Dogs are fantastic beings. They are loyal, always around, and real athletes when needed.
If you are an outdoor person you know how handy it can be to have a furry canine next to you when exploring the wilderness.
As a dog owner, you have probably noticed that dogs cannot stop wagging their tails when they see that leash – it’s simple: when trained well, dogs know what certain items, moves, and sounds mean.
Moreover, you have probably noticed that they tend to jump when they are really happy.
It can happen for several reasons: to get the favorite treat, to show you love and affection, or merely to perform a trick so they can get that treat again.
Dogs of all breeds and sizes have an instinct to jump – thats just how they are created.
Running and jumping for long hours is natural to them, as it’s for humans to breathe.
Plus, dogs tend to jump for one more important reason – they use jumping as an advantage in the wild to catch their prey.
In most cases, jumping is harmless, but there are circumstances in which heavy jumping can lead to significant health problems.
How Jumping Can Affect Your Dog’s Joints
Have you heard about arthritis in dogs? This is a condition often linked to jumping in dogs.
In fact, this condition is so frequent, that up to 65% of dogs develop arthritis at some period of their lifetime. Constant jumping up and down can eventually increase the wear and tear on their joints.
A huge component linked to dog’s health and joints is linked to the ground – where dogs jump in is also important. Harder the surface, the bigger the issues.
Even hard indoor surfaces can have a massive (negative) impact on their joints. Jumping outside is better? Well, yes, if your dog jumps on the grass and overall softer grounds.
Do Dogs Love Jumping?
As mentioned earlier, jumping is something that comes as a natural thing to dogs. In fact, out in the wild, they would jump to catch their prey.
These days are long behind them, but their need to jump remained. Have you ever seen a dog easily jumping inside the car through a window? It’s in their genes.
Dog’s brain evolved over time, but certain traits remained as ultimately part of their bodies.
Plus, people ask dogs to jump. Just think how many times you have offered a treat to your dog just to see him jump – just to see how high he can jump.
Also, dog sports such as agility and flyball offer dogs a space to jump.
Some dogs may jump when they are stressed, scared, or anxious – in this case, it’s important to work with a dog trainer and adress the issues the best way possible.
Always check with your veterinarian if excessive jumping can anyhow be linked to an underlying medical issue.
Is It Safe For Puppies To Jump?
Puppies are sensitive. Each puppy is unique and while some might have a strong urge to jump, others could easily spend an entire day just walking around, without jumping – it all depends on the breed and individual traits.
Puppies are constantly growing, which is why they need to have proper nutrition and not to be forced for long walks, hikes, or running – their bones are developing and arent as strong as they are in adult dogs – therefore, quick and frequent injuries may occur, and that’s something that you want to avoid.
In fact, puppies shouldn’t be expected to jump competitively until they reach around 15 months old.
A puppy’s growth plates aren’t developed until they are a year old and pushing plates under strong stress before this stage can create permanent damage.
Plus, puppies dont have the necessary muscle strength to mitigate the impact of jumping.
How Jumping Affects Dog’s Joints
To understand how jumping can affect a dog’s joint it should be looked at from the dog’s perspective.
In fact, every move when it comes to jumping is well-created, planned by nature, and supported by the dog’s body.
When your dog prepares to take off, he will shift his weight back into the large muscles of the back legs and onto the back-leg joints.
This move will activate the back end and push the dog up and forward like a coiled spring that has been released.
To perform his move, it takes a full range of motion in the back leg joints including the stifle, hip, and tarsal, next to activation of all the supporting muscles. So, when a dog lands, his front legs are mobilized.
It’s important to note that these moves are natural and normal, but it takes more out of your dog’s joints than walking or running around on the flat ground.
Veterinarians will often name the additional stress on the dog’s body as ‘increased load’.
How High Can Dogs Jump?
There is no one-answer-fits-all when it comes to answering this question.
This will always depend on the dog’s size and breed – also, some dogs are naturally heavier, and some have short legs, which keeps them away from the jumping category.
Some dogs can jump several times their own height, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Also, senior dogs will have a harder time jumping as they are slower and more agile with age.
What Happens When A Dog Jumps Down?
Jumping down involves less muscular work. For example, when getting down off a bed, the dog will always use his body weight for downward movement.
So, once the dog lands, he will break through the front section of his body. Naturally, front legs and shoulders take much more weight and strain than walking or running, especially if your dog has some troubles with extra weight or is obese.
If there are extra pounds, they are defined as ‘increased load.’
Jumping And Dog Joints
There are many myths and facts when it comes to dogs and their jumping habits. Some of them are true, while some are just wrong, and shouldn’t upset you at all.
Let’s check fast which jumping-related statements are false, and which ones are true.
