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Learn From Me: Prevent a Life of Agony for Your Dog Before It’s Too Late

| Published on January 30, 2017

I’ll never forget that day. The sun was shining, dancing on the waves of the Pacific Ocean. The sand was warm, but not hot. And there were seagulls. There were so many seagulls. Cassius and Bailey sat patiently at the top of the storm wall. They eyed their prey. I knew they wanted to go. This wasn’t their first rodeo.

And then came the three little words that they’d been waiting for…“Go get ‘em!” My dogs loved chasing seagulls, or birds of any kind really. But that was all about to change for Bailey. After about 10 minutes of coordinated canine attacks, I heard a cry…one I will never forget. Then I saw Bailey limping. Then came a whimper with each step. She still tried to chase those darn birds. I think that maybe she knew this was going to be her last time.

Bailey “recovered” after countless trips to our vet, but she was never the same. She lived in pain for the rest of her days. She tried to hide it, but each time she’d try to run for a ball or chase a bird, I heard that same cry. And that made me cry. This was one of my babies. In pain. I felt helpless. I wish there were something I could have done to prevent this from happening. What made it even worse was that I learned there was something, but for Bailey it was too late.

Taking care of your dog isn’t just something you do when they’re puppies or when they are seniors. It’s something that needs to be started early, and it never really stops. I learned this too late. Take, for example, joint and hip care. We all know there are certain breeds that are more likely to have problems, but every dog, even the little guys, can benefit from hip and joint care.

Hip and Joint Health Factors

Exercise: Just like our human body, dogs need exercise to strengthen muscles and bones. Exercise also stretches and strengthens tendons and ligaments. Being physically active is also just a great way to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Healthy Weight: If your dog carries extra weight, the chances for injury go up exponentially. All that extra weight puts more pressure and force on your pup’s bones and joints. So by maintaining a healthy weight, which should be done by a balance of nutritional food and exercise, your dog is less likely to have hip and joint issues in the future

Supplements: Just like many of us, dogs need supplements. They can’t get everything they need from food commercial dog food, and some things aren’t produced internally, such as Omega fatty acids. However, when it comes to joint care, by far the most popular and veterinarian recommended supplement is a combination of Glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin. (Turmeric is another ingredient gaining popularity.) Together these ingredients help to reduce inflammation and strengthen cartilage and joints.

If You Wait, It’s Too Late.

The key to any of the factors is timing and consistency. Think of it as preventative maintenance. From puppyhood to the later years, dogs should always eat healthy, exercise and take supplements to improve overall health. Exercise is easy. Typically, we just need to make time.

Dog food can be tricky, but most vets have great recommendations for well-balanced diets.

Supplements can also be a bit overwhelming. I looked at countless labels, talked to my vet and asked friends. I finally found Project Paws Hip and Joint soft chews. My dogs take a couple a day, and they love them. Even better, for each container I buy, Project Paws donates 14 meals to shelter dogs. That’s a win-win!

Years ago, after seeing my Bailey girl in pain, I promised myself I would do everything in my power to avoid having another pup suffer like that. Ever. Talk to your vet and come up with a game plan to alleviate or prevent joint pain from debilitating your dog.

I’d love to hear stories and suggestions that you all have. I do recall hearing something about “it takes a village.”  Raising healthy, happy dogs is what it’s all about!

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