to the pet arthritis resource center
in Pets can be Helped with Nutrition
Author: Paula Hunt
you've noticed that Rover's gotten a little stiff in the hind legs
or that Spunky is having trouble jumping in and out of her litter
box. These problems may be more serious than you think. Difficulty
performing routine movements and reduced mobility may be indications
that your pet is suffering from arthritis.
progressively degenerative joint disease usually affects larger
breeds of dogs, like retrievers, but it can also occur in cats.
The most common form, degenerative osteoarthritis, is characterized
by the erosion of the joints' normally smooth cartilage surfaces.
Rough new surfaces develop in their place and cause joint pain and
can stem from a variety of factors including poor diet, genetics,
aging and even Lyme disease. Since many other conditions, from heart
disease to anemia, produce similar symptoms, have your veterinarian
diagnose the condition with an x-ray. The good news is, whether
you're looking to prevent the onset of arthritis or alleviate the
symptoms, there are plenty of natural remedies to turn to.
is the most important thing you can do to prevent your pet from
developing arthritis," says Gerald Buchoff, a holistic veterinary
practitioner in North Bergen, N.J. Most canned and dry commercial
pet foods lack the minerals needed for maintaining ideal health,
so Buchoff recommends adding a supplement to your pet's diet that
contains digestive enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
"Digestive enzymes help the body break down food more completely
and thereby unlock the essential nutrients," he explains. "Antioxidants
act as soldiers that patrol the body for the free radicals that
are by-products of inflammatory processes such as arthritis. Essential fatty acids, like omega-3, cannot be made by the body
but have been shown to aid in the prevention of arthritis."
your animal is already symptomatic, John Heinerman Ph.D., author
of Natural Pet Cures: Dog & Cat Care the Natural Way (Prentice
Hall Press, 1998), suggests giving him mineral-rich anti-inflammatories
like alfalfa and yucca. Add them in powdered form to food once a
day (1/4 teaspoon [tsp.] each for cats, 1/2 to 1 tsp. for dogs).
He also recommends cold-pressed flaxseed oil (1 tsp. for cats, 1
tablespoon for dogs) to reduce swelling.
therapies, such as acupuncture, Shiatsu and chiropractic, can also
relieve arthritic pain when performed by a licensed practitioner.
According to Buchoff, chiropractic adjustments every six months,
especially for large animals, can halt the onset of arthritis. Pain
and stiffness can also be reduced by giving a gentle daily massage
with your thumbs and fingertips on the pet's affected joints.
is also important for prevention and symptom management. It helps
maintain muscle strength, which enhances joint support, and keeps
off extra weight that can put pressure on the joints. (Take your
dog for a walk or have a play session with your cat using a ball
or pull toy.)
be sure to give your pet a warm, dry bed that's far away from joint-stiffening
drafts. Or--something you'll both enjoy--just give him a leg up
into your own bed.
any dog or cat suffering from arthritis, supplementing their diet
with high quality glucosamine is also vitally important. For more
information on our recommended glucosamine product, visit
on arthritis in pets can be found in our Pet
Arthritis Resource Center
Guide to Glucosamine Products for Pets
More information on arthritis in humans with glucosamine
can be found in our Glucosamine
Pet Arthritis Chronicle