Canine arthritis expert believes that continually running after a ball thrown by a flinger can cause long-term health problems
Posted: 02 October 2019
Dog? Check. Lead? Check. Poop bags? Check. Treats? Check. Ball. Check. Ball flinger? Check. Long-range ball flingers have become a regular part of many a dog owner’s walkies kit. After all, they make launching a ball off into the distance easy for just about anyone, providing your canine chum with plenty of exercise as they swiftly give chase. But could they be doing more harm than good?
Vet Hannah Capon, who founded the Canine Arthritis Management website, believes that continually running after a ball thrown long distance by a flinger can put unnecessary strain on a dog’s joints, muscles and cartilage, resulting in long-term health problems such as arthritis.
Commenting in the Daily Express she says: “We need to realise we’re asking dogs to run like athletes. They’re going from standing still to a gallop, then throwing themselves in the air, braking and skidding. This might be up and down a hill or on a beach, and it’s causing damage to their joints and trauma to muscles and cartilage. But, because the dog is so excited, they carry on through the pain.”
Dr Capon even goes as far as suggesting that it can affect a dog’s life expectancy: “For the many dogs who might have injuries or mobility problems, we’re making these even worse, meaning pets need to be on medication. This can take years off their life expectancy.”
But running after and fetching a ball is a favourite game for many canines, which owners will be reluctant to give up. What’s Dr Capon’s advice? She says: “We all want our dogs to live as long as possible and not to be in pain. A few simple changes to the way we play with them can give you and your dog more years together.”
Canine Arthritis Management explains it like this:
Arthritis (osteoarthritis – OA) is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs. It affects four out of five older dogs. It’s a disabling, non-curable, and progressive disease which initially focuses on moving joints but eventually affects the whole dog and is a major cause of euthanasia due to loss of quality of life. It’s an extremely complex disease that requires a dedicated owner collaborating well with their vet to control the pain, maximise the mobility and ensure a full and active life for their dog.
In basic terms, the progression of osteoarthritis can be summarised like this:
Have you noticed that your dog’s energy levels are decreased, their enthusiasm to exercise is reduced, or their normal habits of stretching, shaking and rolling have become infrequent, replaced with something new such as licking their front paws? Or maybe they just seem to want to be left alone more of the time. Contact your vet as they may have arthritis.
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Sources: express.co.uk, caninearthritis.co.uk