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Understanding the benefits of feeding mobility diets to dogs with joint and mobility problems

Many dogs suffer from joint mobility issues and require dietary joint support. A common cause of joint mobility problems in older dogs is Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) or Osteoarthritis (OA), which is characterised by the loss of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the end of the bones in a movable (also called a synovial joint). The cartilage has no nerves so when it touches the cartilage of another bone, there is no pain. When the cartilage wears away, the bone is exposed. Bones do have nerves so when the two bone ends in a joint touch each other it results in pain and inflammation. In degenerative joint disease we also see small bony projections form on the bone that is close to the joint which adds to the pain. DJD is progressive and will continue to worsen as the dog ages.

Nutritional structure

Mobility diets contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids which sooth inflamed tissues and ease aching joints. The protein, calcium, phosphorus and sodium levels are also controlled to optimum levels for the maintenance of bones and joint. These diets can sometimes be higher in calories than other foods, although some brands make a “low calorie” option as well.

Mobility diets contain special ingredients to benefit your dog, including:

  • Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) helps to maintain joint mobility in adult dogs as they age.
  • ETA (eicosatetranoic acid, unique to green-lipped mussel), EPA and DHA are omega-3 long chain fatty acids that have a beneficial effect in maintaining healthy joints and activity levels in dogs as they age.
  • High levels of chondroitin and glucosamine help to maintain healthy cartilage and joints in larger dogs.
  • Intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, taurine, lutein, green tea & grape seed polyphenols in addition to the antioxidants naturally occurring in green-lipped mussel help maintain vitality in the dog as it ages.
  • Dogs that are mature or prone to weight gain are predisposed to joint disorders. The moderate energy content helps prevent weight gain.
  • Highly digestible protein limits fermentation processes, reducing flatulence. Rice, a highly digestible carbohydrate improves the overall diet digestibility. FOS and beet pulp stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Mobility diets often contain New Zealand green lipped mussel. These contain a synergistic complex of chondroitin, glutamine and omega-3 fatty acids, including ETA which is unique to green-lipped mussel. Green lipped mussels are also high in antioxidants which help maintain joint health and activity levels in your pet.

Most mobility diets are enriched with antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, taurine, lutein, grape and green tea polyphenols) to help maintain health and vitality. Antioxidant is a general term for different types of nutrients that neutralize the free radicals produced by the body. Antioxidants can be vitamins, minerals or other components naturally present in many foodstuffs.

There are many mobility dog food diets available:

  • Hills J/D Canine
    • Clinically proven to help dogs walk, run, play and climb stairs more easily; espect to see a difference in 21 days.
    •  Works by soothing aching joints and preserving healthy cartilage.
    • Helps maintain joint cartilage thanks to EPA, a special omega-3 fatty acid from fish oil and glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate from natural sources.
  • Hills J/D Canine - Reduced Calorie
    • Clinically proven to help dogs walk, run, play and climb stairs more easily, see a difference in 21 days.
    • Works by soothing aching joints and preserving healthy cartilage.
    • Helps maintain joint cartilage thanks to EPA, a special omega-3 fatty acid from fish oil, in conjunction with glucosamine and chondrotin sulphate from natural sources.
  • Eukanuba Special Care Canine Joint Mobility
    • Joint Mobility is a complete, low density pet food for dogs to help with the reduction of excessive body weight. Helps nutritionally support joint health with fatty acids & antitoxidants

This information is meant as a guide only; always consult your vet regarding any diet changes as they will be able to advise of the most suitable diet for your dog.