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Dog Joint Health

Joint problems in dogs have become very common in the U.S.  Joint problems are  the result of either degenerative or developmental problems. Developmental causes of joint issues begin early in a dog’s life when the joint does not correctly form. The most common developmental issue is hip dysplasia, where the ball joint in the dog’s hip does not correctly fit into its socket. As the dog ages and grows heavier, this condition will result in a dramatic increase in pain.  Developmental causes of joint issues are the result of bad genes, caused by breeding and occurs almost universally in the largest pure-bred dogs such as the German Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Danes and other large breeds. Degenerative causes of joint problems include ligament injuries and osteoarthritis from wear and tear during a lifetime of running and jumping.

It has been estimated that over 25% of middle-aged dogs and over 90% of elderly dogs have arthritis. Damaged genetic make-up of dogs resulting in hip dysplasia from over-breeding the largest breeds is close to 100%.  Unfortunately early diagnosis of joint problems in dogs is very difficult to do. Dogs are “pack animals” by nature and their instinct to hide pain and weakness from the rest of their pack governs their basic behavior. Therefore, while these animals may be suffering long-term with joint pain, it is only when the pain has gotten very severe that they will drop their guard and show that they are in pain.  At that point, they will be having difficulty in standing up, climbing stairs or getting on or off a couch or out of a car. When the pain has progressed to severe, that is the point when they may make a noticeable grunting sound or whine when trying to stand up.

Just as in humans, there is no drug or treatment that can stop the progression of arthritis in dogs.  Surgical procedures such as joint replacements can give relief, but this is rarely a realistic choice for 99% of dog owners. More typical treatments include: weight loss to remove some of the stress off of the joints; better dog foods containing lower fat and carbohydrates levels (less cereal filler); exercise to build up more muscle in the joint to compensate for the weaker or damaged joint; and drugs.  Dogs with severe pain may be treated with pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and analgesic medications. Alternatively, the use of supplements such as chondroiten/glucosamine, shark cartilage (which is made of chondroiten sulfate), and fish oil have become increasingly popular in dealing with dog joint issues. They are relatively inexpensive, non-invasive, do not require a prescription, are an excellent source of nutrition, and have no negative side-effects.

If you wish to reduce your probability of having a dog that will develop future joint problems, buy a mutt. Genetic diversity helps reduce the incidence of joint issues later in life. Stay away from the largest breeds.  If a purebred dog is necessary, purchase from a reputable breeder, ask to see the dog’s lineage for any history of joint problems in its family and if possible have the dog’s hips x-rayed and examined by your Vet to search for signs of deformed joint development — prior to puchasing the dog.  Once you have adopted your dog, consider that keeping it lean, in good physical condition with plenty of exercise, and fed with good food will help long-term to reduce or at least delay the onset of joint problems.

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Trayvon - That sounds like quite a process to take a dog to a vet for x-rays! I have met people who were incredible dog lovers though and would go the distance no matter what.

Lauren - It is so hard to see an animal in pain. I would go the full distance to the best that I could Trayvon. Giving the dog fish oil and shark cartilage sounds like a great option.

Shirley R. - Is the fish oil in pill form and mixed with the dog food? Are there other supplement forms than pills to give dogs? My daughter has a dog that has had everyone questioning how he is feeling.

rob - i love my mutt husky. i take him out everyday to make sure he gets active time so he’s in pretty good health. if i don’t take him out he goes nuts.

Richard (Founder) - Hi Shirley, we actually have a supplement that dogs really love – our Pet Joint Care. It is in capsule form but it is also easy to open them up and mix.

Marcia Harkov - Thank you for your products. I first learned of your products on Know The Cause and this all makes ‘God’ sense. Our dog, a Golden Retreiver who we adopted from Golden Retreiver Rescue, is approx. 9 years old and is suddenly showing signs of his L back leg ‘shaking’ once in a while, more often when standing but very occasionally laying down. I was wondering if your Joint Product would be helpful for this. (we have not taken him to the Vet yet as I wanted to discuss with you about your Pet
Joint Product)and want to know if this would help. Thank you so much

Richard (Founder) - Hello Marcia – Having had 29 continuous years of having Old English Sheepdogs, I can tell you from experience that there can be different causes for the shaking. It may be joint-relate3d, or nerve related, or even the muscle weakening and twitching. A lot of these problems are common in the purebred dogs, caused by so much inbreeding, especially these larger breeds which are almost always have some form of hip dysplasia. The process of standing up or lying down for a larger dog that may have hip dysplasia is very painful. Being a “pack-animal” their instinct is to survive and not show their weakness to the rest of the pack. So you may not hear them complain, but just see the physical results of their suffering.

A good veterinarian could tell you the likely cause of this “shaking”. Not knowing the cause, it is hard to recommend a solution. However, the Pet Joint Care is not expensive and has helped a lot of dogs with similar problems. So it is probably worth a try. I hope this helps. Thank you — Seagate Customer Service

huey fern - Can Seagate shark cartilage for pets use for long term? I have just started my 10 years old mini schnauzer who has joint issues. How long should she be on this product? Should I start my 7 year old mini schnauzer on this as well on maintenance or only start when she has joint issues? Any side effects to watch on? Kindly advise.

Richard (Founder) - Hi Huey,
You can use it long term without a problem. We used the shark cartilage on our Old English Sheep Dog during her last 3 years, from 13-15 years of age when she was having her “joint issues”. Since it is food and not a medicine, there is no problem. It is also a good source of minerals (calcium and phosphorus). It helped her get through those final years with a minimal amount of suffering. Regarding the younger dog, there are two schools of thought, both are valid. Some people do give their middle-aged dogs the shark cartilage as a preventative. It won’t hurt them and likely is doing some help. I tend to wait until the dog really needs it. However, what I do use now on our younger dog is the Shark Liver Oil. It has many of the same properties as the shark cartilage. In addition, the omega-3s are good for its coat and diet. We now have a small 10 lb. dog, under a year old. I give it one a day of the shark liver oil. Hope this helps.

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