In the US alone, one in five dogs is affected with arthritis. This shocking statistic shows the prevalence of the disease.
Any dog, regardless of their age, breed, or size can develop dog arthritis.
Although veterinary medicine has yet to fully understand the mechanisms behind dog arthritis, what we know is that age, heredity, previous injury, improper nutrition, and obesity are contributing factors to the development of the disease.
Better understanding these factors will not only help in making better treatments but it will also allow dog owners to have a more active role in the battle against the disease.
Nutrition and Arthritis
Since the 1930's, researchers have been exploring the link between nutrition and arthritis.
The many studies revealed that human patients with arthritis suffered from the following vitamin and mineral deficiencies: folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
These nutrients are essential in cellular growth and production. Some of them are known antioxidants while others are important components in the production of bones and connective tissues.
These all play a role in the development of dog arthritis.
More specifically, orthopedic diseases such osteochondrosis and hip dysplasia, which can rapidly lead to dog arthritis, are exacerbated by such nutritional imbalances as well as rapid growth and obesity.
Indeed obesity is a very important factor in the development of orthopedic diseases.
Studies have shown that the amount of calories and when these calories were consumed can have a direct effect on the development of a dog’s bones and joints. Hip dysplasia is the best example of a form of arthritis made worse by obesity, and there are others as well.
How We Can Help Through Proper Nutrition
Dogs that are fed the right amount and right kind of food live an average of 1.8 years longer and are considerably healthier than dogs that are liberally fed. Dog owners, therefore, should provide meals that contain the right balance of all nutrients - proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals.
When dogs are not fed properly, they can easily become obese. Obesity causes dogs to age faster. This means the joints of overweight dogs deteriorate at a much faster pace, making these dogs very susceptible to dog arthritis. Fat is also pro-inflammatory in its own right, so keep the pounds off!
Aside from proper diet, supplementation is another way of making sure that your dog is receiving the needed nutrients to stay healthy.
Vitamins A, C, E; selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for your dog’s health but they also help subdue the pain and inflammation caused by dog arthritis.
Furthermore, having enough the right amounts of vitamin D and calcium will make sure your dog’s bones stay strong, providing some level of protection against injury and many bone and joint diseases.
You can read much more about dog arthritis and the various supplements on my blog www.dogarthritisblog.info so please search there for more information.
Christopher Durin is a veterinarian and has been in practice since 1993, with his skill focus and extra qualifications in surgery. Joint problems are a big part of his day and he has cared for a LOT of arthritic dogs and cats over the years. He has recently been diagnosed with an immune mediated arthritis himself, the pain of which makes him appreciate the bravery of our furry friends all the more.
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