Good quality building blocks are essential to life, whether you are building a house or a living body. In our fast paced lifestyles we tend to neglect one of the most important things in life, which is our own health. It is a sad reality that the average pet in South Africa is subjected to inferior quality food, which offers poor quality building blocks that cannot sustain a healthy biological structure. The end result is a “house” that will require a lot of maintenance, a body subjected to disease and low quality of life. It is clear that you and your pet deserve the best building blocks in the form of good quality nutrition to promote vitality.
Bone and joint disorders in the dog are one of the most recognised diseases that affects dogs from all developmental stages. When things go wrong, whether it is due to malnutrition or injury, it may cause long term suffering for your dog. It is important to realise that bone and joint development need to be supported by good building blocks to give the dog’s genetics, the “house plans”, the best possible opportunity to build a strong structure. A building contractor will expect his builders to work through harsh weather conditions, e.g. full sun, rain and wind, whatever it takes to complete the job. These harsh weather conditions can be compared to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in the body that will cause “metabolic fatigue and dysfunction”… Tired and overworked builders are bound to make mistakes, rendering the house structure (the “body”) in a vulnerable and potential dangerous state. Chronic inflammation is known to be a key component in the development of diseases, including bone and joint diseases that this article will focus on.
So what can we do?
1. Limit chronic inflammation by feeding an anti-inflammatory diet, and
2. Feed good quality building blocks to support strong structure.
HOW CAN I REDUCE CHRONIC INFLAMMATION IN MY DOG?
Firstly, it is important to avoid foods that cause inflammation – Get those workers out of the harsh weather conditions! Many grains (e.g. wheat, corn, etc.) are a source of inflammation and great drivers of allergies in dogs. An abundance of omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. sunflower oil, chicken fat, etc.) are pro-inflammatory, especially if not balanced with omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. fish oils) that are anti-inflammatory. Secondly, ensure to feed foods rich in anti-inflammatory building blocks – Give those workers some refreshments!
Always feed an Omega-3 rich diet to your dog. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to a long healthy anti-inflammatory life. Omega-3 fatty acids can be plant-based (e.g. flaxseeds) or animal-based (e.g. fish oils). The animal-based omega-3 fatty acids are widely recognised as more superior than plant-based forms and the most biologically appropriate and available. It can be easily added to your dog’s diet in the form of good quality sourced oily fish (e.g. sardines, pilchards, salmon).
Turmeric is good for more than just curry. It is a potent nutraceutical with many health benefits, namely: 1. Supports joint and muscle health, 2. Fights body-wide inflammation, 3. Promoting healthy inflammatory response, just to name a few. It can be easily added to your dog’s diet directly, however, it may be more effective when heated first (e.g. Turmeric Golden Paste).
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are important building blocks of healthy cartilage. It is not surprising that it naturally occurs in animal cartilage, supporting the recommendation that cartilage rich foods need to be an integral part of a dog’s diet at all developmental stages. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have an anti-inflammatory action in cartilage and connective tissues, improve joint mobility and function, accelerate new cartilage
formation, assist in slowing down cartilage deterioration, and enhance the shock-absorbing properties of cartilage.
Good sources of dietary cartilage that can be considered are raw chicken feet, raw poultry necks, tracheas (animal wind pipes), ostrich kneecaps, raw eggshells with the inner membrane still attached. It is important to note that many co-factors play a vital role in healthy cartilage and bone development, like collagen and vitamin C. An excellent super-food and source for collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, amino acids and minerals is bone broth. Bone broth is highly recommended for all dogs at all life stages.
Never forget gut health! A healthy gut that hosts a healthy microbiome of beneficial bacteria will pave the way to good overall health. Kefir is a great source of natural probiotics and is recommended as part of your dog’s healthy diet.
In conclusion, a healthy lifestyle is vital for you and your dog’s health. Your dog is fully dependent on you to make the right choices regarding his diet. Bless him with a good quality biologically appropriate diet to promote bone and joint health.