What You Need To Know About Your Dog & Arthritis

by Kimberly LeMaster

Your dog is your best furry friend, right? If he is, then caring for him when arthritis and other joint conditions, including hip dysplasia may require extra attention to certain areas. Supplements, exercises and vet care all play a great role in helping your dog’s stiff joints become a little more comfortable, but there are other things you can do in your own home that will make a big difference in your dog and his special care.

Changes in Home Care

Before you decide to help your dog up off the floor every time his joints lock up and his hind end slides out from under him, you can help him to help himself! If your dog is struggling on your hardwood floors you can help him with special doggy socks with soft rubber grippers on the bottom. Socks are made from a variety of manufacturers and can be found both online and in your local pet store. Even some department stores carry doggy socks! The socks are snug but comfortable and let your dog with joint problems or even hind end weakness to get himself up off the floor after his daytime snooze.dog_animal_cute

It can take your dog some time to get used to his new socks on his paws, but once he does there will be no slowing him down! Another comfort that will help a dog with arthritis and especially large dogs with painful joints is a special bed just for their condition! Dog beds are available that come with foams and even gels within its structure that provides support, comfort and even pain relief for sore and stiff joints.

If you enjoy sitting on the floor at your canine’s level, then the two of you may enjoy a few little exercises to help your dog’s joints stay more fluid in movement and can bring pain relief. With your dog in the down position and on his side, gently but firmly hold his paw on his back leg and slowly push it towards his stomach and allow the leg to relax back into normal position. You can do this a few times on each leg up to twice a day. You can do the same with your dog’s forelegs, but instead of lifting towards his stomach, you will lift towards his chin. Don’t force his legs to go if you feel resistance or if your dog seems to be in pain.

Supplements for Joints

Your dog doesn’t have to have joint pain to enjoy the benefits of supplements. It’s not uncommon to hear of a pet owner who competes with their dogs beginning joint supplements as early as 8 months of age! This is because the supplements used are safe, effective and all natural!

Fish oil is a popular choice to help a dog’s joints to stay healthy or as a therapy for dogs with joint diseases like arthritis. High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon oil is a popular choice and is sourced from wild Alaskan salmon. It has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce pain in the joints of dogs, from arthritic seniors to hard working cow dogs or agility competitors.

dogs_dog_animalA veterinarian’s choice supplement for a dog in need of joint repair, even for dysplastic canines is glucosamine with chondroitin and MSM. Many manufactured joint supplements on the market come with all three combined in a flavored tablet for your dog to enjoy. These three, when combined, will help to rebuild lost cartilage in the joints and protect them from further damage. You can’t go wrong with this combination!

Get Creative!

Your dog is relying solely on you to provide comfort, pain relief and health care so that he can remain happy and healthy. Not all dogs will tolerate socks, and some dogs refuse to sleep in any other bed than your own! That’s okay! It just means you need to put on your thinking cap and get creative on other ways you can help your dog, such as putting down rugs on your slippery floor or doggy steps leading to your bed. Don’t give up, your pooch is depending on you!

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All Ground Meat & A Paw Full of Coconut!

Every week a new batch of doggy dinners are made up for the 3 furkids. This batch is made up of using only ground meats and some high quality supplements that I can’t wait to talk about.

First, you need 2 pounds of ground meat. This go around I have grass fed angus beef and natural turkey!

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Secondly, you need some super-supplements!

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This particular supplement by TaylorHappy has quickly turned into my go-to for glucosamine and MSM. It includes some other helpful and even required nutrients for dogs. If you have’t seen it already, check out my review on this product!

Next, all complete doggy meals require some form of organ meat. However, seeing as organ meat can be pretty time consuming chopping up, especially liver, I sometimes like to supplement fresh, raw liver with this handy-dandy super supplement called Super Gravy! Don’t let the title of this item fool you – it’s not animal fat and flour. Actually, it’s main contents are made up from concentrated beef and bison liver. To make it even better, the ingredients also include organic beef heart, chia seed, beef kidney and organic veggies like carrot and pumpkin.

