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Breed-Specific Arthritis in Dogs

As we continue to observe Arthritis Awareness Month, our focus shifts to how this debilitating condition affects different breeds in unique ways. While arthritis can impact any dog, certain breeds are predisposed to joint issues due to their genetic makeup, size, and body structure. This blog will delve into these breed-specific risks and discuss how proactive supplementation with Essential OMEGAS can play a crucial role in managing and preventing arthritis.

Understanding Breed-Specific Risks

Arthritis is not indiscriminate; some breeds face a higher risk due to genetic predispositions and physical conformations. For instance, large breeds like Saint Bernards and Mastiffs are at a higher risk due to their massive size and weight, which exert significant stress on their joints. Conversely, smaller breeds such as Dachshunds have a different risk profile due to their elongated bodies and short legs, leading to different types of joint stress.

Highlighted Breeds and Their Risks

Active Breeds: Often subjected to activities that can strain their joints, these breeds need robust joint support from a young age.

  • Australian Shepherds: Known for their high energy and agility, these dogs excel in herding and active sports, making them prone to joint wear and tear.
  • Border Collies: Highly intelligent and extremely active, they often engage in rigorous physical activities, which can put stress on their joints.
  • German Shepherds: Frequently used in demanding roles such as police and service work, their joints can suffer from the physical demands of their activities.
  • Golden Retrievers: Popular for their friendly nature and versatility, they are often involved in activities like fetching and swimming, which can strain their joints.
  • Labrador Retrievers: Known for their playful and active demeanor, they are prone to joint issues from running, jumping, and other high-energy activities.

Large Breeds: These breeds typically grow rapidly and can benefit from early joint support to manage stress on their developing bones and joints.

  • Great Danes: Their rapid growth and large size can lead to joint stress and disorders like hip dysplasia and arthritis.
  • Great Pyrenees: Majestic and strong, these dogs can develop joint issues due to their substantial size and weight.
  • Mastiffs: Known for their massive build, they are at risk for joint problems due to the pressure their size puts on their bones and joints.
  • Newfoundlands: Large and heavy, these gentle giants can suffer from joint issues, particularly as they age.
  • Rottweilers: Strong and muscular, they are prone to joint conditions such as hip dysplasia due to their large size and active nature.
  • Saint Bernards: Their size and rapid growth rate make them susceptible to joint problems, necessitating early and consistent joint support.

Small, Long-Bodied Breeds: Despite their size, these breeds may face joint issues due to their unique body structures.

  • Basset Hounds: With their long bodies and short legs, they are prone to back and joint issues.
  • Corgis: Their long bodies and short stature can lead to joint and back problems, especially if they are highly active.
  • Dachshunds: Known for their elongated spines, they are at high risk for intervertebral disc disease and other joint issues.
  • Pekingese: Their compact, long bodies can lead to joint stress, particularly in their hips and back.
  • Shih Tzus: With their small size and unique body structure, they can develop joint problems, especially if they are not kept at a healthy weight.

Each of these breeds has unique needs and risks when it comes to joint health, making early and consistent joint support crucial for their well-being.

The Importance of Weight Management in Preventing Arthritis

Regardless of breed, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in minimizing the risk of arthritis in dogs. Being overweight or obese significantly increases the likelihood of joint damage, which often leads to osteoarthritis and chronic pain. Studies show that at least 20% of all dog’s exhibit signs of osteoarthritis during their lives, and these figures rise dramatically as dogs age, especially if they are carrying excess weight. This risk is even more pronounced in larger breeds with substantial bone structures. Proper weight management can help reduce the strain on your dog’s joints, decreasing the chance of developing arthritis and contributing to a healthier, more active life. Regular exercise and a balanced diet tailored to your dog’s specific needs are essential components of effective weight management.

Important Age for Starting Supplements

If your dog’s breed is on the above list, consider providing a joint supplement such as Essential OMEGAS as soon as they turn 1 year old. This is a critical time as most dogs have completed their most intense period of growth by twelve months, making it a strategic point to begin preventative measures to maintain joint health.

