My old dog Chili is a walking disaster … and a daily reminder of the impact arthritis in dogs has on 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 salad days.
Now that Chili is 13, 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 a happy, healthy 13 and counting!
Don’t get me wrong, there was a time when I thought she’ld 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 since this is also one of the most frequent questions DNM readers ask me … I thought I’d share my top 3 steps for dealing with arthritis naturally.
These 3 simple steps have worked miracles for Chili and I know they’ll help your dog’s joint pain too. 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 from Stanford University 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 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, ironically, 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.
When your dog is exposed to …
- Or if he hurts himself
… Then acute inflammation will bring white blood cells to the are to start the healing process.
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 finding that …
- Heart disease can be linked to dental disease
- Chronic bladder infections can lead to bladder cancer
- And chronic low-grade inflammation is a major driver of joint degeneration.
So let’s take a look at the best ways to fight against the 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. But now I know.
Your dog’s gut lining contains millions of tiny little holes. These spaces allow digested foods and proteins to enter the body to be used as fuel. 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 is damaged or inflamed. This happens when proteins, bacteria and undigested food sneaks through and triggers inflammation.
The immune system’s job is to respond to any foreign invader with inflammation … but when your dog’s gut is 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 disease. 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.
[Related: Raw Feeding Dogs: 10 Simple Rules To Get Started]
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)
- Prescription deworming drugs
- Flea and tick medications that contain pesticides
- Antibiotics which 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 yes, 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. These homeopathic remedies can be given months and even years after a vaccine and still help.
Once you’ve evaluated these leaky gut causes and made some changes for your dog you can move on to step 2.[Related: Dysbiosis: 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 the chronic inflammation that can cause or worsen arthritis.
Grains are high in omega-6 fats, as are factory-farmed animals … which are fed 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, your dog should be fed 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 fish or phytoplankton …
… But not by adding fish oil because most fish oils turn rancid and can increase the inflammation in your dog.[Related:Fish Oil For Dogs: 5 Reasons You Should Dump It]
Step 3 – Add Antioxidants
Free radicals are tiny but dangerous substances that build up in your dog. They are 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
- And immune issues
… Because antioxidants clear the “rust” out of your dog’s body. This makes them the perfect choice for fighting arthritis. Here are some foods that are loaded with high quality antioxidants:
- Phytoplankton contains SOD, the cancer-fighting king of all antioxidants
- Astaxanthin is another super-powerful antioxidant that you want to add into your dog’s supplement rotation.
- Turmeric contains curcumin and it’s not only an antioxidant but also an anti-inflammatory. Most joint and antioxidant supplements conatin it … or you can make your own super-potent turmeric paste.
- Feeding blueberries, goji berries and cranberries offers great antioxidant support for your dog. They’re high in vitamin E, lutein, vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene.
- Herbs with antioxidant support include oregano, basil, cinnamon, parsley, cumin and ginger.
Pulling It All Together
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.