Arthritis in Pets-Healthy Home Remedies
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint. It’s derived from the Greek words “arthron” meaning joint and “itis” meaning inflammation.
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to fight infection. When your body is injured, white blood cells accumulate and gather around the area of injury. These white blood cells are designed to attack foreign substances and bacteria. As a result, inflammation and swelling occur.
What are the types of Arthritis?
There are over 100 various types of arthritis. Right now we’ll focus on the most common type found in both pets and people.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is one type of arthritis. In this arthritis, the cartilage between the joint bones wears away. In severe cases, the cartilage completely wears away, allowing the two joint bones to rub against one another. Eventually, the body replaces the lost cartilage with calcium deposits and osteophytes – dense, ivory-like spurs.
The result is stiffness, pain, and loss of mobility that can seriously degrade one’s quality of life.
Other types of arthritis include Infective Arthritis and Auto-Immune Arthritis. Since they’re far less common, I’ll give you a brief scope.
Infective Arthritis results in contact with bacteria like E. coli or Staphylococci. Joints can get infected in one of two ways.
1. Direct penetration of the joint by a nail, bite, or any sharp object.
2. Spreading through the bloodstream.
Early diagnosis for this arthritis is imperative and is done through blood tests or x-rays.
If this is the case, antibiotics and rest are your pet’s best friends.
Auto Immune Arthritis usually affects several joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an example. This happens when the immune system, designed to fight foreign invaders, fights the body instead. Fortunately, this is one of the least common forms of arthritis found in pets.
Taking samples of the joint fluid provides a diagnosis. If bacterial and fungal cultures are not present, immune arthritis could be present.
Causes and Treatments
The causes of osteoarthritis may be genetic. Some breeds such as Burmese cats and Labradors are predisposed to this kind of arthritis because of hip dysplasia.
More common causes of osteoarthritis develop after trauma to the joint. This is such as dislocating it or tearing a ligament. Infection in the joint or abnormal stress on the joint surfaces also causes osteoarthritis.
In younger dogs, abnormal stress could result from a bone failing to develop properly. In older dogs, common causes of arthritis are obesity or normal wear and tear. This comes from years of activities that put pressure on the joints.
Also, researchers are finding allergies to cause osteoarthritis. Certain pet foods have these allergens. Under the Healthy Diet section, you’ll learn what to look for in pet foods and what to avoid.
What treatments are available for osteoarthritis in pets?
- Exercise is crucial–even in small amounts.
- A healthy diet and proper nutrition will provide the resources your pet needs to beat arthritis.
- If your pet has experienced major trauma to the joint, surgery might be necessary.
- Anti-inflammatory medications. Beware of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids. They are unfortunately associated with high rate side effects including gastrointestinal ulceration and kidney problems. Some of these drugs are being taken off the market because of lethal side effects.
- Homeopathic arthritis pain relief for dogs and cats is a quick and natural alternative. It controls pain and inflammation, allowing your pet to move with ease.
- Acupuncture gives excellent results in pain management and mobility.
- Herbal medicines designed to provide a holistic treatment for arthritis in pets and humans.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin are components for repairing cartilage derived from shellfish and animal cartilage. NOTE: If you decide to use this treatment, first make sure your pet is not allergic to shellfish. Also, never get synthetic versions as the chemicals used to cause more damage than good.
Remember, first deal with the source of the problem. If your cat or dog is overweight, let’s manage an exercise and diet routine to shed those pounds.
Healthy Diet to Treat Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
What your pets eat affects their lives. It either helps them or hurts them.
Many health problems stem from the poor diet – you can avoid these problems by understanding basic pet nutrition. So, you must learn which ingredients are good for your pet and which are harmful.
Read Carefully. This is your pet’s ticket to eating healthy and feeling good again.
So what’s the #1 thing you should do next time you’re shopping for pet food?
Read the INGREDIENTS.
We all have only the best intentions for our furry friends when we shop for high profile pet food claiming to be a premium, choice, or complete and balanced. I’m holding nothing back when I say that means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Read the ingredients.
Here’s a list of ingredients of look for:
- Whole meats like chicken, turkey, bison, venison – You’ll get exactly what it claims you are getting. Whole meat is clean, contains no internal organs, and is way easier for your dog or cat to digest.
- Fruits and Veggies – Apples, squash, blueberries, cranberries, sweet potatoes. These are all ground up in the food for added nutrients. Fiber is good!
- Meals – Chicken meal, fish meal, turkey meal are all just dehydrated ‘whole’ products. They contain calcium. It is a bit more difficult to digest but is way cleaner and safer than a by-product.
- Chicken for Dogs or Beef for Cats–By law the word “for” means is must contain at least 95% of said meat. Whereas the word “with” as in Beef with Liver means it must contain at least 3% of said meat, liver.
- Oatmeal & Fish – Oats are highly digestible and good for soothing upset pet tummies. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat combats inflammation and relieves pain from arthritis in dogs – and people too.
Here’s a list of ingredients to AVOID:
- Corn, Wheat, and Soy – used in pet food as cheap, low-quality fillers. No nutritional value. These are the 3 biggest culprits for food allergies in cats and dogs. Allergic symptoms include itchy, red, flaky skin, and a dull coat.
