To get started you must change the conditions that have allowed arthritis to develop in the first place. Make the dog as comfortable as possible.
This will usually include changing the diet to a natural, species appropriate raw food diet and no longer feeding pro-inflammatory ingredients contained in many processed foods which exacerbate the arthritic changes.
Providing plenty of clean, fresh, chemical-free (filtered or bottled) water at all times is essential, in a bowl positioned so that your dog can reach it with ease. This keeps your dog hydrated, increasing the availability of fluid to the joint capsules and increasing the rate of removal of toxins from the whole body.
Removing irritants from the dog’s environment, such as EMFs, chemicals, artificial fabrics and noise will all help to speed up recovery by reducing the toxic load. The body repairs itself while resting and sleeping which is why peace and quiet are essential for health, healing and repair.
Thick bedding, cushions and warmth are usually conducive to restful, healing sleep. Ensure your dog can easily access this luxurious bed!
Omega 3 is well known to be an anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid (EFA). This helps the joints to recover by providing nutrients to reduce the inflammatory pathways and for the repair of the damaged joint surfaces. Omega 3 also reduces the pain associated with the inflammatory responses.
Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts are the best sources of clean omega 3 essential fatty acids. To maintain freshness, it is best to grind the whole seeds or nuts immediately before use. Walnuts are best soaked for 12 hours before use to remove the enzyme inhibitors found in the skin of all nuts which impede digestion.
The soak water must be discarded as it contains these enzyme inhibitors! Soaking the seeds for 20 to 40 minutes and blending them in their soak water improves the accessibility, digestibility and availability of their nutrients many times over.
These can then be mixed in with your dog’s raw meat and bone mince and blended green vegetables.
Making chia porridge is a favourite! Blend a handful of soaked walnuts to make a milky liquid. Put a dessertspoonful of dry chia seeds in a bowl. Pour on the walnut ‘milk’ and stir it to mix in the chia seeds. The liquid will be absorbed by the chia seeds in about 20 minutes.
Dogs usually lap this up without hesitation!
You can vary the flavour by mixing in the Pet Plus or a little nutritional yeast or even some minced raw meat (including some bone), tripe or offal. Various freshwater algae are great sources of omega 3, like E3 Live from the Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon, chlorella and spirulina, which is why chlorella is included in Pet Plus.
I do not use or recommend fish, fish oils, cod liver oil or any product made from any sea creatures, like krill or green lipped mussels, because the sea is now so polluted, it is impossible to guarantee clean sources. Also, the larger sea creatures like seals and whales are completely dependent on other sea life as their sole source of food. We have no need of it and no right to steal it from these beautiful creatures, struggling to survive in a world we are polluting.
Aloe vera is an effective anti-inflammatory adaptogen and is readily available from health food shops and online. Choose the cleanest product you can find, with the least preservative. I have found Pukka Aloe Vera to be the best quality.
The amount recommended on the bottle for a human can be reduced proportionately, although it is difficult to overdose on this nutritious plant! I find it most effective to give a little and often. So for a 30 kg dog, you could give 10mls by mouth 4 times daily.
This will reduce the inflammation and pain allowing your dog to regain some motility and quality of life while his body repairs itself with the new lifestyle and dietary ingredients recommended above. I would not recommend relying on aloe vera long-term as it has been suggested that it can reduce the availability of the omega 3 essential fatty acids! So it is essential to give plenty of omega 3 EFAs.
Aloe vera can also speed up the repair of damaged tissue. There are various drugs claiming to stimulate cartilage repair, like chondroitin sulphate. I prefer to use natural products.
Gentle massage of the joints and muscles helps to stimulate the blood flow, increases the lymphatic drainage and definitely increases the pleasure of life for your arthritic dog. If some areas are too painful to touch, just massage the surrounding area. Dogs usually love touch, massage, stroking and your undivided, loving attention, so be sure to give plenty to your dog as often as possible.
Treatments such as homoeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathy are readily available and highly recommended in the drug-free treatment of your arthritic dog.