My old dog Chili is a walking disaster … and a daily reminder of the impact arthritis has on dogs and their quality of life.
She wobbles around on four very unsound legs. I know, this sounds bad … but it’s the result of jumping off mountains and tearing her cruciate ligaments in her younger days. Now she’s paying the price of her youthful indiscretions!
It’s a challenge keeping her active and comfortable, but I’ve managed to do it without harmful NSAIDs! What’s even better is it’s worked so well that Chili is now happy, healthy and 13 years old and counting!
Don’t get me wrong, there was a time when I thought she’d never make it to 10 because her joints were so bad! Everyone who knows Chili asks me how I’m able to keep her so active, even with severe arthritis.
So I want to share my top 3 steps for dealing with arthritis in dogs naturally. But first, let’s take a quick look at the cause of arthritis …
Inflammation: The Real Cause Of Dog Arthritis
We once thought arthritis was the result of wear and tear – but more recent research shows this isn’t the case. Researchers say arthritis may be the result of chronic, low-grade inflammation.
In a nutshell, the immune system releases proteins that damage joints. These proteins bind to cartilage-producing cells in the joints … and lead to the secretion of more damaging proteins. This creates a cascade of chronic, low-grade inflammation in the joint. And if your dog already has some arthritic changes it can create more pain.
Low-grade chronic inflammation isn’t just linked to arthritis. It’s now believed to be the cause of virtually every health condition and disease. Dr Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, says …
“Inflammation appears to play a role in many chronic diseases …”
Now you might be thinking, “Great, I’ll give my dog anti-inflammatory drugs and the arthritis will go away.” But those drugs won’t address the cause of your dog’s inflammation. And new research shows NSAIDs (or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause even more damage to your dog’s joints and soft tissue.
Not all inflammation in the body is a bad thing. Acute inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process. It sends white blood cells to the affected area when your dog gets exposed to viruses or bacteria or if he hurts himself.
But chronic inflammation is not good. It’s the kind of inflammation that stays for weeks, months and even years.
Chronic inflammation is the real culprit behind most degenerative and inflammatory health issues. In fact, researchers are …
- Linking heart disease to dental disease.
- Finding chronic bladder infections can lead to bladder cancer.
- Discovering chronic low-grade inflammation is a major driver of joint degeneration.
So let’s take a look at the best ways to fight against inflammation. These steps will help you prevent the root cause of your dog’s arthritis, in the order of importance. The more steps you can do, the more your dog will benefit and not just his joints.
Step 1: Fix Leaky Gut
For years, I believed a poor diet would cause joint disease, but I wasn’t really sure how. Now I know.
Your dog’s gut lining contains millions of tiny little holes. These spaces allow digested foods and proteins to enter the bloodstream and fuel the body. They also prevent larger, undigested proteins and toxins from entering … and stressing your dog’s immune system.
The trouble is these tiny holes can stretch if the gut becomes damaged or inflamed. This happens when proteins, bacteria and undigested food sneaks through and triggers inflammation. This is leaky gut.
The immune system’s job is to respond to any foreign invader with inflammation … but when your dog’s gut becomes damaged, foreign invaders continue to enter the body with every single meal.
So you can see how the cycle of low-grade chronic inflammation continues and can cause diseases in your dog, like arthritis. By avoiding the top causes of leaky gut you can help prevent this cycle.
This is the best place to assess first when healing and protecting your dog’s gut. A poor diet for gut health will include:
- Processed, grain-based foods with wheat, rice, spelt, lectin from unsprouted grains and soy
- Food additives and preservatives
- Sugar and starches
- Genetically modified foods (GMOs)
- Pasteurized dairy
- And meat from stressed, factory-farmed animals
Choose instead to feed your dog a fresh, raw and organic diet for optimal nutrition and gut health. This will help prevent leaky gut and manage inflammation, which causes arthritis in dogs.