These allergens may also be a contributing factor to arthritis in pets.
- By-product – Some by-products are more harmful than others. All by-products are an unreliable source of protein from meat. What might be in your by-product food is horse remains, diseased livestock, roadkill, euthanized animals, feathers, feet, and waste. Your animal would not eat this type of food in the wild.
By-products usually have an exorbitant amount of chemical traces (like phenobarbital) and meat rendered but tainted with poison and bacteria. You can easily replace the ‘filler’ with cleaner and healthier ingredients safe for your pet.
- General ingredients like animal fat, animal digest, and meat meal you have no idea what these could contain (and you don’t want to know). Instead, you want to look for things that are more specific, like chicken fat and chicken meal. That way you know exactly what is in the food.
- Brewer’s Rice. White rice or brown rice are both okay–brewer’s rice is not. Why? It’s a non-nutritive filler which is a waste product of the alcohol industry and harsh on intestines.
- BPA, BHA, BHT, TBHQ, propyl gallate, propylene glycol, and ethoxyquin. Chemical preservatives make the food last longer. However, every single one of them has been proven to cause liver and kidney failure, cancer, or other life-threatening diseases in lab rats.
They will tell you that in small quantities, the preservatives are safe. But if you stop and think about it, your pet will ingest small quantities of these preservatives every day over his/her entire life span. They then build up to toxic levels inside the body and that’s when they become deadly. Naturally, preserved food is what your pet needs. ”Mixed tocopherols” is a natural preservative.
- Melamine–this was recalled in 2007 for causing thousands of pets to die.
- “Flavor”–Chicken flavor, beef flavor, anything with flavor contains no chicken, no beef. The scary thing with flavor is that it could mean just about anything chemical or some by-product.
- Titanium dioxide is used to make paint white, extremely harmful when consumed.
- “Slices” and “bits” and “shreds”–This is just wheat gluten or soy that’s been formed, cut, dyed, and shaped to look like pieces of meat
Remember, Complete and Balanced and Premium Choice does not guarantee the nutritional value of pet food! You need to read the small text behind the flashy cover.
Need some pet food pointers? I recommend holistic foods like Canidae, Wellness, or Innova. They have all high-quality ingredients, plus you can find them at almost any health food store. It’s more expensive than Walmart’s food, but you’re getting top-quality ingredients and saving on future veterinary bills.
A raw food diet is also an excellent way to go. And it’s less expensive. You know exactly what your pet is eating because you prepare it yourself from scratch. If you’d like to know more about raw food diets and how to prepare them to email me at the contact link below.
I know this is a mouthful, but it will make a big difference in your pet’s quality of life and their arthritis.
Fun, Quick Exercise Tips to Get Your Pet Moving Again
Stop arthritis aches and pains from striking again!
The goal here is to build up your pet’s ability to move around more freely with less pain. Morever, have fun doing it.
Most of these exercises are a lot easier to do with dogs. You can’t take most cats out for walks or go swimming. And if you can, excellent! But for everyone else with cats that have arthritis, I wrote a special section for you below.
This exercise routine has the following benefits:
- Increases joint mobility
- Aides weight management
- Speeds healing time
- And improves attitude
Ready, let’s go!
5-10 Minutes – Warm-Up
Start with a slow warm-up–a slow-paced walk is great for this.
20-30 Minutes – Aerobic
Match activities to your dog’s ability, such as a fast leash walk. Your dog could accompany you while you jog or even bike. Build up to 5 days per week.
If you have access to a place where your dog can swim, it’s an excellent way to introduce low impact
20-30 Minutes–Play Time
Play is a splendid way to keep your dog active. Play your dog’s favorite game, a ball, a frisbee, or anything else that keeps your dog interest.
5-10 Minutes – Cool Off
Slow down the pace with a gentle walk and be sure to give your dog plenty of water.
Exercise is as important for cats, and it is for dogs.
Here are 3 easy exercise tips to get your cat in gear on 4-paw-drive.
- Stimulate your cat with play. You can use the feather on a stick that cats go crazy over. A toy mouse or a little plastic ball for them to kick around works too.
- Exercise wheel. Yes, they’re made for cats too.
- Climbing posts. Cats love to climb; it’s what they’re made to do. Give them the opportunity and most likely they’ll happily take it.
If you decide you want to try taking your cat out for a walk, you can get a cat harness. Some cats take well to it.
Another option is hydrotherapy. It’s a technique to promote blood circulation and faster healing. You hire a professional to teach your cat to swim. The problem with this though is that most cats despise being in the water. But it’s an option. You know your cat – use your best judgment.
Just like in humans, the levels of pain from arthritis can change from day to day.
You can see if your cat or dog is excited to play or lethargic. Match your pet’s ability to the amount of exercise each day.
Remember, the purpose of these exercises is to get your pet in shape, feeling better, and never strain them. If you feel it will help get things moving, use a homeopathic pain reliever. Can’t hurt to try.
What are you waiting for? You now know more about arthritis than most people who HAVE arthritis. Get up and take action treating your pet’s arthritis now!