Suitable food for dogs with joint diseases

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31.03.2021
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Suitable food for dogs with joint diseases

Every fifth adult dog suffers from joint diseases. Both controlled exercise and an appropriate diet can make a significant contribution to your dog’s joint health.

Joint disease in the dog

Joint diseases are often so-called degenerative diseases. It is a matter of wear and tear or aging of cells, which is caused, for example, by incorrect loading, instabilities, accidents and inflammatory processes.

The joint initially swells and inflammation leads to restricted mobility, muscle wasting and pain. At the same time, the pressure causes tears in the joint cartilage and, over time, irreversible cartilage damage. In a chronic course, pieces of bone become visible at the edge of the capsule. At this stage one speaks of osteoarthritis. A common disease in dogs is osteoarthritis, the wear and tear on the articular cartilage.

Dog food for joint diseases

If a dog suffers from joint diseases, a change in diet will help in addition to exercise and physiotherapy. The aim of the adapted feeding is to optimize the cartilage resistance to compression forces again. Certain feed ingredients or additives can help:

  • L-carnitine to facilitate fat burning
  • Vitamins C and E and the trace element selenium with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Glucosamine
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • unsaturated fatty acids
  • Herbal remedies, e.g. devil’s claw, with pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory effects

Gelatine, collagen and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) are also ingredients that should be taken into account when buying feed, as they ensure the regeneration and improved gliding of the articular cartilage or the regeneration of tendon damage.

The devil’s claw is a herbal remedy for joint diseases. © JRG-stock.adobe.com

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Food additives that are gentle on the joints

Some feed additives can promote joint health. However, be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian before giving the additives to your dog. He will tell you whether and in what dose the following additives are suitable for your dog.

Chondroitin sulfate (CS)

  • Effect: stimulates the formation of components of the bone matrix (hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans) and passively inhibits the breakdown of joint components
  • Origin: for example from the cartilage tissue of fish, mussels (green-lipped mussels), pigs or poultry

Glucosamines

  • Effect: anti-inflammatory effect; serves to maintain and rebuild the cartilage
  • Origin: from the chitin-rich shell of certain shellfish such as shrimp

Hyaluronic acid

  • Effect: In the case of joint inflammation, the proportion of hyaluronic acid in the joint is too low. Hyaluronic acid is absorbed into the bloodstream and can reliably help in the damaged joint.
  • Ingestion: In the case of tendinitis, hyaluronic acid is added to the feed over a longer period of time.

Unsaturated fatty acids

  • Effect: minimizes inflammation at the cellular level
  • Origin: Unsaturated fatty acids can be found in high concentrations in fish oil or linseed oil, for example. Green-lipped mussel extracts also contain a high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids.

Together the active ingredients can …

  • improve the water-binding capacity of the cartilage,
  • slow down the breakdown of cartilage cells and
  • have anti-inflammatory effects.

Joint disease prevention begins in puppyhood. © sweetlaniko-stock.adobe.com

Prevent joint diseases

The risk of joint diseases increases if dogs grow too quickly in the first few months of life. Large breeds of dogs are particularly at risk. Because too much energy and an imbalance in calcium and phosphorus supply play a central role in bone development and can result in unstable bones or chipped cartilage. Therefore, correct feeding is important from the very early age of a puppy.

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Individual feed adjustment

You can provide your dog with a ready-made food mixture as well as a self-made food ration. In the case of feed supplements and self-composed feed, it is important to note that the joint-friendly additives also contain calories or minerals. This means that the amount of normal food may need to be adjusted to avoid an oversupply of calories or minerals.