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Diet and a dog with arthritis.

A good diet will help your dog with arthritis.

As a pet owner, it is difficult to watch the progression of arthritis. Whether it is caused by a degenerative joint disease or old age, our instinct is to help ease the pain and improve quality of life. Combining a healthy diet, with appropriate supplements, can have remarkable results while improving overall wellness. Choose a diet that is unprocessed and does not contain synthetic ingredients. A good option is a species appropriate raw food diet. Raw diets are available commercially or, with guidance and research, can be made at home. A balanced raw or lightly cooked diet contains beneficial live enzymes and is packed with bio-available nutrients.


3 dietary components to consider for arthritic dogs.


1. Fats


Fat supplies the most calories to a diet, and therefore its levels and quality must be closely monitored. Obesity is directly related to the onset or aggravation of arthritis. So if your dog is overweight, then your first job is to promote weight loss. This is best achieved through a high protein, low fat diet. Each extra pound of weight your pet carries contributes directly to further degradation of the joint.a dog with arthritis needs a good diet
The quality of fat you choose should also be considered. A diet high in omega 6 fatty acids will promote inflammation within the body, causing pain and discomfort. Adding omega 3 fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA) balances the omega 6 potency and reduces its inflammatory effects. The ideal supplement is wild salmon oil, keeping in mind combining vitamin E with fatty acid supplementation to avoid a deficiency.


2. Proteins


Providing a lean protein source is ideal for arthritic dogs. Meats high in fat contain high levels of omega 6 fatty acids, which contributes to inflammation. Feeding a lean meat or a grass fed meat, allows you to supply more calories in the form of omega 3 fatty acids.
Protein and carbohydrates supply equal amounts of calories per gram in a diet, however protein has a higher nutritional impact and therefore less can be fed to supply nutritional needs. Protein supports strong muscles which aids in joint motility (this is particularly important in degenerative diseases such as hip dysplasia).


3. Carbohydrates


There are two types of carbohydrates to avoid in an arthritic dog: grains/starches and night-shade vegetables. Both contribute to inflammation, which aggravates arthritis. Grains, such as wheat, rice, barley and corn, fluctuate the blood sugars levels and create swelling. Night-shade vegetables also aggravate arthritis, and these include tomatoes, peppers, egg plant and potatoes (not to be confused with sweet potato). If you are feeding a commercial diet, check the ingredients carefully. Many products are labelled as grain-free, however companies use increased levels of potato products in substitution.
Foods that have shown to help with arthritis include; celery, ginger, papaya & mango (for their natural enzymes) and alfalfa. Dr. Pitcairn, who wrote Natural Health for Cats and Dogs, also recommends grated carrot and beets.

 Other

Certain foods may help with arthritis: celery, ginger, alfalfa, tropical fruits such as mango and papaya, and cartilage are all good to add to the diet of a dog with arthritis. Remember that vegetables must be either cooked or pureed in a food processor, juicer, or blender to increase digestabilty by dogs, and fruits are more easily digestible when overripe.

A few people have reported that organic apple cider vinegar (with the “mother,” a stringy sediment comprised of enzymes) has provided some benefit when added to food or water. Be sure your dog is still willing to drink water with the vinegar added if you try it, or provide a separate, plain water source.

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