Early Warning Signs of Arthritis in Dogs

It is crucial to recognize the early signs of arthritis, which can appear not only in older dogs but also in younger ones, especially in predisposed breeds. Early signs include:

  • Reluctance to Move: Young dogs might show unusual hesitation to climb stairs, jump, or may appear lethargic when getting up.
  • Limping or Lameness: Noticeable limping or favoring one leg after resting could be early signs, which might improve slightly with movement.
  • Pain When Touched: A young dog may pull away or vocalize discomfort when certain areas are touched.
  • Licking, Chewing, or Biting: They may persistently lick or chew at their limbs, which can indicate areas of discomfort.
  • Behavior Changes: An increase in irritability or a noticeable decrease in playfulness and general activity can be early indicators.
  • Tiredness: Less enthusiasm for regular activities or getting tired more quickly during play or walks.
  • Muscle Atrophy: Even in young dogs, muscle mass may decrease around affected joints due to inactivity.

Recognizing these signs early and consulting a veterinarian can significantly improve the management of arthritis through timely interventions.

Efficacy of Green-Lipped Mussels

It typically takes about 4-6 weeks to see improvements from taking the green-lipped mussel supplement found in Essential OMEGAS. Some dogs may respond faster, while others could take up to 12 weeks. For optimal results, we recommend administering a double dosage for the first four weeks, split between morning and evening doses. Remember, results can vary based on the individual health condition of each dog.

Administering Essential OMEGAS

These easy-to-administer gel caps can be seamlessly integrated into your dog’s daily routine. Simply place the gelcaps in their food bowl, which can make it easier for your dog to ingest them along with their meals.

Follow this dosage guide based on your dog’s weight:

  • 1-39 lbs.: 1 Soft Gelcap daily
  • 40+ lbs.: 2 Soft Gelcap daily

A double dose is recommended during the initial two weeks to jump-start the benefits, especially for breeds known to have joint vulnerabilities.

Whether your dog is from a breed known for joint issues or not, early, and consistent use of high-quality supplements like Essential OMEGAS can make a significant difference in their long-term health and happiness. Starting early, before the onset of symptoms, offers the best chance to support lifelong mobility and wellness.


Q: What is the main cause of arthritis in dogs?

A: Osteoarthritis in dogs typically arises from several key factors. Age-related wear and tear on the joints are a common cause, particularly in dogs that are overweight, which adds extra stress on their joints. In younger, growing dogs, especially in larger breeds, arthritis can develop from a mix of factors such as genetic predisposition, excessively rapid growth, inappropriate diet, and over-exertion during exercise. These elements combined can significantly impact joint health, leading to the development of arthritis.

Q: Is arthritis in dogs legs only?

A: No, dogs can experience arthritis in various parts of their body, not just their legs. While arthritis commonly affects the limbs and joints such as the hips, elbows, and knees, it can also occur in other areas, including:

  • Spine: Arthritis can affect the vertebrae in a dog’s spine, leading to stiffness and pain in the back. This type of arthritis can cause discomfort during movements that involve bending or twisting.
  • Shoulders: The shoulder joints can also be affected by arthritis, which might cause pain when a dog moves its front legs or when trying to reach forward.
  • Wrists and Ankles: Smaller joints in the wrists and ankles can suffer from arthritis, which may be noticeable as difficulty in walking or an altered gait.
  • Jaw: Although less common, arthritis can affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in the jaw, which might result in difficulties with eating or apparent discomfort when chewing or yawning.

Arthritis in dogs results from the degeneration of cartilage in the joints, leading to inflammation, pain, and decreased mobility. This condition can be due to aging, breed predispositions, overweight, injuries, or joint abnormalities. Therefore, if you notice signs of discomfort in any part of your dog’s body, it is important to consult with a veterinarian who can provide a comprehensive assessment and appropriate treatment options to manage the condition effectively.

Q: What is the most common arthritis in dogs?

A: Secondary osteoarthritis is considered the most common form of arthritis in dogs. This type of arthritis develops due to underlying diseases or injuries such as hip or elbow dysplasia, ligament injuries (like a torn cruciate ligament), or joint infections. These conditions contribute to the degeneration of joint cartilage and the subsequent development of osteoarthritis.

Q: Should I walk a dog with arthritis?

A: Yes, walking a dog with arthritis can be beneficial, but it is important to do so with caution. Regular, low-impact exercise such as walking helps maintain joint mobility, muscle strength, and a healthy weight, which can alleviate some arthritis symptoms. However, it’s crucial to keep the walks short and on soft surfaces, avoid strenuous activities, and monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort. Consulting with your veterinarian for a tailored exercise plan is always recommended.

Q: How long can a dog live comfortably with arthritis?