- Dogs shouldn’t go up and down stairs – False.
- Jumping in and out of the car is bad for my dog – Neutral, because it depends on your dog and your car.
- Dogs shouldn’t jump on and off couches – True.
- Jumping on the bed won’t harm my dog – False.
- Puppies shouldn’t be allowed to jump on furniture – True.
- Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to bounce and play on beds and trampolines – True.
- Jumping sports like agility are bad for dogs – False.
Is It Bad For A Dog To Jump Out Of The Car?
It should go without saying that dogs shouldn’t be allowed to jump inside the car. Going in and out is another story.
Still, you should be careful with this one, because recent studies discovered that allowing dogs to jump inside and outside the car can cause significant pressure and trouble on a dog’s joints.
Some people have really large vehicles which lead to more harm to dog’s joints when they jump.
If you are one of the owners of big vehicles, doublethink if it’s ok for your canine to constantly jump in and out, or you should think about getting a ramp to preserve your dog’s joints and hips.
Are There Certain Dog Breeds That Jump Better Than Others?
Simply said, yes. Some breeds are better at jumping than others. For example, herding breed and gundog such as Border Collies are superb when it comes to jumping.
This breed is often champion when it comes to dog sports such as agility, next to German Shepherd, and Labradors.
If you are the lucky owner of a short leg breed, such as Dachshund, you shouldn’t encourage them to jump because there is a real (and high) risk of spinal injury.
Looking After Your Dog’s Joints
Every dog owner wants his dog to have a happy and healthy life because being healthy and happy means longer life. This is why it’s so important to keep dogs active.
Regular exercise and additional exercise through games for strengthening a dog’s joints should be part of any dog’s life.
If you dont know how to keep dogs’ joints strong through exercise, talk to your veterinarian and ask for direct guidelines.
This way you will provide exercise and needed safety.
You shouldn’t be obsessed with potential accidents, but you should be well-aware of potential hazards – this way you can actually do more when it comes to protecting your dog’s joints and muscles, especially with puppies.
Thinking about jumping sport with your canine? Make sure that you understand and know the boundaries.
Need some help mastering certain dog sport? Hire a professional dog trainer for professional and accurate inputs – sometimes an investment goes a long way.
Are there are other ways to boost a dog’s overall health? Of course, there is. Next to a great exercise and training plan, diet and nutrition are what matter the most.
Consider implementing supplements into the dog’s nutrition – make sure that you use the one recommended by your veterinarian.
Supplements can be a great addition to already perfectly healthy joints and muscles, and even support freedom of movement.
Joint Supplements For Dogs
Dogs are active beings. They do a lot of walking and running and just like in humans, joints do wear and tear. This is why these body parts should be enhanced with additional support.
This extra support usually comes in a form of exercise and nutrition, but lately, veterinarians are talking about dog supplements that could enhance dogs’ joints.
Does your dog need them? Your dog definitely needs vitamins and organic compounds for balanced nutrition and proper growth.
Just like humans, dogs cannot produce vitamins and minerals naturally, so they have to consume them.
As a general rule, these vitamins and minerals help the proper body function, including bones and joints.
Also, as a general rule, if a commercial food is of high quality and designed to provide your dog mandatory nutrients, you should still think about supplements as an extra option.
Why? Because compounds found in supplements are extra that can boost joints health. When it comes to a dog’s nutrition, you cannot skip talking to your veterinarian. This is especially important if you are feeding your dog a homemade diet.
How to Choose Joint Supplements for Dogs
As usual, your first step should be to talk to your veterinarian about it.
You should know how to read pet food labels and always be aware of the ingredients. This is extremely important if your dog is on some sort of therapy and medication.
Still, there are some general guidelines on choosing supplements for dogs:
- Always search for brands that have conducted clinical studies for their products
- Read labels
- If you see a lot of numbers on the products it’s a sign that the company uses quality control checks
- Always go-to brands with confirmed expertise
- If it sounds too good to be true it usually is
- Don’t forget that vitamin supplements are just supplements, not miracle workers
- Never give human supplements to dogs. Always go for supplements that your veterinarian recommends
The Bottom Line
With each passing day, your dog gets older. As your dog or dogs grow old, the chances of arthritis and other joint-related issues increase.
In some dogs, these problems could be very mild, while for others joint issues could be massive and pose higher problems.
In some breeds, this is a common condition, while some breeds were bred for specific traits and had constantly to face their bone health. This is why hip dysplasia is frequent in dogs.
Make sure that you know the common problems in your dog’s breed – this way you will be better prepared for potential health issues in the future. Provide proper nutrition, exercise, training, and minimize joint problems as much as possible.
Think about supplements and check with your veterinarian on which one you should focus on and provide your dog happy and healthy surroundings.