Column: There are ways to ease your pets’ winter aches and pains
Well, it’s that time of year. The cold weather is here, at least for this week. I am reminded every morning when I get out of bed; wait, maybe that’s just old age. Anyway, I’ve noticed that Karma seems to be stretching more lately. I think maybe I should do the same. Karma is better than I at that. But on a serious note, older dogs do have more aches and pains, just like we do. They just don’t complain as much. Following are a few things that will help out during the cold winter months.
With temperatures being as dangerously cold as they are, we must protect our dogs’ feet. They can become frostbitten also. It only takes about 10 minutes. It would be a good idea to use some protectorate or boots for your pup if you are going out for longer than that. I use a protective cream for Karma because she won’t walk in boots.
What you can do
Don’t be too quick to dismiss your old dog’s inactivity or stiffness as normal for his age; he may have an acute condition that requires treatment.
Have your older dog examined by your holistic veterinarian twice a year; discuss your dog’s diet and supplements with the vet at that time.
Try an improved diet and natural, gentle treatment before using prescription pharmaceuticals.
Vitamin C helps many dogs with arthritis; use sodium ascorbate, rather than ascorbic acid.
Diet is the key
Good-quality protein, based on its digestibility and the completeness of its amino acid composition, is at the nutritional core of arthritis prevention. However, many commercial dog foods (especially the inexpensive ones) are made with poor-quality ingredients.
Whether you care for an arthritic elder or are planning long-term prevention strategies for a new puppy, start feeding the best food you can afford right now, food that is made with top-quality, whole-meat protein ingredients. At the very least, avoid foods that contain by-products (meat and grain) as their main ingredients, and those with chemical preservatives or artificial flavorings.
Enzymes and probiotics
It is also important to optimize the digestive and final elimination of the good food you feed. This is easily accomplished with a sprinkle or two of a digestive enzyme and probiotic supplement with each meal.
Essential fatty acids
It is also important to supplement each meal with an essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement that is balanced to meet dogs’ nutritional needs. The best contain both vegetable oils and whole-body fish oils.
Going with glucosamine
If, like my dog Karma, your companion is already experiencing the effects of old injuries or chronic arthritis, you should consider a few other supplements as well. At the top of the list is glucosamine.
At a bare minimum, most dogs need at least 350 milligrams of glucosamine per day to realize this supplement’s benefits, but those with preexisting joint problems may need considerably more. I have found that Karma likes the liquid, and it seems to work a little quicker than the tablets. Plus, it’s very easy; just add it to the food.
Herbs and joint repair
You might also consider adding a few herbs to the mix to help your canine pal heal and find relief from his achiness.
Yucca root (Yucca Shadier), alfalfa, licorice root and other herbs that contain rich concentrations of phytosterols and other anti-inflammatory compounds are among the most popular of the herbal antiarthritics.
It is important to remember that when used as a standalone anti-inflammatory remedy, herbs can remedy only the symptoms.
Last but not least
The next thing to bring into action is the proper type and amount of exercise. It is very important that like any athlete, your dog stretch and warm up before doing any strenuous exercise. Stiff joints and sleepy muscles are easily injured.