Holistic Dog Care 101: Breeds Most Likely to Have Joint Issues

Jean & Leslie Kessigner, Owners Three Dog Bakery

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Any dog, potentially, can have joint issues at one time or another. However, some dogs are more prone to them than others, and joint problems in a dog’s hips, knees or elbows can affect them to different degrees.

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According to Leslie Kessinger, co-owner of Three Dog Bakery in Franklin, large breed and giant breed dogs, like Great Danes, Saint Bernard’s, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Labrador Retrievers are more prone to joint problems. “The joint problems they encounter run the gamut from bone disorder from rapid growth in puppies, arthritis as the dogs age, hip dysplasia, and joint inflammation,” she says.

Surprisingly, some smaller dogs have more joint issues than the average pup. For example, Dachshunds, Bulldogs and Basset Hounds, are genetically predisposed to joint and cartilage disorders. More specifically, they can develop a condition called elbow incongruity, which happens when one leg bone stops growing. Additionally, smaller pups are more prone to a condition called patellar luxation, which is a birth defect in which a dog’s kneecap pops out of its thighbone, causing the dog to hop or skip.

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Kessinger says the most important thing you can do for joint health in large breeds is to keep the inflammation down. “Some dogs don’t know their limits, so it’s essential that you know when your dog is running or playing too hard and calm them down,” advises Kessinger. Limiting your dog’s activity will help prevent dislocated joints and the buildup of fluid in the joints that leads to aches and pains. “If you have a breed that is prone to joint issues, you should start them on a supplement from puppyhood. Building strong bones and properly formed joints from the start does so much for helping dogs maintain health as they age.”

Kessinger recommends two supplements for improving your pup’s joint health: glucosamine and chondroitin. While these supplements are available through your vet, there are naturally occurring sources as well. One of Kessigner’s favorites is from green-lipped mussels. “They are dried and ground to a powder and are a powerhouse for joint health. We carry the powder from Super Snouts and it can be sprinkled over food to make it easy to dose your dog,” she says.

“Another product we carry reflects the influence of Chinese medicine. Mushrooms have long been regarded as medicinal wonders, and Bixbi Superfood for joints is a powdered blend of dried mushrooms that help reduce inflammation and strengthen joints,” she adds.

Kessinger recommends Wapiti Labs Mobility Powder for dogs that are having trouble moving around due to joint pain or arthritis. Made from the velvet of elk antlers, this powder supports joint flexibility; bone strength, connective tissue health and can even boost stamina. “They make a formula for seniors that also contains ginseng to boost energy levels for dogs who have trouble moving. These powders can also help with pain as they pull inflammation from joints that make movement uncomfortable,” she explains.

If your dog is prone to one of these conditions, be cognizant of the signs of joint pain, which range from panting and limping to loss of appetite and weakness. See your veterinarian first if you suspect any of the conditions listed above.

Visit Three Dog Bakery, located on West McEwen Drive, adjacent to Whole Foods in the McEwen Shopping Center in Franklin for all your holistic dog food and dog treat needs.

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If you have health concerns about your dog, consult your veterinarian. This article is not meant to substitute or act as medical advice for pets.

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