Dogs are much more to us than just pets- they are our fur babies, our family members, and, for many dog owners, one of the most important relationships in our lives. Though we wish our dogs could live forever, they are unfortunately not immune to the aging process, and face a number of age-related health concerns as time goes by. However, by knowing the best way to treat these common health problems in aging dogs, you can make sure your best friend lives a long, happy, and fulfilling life free from pain or discomfort. Here are some common health problems aging dogs face, and how you can help to treat them.

Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments suffered by aging dogs. Characterized by pain and stiffening in the joints, predominantly the knees, arthritis can impact an aging dog’s ability to walk, run, and even stand. Much like in humans, supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may help restore the connective tissue in dogs’ joints, allowing for increased range of motion and less pain. Additionally, more and more dog owners are turning towards dog products made with hemp as a natural way to relieve pain and discomfort from their aging pets’ arthritis symptoms. Hemp oil works to relieve joint pain because it contains GLA, or gamma linolenic acid- a natural antioxidant that has been known to reduce arthritis symptoms.

Gum Disease

Periodontitis, also called gum disease, commonly affects dogs of a certain age as a result of plaque buildup along the gum line. While routine teeth cleanings and frequent brushing may help prevent gum disease in your dog as he or she ages, many dogs require treatment before the gums become infected and swollen, which can lead to tooth and bone loss. Symptoms of gum disease in your dog include redness and swelling of the gums, bleeding teeth or gums, or indicators that your dog is having difficulty chewing. If you spot any of these warning signs, it is important to schedule an appointment with your vet without delay.

Diabetes

Just like humans, it is essential for dogs to maintain a healthy balance of diet and exercise and receive proper nutrition. However, even the healthiest dogs are at risk of developing diabetes in their later years- it is a genetic condition that is more common in female dogs and certain breeds such as pugs, toy poodles, schnauzers, and Samoyeds. Symptoms include frequent thirst, increased urination, and fatigue. If your dog is over 8 years of age and is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is critical to have your veterinarian screen for diabetes in order to begin your dog’s management plan.

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and an increasingly broad range of natural supplements and dietary aids, we are helping our furry friends live their best lives. We can’t make them live forever, but at least we have the ability to ensure the best quality of life for our beloved four-legged pals. Our dogs love us so much- helping them stay healthy is the best way to love them back!