Dog’s Diet and Joint Health

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, so you can’t just weigh them to decide if they are overweight. You have to look at their body shape and assess body fat before deciding your dog's diet plan.

Is Your Dog Overweight?

So, does your dog have a potbelly? Viewed from above, does your dog have a waist? That is, does the body taper down after the rib cage? Can you easily feel your dog’s ribs?

No waist, a bit of a paunch, and a well-cushioned rib cage means it is time to take action. First of all, it's important to focus on your dog's diet to help their ideal joint health. What most people call an average “chubby” dog is usually at least 15% overweight. Most veterinarians report nearly 50% of all dogs visiting their clinics are overweight. So the odds are very good that setting up a diet program for your dog will be helpful.  

Any extra weight can increase pressure on your dog’s joints and hips. This can cause some pain or distress and negatively impact mobility. In addition, this excess weight could weaken your dog’s joint support as they age.  

Your Dog's Diet Plan

You need to know how many calories your dog needs daily to know how much to feed them. Don’t just use the information on the food bag to set up an ideal dog's diet. As a result, you may end up feeding them 20 to 30% too much by following the instructions. The best step is to ask your veterinarian to confirm the number of calories your dog ideally needs each day.

The most important weight-related tool in the fight for a dog’s joint health is a measuring cup. Too many people just fill the bowl or guess the amount. Many dog foods contain 60% or more carbohydrates. A weight loss and fitness process with a higher protein/low carb diet can be a great first step.

Your Dog's Diet and Exercise

Once your dog's diet has been established, it's time to look to see If your dog’s joints or hips are in less than ideal shape. Once you are confident their joints can be helped by exercise, make certain to have them warm up a bit before starting. Your dog's joint health is also enhanced by having them them wind down after exercise and before stretching activities.

An example of a positive joint support exercise process for your dog might look like this:

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    Have your dog walk slowly for a while and then increase the tempo for 2-3 minutes
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    Let your dog run slowly for 2-3 minutes
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    Then let your dog really run for one minute
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    If they are up to it, have them make some short explosive moves. Throwing their favorite ball can help this process 
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    Then let your dog wind down a little bit for a few minutes 

The warm up period helps to get the joints lubricated, increases blood circulation and warms up the muscles. Combining your ideal dog's diet with an exercise program helps to provide beneficial joint health for your dog.  

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