Every dog owner knows that there is nothing more heartbreaking than watching your beloved pet in pain. When a dog is in pain, it is generally because they have suffered an injury or because they have a medical condition. In both cases, you will usually need to take your dog to the vet so that the vet can treat the cause of the pain and manage the pain with medication. Feeling like there is nothing you can do to help your dog can leave you feeling helpless. However, there are sometimes steps that you can take to reduce the amount of pain your dog is experiencing. If your dog is suffering from arthritis, then their diet can play a big role in managing their condition. Here are some of the foods you should give to a dog with arthritis.
What is Arthritis in Dogs?
According to The Kennel Club, the word arthritis simply describes inflammation of the joints. This is a common problem for dogs, and there are many causes. Some possible reasons why a dog can suffer from arthritis include:
- Wear and tear from old age
- A genetic predisposition
- Past injuries to a joint
- Joint instability
- Cartilage damage
- Abnormal joint or cartilage development
What Role Does Diet Play in Managing Arthritis?
Making sure that your dog has a healthy and balanced diet and that you include beneficial ingredients is especially important for dogs with arthritis as diet plays several roles in managing this condition. The main roles of diet in relation to arthritis are:
- Weight management- A major cause of arthritis is obesity, as this puts extra pressure on the joints. Even if this is not the cause of your dog’s arthritis, maintaining a healthy weight is important as becoming overweight can exacerbate the symptoms. Therefore, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the dog is eating a healthy and balanced diet.
- Meeting nutritional needs-To stay healthy, dogs have specific nutritional needs. It is particularly important for dogs with arthritis to eat the right food as some vital nutrients are needed for tissue rejuvenation and natural healing.
- Pain reduction- Some foods have naturally painkilling properties, so these can reduce your dog’s suffering.
- Reduced Inflammation- Likewise, there are some foods that are known to reduce inflammation, which is beneficial for dogs suffering from arthritis.
Foods to Feed a Dog with Arthritis
Some foods are better than others for dogs with arthritis, and this all comes down to the nutritional properties of food. Some of the best foods to include are as follows:
- Sweet potatoes- Dogtime recommends feeding your dog sweet potatoes. These offer just as much dietary fiber for your dog as regular potatoes, but they also have some added nutritional benefits. They are high in beta-carotene, which is great for fighting inflammation. Sweet potatoes also contain amino acids. Not only do these fight cell damage, but they can also aid with muscle building.
- Turmeric – This is fast becoming known as the wonder spice due to the benefits it provides for many aspects of general health. It contains several anti-inflammatory compounds, the main one of which is curcumin. These can help to reduce stiffness and pain. Curcumin also has antioxidant properties, which means that turmeric can slow down cell damage from free radicals and reduce swelling and pain.
- Ginger – Ginger has many of the same nutritional values as turmeric. Therefore, it offers similar health benefits. It also contains gingerol, which scientists believe can reduce inflammation and prevent joint destruction.
- Fish Oil – Including fish oil in your dog’s diet is beneficial to them as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These act as an anti-inflammatory and increase joint mobility. A further benefit is that omega-3 fatty acids contribute to your dog having a healthy coat and skin. The Huffington Post suggests foods including salmon, mackerel, and sardines as good sources of fish oil. Make sure you remove any bones before feeding to your dog.
- Alfalfa – This food can prevent cellular damage, as alfalfa contains antioxidants. Alfalfa is also rich in protein along with a wide range of vitamins and nutrients. Therefore, it can contribute to a healthy and balanced diet for a dog.
- Celery – Another food with anti-inflammatory properties is celery. This is a good option because it is also low in calories. Celery also contains calcium, vitamins, amino acids, and fiber, meaning it is a good food for general bone and joint health.
- Coconut oil – Not only is coconut oil an anti-inflammatory, but it also lubricates the joints for improved mobility. It also contains fatty acids and has properties that can fight bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. This is important because infections can contribute to the pain of dog arthritis.
- Fruits – You should only give fruit to your dog in small portions as the high sugar content can cause dental problems and tummy upsets. However, the nutritional properties of some make it worth occasionally feeding fruit to your dog to reduce symptoms of dog arthritis. Two of the best fruits are blueberries and papaya.
- Prescription food – For severe cases of arthritis, you may wish to speak to your vet about prescription food, says Dog Food Guru. These food are specially formulated for dogs with arthritis and other joint problems, so they contain all the foods needed to achieve the best nutritional value and the most benefits for your dog.
The Final Verdict
Diet can play an important role in managing dog arthritis, as some foods can reduce pain and inflammation. The foods you choose to feed your dog can also help your dog to maintain a healthy weight, which reduces the symptoms of dog arthritis as there is less pressure on the joints. It is particularly important to include foods that are high in antioxidants as these have anti-inflammatory properties. It is important to include a variety of different foods to maintain good general health and to fulfill your dog’s nutritional needs.