When it comes to easing your senior dog’s pain from arthritis, the main focus should be to reduce inflammation followed by adjusting lifestyle in a way that conserves quality of life and is most comfortable for the dog.
The very first thing you should do for your arthritic dog is to see a holistic veterinarian and determine exactly which type of arthritis is present and which treatment is best for your dog.
Although most dog owners assume that their dog has osteoarthritis, there are actually three different categories that can effect dogs:
- Degenerative Joint Disease aka DJD or Osteoarthritis is caused by erosion of the joints.
- Rheumatoid aka Immune Mediated Arthritis is caused by a weakened immune system.
- Infectious Arthritis aka Septic Arthritis caused by an infection in the tissues surrounding the joint and the joint itself.
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10 Food Tips For A Dog With Arthritis
- Sweet potatoes include large amounts of beta carotene which helps to fight inflammation. However, they are high in oxalate which means that dogs who form calcium oxalate stones should avoid.
- Fatty meats can aggravate a dog’s arthritis. Watch fatty tables scraps and avoid cheap, low grade dog foods at all cost.
- Dogs with arthritis that form calcium oxalate stones can enjoy the certain fruits and veggies that are also anti inflammatory. Keep in mind that if they are not used to eating fresh fruits and veggies, they could develop a sloppy stool. Always introduce new products slowly. Here’s some great foods for dogs with calcium oxalate stone problems: acorn squash, zucchini, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce, white cabbage, peeled apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, cherries, honeydew, mango and nectarines. Fruits should be in moderation and vegetables should be steamed or cooked well since they are hard for dogs to digest. It’s best if you dice or puree the veggies.
- Some dogs may suffer from arthritis to the point that they have a hard time chewing. In these cases a nice bowl of soup can do the trick. It’s easy for them to lap up with little effort.
- Dogs with arthritis shouldn’t be fed too much grain. It should minimal or eliminated. Many grains are pro-inflammatory and can aggravate arthritis. Some grains are NOT BAD when given in small doses. They are not meant to be your dog’s main protein source – ever! It doesn’t matter if the first protein source on your bag of food indicates a meat source; if it’s followed up by 2 or 3 grains, that meat source is pretty much wiped out due to the overload of grains.
- Avoid plant based oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn and vegetable oils. The arachidonic acid (AA) converts into inflammatory compounds and excess levels are associated with increased inflammation. Bottom line; avoid too many omega 6 fatty acids.
- This is A MUST – add a good source of anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s daily. No junk fish oil!
- Although turmeric is a spice that is available in every grocery store, you should purchase whole turmeric or organic and not the kind on the spice rack. It works like an antioxidant and includes anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties as well. However, since the body has a hard time absorbing turmeric, it requires piperine (alkaloid) to help with absorption. Adding 1/4 teaspoon of tumeric along with one grind of fresh pepper daily will supposedly do the trick for better absorption. Add to your dog’s food and mix well. Some dogs love it, while others don’t like it at all. If your dog is in very bad shape, you can increase the amount to twice daily and lower the dose over time. Read my article on turmeric here.
- Probiotics are another absolute MUST for strengthening the immune system and digestive enzymes help your dog to digest protein. When proteins are digested, they can move into the bloodstream and cause an inflammatory reaction. So, both probiotics and digestive enzymes are helpful whether individually or combined as multi supplement.
- Last but not least, you HAVE TO FEED a high caliber food such as Dr. Harveys, The Honest Kitchen or Grandma Lucys or a brand called Pure Pet Food in the UK.