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Super Gravy is super healthy, but the dogs think it’s a super treat! They happily like the powder right off my hand!

Of course the final ingredient has to be coconut! Not just any coconut, but organic coconut flour all measured out in my brand new Paw Print measuring cup from the Animal Rescue Site! This measuring cup came with a set, actually and is quite useful when making dog food! Easy to clean and they cups collapse!

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Mix all together, add a little water to help the food stay moist and then the fun part – digging your hands in a forming balls! The way we feed our pooches is by making a handful of the mixture into a ball, then putting that ball into a container or freezer bag. Once we’ve made them all – and this mixture made about 12 balls – they go straight into the freezer! Easy to make, easy to clean up and the dogs absolutely love it.

 

Crate Training Puppies; The Easiest Way to Teach Your Puppy to Love His Crate!

Have you ever tried to go to sleep with your puppy’s crate next to your bed, but find yourself restless because of his consistent whines? How many of you give up and end up letting your puppy in bed with you for the night? You really can teach your puppy how to love his crate and enjoy being in it on his own to sleep in, settle in while you are away, or to travel in with easy and fun training games!

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Most people like to think of crate training as the same thing as house breaking their new puppy. That simply is not the case! Crate training is just another tool in the toolbox of potty training, and is only one part of the entire training process. Crate training is helping your puppy feel comfortable, relaxed and confident in his own environment, and does not necessarily always need an actual crate!

The idea behind crate training is more open than just using a metal cage that you bought at the local pet store. You can use a puppy play pen or even a small room that you puppy can be confined in. You may wish to use a crate at night for you puppy to sleep soundly without the possibility of a potty accident and a larger pen or small room during the day when you cannot keep your eye on him at all times. Use versatility in crate training to fit your life style ad your puppy’s needs to make it a real success!

Set Your Puppy Up For Success!

Before you begin, make sure that the crate you are using has enough room for a bed or blanket and your puppy is able to turn around, stand, and lie down comfortably. Next, you should know, understand and accept that you should never, ever force a puppy into his crate! If you pick him up, shove him into his crate, shut the door and walk away all you did was teach him to fear the crate! This is the exact opposite of what you want, as the crate should never be used as any type of punishment for any reason, even if you did not realize that you were punishing you dog.

Condition your puppy to love his crate and make him want to go in when you ask him to through positive reinforcement. The training game is simple, and starts with just a handful of super yummy treats. Show your puppy that you have treats, and lay one just on the inside of the crate door. When he reaches in to get it, either click your clicker or say a quick “Yes!” to mark the correct behavior of IMG_3923his head going in. Picking up and eating the treat is his reward. Continue doing this, and as he gets more comfortable, start tossing the treat further into the crate until he has to step all the way in to get it, and turn around to come back out. For every second that he stays in the crate after eating the treat, give him another click or “Yep!” and hand him a treat.

Add in a vocal command when you toss in the treat, such as “Go to bed!” and continue with this training game. Make each game last no more than 5 minutes and you can do it a few times a day! At this rate, most puppies become crate trained within about 3 to 5 days. Move at his pace and stay within his comfort zone for sure success!

With practice you will be able to tell your puppy to go into his crate, mark the behavior once he is in and then give him the treat! Then you can start working on closing the door. Give your voice command, and mark the behavior of him going in, but don’t give him the treat just yet! Close the door without latching it and hand him the treat through the bars. This reinforces the door being closed and shows him that being inside the crate is what gets him the reward, not coming out of it!

The Crate In Use

There is a time to use the crate and a time when other measures should be taken. For example, if you intend to leave your puppy home alone all day, don’t confinehim to such a small space with no ability to eliminate. Instead, use the same conditioning technique as crate training to help him become comfortable in a large puppy play pen or room with a dish of water, a few toys and a comfy bed. Don’t forget to ask a friend, family member or neighbor to stop in to take your puppy potty every few hours! Proper use of the crate, such as keeping your puppy quiet, relaxed and sleeping throughout the night or to confine him for your half an hour errand run with the addition of continued positive reinforcement will help your puppy love his crate!