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 affect 80% of dogs and 70% of cats at some time in their lives, and is the 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 ensures a gliding, frictionless movement. Ligaments hold the bones in proper alignment to each other. A healthy joint is self-repairing; when 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. But 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 almost undetectably due to aging.

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 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 she no longer jumps up on high places or performs acrobatic leaps when you wave the wand toy.

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 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, backs or wings – raw or freeze-dried are good ways to get the most nutrients.

Serving your pet more meat and fewer carbs will also help control or reduce body weight, an important goal 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 used instead to heal and repair joint tissue.

Joint Supplements

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 flavored powder, a chewable tablet, a functional treat for dogs (called Jump) and a cat supplement. Other excellent products are Liquid Health, in an easy-to-use liquid form, and Ark Naturals Joint Rescue in tablets.

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 they cannot easily convert (and cats absolutely can’t) plant-sourced Omega-3s to the form their bodies need. Add to food daily just before serving. Pets generally like the flavor, and rotating among different sources like salmon, sardine or a fish oil blend will provide a wider spectrum of essential fatty acids. As a side benefit, Omega-3s also help cognitive function and can improve outcomes in allergy and cancer treatment.

Our favorites include Wisely Pollock Oil and  Nordic Naturals Salmon Oil, which are rich in Omega-3s.

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!