Joint pain and immobility are common symptoms of degenerative conditions such as arthritis, ligament and tendon injuries, cancer and hip dysplasia. Senior dogs are predisposed to these conditions due to the wear and tear affecting bones and supporting structures which comes with old age.
Below we discuss ingredients effective in alleviating these symptoms therefore improving the quality of life of senior dogs.
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring chemical produced by the body. It’s essential in the formation and repair of cartilage, is the rubbery substance found in between joints. It helps reduce friction during joint movement and also acts as a cushion to relieve pressure. As dogs age, their ability to produce glucosamine is greatly reduced and with time the cartilage wears off leading to cases of osteoarthritis characterized by joint pain, swelling and stiffness.
Glucosamine supplements help in reducing pain, inflammation and help in lubrication restoring joint function and mobility. This makes them more preferable than a steroid which on long term use causes stomach ulcers.
Chondroitin is also a naturally occurring substance within the body which helps in maintaining the integrity of cartilage through repair and promoting growth. It is also found in bone supplement formulations and helps in managing cases of arthritis, hip dysplasia and other joint degenerative conditions.
Chondroitin assists in reducing inflammation in the joint by reducing pain and swelling while also slowing down wear and tear of the cartilage.
- Hemp Seed Meal
Hemp seeds are known super foods due to their high nutrient content. They are rich in proteins containing all amino acids required for a balanced diet. They are contains a balanced ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids which help in maintaining a healthy heart, hair and skin and, Omega 6 fatty acids also known as gamma linolenic acid. The latter is essential in the formation of hormones called prostaglandins which help in controlling pain and inflammation in the body in this case in the joints.
Care should be taken when serving hemp seeds to dogs. The fats contained are polyunsaturated and oxidize when cooked which are known causes of obesity and heart disease. They should also not be served together with poultry based diets which are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. This disrupts the 3:1 ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which is essential for optimal metabolism in the body. On the other hand, hemp seeds are perfect supplements to ruminant based diets such as beef or fish.
According to Steve Brown the author of Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, 1 table spoon of hemp seed oil or two tablespoons of ground hemp seed is usually the recommended amount to add to your pet’s food.
Turmeric is a yellow colored powder from the turmeric plant. Though popularly used in humans as an anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of chest pain, toothaches etc, it’s gaining popularity among pet owners as a supplement to normal medication. Turmeric can be used to reduce joint pain, stiffness and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and bursitis in dogs. It also aids in digestion, acts as a blood thinner and helps cancer prevention as well.
Turmeric is safe for dogs and can be added to their normal diet either as a ground powder, a paste or directly in its natural form. It’s also available as a capsule. Mixing turmeric with fat makes it easier to digest. The best formulations also include black pepper extract to maximize absorption of the many benefits of Turmeric.
Dosage usually depends on the weight of the dog raging from as little as 1/16 of a tablespoon in dogs between 1-10lbs to as much as 2 tablespoons in dogs over 100lbs.
- Black Pepper
Apart from being a popular spice seasoning in the kitchen, black pepper is packed with anti-inflammatory benefits.
It contains piperine an anti-inflammatory agent which controls production of prostaglandins which mediate inflammation. It helps to reduce swelling and tenderness in joints.
Piperine also contains analgesic properties which help to alleviate joint pain. It also helps to control immune reactions common in rheumatoid arthritis.
Black pepper is usually administered together with turmeric as they work synergistically. Oil should however be avoided when the two are given concurrently.
Black pepper should be withheld from dogs which are sensitive or those that exhibit allergic reactions when administered.