While arthritis is often associated with elderly humans, it's a major issue for dogs as well. In fact, it's estimated that as many as 20 million dogs currently suffer from some sort of joint pain in the U.S. and Canada alone. Unfortunately, just as it is with humans, arthritis in dogs is often difficult to manage and can be extremely painful.
The good news is that you can manage your dog's arthritis and help preserve their quality of life without the use of expensive prescriptions. A large number of holistic approaches to arthritis and pain management have proven effective at allowing your dog to live their lives naturally and pain-free. For maximum effectiveness, dog owners are advised to choose a variety of strategies that include both dietary considerations and supplements.
The first--and arguably most important--aspect of your dog's diet as it relates to arthritis involves weight management. Essentially, if your dog is overweight, any problems caused by arthritis will be exaggerated due to the extra stress placed on the dog's joints. Since arthritis also tends to cause dogs to become less active over time, it's critical that you help your dog achieve a healthy weight through dietary adjustments.
While it might seem that you simply need to adjust the volume of food that you feed your dog, you need to consider their nutrient intake as well. If your dog's typical food is not nutrient-dense to begin with, cutting back on it might cause health problems for the animal. It's a good idea to transition to a more complete, nutrient-rich food before lowering your dog's calorie intake in these situations.
Another overlooked component of your dog's diet is the presence of probiotics. Probiotics have a number of health-related effects, including improved immune system functioning and nutrient absorption. If your dog has a good balance of probiotics in their diet, it's easier for them to cut calories while maintaining their overall health.
There are a number of foods you can use as a treat or meal supplement to add probiotics into your dog's diet, including:
Just be sure to watch your dog's habits after adding these foods--if you notice any problems with digestion or bathroom habits, choose a different food.
Along with a solid diet, supplements are the key to helping improve your dog's joint health and overall level of pain. By using them in conjunction with weight management and probiotic strategies, you can help your dog maintain the activity level that will keep them limber and strong. Two main supplements are the most commonly used for this purpose.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin--While these are technically two different supplements, it's common to combine Glucosamine and Chondroitin into the same supplement, as they are often packaged and sold this way. Both of these substances are found naturally in healthy cartilage--both in humans and in dogs. The result of using this supplement is that further deterioration of your dog's joints is slowed. However, the pain relief granted by this supplement is tough to determine.
MSM--Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is organic sulfur created by the earth's rain cycle. It has been proven to help with:
Most of these benefits are attributed to the way that MSM helps your body become more efficient at cycling waste out of your dog's body. Your dog will enjoy both an increase in activity and a speedy recovery from that activity when MSM is used as a supplement.
While there is no single holistic remedy for arthritis that will help your dog enjoy their later years, these strategies are proven natural ways to help manage your dog's condition. By choosing a variety of these approaches, you can help ensure that your remaining years with your companion are filled with long walks and play dates like the days they enjoyed as a puppy.
For more tips, contact a company like Holistic Vet CareShare