Woman and senior gold retriever

Have a Senior Golden Retriever? Take Care of Joint Health!

Opening up your home and family for a dog is an enriching experience that benefits you in more ways than one. It gives you a companion who’s always there for you and someone to care for, teaching you the importance of responsibility. It’s especially beneficial for children, as it helps keep them active, assists them with improving their social skills, and gives them a chance to learn about compassion. All in all, it’s a way to make your life happier.

Deciding to welcome Uno, our Golden Retriever, into our family has certainly made us happier. But, it’s not all roses either, as pets, the same as us grow up and grow old. As we’ve had him for more than eight years already, we’ve had a few health scares with him, mainly from unbearable pests, sensitive paws, and almost a swallowed toy resulting in surgery situation. But, nothing could prepare us for seeing him grow old.

From the most energetic and active personality, he’s gradually shifted to a nap lover. Being aware of the fact that each breed comes with some health issues that tend to increase in risk as the years go by, among which joint problems with hip, elbow dysplasia and osteoarthritis are true threats for Golden Retrievers, we also came to the understanding that it’s part of our responsibility as dog parents to do what we can to lower the risks.

How Do I Protect My Golden Retriever Puppy Joints?

Golden retriever on pet steps in bedroom
Source: wayfair.com

Puppy or not, Uno is always going to be our puppy, even in his senior years. The strategies we use now can also be implemented for puppies in their growing years, as this prevents major joint problems as years go by, so learn from our mistakes and start with extra care early on.

From acquiring supplies like orthopaedic beds for extra cushioning and support, and comfortable dog steps for easier movement inside the home, or outside when you’re travelling together, to changing their diet, boosting it with the needed supplements, and making adjustments with the activities, there’s not one solution that solves it all. It’s important to try different strategies, as each has its way of improving the quality of life for your aging canine.

The Comfortable Supplies

Being watchful and mindful of their weight isn’t the only necessity, you also have to be careful with their moves. Keeping their happy active selves is a must, but that doesn’t mean they should exaggerate with the intense exercises and jumps that put unnecessary stress on their joints. Trust me, those impressive moves they do in their youth could be the ones that result in pain in their older days.

To assist them in their daily life, it’s advisable to consider getting helpful aids that can support their joints, like dog steps to make their movements around home smooth. Whether they climb up and crawl in bed next to you, or need help to get down from their elevated orthopaedic bed, the steps designed specifically for dogs can provide the stability they require with every step.

Despite there being various options, we found the 2-in-1 design to be most suitable for Uno. It’s a convenient and affordable sturdy solution as it’s fit for both indoor and outdoor use, perfect for access to beds and couches as much as vehicles. Some models are soft yet foldable, serving as beds too, ideal for owners after space-savvy designs. Just be sure to check whether the model you choose is suitable for your pup’s breed, size, and weight.

The Suitable Diet

Woman give meal to a senior golden retriever
Source: lucypetproducts.com

Same with us, people, dogs’ joint health is related to their nutrition too, so feeding them nutritious meals is as important in their older days as it is when they’re puppies – if not more. Besides checking for quality dog foods, and the natural joint supplements (glucosamine and chondroitin based) from reliable brands to boost their diet with, it’s advisable to treat them to some “people foods” also.

Some examples include sweet potatoes, blueberries, pumpkins, and fatty fish. If your Fido is a picky eater like our Uno, my advice is to boost the meals gradually to see what he or she likes. Don’t force it if they don’t like some foods, and switch to some other options instead to avoid creating aversion.

The Senior Play

Just because they’re getting older doesn’t mean fun should come to an end. You can still enjoy walks and games together but at a slower pace. If you notice your pet isn’t their energetic self anymore, you can always make those strolls shorter and less tiring and strenuous for them. Games like rolling the ball or dragging the tug toy are still options for fun without putting strain on their joints.

Introducing new toys, new harmless activities like learning a few easy tricks, or even watching some dog videos on YouTube is sure to make your doggo’s boring life as enjoyable as before. If they like water a lot, swimming is a nice activity that helps relieve joint stress and pain. As long as they move, they keep the joints lubricated and active, so you can bet the chances for issues or weight gain are significantly reduced.