Drugs And Other Toxins
Your next step to healing a leaky gut is to avoid medications and toxins as much as you can such as:
- Unnecessary steroids
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
- Other pain meds
- Prescription deworming drugs
- Flea and tick medications that contain pesticides
- Antibiotics that can lead to an imbalance of healthy gut flora, also known as dysbiosis
Next on the list is looking at vaccine damage. Vaccines contain foreign animal protein and heavy metals like aluminum. These components are meant to exaggerate the immune response when injected …. but this combination wreaks havoc on the immune system.
And you bet this causes chronic inflammation in the gut and the body.
Limiting vaccines is an important step in limiting inflammation. Find a good holistic vet to work with to ensure your dog is not being over-vaccinated. You can also help the body to heal and repair by using a product that helps to remove the toxic effects of vaccines. You can give these homeopathic remedies months or even years after a vaccine and they’ll still help.
Once you’ve evaluated these leaky gut causes and made some changes for your dog you can move on to step 2 and continue to manage your dog’s arthritis.
RELATED: Does your dog have leaky gut?
Step 2: Fix The Fats
Fats are one of the most important ingredients in your dog’s diet. In fact, they affect every cell in his body. If he doesn’t get enough fat or gets the wrong balance of fats, things can go very wrong.
Many of the fats your dog eats are either omega-6 fats or omega-3 fats. Both are important and both help control your dog’s hormones and immune system. The omega-6 fats trigger inflammation and the omega-3 fats reduce it. These fats work in perfect balance …
… unless we mess around with the foods we eat.
It’s important to remember that today’s foods are different than the foods your dog’s ancestors ate. Most foods today are high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. This ratio causes chronic inflammation that can cause or worsen your dog’s arthritis.
Grains are high in omega-6 fats, as are factory-farmed animals … which eat grains. So, feeding factory-farmed animals to your dog is pretty much the same as feeding him grains … you are what you eat.
To reduce inflammation, you should feed your dog grass-fed animals. And if that’s not possible, you need to add omega-3 fats to balance the fats in his diet. You can do this by adding green-lipped mussels …
Step 3: Add Antioxidants
Free radicals are tiny but dangerous substances that build up in your dog. They’re a by-product of metabolism, inflammation and environmental factors like pollution.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause them to die. Free radicals build up like rust on a car and cause degenerative disease and premature aging.
Antioxidants are molecules that can prevent the cell damage free radicals cause. This is because antioxidants have anti-aging effects that help prevent …
- Heart disease
- Eye problems
- Immune issues
They do this by clearing the “rust” out of your dog’s body. This makes them the perfect choice for fighting arthritis in dogs. Here are some foods that are full of high-quality antioxidants:
Manage Your Dog’s Arthritis Naturally
These 3 simple steps will get to the root cause of your dog’s arthritis and I think you and your dog will love the results.
Remember my old Chili? I treated her for leaky gut when she was 10. Afterwards, her joints and movement were so much better and as a bonus, her allergies were too!
So why waste your money on NSAIDs that can make dog arthritis worse?
Instead follow these simple 3 steps. You’ll not only set your dog up to succeed … you’ll also reduce his joint pain. And don’t forget these steps also reduce his risk of cancer, allergies and other diseases.
Sokolove J, Lepus CM. Role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis: latest findings and interpretations. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease. 2013;5(2):77-94.
Wang Q, Rozelle AL, Lepus CM, Scanzello CR, Song JJ, Larsen DM, Crish JF, Bebek G, Ritter SY, Lindstrom TM, Hwang I, Wong HH, Punzi L, Encarnacion A, Shamloo M, Goodman SB, Wyss-Coray T, Goldring SR, Banda NK, Thurman JM, Gobezie R, Crow MK, Holers VM, Lee DM, Robinson WH. Identification of a central role for complement in osteoarthritis. Natural Medicine. 2011;17(12):1674-1679. Published 2011 Nov 6.