Natural Treatments for Dog Joint Issues

April 5, 2017

There are many types of joint problems that affect animals of all ages, not just the elderly. Dogs and horses tend to be more prone than cats with some breeds of dogs being more predisposed to joint issues such as Hip, Knee or Elbow Dysplasia.  Some animals grow too quickly, others get injuries or overuse problems while the arthritis or osteo type of issues generally happen in the ‘mature’ years.

 

Natural remedies such as herbs, homeopathy and essential oils as well as diet and lifestyle adjustments can help relieve the pain and discomfort and often can reduce the need for long term medication.  Your pet can take both veterinarian prescribed medication and natural remedies, it doesn’t need to be one or the other.

 

If your dog has been on long term medication for a joint issue there is a likelihood of side effects such as gastrointestinal, adrenal, liver or kidney problems.  These medications are usually referred to as NSAIDs or Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Here are some links you may like to read with more information.

https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/animalhealthliteracy/ucm392732.htm

https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm055434.htm

http://vetlife.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/wd-newsletter_winter_2014.pdf

 

I will not tell you to stop the NSAIDs; that is your decision to make.  Just know that there is more than one option available to you and your pet.  You are able to use both natural remedies and NSAIDs if you wish.  The main aim is for your pet to have a good quality of life and be as pain free as possible.

 

Of course we do not want our pets to be in pain but pain is actually useful.  It is the body’s way of reminding your pet that all is not right and to be careful.  By completely nulling all pain signals it can cause more damage as your pet may jump when it shouldn’t or run or walk longer than it should.  There are homeopathic pain relief options such as Hypericum, Ruta graveolens, Rhus  toxicodendron, Bryonia.  It does depend on what type of pain your pet is having as to which remedy is appropriate.  Essential Oils can offer pain relief and can be used in massage.

 

Using a herbal remedy will be very beneficial in supporting your pet's body and help to reduce NSAID side effects.  There are herbs such as Licorice that support the kidneys, Milk Thistle that supports the liver, others that help the digestive tract and herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties.  It is best to have a combination of herbs made fresh to suit your particular pet.  It is also important to know whether your pet is on any prescribed medication as some herbs cannot be taken with some medication e.g. drugs for heart problems, or some herbs need to be taken at different times to some medication, food or supplements and some herbs can counteract the effect of others or medication. This is why your veterinarian and your animal naturopath need to know everything your pet is having including supplements.

 

Other therapies that can be beneficial for joint issues.

Massage can help alleviate pain, keep muscles supple, help prevent muscle deterioration.

Hydroptherapy is a great low impact form of exercise and is used for rehabilitation.

Accupunture can help alleviate pain and improve muscle use.

Energy Healing is a healing option animals respond well to.

 

Lifestyle adjustments may be required such as a ramp instead of stairs, using a ramp or lifting your dog in and out of the car, use of a crate for restriction of movement especially when you are not home to keep an eye on your pet, use of a harness.

 

Food
The right type of food plays a big part in healing and supporting the body.  When the body is working hard it requires more energy.  Food requirements differ depending on the joint issue and other health factors.  One food to avoid with any joint issue is beef.  Beef is a proinflammatory type of meat and as such is best avoided in many illnesses.  Any diet adjustments will depend on what is currently being fed, age of your pet and the type of injury or disease.

 

Supplements can be beneficial however not all joint issues require the same supplements. Is the issue a muscle/ligament or bone issue? Most people have heard of Chondroitin, Glucosamine and some know of Green Lipped Mussel extract. Yes, these can be beneficial BUT it depends on what the issue is. Some pets may benefit from additional Essential Fatty Oils (EFA’s) in their diet. Some EFAs are more beneficial than others and again it does depend on what the issue is and other factors such as current diet and other health factors. To prevent wasting your money it is best to talk to an animal naturopath before buying a supplement from the supermarket. 

 

As with all illness or disease a multi-pronged approach is best.  A treatment plan needs to consist of possible diet adjustments, whether additional supplements are needed, exercise program, possibly a homeopathic remedy and for long term issues a herbal support and maybe some equipment or lifestyle changes.

 

I have experience with treating dogs that have had cruciate ligament injuries, arthritis and broken bones.  I would love to help your pet either recover from an injury or live a happy life while coping with a long term issue.  You can contact me:

Email. cath@cathsplace.co.nz |Phone: 021668249 | https://www.cathsplace.co.nz | Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnimalNaturopathNZ/

 

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