Joint Health for Dogs and Cats
Is your fur kid slowing down?
Every dog and cat is a masterpiece of movement, 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 ultimately affect many dogs and cats at some time in their lives and are the most common source of chronic pain. Real relief is possible, however, with an 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 ensures a gliding, frictionless movement. Ligaments hold the bones in proper alignment to each other.
A healthy joint is self-repairing; when the cartilage is damaged, specialized cells inside the joint capsule can grow new cartilage cells and remove the damaged ones. Other special cells will replenish synovial fluid to keep the joint well hydrated. When the loss of cartilage accelerates and the body can’t keep up, painful arthritis sets in. This can happen quickly from injury or develop slowly and may be almost undetectable due to aging.
Know what to look for
Typical signs of joint problems include a stiff gait, difficulty when getting up, reluctance to jump or climb steps, slowing down on walks, and greater inactivity in general. Because these signs are easy to overlook, they can go unnoticed for a long time. Cats, especially, tend to hide their pain. One tipoff that a cat is experiencing pain is if they no longer jump up on high places or perform acrobatic leaps when you wave the wand toy or even stop grooming themselves.
Cleaner diet, improved joints
At the molecular level, cartilage and ligaments are 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 and can also be ingested in some minimally processed meat-based foods. To introduce joint-building menu items, try some cartilage-rich chicken or turkey necks, backs or wings – raw or freeze-dried are good ways to get the most nutrients. Bone broth, a nutritious stock made from these same collagen-dense parts, is another easy way to incorporate healthy joint building blocks into your pet’s diet.
Serving your pet more meat and fewer carbs can also help control or reduce body weight, an important factor in decreasing stress on 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 be used instead to heal and repair joint tissue.
At the first sign of any symptoms (or even preemptively if you have a breed that’s prone to joint issues), we recommend that you reach for a good joint 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 tested remedy containing glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and nine therapeutic herbs. It can bring results in only 15 days and comes in many forms – a flavored powder, a chewable tablet, and a soft chew.
Other excellent products are Liquid Health, in an easy-to-use liquid form, and Super Snouts Joint Power with pure New Zealand green mussel powder.
Omega-3s from Fish Oil
Painful joints are an inflammatory condition, and Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their ability to reduce inflammation that causes pain and swelling. Fish oil is the best source of Omega-3s for both dogs and cats, as it provides both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are the forms of Omega-3 their bodies use. Dogs and especially cats cannot easily convert the Omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), mainly sourced from plants like flax and chia, into usable EPA and DHA. Add fish oil to food daily just before serving. Pets generally like the flavor, and rotating among different sources like salmon, sardine, pollock, or a fish oil blend will provide a wider spectrum of essential fatty acids. As a side benefit, Omega-3s also help cognitive function, can minimize allergies, and improve outcomes in some cancer treatments.
Some of our favorites are Wisely Salmon Oil or Wisely Pollock Oil, made from sustainable wild-caught Alaskan fish, and pharmaceutical-grade Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet, which has absolutely no fishy smell.
Address joint pain with CBD
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!