A: Dogs with arthritis can lead long and happy lives with proper management and care. The condition itself does not typically shorten a dog’s lifespan, but effectively managing arthritis is crucial to maintaining their quality of life. Preventative supplements such as Essential OMEGAS play a significant role in this process. They contain nutrients that help reduce inflammation, maintain joint lubrication, and support overall joint health, which can prolong your dog’s active years and enhance their well-being. Incorporating such supplements early on, even before significant symptoms appear, is key to potentially extending a healthier, more comfortable life for dogs with arthritis.

Q: How to help a dog with arthritis at home

A: Here are a few suggestions:

  • Provide a Comfortable Bed: Ensure your dog has a soft, supportive bed to alleviate pressure on their joints.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Keep your dog at a healthy weight to reduce stress on their joints.
  • Regular, Gentle Exercise: Engage in low-impact activities like short walks or swimming to keep joints flexible and muscles strong.
  • Joint Supplements: Veterinarians often recommend using a high-quality Omega-3 supplement. Essential OMEGAS is a top choice among many veterinarians due to its superior quality and effectiveness in supporting joint health.
  • Balanced Diet: Feed your dog a nutritious diet tailored to their specific needs, which can help manage their weight and overall health.
  • Warm Compresses: Use warm compresses or heated pads on sore joints to provide relief.
  • Massage and Physical Therapy: Gentle massage and physical therapy exercises can improve circulation and flexibility.
  • Non-Slip Flooring: Ensure your home has non-slip rugs or mats to prevent your dog from slipping and causing further injury.
  • Ramps and Steps: Use ramps or steps to help your dog access furniture or get into the car without jumping.
  • Regular Vet Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary visits to monitor your dog’s condition and adjust treatments as necessary.

Q: If I give my dog Essential OMEGAS, do I also need to give him glucosamine and chondroitin?

A: Essential OMEGAS already includes a blend of key nutrients beneficial for joint health, including glucosamine and chondroitin, which are known for their ability to support joint function and reduce inflammation. This makes Essential OMEGAS a comprehensive supplement that addresses multiple aspects of joint care. However, depending on your dog’s specific health needs and the severity of their joint issues, your veterinarian might recommend additional supplementation. It is best to consult with your vet to tailor a supplement regimen that best supports your dog’s individual health requirement.

Q: What aggravates arthritis in dogs?

A: Arthritis in dogs can be aggravated by certain dietary components. Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids such as corn, soy, and sunflower oil promote inflammation, which can worsen arthritis symptoms. Additionally, processed foods and those with added sugars, salt, and preservatives should be limited or avoided to help reduce inflammation. It is also crucial to read the labels of all treats and foods you give your dog. Many treats may contain hidden ingredients that contribute to inflammation or overall poor health, including:

  • Artificial Colors and Preservatives: Chemicals like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are used as preservatives in many commercial dog foods and can promote inflammation.
  • Fillers: Ingredients such as corn and wheat gluten serve as fillers with little nutritional value and can induce inflammation, especially in sensitive dogs.
  • Excessive Salt and Sugar: High levels can lead to increased inflammation and other health problems.
  • Soy and Corn Oil: These are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause an imbalance with omega-3 acids if overly consumed, leading to enhanced inflammation.
  • Meat By-Products and Rendered Fats: These can include low-quality parts of animals that are less digestible and potentially inflammatory.
  • Propylene Glycol: Used to keep food moist, this chemical can be harmful in larger quantities.
  • Artificial Flavorings: Can cause allergic reactions and contribute to inflammation, offering no nutritional value.

Opting for treats with natural ingredients and minimal processing can significantly aid in managing arthritis effectively.

Q: What if my dog will not eat gel capsules?

A: If your dog resists swallowing gel capsules, one effective method is to hide the gelcap in their food. This method works well with a piece of canned dog food, cooked sweet potato, or a soft treat that can be molded around the gel capsule, like Pill Pockets™. These options can help mask the presence of the capsule, making it more likely that your dog will ingest it without fuss.

Q: Can I prick the gelcap and spread the liquid on my dog’s food?

A: Yes, you can prick the gelcap and squeeze its contents onto your dog’s food if they are hesitant to take pills. Spreading the oil from the gelcap over their regular meal can make the supplement more palatable and ensure they receive the full dosage without the struggle of administering a capsule. Be sure to mix it well with their food to distribute the supplement evenly.