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  • Writer's pictureAvery R.

Joint Support for the Prone Dog

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

Joints - there are hundreds throughout the body.

They are the reason we don't walk around like stick figures.

Let's keep them healthy and functioning as they should!

Why support them?
  • Aids in proper development

  • Protects joint function, mobility and fluidity

  • Alleviates discomfort

  • Ensures longevity

How to support them:
  1. Keep your pet a healthy weight.

I repeat - KEEP YOUR PET A HEALTHY WEIGHT. Even an extra couple pounds can put unnecessary pressure on the joints. No amount of treatment or supplement will cure joint issues if the dog is obese. This can be done with regular weigh-ins and checking body condition score (I aim for a 4 on the scale below).

Chart from:

2. Joint Assessment

Movement is critical to joint health and overall well being, thus pet owners should ensure all joints are moving as they should. I really like the following videos to assess your dogs hind end, forelimb, as well as spine at home.

Hind end assessment:

Forelimb assessment:

Spine assessment:

If you do notice any asymmetries in your dogs gait or upon assessment at home, I would take them in to be looked at by your veterinarian for a potential referral. There are a variety of manual therapies available for dogs these days that can really improve their quality of life and potentially catch a lesion early (most are even covered by insurance).

3. Conditioning

Under the guidance of a professional, physical conditioning for dogs can be extremely beneficial in preventing and reducing injuries as well as rehabilitating structural issues that arise.

There are a ton of exercises that can promote functional fitness that ensure your dog is properly distributing weight between the front and hind end, as well as between all 4 limbs. Conditioning training also improves your dogs body awareness, flexibility, and stamina, and teaches you how to properly warm up/cool down your dog even before a weekend hike or sporting event.

We are currently enrolled in the McIntyre Canine Rehabilitation Functional Fitness for the Sports Dog course and are absolutely loving the fundamentals we are learning. Check out their youtube channel for some insight. Note, we are not sponsored, just support this approach to exercising your dog.

4. Supplementation for support and aiding in healing

(note: there are many joint supplements on the market, these are just the ones we use and why)


  • Designed to repair cartilage, prevent breakdown, and reduce inflammation

  • Regular Strength: appropriate for younger dogs for prevention and maintenance, or a good option for dogs showing early signs of immobility (this is the strength we use for Navi)

  • Maximum Strength: appropriate for senior dogs or more advanced conditions, injury or concerns (arthritis, dysplasia, luxating patella, ACL tears, etc.)

  • 100% active ingredient (no fillers - and fully dissolves in water)

  • TRI-ACTA is owned, operated, manufactured AND sourced in Canada and their products are designated by Health Canada under the Veterinary Health Product (VHP) program

  • TRI-ACTA products use 2 types of glucosamine:

  • About half the products on the market use the sulphate form, while the other half use the hydrochloride form

  • Both forms are well-researched, clinically trialed, and proven to support joint function, but they do have unique benefits

  • The sulphate form is great at contributing to the production of cartilage

  • The HCL form is known to be more absorbable

  • TRI-ACTA uses both to ensure all the benefits of glucosamine are available in the product

Read more:

Green Lipped Mussels

  • Contain essential fatty acids that aid in the anti-inflammatory process

  • They provide a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin

  • Suitable prevention and maintenance joint supplement for younger active dogs

  • Also contains other micronutrients and is considered a whole food superfood supplement

Read more:

Full Spectrum Hemp Oil

  • Studies have shown that supplementing with full spectrum hemp oil (CBD) with dogs with osteoarthritis decreased their pain as well as improved their mobility

  • With its anti-inflammatory properties, full spectrum hemp oil can also be used for acute conditions to alleviate pain and discomfort, i.e. swimmers tail, sprains/strains (nice to keep in your first aid kit)

  • We use Pawtanical products and you can find their dosage guide here: (NAVI15 to save)

Read more:

MYOS Canine Muscle Formula

  • Contains a proprietary ingredient (Fortetropin®) that has been proven to "build muscle and reduce muscle loss due to aging or injury"

  • This formula is designed for dogs that have just undergone surgery (we have been using it for Newman's TPLO recovery) and/or for dogs needing lean muscle growth and development

  • We have been using the Veterinarian Strength one as it also contains BCAA's which also aid in healing

  • Note that this supplement is high in calories and food should be adjusted if weight gain is an issue with your dog

Read more:

Collagen Peptides

  • Collagen is a building block for connective tissues

  • It occurs naturally in the body, however production slows down with age

  • Collagen has been shown to improve mobility in dogs with arthritis or muscle/ligament sprains/strains, as it helps to lubricate and protect/ rebuild connective tissues

  • Collagen also benefits the skin and coat and digestive tract

  • We have been using the Organika Enhanced Collagen as it is single ingredient (100% hydrolyzed collagen from bovine skin, it completely dissolves in water and is tasteless)

Read more:


In summary,

In order to prevent injury, aim to keep your dog a healthy weight. Try some at home assessments and keep a mental note of their normal ranges of motion so if there is a time you assess and something doesn't seem right you can follow up with your veterinarian or manual therapist. If they are an injury prone dog, a dog involved in high impact sports, or a breed with known dysplasia issues, supplementation has been shown to be beneficial in providing tissue support. Remember to always consult your veterinarian before giving a new supplement.

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