March 3 is If Pets Had Opposable Thumbs Day. Yes, it’s a real thing, and a fun thing too. (PS–Opposoble thumbs can turn back and allow you to grip and tear things. They’re pretty nifty!)
Because think about it–how cool would it be if your doggo had opposable thumbs?
Also, how much food would you end up having snagged? They could get into some pretty interesting predicaments, couldn’t they? Just think….they could feed themselves (and you know they would!), they could let themselves out whenever they wanted (and you know they would!)…they could take themselves for their own walks….
Pretty wild, isn’t it?
Where did ‘what if dogs and cats had opposable thumbs day’ come from?
Legend has it (or what you scope out on the Internet, that is) that a couple known for creating lots of ‘holidays’ made this one too. That’s right, Tom and Ruth Roy have come up with 80 special days (Create Your Own Holiday Day is coming up on March 26!) and as for Dogs and Cats having opposable thumbs? Well, why not celebrate a day wondering about that question? Tom said that after having cats and dogs in his house for over 45 years, and recognizing their total dependency upon their humans, he wondered what things would be like if our pets didn’t need us to turn that can opener or pour from that bag? Wonder indeed!
Would opposable thumbs be prone to osteoarthritis in dogs?
Opposable thumbs might be cool, yes, but…would they be prone to osteoarthritis in dogs? Tough to say, but osteoarthritis is a serious condition that many dogs suffer from. It’s also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) and it’s an inflammation of joints that gets worse due to the deterioration of cartilage. Cartilage is what lets joints move smoothly as they move and cushions that movement. When your dog suffers from osteoarthritis, it’s because age, repetitive stress, disease, or injury causes the cartilage to deteriorate. It means pain and inflammation for your dog, and they can even develop bone spurs. Typically, osteoarthritis affects your dog’s limbs and lower spine.
What dogs are at risk for osteoarthritis?
Any dog can develop osteoarthritis, and many do as they get older. Some things may predispose your dog, though. Some factors include:
- Repetitive stress from activity like agility, flyball or diving
- Fractures or ligament tears
- Hip or Dysplasia diagnosis
- Joint infections or disease like Lyme
- Breed propensity (larger dogs like German Shepherds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers are particularly susceptible)
- Poor Nutrition
Dog nutrition and osteoarthritis
Proper nutrition and musculoskeletal health go hand in hand. Your dog needs nutrients to absorb properly in order to ensure their best growth, particularly in large-breed, fast-growing dogs. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids give your dog joint support to keep his joints happy and healthy. And the most important thing to pay attention to when you’re adjusting diet for your dog’s osteoarthritis is that your dog gets enough fiber to keep his gut healthy and keep inflammation down.
A high-quality fiber supplement in your dog’s diet doesn’t just help them manage their weight and joint inflammation (which is good for reducing pain from osteoarthritis), but also helps ensure overall nutrient absorption. This means that your dog will get all they’re supposed to get out of the food you feed them, and their gut microbiome will be as healthy as it can be. Recent research has found that there may be a positive correlation between a healthy gut microbiome in your dog and arthritis, so you want to make sure you’re giving them premium supplements like Bernie’s Perfect Poop. The unique 4-in-1 combination of Miscanthus grass, pre- and probiotics and digestive enzymes help create the perfect dog guts and that can benefit them even more if they suffer from osteoarthritis. For more information on joint pain and arthritis, head here!
At the end of the day, your dog may not have opposable thumbs…but they DO have joints you’ll want to keep feeling their best. And you can be sure you’re doing that by making sure they get lots of exercise, quality food and a quality supplement like Bernie’s Perfect Poop that will keep their microbiome healthy!