Is your fur kid slowing down?
Every dog and cat is a masterpiece of movement, bending and leaping thanks to the exquisite workings of the muscles and joints in their bodies. But as they age, joints can wear down, causing pain and swelling and discouraging movement in general. Mobility problems will affect 80% of dogs and 70% of cats at some time in their lives, and is their most common source of chronic pain. Real relief is possible, however, with improved diet and some all natural drug-free joint supplements.
Anatomy of a joint
Inside a joint capsule, cartilage wraps around the ends of the bones to prevent them from rubbing together, and thick synovial fluid insures a gliding, frictionless movement. Ligaments hold the bones in proper alignment to each other. A healthy joint is self-repairing; when cartilage becomes damaged, cells inside the joint capsule can grow more cartilage cells and remove the damaged ones. Other cells will produce more synovial fluid to keep the joint well hydrated. But when the loss of cartilage becomes acute, painful arthritis sets in. This can happen quickly from injury or develop slowly from aging and be almost undetectable.
Know what to look for
Typical signs of joint problems include stiff gait, difficulty when getting up, reluctance to jump or climb steps, slowing down on walks and greater inactivity. These signs are easy to overlook, and can go unnoticed for a long time. Cats especially tend to hide their pain and it may be longer time before their problems are noticed. One good tipoff that a cat is experiencing pain is if she no longer jumps up on high places or performs acrobatic leaps when you wave the wand toy.
At the molecular level, cartilage and ligaments are made from a matrix of collagen fibers interspersed by long chains of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), that attract and hold water. Glucosamine. Chondroitin and hyaluronic acid (the main component of synovial fluid) are all GAGs, which are produced by the cells of the body but can also be ingested in raw or minimally processed meat-based foods. To introduce some joint building menu items, try some cartilage-rich chicken or turkey necks (raw or freeze-dried), backs or wings. Serving fewer carbs in the diet can help with weight control or weight loss, an important goal in reducing stress on their joints. Avoiding highly processed foods in general will cut out many toxins that would otherwise need to be filtered out or neutralized, and your pet’s vital energy can used instead to heal and repair joint tissue.
Once pronounced symptoms have appeared, you need to reach for a good supplement. There are many all-natural drug-free products that can help rebuild joint tissue and ease pain in a remarkably short time. Our favorite is Connectin, a clinically proven remedy containing glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid and nine helpful herbs. It’s guaranteed to bring results in only 15 days and comes in many forms – a powder, a chewable tablet, a functional treat (called Jump) and a cat supplement. Other excellent joint supplements are Liquid Health, with both dog and cat formulas in an easy-to-use liquid form, and Ark Naturals Joint Rescue for dogs and cats.
Omega-3s from fish oil
Painful joints are an inflammatory condition, and Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their ability to reduce the inflammation that is causing pain and swelling. Fish oil the best source of Omega-3s for both dogs and cats, as they cannot easily convert (and cats absolutely can’t) plant-sourced Omega-3s to the form their bodies need. Serve on top of their food just before serving. They generally like the flavor, and rotating among several different sources such as salmon, sardine or a fish oil blend will bring a good variety of essential fatty acids. As a side benefit, Omega-3s can also help improve cognitive function and may benefit outcomes in allergy and cancer treatment. One of our favorites is pharmaceutical grade Nordic Naturals Salmon Oil – it has no fishy smell.
Recognizing the subtle symptoms of joint problems and taking steps to correct them can contribute greatly to your dog or cat’s quality of life. Many of our customers have seen wonderful improvements in a short period of time, and you can too!