoted dog lover, I want Trigger to get the most out of every year he’s got. That’s why I created Alpha Dog Nutrition. I feel blessed to say it’s made a difference. We notice Trigger’s stride is more fluid and less forced the day after a hunt. Plus, he more readily bounces back as my shadow, following me everywhere I go. For the best results, pair Alpha Dog Nutrition with weight control and regular exercise.
We’d love to help your beloved hunting dog find the same relief as Trigger!
Vol. 1: What Is Arthritis In Dogs? The Different Causes & Types Of Canine Arthritis
Vol. 3: The Early Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs & How To Treat Canine Arthritis