If you notice your dog being less active and playful or having difficulty with everyday activities such as walking, there is a chance they may be suffering from joint problems. Arthritis is unfortunately prevalent in both humans and animals.
A 2014 study conducted by the Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge team found that one in every three geriatric large and giant dogs had arthritis. Furthermore, osteoarthritis – a progressive inflammatory disease – is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs.
Joint problems in dogs can cause discomfort, pain and mobility issues. As a loving pet parent, you may be wondering what you can do to ease your pup’s discomfort. Here, the Walkin’ Pets team, along with the help of some pet experts, recommend five natural foods that can help with joint pain and mobility issues in your dog. Before we dive into it, let’s first take a look at what joint pain actually is.
Joint Problems in Dogs Don’t Have to Be a Pain
Your dog’s joints, like yours, are made up of cartridge, bone, and synovial fluid. The cartridge in a healthy joint is the cushion that ensures the joint ruins smoothly. The synovial fluid is a lubricating fluid between the cartridge and the bone which eliminates friction.
Unfortunately, due to factors such as stress on the bones, age, injury, or disease, the joint cartridge can wear out. This is what causes inflammation and pain in your dog’s joints.
Osteoarthritis is the name given to joint issues caused by the progressive inflammation and pain due to prolonged deterioration of joint cartilage.
Many pet owners think that osteoarthritis only occurs in older dogs, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Anything that alters the ability of the joint to function well, including obesity, too much exercise and genetics results in tissue damage, pain, and inflammation.
Natural Foods that Help with Canine Arthritis
The use of pain medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) is very common in the treatment of osteoarthritis. However, there are medical concerns about their usage.
For starters, pain medications may relieve the pain caused by canine arthritis, but they don’t address the underlying issue. Similarly, there are concerns on the use of NSAIDs due to the significant side effects they have on dogs, particularly with continued use. Some of these side effects include:
- Digestive problems
- Liver problems
- Kidney issues
- Reduced appetite
This has seen many veterinarians emphasis on the importance of a proper and nutritious diet for your pup. Many also advise on the use of natural foods and supplements that can help relieve canine arthritis.
5 Foods that Improve Joint Pain and Mobility in Dogs
The below five foods and natural occurring compounds can help prevent and relieve joint problems in your pup.
Turmeric is not only good for you but for Fido too. Turmeric’s main ingredient curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain in knee osteoarthritis. It also reduces swelling and weakness in your dog caused by joint problems.
A 2018 study showed that turmeric is as good in relieving joint pain as ibuprofen. Fortunately, unlike ibuprofen, turmeric won’t give your dog gastrointestinal erosions. For your dog to get the full benefits of turmeric, add organic turmeric to their food. You can also use a turmeric supplement if you can’t get your hands on the turmeric root.
2. Fish Oil
Fish oil is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. These acids create hormones in your dog that help with blood flow and also reduce inflammation.
Research indicates that these acids can help manage canine arthritis symptoms. Ensure you talk to your vet about how best to supplement your dog’s diet with fish oil and the right fish oil and doses to give to your dog as too much can actually be harmful.
Papaya has numerous nutrients and vitamins for your dog. Pet Food Sherpa explains that papaya is a source of the enzyme papain which helps in digestion. It also has vitamin A and C, which improves your dog’s eyesight and immune system, respectively.
Papaya also has anti-inflammatory properties that help enhance bone health and reduce arthritis pain in your dog. However, papaya should be fed to dogs in moderation, as too much of it can cause loose stools and diarrhea. Some dogs are also allergic to papaya, while the seeds, if swallowed, can be toxic, so make sure to do your research and speak to your vet before incorporating it into their diet.
4. Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Both glucosamine and chondroitin are essential components found in a dog’s joint cartilages. Glucosamine helps produce joint lubricant and collagen, which is the main component in the joint cartridge. It also acts as a shock absorber to ensure no damage occurs to the joint cartridge. Chondroitin, on the other hand, helps in the repair of damaged cartridges while also preventing destructive enzymes from accessing the joint fluid.
The shell of shellfish is the best source of glucosamine, while chondroitin is often found in bone cartilages of animals. The dog lovers at Tail & Fur told us that pet owners could boil animal bones into a broth and give them to their dogs for a tasty meal. Another good way to provide these two compounds to your dog is in the form of supplements. These two nutrients are often paired together and sold as supplements.
5. Vitamin C
Regular use of Vitamin C helps in disease recovery and slows down degenerative joint disease, spinal disorders, and hip dysplasia. It’s also recommended as an immune booster and also as a preventive measure against joint problems. It also helps in ensuring the collagen in your dog’s joints remains healthy.
Vitamin C, when given in high doses, can cause stomach upset in dogs. It’s recommended dose is about 500 milligrams for a dog who weighs 28 lbs. But it’s always good to consult your veterinarian on the right dosage for your dog before administering.
So, there you have it! Five foods that can help alleviate joint pain and mobility issues in dogs. Of course, it is always advised to speak to your veterinarian before incorporating any new foods into your pooch’s diet, or before changing up their diet.