Nutrition and Osteoarthritis in Dogs
Although we tend to think of only senior dogs being at risk, approx. 20% of dogs older than one year of age have osteoarthritis, a disease which is often quite painful. Since dogs are notoriously good at masking their pain, it’s no surprise that most pet parents don’t consider the degeneration of joint cartilage in younger dogs.
There has been a growing body of evidence that nutrition can play an important role in managing these dogs.
Being overweight increases stress on joints and articular cartilage (specialized connective tissue of large moveable joints), so keeping a dog slim throughout life is paramount. We can create a downward spiral because pain in joints often translates to less movement - and moving less creates weight gain. In many cases, the owner cuts back on the amount of food being fed, so even the amounts of nutrients the body receives are being diminished. The body will respond by becoming weaker over time.
Omega 3 fatty acids help to modulate the inflammatory response. They should be part of every diet, but with more attention for dogs with osteoarthritis. How much to give is based on the diet being fed and the weight of the dog. Having worked with these cases for so many years I can say that some of the response is individual and not under strictly dietary control (think exercise routines, treats being fed, etc.) but there is no question that most dogs improve when the omega 6:3 ratio was 2:1.
Something that muddles the results of the omega 3 amount we’ve used is that it is never the only change. Although our approach is methodical - in that one thing is changed at a time, the overall diet receives an overhaul that includes foods that provide ample antioxidants. These are potent in their own right and often underestimated.
Finally, in vitro studies showed the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis. When given in supplemental form, dogs showed significant improvement in scores for pain, weight bearing and severity of lameness by day 70. Our client’s dogs usually show signs of improvement by day 50, and often sooner.
If you’ve been using our Joint Complex, you know it’s been out of stock for a while, and if you emailed me about it you also know why. Whereas raw product has always been from the U.S. it was suddenly unavailable and the only choice would have been to get it from China. That’s a deal breaker for me, so the product was no longer on my site.
My 2018 journey to find sources of sodium-free glucosamine and chondroitin (made in the U.S. or Canada only) has been like looking for a needle in a haystack, but finally successful!
The company compounds, so they can use their label but use raw ingredients from wherever available. If I don't specify, it will be China. If I say U.S. I have to order a very large amount and they will compound based on that. Lab testing shows the product to be wonderful quality, and the dogs we tested it on have done very well.
Our Joint Complex is now in capsules. Easy to twist apart and put back together (if you need just part of a capsule), mix in food - done!
Happy Anniversary to Us!
Jody Zesko and I have been working together for one year. It has flown by! Jody brings her knowledge, a fresh perspective, great ideas for our FB page (come on over and Like it!) and makes this work even more joyful than it was already. Here’s to many more years together!
Monica and Jody
“Opening up your life to a dog who needs a home is one of the most fulfilling things you can do.”