As your dog ages, it may not be as active or mobile as before. While this is a natural part of aging, your dog may be experiencing joint problems that cause pain and discomfort. Regardless of age, your dog still deserves to enjoy years of fun and freedom without the aches, and joint supplements are available to help ease the pain.
However, if you're like most caring and responsible dog owners, you'll want to ensure that the supplement is safe and effective. If you're considering a supplement, but aren't completely convinced, we have some facts that may set your mind at ease. Here are six common questions and answers about dog joint health and treatment that may help you decide:
1. What causes joint problems in dogs?

Joint problems in dogs are commonly categorized as developmental or degenerative. Developmental problems occur because a joint does not develop correctly, resulting in problems like hip or elbow dysplasia.
Degenerative problems cover a number of medical conditions that occur later in life. The most common cause is cruciate ligament problems, or problems of the knee, which often occur due to torn or stretched ligaments. Over time, dogs experience instability and secondary osteoarthritis, something that is very common among older, inactive, and overweight dogs. 
 2. What are signs of joint problems?
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Since dogs can't tell us where or when they hurt, it's important that you look out for certain behaviors. These include the following:

  • Trouble standing up and laying down
  • Difficulty jumping up on the couch or in the car 
  • Walking up and down steps slowly
  • Limping or dragging legs when walking
  • Inability to run or play for long periods of time
3. How can joint supplements help my dog?

Joint supplements serve as an additional source of nutrition and a method to control symptoms of joint pain. They include ingredients that help repair cartilage and reduce the development of arthritis, while increasing your dog's mobility. In other words, they will keep your dog healthier and pain-free longer and stunt the onset of any conditions.
4. Do joint care supplements have any side effects?

Many joint supplements are safe for use in all dog breeds and very few side effects have been observed. Certain ingredients can cause adverse reactions, such as occasional diarrhea or vomiting. Speak to your veterinarian before use.
5. How long can I keep my dog on a joint supplement?

In most cases, dogs can safely remain on a joint supplement for the rest of their lives. Monitor your dog's progress when taking the pill. You may find it necessary to decrease or increase the dosage, but again, be sure to speak to your veterinarian first.
6. What else can I do to help ease my dog's discomfort?

There are many things you can do to help ease your dog's pain. Make sure your dog eats a healthy diet (both in terms of nutritional value and amount) and exercises moderately every day. You can also be sure to keep your dog's toenails clipped properly so that they can walk correctly.
If you think that your dog may be suffering from joint problems, take them to the vet immediately. They will be able to recommend a diet, exercise regimen, and other methods of relief for your best friend. Joint supplements may be just what your dog needs to live a fuller, heathier life!