As many as 1 in 5 dogs suffer from joint pain
Arthritis in pets is on the rise. As many as 1 in 5 dogs now suffer from it and joint pain is one of the most common complaints vets are encountering.
Arthritis sets in when the ligaments and cartilage between bones start to deteriorate. As pets get older, their joints can’t repair themselves like they used to. This causes the bones to rub against each other and cause pain every time your pet moves.
Joint pain isn’t just restricted to elderly pets. It can affect young pups and cats, too. So if you’ve noticed your dog has stopped running around and jumping onto your lap like they used to, it may be due to joint pain.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to relieve their pain naturally. Over time, you may even be able to cure their joint pain altogether!
1. Natural remedies
Depending on the type of food you are feeding your dog, they might not be getting all the nutrients they need to live pain free. That’s why it’s always a good idea to make sure you are supplementing your dog’s diet with things like additional Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Sodium Oxide Dismutase.
Additionally, Coconut Oil, Boswellia, Ashwagandha, Pau D’Arco, and Turmeric capsules can also be a good idea. These nutrients are readily acceptable by your dog’s body and are relatively easy to obtain at your local grocery, convenience, or drug store.
2. Change their diet
Increasing the amount of protein and other nutrients in your pet’s diet can help to reverse this damage. You could try switching to a pet food that contains added nutrients for relieving arthritis.
Adding natural anti-inflammatories to their diet can also help to reduce swelling. This includes papaya, alfalfa, celery, and ginger.
3. Keep them active
Exercise may seem like the last thing your dog needs if they’re hobbling around. However, while it’s wise to avoid hour long walks, light exercise is crucial to keep their muscles and joints healthy.
Switch to shorter walks and indoor play on a soft carpet. The same applies to cats. Throw a few house balls for them to chase if hunting mice is no longer on the agenda.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Another key reason for exercise is to keep their weight down. If your pet is overweight this places a strain on their joints. So maintaining a healthy weight can improve their health, fitness and reduce their joint pain all at the same time.
How can you tell if your dog or cat is overweight?
Check to see if you can feel their ribs. If you can’t, they could do with losing a few pounds.
5. Massages and physical therapy
Pets love massages as much as we do. Gently massaging their joints when stroking them can help to relieve their pain and feel calm and peaceful. Stroking also releases the love hormone ‘oxytocin’, increasing your bond further.
Consider using a heating pad to help your dog’s muscles relax and to increase blood circulation to their joints.
6. Whirlpool and hydrotherapy
Swimming is a low impact exercise that can help keep your dog fit without the impact of the sidewalk. Consider going for weekly swims with your dog or getting a hot tub they can swim in at home. The warmth can also help to reduce their aches and pains.
If you’re an ‘acupuncture skeptic’ you may want to jump onto the next tip. However, if you’re a fan of alternative therapies, some pet owners believe acupuncture has helped to relieve some of their dog’s more intense joint pain.
8. Nail and foot care
Overgrown nails can place stress on the joints of the feet. Try to keep them trimmed so they just touch the ground. If you find it too difficult to do on your own, a pet groomer or your vet can trim their nails for you.
Making sure they can walk around your home in comfort is also a good idea. If you have hardwood, slippy floors, consider putting down some rugs and runners for them to walk on. Another option is pet socks that help them grip and not slip and injure themselves.
9. Orthopedic bed
Pain makes it hard for your pet to sleep. So giving them a comfier place to rest can make a big difference in their life. There are lots of great orthopedic beds for pets to choose from that are comfy yet supportive.
10. Boost key nutrients with supplements
We’re still waiting for the people in white coats to rubberstamp this theory into fact. However, some pet nutrition experts believe that processed pet food is missing key nutrients pets need to be fit and healthy.
It’s believed that the extreme heat at which kibble and cat biscuits is cooked wipes out a lot of the nutrition. Nutrients are then sprayed on afterward, but this is a poor replacement for getting it from food naturally.
The best source of nutrition is always directly from food. However, it can be difficult to prepare homemade meals on a daily basis. For this reason, many pet owners add supplements to their pet’s diet.
For joint pain and arthritis, the best supplements include glucosamine, chondroitin and omega 3 fish oil. Some studies suggest these nutrients can help the joint repair itself and reduce joint pain over time.
According to PetMD:
“Research on chondroitin sulfate suggests it may be beneficial
in preventing stress injuries to joints as well as aiding in the repair
of damaged connective tissue. Unlike painkillers, which only serve to dull the pain, chondroitin sulfate addresses the disease process
itself. Chondroitin sulfate may actually help the body to repair
damaged cartilage and help restore joint integrity.”
Is your pet at risk of arthritis?
Do you think your pet is getting all the nutrition they need from pet food?
Unfortunately, arthritis can be difficult to diagnose until the signs are obvious and our pets are hobbling around in pain.
This is what happened to Rachel and her nine year old pet
beagle, Bella. Rachel couldn’t remember the last time Bella had jumped onto the couch to join her for a cuddle session. She seemed to have lost all her energy. She would just lay around all day and when she did move, her legs were shaking.
Rachel was upset to see her poor dog in such pain.
She took Bella to the vet who gently felt her joints, saw what pain she was in and diagnosed it as arthritis.
But that wasn’t the worst news.
The vet then told Rachel that Bella would need daily pain injections.
Rachel was distraught. She knew that Bella would hate having injections every day.
Was there anything else she could do?
Supplements can replace the nutrition missing in pet food
Rachel decided to do her own research. First of all, she found out that adding more protein to Bella’s diet could help her fill in the nutritional gap that she wasn’t receiving from her regular food. Massages with heating pads may also relieve the pain.
She also found an article by Dr. Mary Newell Sanders, an experienced vet from Texas. Dr. Newell recommended that owners give their pets a special joint supplement to repair the weakened cartilage and ligaments between their bones.
“Arthritis is a common and complex disease in dogs and cats. Joint supplements play an important role in decreasing pain and maximizing quality of life in our pets as they age. “ – Dr. Mary Newell Sanders practices at Marek Veterinary Clinics in Bellville and Sealy, Texas
Joints can repair themselves over time
Based on Dr Newell’s advice, Rachel got some Vets Preferred Joint Supplements, thinking it was worth a try.
The improvement wasn’t instant. In fact, it took many months for the change in diet and supplements to begin repairing Bella’s joints. However, week by week, Rachel noticed how Bella seemed to be getting her energy back. Her legs weren’t shaking as much and she seemed to have a bigger wag in her tail.
The big change came one evening when Rachel was catching up on Netflix. All of the sudden, something leaped up onto the couch and climbed into her lap. It was Bella! She’d finally succeeded in jumping back up onto the sofa for the first time in months!
Rachel almost jumped up from the couch with joy. She couldn’t stop hugging Bella. Rachel knew she would remember this moment for quite some time as she sat back and enjoyed the rest of the evening with Bella curled up safely in her lap.
Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. The story is true and only the names have been changed.