Here at YuMOVE, we’re absolutely obsessed with helping dogs with joint stiffness. And if you’re anything like us, you’ve also spent countless hours searching for different remedies. From turmeric and CBD oil to dog acupuncture and giving up walkies… we’ve heard almost every single ‘wonder’ treatment out there. But what’s the truth behind all of these bizarre treatments?
Before we get into it, it’s important to note that there isn’t a cure for joint stiffness in dogs. There are just different treatment options to relieve discomfort and to keep your dog active. In this guide, we take a look at some common remedies for dog joint stiffness and reveal which ones actually work to alleviate joint stiffness. Let’s take a closer look…
What is joint stiffness in dogs?
Although more common in older and bigger dogs, joint stiffness can affect dogs at any age and of any size. But what actually is it? Well, the cartilage on the surfaces of your dog’s joints can sometimes get thinner, which means that the bones lack cushioning and rub against each other. This causes discomfort and often makes it harder for your dog’s joints to move as smoothly.
What are the signs of stiffness in dogs?
Often the signs of stiffness in dogs can be difficult to spot. But here are a few things to look out for:
- Stiff movement or reluctance to move as much
- Difficulty jumping up or climbing the stairs
- Sudden weight gain
- Behavioural changes – like irritability
- Whimpering or cowering away after being touched
If your dog begins to show any of the above signs, you should consult your vet as soon as possible so they can rule out any other conditions.
Myth 1: Exercise is a complete no-no
Many dog owners believe that any form of exercise is out of the question. But the reality is, regular to moderate exercise is a vital part of easing your dog’s stiffness. Not only does regular exercise help to maintain a healthy weight, but – maybe more importantly – if you dog doesn’t stay active, their joints will get used to a lack of movement.
The amount of activity you should do depends on your individual dog. But a short stroll two to three times every day, as opposed to one long walk is a good starting guideline. However, you should be careful not to overdo it. Most dogs love walkies. And exercise releases endorphins and adrenaline, so your pooch may feel more comfortable and want to do more than their body allows.
Myth 2: Turmeric for dogs
Ground turmeric is widely believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. That’s because it’s rich in antioxidants. But what’s the truth behind it?
You’ve probably heard many word-of-mouth stories promoting the use of turmeric. And although it might work for the odd dog, there’s not a huge amount of scientific research to back it up. And at YuMOVE, we’re sticklers for scientific proof, so we generally wouldn’t recommend it. Want to learn more about turmeric and dogs? Read our more thorough guide here.
Myth 3: CBD oil
CBD – or cannabidiol – is a chemical compound that is believed to alleviate joint stiffness. CBD is often used to manage other dog conditions like seizures, anxiety and cancer. Research shows that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and that it can help with canine comfort. Many users have noted increased mobility in their dog, but it’s important to note that CBD only helps with the symptoms of joint stiffness, not with the stiffness itself.
This should all be taken with a pinch of salt for the moment, as although there is some research out there, it’s relatively limited. If you’re considering using CBD, please discuss this with your vet first.
Myth 4: Acupuncture
During an acupuncture session, your dog’s nerves will be stimulated with needles to help boost the flow of blood and relax their muscles. With regular treatments, acupuncture can help promote mobility in your dog. Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and has very few, if any, side effects. This ancient form of Chinese medicine has been practiced in western medicine since the 1950s and there’s growing research to support its efficacy and safety.
However, these studies are often poorly designed, don’t include enough subjects, or lack appropriate blinding and parameters. Plus, different findings give different results and there’s not a consensus in the veterinary world on whether it’s 100% effective in relieving discomfort.
In summary, acupuncture is safe and there’s enough evidence out there to support its use as part of a multi-modal stiffness programme. But we wouldn’t recommend it as a sole treatment.
Natural remedies to try at home
Our YuMOVE range of joint supplements for dogs are completely natural. What’s more, they’re packed with all the joint-boosting goodness needed to keep your dog active and happy for life. They’ve also been through a rigorous testing process to ensure that the ingredients used – and the advice given – all benefit your dog.
Maintaining a healthy weight is perhaps the most important part in supporting your dog’s overall wellbeing. A lean body weight can decrease the amount of stress on the joints and the amount of discomfort your pooch is in.
Just a few modifications in your home can make all the difference to your dog’s joint health. Here are some of our favourite tips...
- Put non-slip mats on floors like hardwood, tiles and laminate. This helps to prevent your pup from stumbling around.
- Buy a comfy, ergonomic bed that’s the right size for your dog.
- Use elevated food bowls to prevent straining.
- Add a stairgate or ramp to reduce your dog’s use of the stairs and to make them easier to use.
Want to learn more about dog joint stiffness? Check out our article on what’s actually happening in the joints with stiffness, or discover which YuMOVE is right for your dog.