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Holistic Treatment for Dog Osteoarthritis

Holistic Treatment for Dog Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (degeneration of joint cartilage resulting in pain and loss of mobility) is so common in pets, dogs especially, that you would think it’s an inevitable, natural part of aging. It isn’t. To preserve the cartilage cushion between bones, a well-balanced, wholesome diet is the first line of defense. “And don’t forget the importance of proper weight control, massage [to enhance circulation], and regular exercise,” says holistic veterinarian Susan Wynn, DVM. “But if these bases are covered and your companion animal still has trouble climbing stairs, jumping up on the sofa, or arising from or getting into a resting position, it’s time to consider supplements,” explains Wynn, who is executive director of the Veterinary Botanical Medical Association and vice president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

The earlier in the condition you begin treatment the better your pet’s chance of reaping the benefits of two powerhouse nutrients–glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate–that together maintain cartilage structure and prevent damage. Other supplements Wynn suggests include antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, the mineral selenium, fish-oil–derived omega-3 fatty acids (for their anti-inflammatory activity)–and proteolytic enzymes (to reduce inflammation and support cartilage repair by enhancing protein digestion and absorption). Anti-inflammatory herbs such as meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) or ginger (Zingiber officinale) may also offer relief. “Combining several ingredients with different mechanisms of action maximizes potential synergistic effects,” Wynn notes, “but even so, benefits may not show up for a couple of weeks, so be patient.” Start with suggested label dosages, but check with an experienced veterinarian to ensure the proper amounts for your pet.

A note of caution: Herbs and nutraceuticals may have side effects, and because the science in that area is still emerging, Wynn says it’s a good idea to monitor blood work every six to 12 months when animals are on any chronic medication–even supplements.

Merchandise bearing the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal is manufactured by companies screened by the NASC, and you can find NASC supplier members by visiting NASC or calling 760.751.3360. Consult a holistic veterinarian for questions about specific products, though, because the animal supplement industry is still young and even products that don’t yet carry the NASC seal may be effective.

Read more: Dogs, Pets, Remedies & Treatments, , , , , , ,

By By Victoria L. Freeman, PhD, Natural Solutions

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16 comments

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7:52AM PDT on May 2, 2014

I have a 70 lb lab shepard mix who has the beginnings of arthritis. He's also on medication for idiopathic epilepsy. I am retecent to give him more drugs and wondered if anyone knew of something that would help the osteoarthritis and not interact with phenobarbitol and KBr. Thanks

7:51AM PDT on May 2, 2014

I have a 70 lb lab shepard mix who has the beginnings of arthritis. He's also on medication for idiopathic epilepsy. I am retecent to give him more drugs and wondered if anyone knew of something that would help the osteoarthritis and not interact with phenobarbitol and KBr. Thanks

7:51AM PDT on May 2, 2014

I have a 70 lb lab shepard mix who has the beginnings of arthritis. He's also on medication for idiopathic epilepsy. I am retecent to give him more drugs and wondered if anyone knew of something that would help the osteoarthritis and not interact with phenobarbitol and KBr. Thanks

6:10AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:48AM PDT on Jun 27, 2010

I am sorry that I have been using commercial dog food all along- I now feed the dog as much of the good food that I eat- which does include meat and I give her cod liver oil too- with a little Science diet- soon to be dropped for something without corn or soy in it- another thing contributing to dog's getting arthritis-so that she is getting some balance that might be missing- and she gets the big soup bones too!

9:55AM PST on Nov 20, 2009

Thanks for all the info and comments ..

2:25PM PST on Nov 18, 2009

I have a dog walking business. Some of my charges were lagging behind, especially the older, larger dogs because of joint pain. The owners had moderate success with some formulas. Starting a course of Cool Dog Joint, we saw dramatic improvement. The dogs love the liquid pot roast flavor so it is easy to administer. Just put it in their water bowl or over their food. Check it out!

8:15PM PDT on Jun 13, 2009

I rescued a Lab/Greyhound mix, who probably never got Mommie's milk. Her hind legs are real skinny and her xrays show arthritis. She's only 14 months and she shows lethargic and unsteady motions.
I had heard of a liquid that does miracles. I bought it!
This product works and I'm an engineer who likes facts, not hype. It's called ARTHRO-IONX.
To each his own, but I'm one who has to see the results. Try one bottle and you will see results in a few days, I'm sure. My dog is 63# and takes a teaspoonful a day. For this, I am so happy to see my dog having a life, without harmful coverup drugs. I would recommend this product to anyone with dogs, cats and horses. It's truly amazing and I don't work for these people. Thank you.

8:10AM PST on Jan 21, 2009

Hey Sharon

I forgot to mention. I agree with you about a natural dog diet, wholeheartedly but I just am not very sucessful at it so I have to find a happy median with good choices I can be sucessful at.
Unfortunately, I have to do the same with myself and children also.

Anyway the supplements that my family, including pets, take are mostly encapsulated food and herbs not pills. One of my favorite supplement is a combination of Alfafa, kelp and dandelion. It is good for dogs and pregnant women! And of course pregnant dogs...

Anyway I admire your ability to feed all natural raw diet but I do what I can and know it is better than not.:)

7:54AM PST on Jan 21, 2009

I have had 2 large German Shepherd girls who were/are 12+. The one is very stiff some days and I have been slacking on her supplements due to money restriction (single mom w/ 2 kids).

I buy good grain free food and minimal supplements; I can tell she isn't getting enough. This article and comments will help put me back on track for some improvements!

By the way, my dog sit for her vitamins because they are a treat for her. I usually use human quality vitamins adjusted for weight dipped in peanut butter, one at a time- hand fed is special! At the end she gets to lick the extra off the spoon. I am sure to put plenty on in the beginning so there is no doubling dipping. When I had 2 they would sit and wait for their alternating turns for the vitamin and the spoon licks in the end.
I do best when I pull her vitamins weekly like my own. Just get another weeks worth daily divider.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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