What is it?
Canine osteoarthritis is a painful degenerative disease of the joints that affects one in five adult dogs, and two in five over the age of seven.
What to know
Many dog owners report success in alleviating joint pain and slowing down joint deterioration in their dogs by switching to a diet of home-prepared raw or cooked food. This, in combination with natural supplements and NSAIDs, enable them to postpone the use of prescription drugs without compromising their dog’s well-being.
What’s right for your dog is for you to decide, ideally in consultation with your veterinarian and/or a holistic veterinary nutritionist, but here are some pointers to get the discussion started.
Dietary tips for arthritic dogs
Watch out for inflammation. Certain foods—some grains, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, etc.— may aggravate your dog’s arthritis. If you’re able to feed a home-prepared diet, it’s worth trying to exclude any foods known to cause inflammation. If not, grain-free wet food is another option.
Add beneficial foods. Conversely, many foods are reported to have a positive effect on arthritis in dogs. Examples include ginger, celery, alfalfa (should be cooked or pureed for digestibility), mango, papaya (should be overripe), and essential fatty acids, which can be fed both as supplements and through a diet that contains omega-3-rich foods.
Explore nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are foods that have medicinal properties, the basis of most nutritional supplements on the market. For dogs with arthritis, glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) and omega-3 are at the top of the list, but there are others. Not all supplements are backed by science, though, so do your homework before buying anything.