Are you noticing your aging dog slowing down? Does he appear in pain when he moves and jumps? I recently shared the top 6 warning signs of canine arthritis. Today, we’re going over ways to naturally relieve that joint pain — because no dog guardian wants to see their canine companion suffer in silence.
1. Maintain A Healthy Weight
The more weight your pooch is packing, the larger the load on his joints. And get this: According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54 percent of dogs in the United States are considered overweight or obese. If your dog is carrying a few too many pounds then it’s time to take a closer look at his meals, treats, and exercise routine.
2. Boost Omega-3s
Canine nutrition experts say fats are one of the most important part of a dogs’ diet. Fats are right up there with protein! And Omega-3s are linked to many benefits, which include:
- Fighting Inflammation
- Supporting Heart Health
- Benefiting Mental Health
- Supporting Eye Health
- Improving Skin and Coat
- Easing Joint Pain
Focusing on joint pain, one Canadian study examined 30 dogs with osteoarthritis over a 13 week period. The findings? Dogs who were fed a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids from fish showed significant improvement in locomotor disability and performance of daily activities.
A couple of ways I personally incorporate Omega-3s into my dog’s diet:
- Krill Stick Chews – These grain-free chew sticks by iHeartDogs are not only super tasty to dogs, but they’re also extremely healthy! Made out of pure Antarctic krill, they contain both EPA and DHA — the beneficial Omega-3 fats found in cold water fish. Find out more about these krill sticks in my review HERE.
- Sardine Treats – Sardines are another great source of Omega-3s and dogs love the taste! Check out this easy, healthy, and bark-worthy recipe:
3. Use Anti-Inflammatory Foods In Replace Of Treats (Or In Your Treats)
Certain foods are known to have natural anti-inflammatory properties, like broccoli, spinach, blueberries, pineapple, mango, papaya, turmeric, and ginger. While it’s best to ditch processed meals and feed your canine companion a fresh diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, if it’s not in your budget then work them in as treats!
In my cookbook, Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes, I incorporate inflammation-fighting foods into many of my treats.
4. Feed Bone Broth
The gelatin produced from simmered animal bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and marrow also supports healthy joints.
“One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin, which acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them ‘glide’ without friction. Gelatin also provides us with building blocks that are needed to form and maintain strong bones, helping take pressure off of aging joints and supporting healthy bone mineral density.”
Additionally, bone broth contains other joint-protecting compounds such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.
5. Massage Therapy
When you’re feeling stiff and achy, what do you do? A lot of people book a massage to help work out the kinks and ease the pain. Well, the same massage techniques that offer you relief can also benefit your arthritic canine. If you can’t find a professional massage therapist in your area, you can always try some simple techniques right at home (as long as your dog lets you).
6. Moderate Exercise
Keeping your pup active is an absolute must. Just make sure to tailor their exercise routine to something more appropriate to their aching joints. Instead of strenuous hikes up a mountain, try slow walks around your community or a friendly game of fetch on padded and carpeted flooring.
Are land exercises becoming too difficult for your canine companion? Try canine water therapy! In an interview that I did with Vonni Goetting — a professional canine water therapist and certified animal massage therapist— she said:
“I see all different conditions and pathologies in my practice, but the highest percentage of my clientele is geriatric. A lot of my patients suffer from Osteoarthritis, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, and other degenerative joint or neurological disorders.”
By performing massages, stretching sequences, and range-of-motion exercises in a large pool of water, Vonni says water therapy can help reduce pain, regain strength, improve flexibility, and enhance a dog’s overall quality of life. During our interview, she shared this touching story:
“I had a wonderful couple bring their 12y/o German Shepherd, Maya, to me several years ago. At the time, it was thought that she had become incontinent and they were just seeking a way to help support her aging arthritic body. After just three sessions of water therapy, we discovered that Maya was not incontinent at all. She had stopped letting her parents know when she needed to go potty because it was too difficult or painful for her to get up quickly enough. Regaining some strength and mobility, she began to ‘notify’ Mom and Dad to go out when she needed to. This family ended up having almost an extra year with Maya before it was time to let her go. (One of my favorite stories to share!)”
8. Provide Cushy Beds For Resting
Just like a poor quality mattress can leave you feeling neck kinks and body aches, an unsupportive dog bed can do the same for your canine companion. I personally have the PACK&DEN beds at my house — they’re designed with memory foam and great for dogs who suffer from arthritis and joint pain. Check them out HERE.
9. Natural Supplements
There are a lot of different natural supplements on the market that can help ease your pup’s joint pain. Some of the most popular ones are glucosamine, chondroitin, krill oil, and hemp oil. I’m actually waiting for my hemp oil from iHeartDogs to arrive, as I’ve heard amazing things from fellow dog parents. With links to pain relief, anxiety relief, and a whole lot more, I can’t wait to try out this product. Learn more about it here!
Note: Speak with a holistic veterinarian to figure out what is best for your dog.