Keeping your dog's joints healthy is important at any age, but it's especially critical once he reaches his senior years. At that stage in life, his joints become more vulnerable to the effects of aging. Without healthy joints, your dog will have a more difficult time remaining active, and could even experience a decrease in mobility.
If you've noticed your senior dog getting a little stiff, it may indicate the onset of arthritis. Difficulty performing routine movements and reduced mobility are signs of this progressive degenerative joint disease. There is some good news, however, whether you're looking to help prevent arthritis or alleviate its symptoms, there are many remedies that may help. First and foremost is nutrition. Feeding your dog food that's rich in antioxidants helps reduce the stress of aging by fighting the free radicals that are by-products of inflammatory processes, such as arthritis.
Two substances that are crucial to joint health are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These compounds, which are naturally found within the body, provide lubrication and nourishment to your dog's joints. They play a major role in drawing fluid and nutrients into the cartilage, which helps maintain normal cushioning and flexibility of the joint.
Dietary antioxidants that also contribute to joint health include vitamin E, vitamin C, and the carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene) and certain trace minerals. Each one works to keep your dog's cells healthy.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also important because they help support and promote the natural healing process. These fatty acids are especially beneficial in preventing and reducing inflammation, a common side effect of arthritic joints.
If you're still feeding your senior dog an adult formula, you may want to consider switching to a senior food, such as Pedigree Professional and Senior Chicken and Rice. These senior foods have been specially formulated to contain the extra nutrients your dog needs at this stage of his life.
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