EASE ARTHRITIS IN PETS
Natural ways to help your dog or cat overcome joint aches and pains
our pets, enjoying full range of motion is as vital as breathing fresh air and drinking clean water. Dogs and cats are never happier than when they’re running and romping. But osteoarthritis, a common cause of joint pain, cruelly robs pets of their mobility and diminishes their quality of life. It’s estimated that 25 percent of dogs su er from degenerative joint disease (DJD), and 90 percent of senior cats.
For both pets and people, conventional medicine o ers nonsteroidal anti-in ammatory drugs. However, more of us want to avoid these pharmaceuticals’ adverse side e ects on the kidneys and liver by opting for natural solutions.
EAT TO TREAT ACHING JOINTS
Arthritis, by de nition, is joint in ammation, so feeding an anti-in ammatory diet is the most important thing you can do for your arthritic pet. at means a grain-free, dairy-free diet that strictly avoids gluten and anything containing it (i.e. most bread, pasta, cake, cookies, and crackers). For between-meal treats, instead of dog biscuits or cat treats that contain gluten, share tasty morsels of eggs, sardines, mackerel, leafy greens, and raw or steamed veggies (such as carrots and broccoli). Avoid saturated animal fat, especially red meat, as it aggravates in ammation; steer clear of white potatoes, too, as the salonine they contain can cause muscle pain.
Supplement a healthy diet with anti-in ammatory spices such as turmeric and cinnamon; I give my four-footed seniors a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon mixed with two teaspoons of raw honey, plus a liberal sprinkling of turmeric, with each meal. (I always use Ceylon cinnamon, a.k.a. Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Cinnamomum verum; it’s harder to nd than the more common cassia cinnamon, but unlike cassia cinnamon, it does not contain the chemical coumarin, a blood thinner which may be harmful to the liver and kidneys in large doses.)
SUPPLEMENTS FOR FOUR-FOOTED FRIENDS
In terms of nutritional supplements, savvy pet parents have known for years about the joint-lubricating bene ts of glucosamine and antioxidantrich omega-3 fats from sh oil. And now, we have even more numerous and sophisticated supplements to add to the anti-arthritis arsenal. To give pets the maximum bene t of natural anti-in ammatories, supplement companies o er vet-formulated, holistic remedies for dogs and cats, easily administered orally with a dropper bottle. Anti-in ammatory herbs such as turmeric, guggul, astragalus, and alfalfa are sometimes included in arthritis formulas for pets, along with cayenne and ginger to ease pain.
UPWARD DOG, DOWNWARD DOG
Remember that it’s tough for arthritic dogs and cats to move around the way they used to: pets may have a hard time ascending and descending stairs, and accessing high places. Remember to give pets an assist whenever they want to share the sofa, bed, or other cozy spot. A ramp, box, or step-up is always welcome.
Humid days are especially rough on sti joints. Furnish pets with warm, cushiony bedding to protect achy joints from cold, hard oors, and whenever possible, treat dogs and cats to a warm re and/or the sunniest spot in your home.
Exercise happens more slowly now, but it should de nitely still happen. Going for swims and walks with your dog is good for you both. Take precautions, however. When swimming, consider out tting your dog with a otation device, and when walking, keep your gait slow to prevent overexertion. Strategically place mats indoors on slippery oors to prevent slips by providing a secure grip for pet paws. And yoga is as good for your dog as it is for you. Place an extra yoga mat by your side for Spot or Flu y: the asanas (poses) are something