Anyone who has experienced arthritis or another joint disorder can tell you that it makes everyday movement painful and difficult and, when left untreated, can greatly reduce your quality of life. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a human problem: dogs can also suffer from debilitating arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases.
The good news is that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle can improve your fur baby’s joint health, reducing their chance of developing joint problems and even helping to alleviate their symptoms if they’re already having issues. You can take control of your pet’s health today by getting them on an optimal diet; at Pawfectly Raw, we believe that raw dog food is the golden standard.
In this blog post, we’ll go over risk factors for joint problems in dogs and symptoms of deficient joint health. Then we’ll explain why an active lifestyle and raw dog food are key to keeping your fur baby healthy and happy, no matter what stage of life they’re in.
Risk factors for joint disease
Knowing the risk factors for joint problems is important. If you know that your dog is at high risk, you can take extra steps to protect their joint health.
Large or giant breeds
Being a big dog has its downsides. Large breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and bloodhounds generally have a greater risk of developing joint problems than their smaller counterparts.
It’s probably no surprise that, just like humans, dogs are more likely to have problems with their joints after reaching middle or old age. However, young dogs aren’t immune. Hip dysplasia, for example, affects even puppies as it’s caused by abnormal joint development.
Obesity puts your fur baby at risk of a host of health problems, including ones involving the joints. It’s crucial to keep your pup within a healthy weight range by encouraging exercise and feeding with nutritious raw dog food.
Infections that affect the joints
Lyme disease, which is transmitted through tick bites, can cause painful and swollen joints in dogs (along with a series of other symptoms). If your dog has been exposed to ticks and you think they might have Lyme disease, contact your vet right away.
Symptoms of joint problems
Whether your dog is at high or low risk of joint issues, it’s always a good idea to be aware of, and look out for, the most common symptoms of disease. These include:
- Stiffness, limping, or difficulty getting up
- Reluctance to run or jump
- Loss of muscle mass
The role of raw dog food
There’s evidence that frequent exercise and a healthy diet, such as one consisting of raw dog food, may help in the prevention and treatment of joint diseases such as osteoarthritis. Let’s look at some examples of how food can come into play.
Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, a key component for healthy joints (and a common ingredient in joint care supplements). Unlike some other kinds of fish, salmon is also low in mercury, making it a great choice for your pup. Pawfectly Raw sells high-quality whole salmon as well as blends containing salmon.
There is evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce the risk of many ailments, including joint disease (this goes for dogs and humans alike!). Pawfectly Raw recommends a whole-food diet that includes ingredients known to have anti-inflammatory properties. These include bone broth, fruits and veggies, and lean proteins like chicken.
Low-carb diet for weight control
Raw dog food that’s centered around high-quality protein is naturally low in carbs, making it a great option for dogs that need to lose weight or avoid gaining weight. Since it’s high in nutrients, it will also help improve your pet’s energy levels, making them more likely to want to exercise.
If you’ve been paying attention to nutrition science in the last few years, you might have heard about some of the amazing health benefits of turmeric. It turns out that the anti-inflammatory effects of this ingredient can benefit our fur babies, as well. Check out this NIH study and get yourself some of our golden paste.
Glucosamine and chondroitin
The natural compounds glucosamine and chondroitin are abundant in duck feet, chicken feet, and trachea. While they are common ingredients in joint health supplements, your dog’s body can absorb the nutrients much more efficiently when taken in their natural form, in food. This is good news for you, because dogs tend to gobble up these kinds of meat with gusto, and you won’t have to trick them into swallowing a pill.
At Pawfectly Raw, we’ve witnessed the benefits of natural glucosamine and chondroitin firsthand. An 11-year-old Cane Corso was unable to walk up three steps into his home, and his owner feared she’d have to put him down. Then one night she tried feeding him a few dehydrated duck feet, and the next morning he ran up the stairs and jumped up on the bed! He continued eating duck feet and lived three more good years.
Some kinds of dogs, such as large breeds and older pups, are more at risk for joint problems, which can severely affect their quality of life. However, nutritious raw dog food, combined with plenty of romping in the park, can help keep your dog’s joints healthier for longer.