There's nothing harder than watching your service dog age… especially if they have arthritis! It's important to remember, however, that there are many natural ways to ease the pain of arthritis naturally.
While it is common for arthritis pain to be exacerbated by poor diet and a misbalance of fats in the diet, sometimes even once introducing a healthier diet arthritis pain still persists. In this case, it may be time for you to turn towards some alternative medicinal sources, such as herbs.
With that said, when you are managing arthritis pain in your service dog, in addition to adding herbs and other powerful antioxidants, be sure you're paying attention to the food you're feeding your dog. It is important to raise omega-3 fat levels while decreasing omega-6 levels. The simplest way to do this is to buy grass-fed animal products as they are high in omega-3 levels and minimize factory farmed or grain fed animal products, which are high in omega-6 levels.
Adding an omega-3 supplement or gradually switching over to a new dog food can make the first big step towards a healthier and happier pup! Don't stop there though, antioxidants may be the thing your service dog has been needing to manage their painful inflammation.
As your service dog metabolizes their food and experiences buildup of inflammation in their body, they are accumulating free radicals. As these atoms build, they cause cell death which can ultimately lead to premature aging and degeneration of the body. Since arthritis causes extreme inflammation, it is likely your service dog is accumulating free radicals as we speak!
Luckily, antioxidants prevent free radicals from causing cell damage, and because of this they can aid in fighting age related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and the advancement of arthritis symptoms. One of the most common ways to introduce antioxidants is through herbal supplementation.
While herbs can be given in pill form, many dogs do not do well with taking pills and often these herbs are more bioavailable when they have come from dietary foods rather than capsules or pills. So, if getting your service dog to take a pill is a daunting task, let's talk about some herbs that can be mixed right into the food you are giving your dog!
In treating arthritis pain, vitamin C can be hugely helpful in tissue repair and regeneration; and while herbs are high in antioxidants, they are also typically high in vitamins C and A making them the ideal supplement for your service dog. The best and safest way to add antioxidant rich herbs into your dog's diet is simply though culinary herbs and spices.
Some of the herbs that are highest in antioxidants that are safe for your dog to consume include oregano, basil, sage, peppermint, thyme, lemon balm, and parsley. As with any other supplement, dosing is important with herbs! By overloading vitamin C, the oxidative system can be overloaded which can bring about adverse side effects.
The absolute best way to ensure you are not overdoing your service dog's herbal intake is to use several different sources. Maybe you grow herbs in your garden, add some of them into your dog's food for a few days! After that, maybe you add a different herb you have in your kitchen for a few days or mix them together. By introducing a variety of herbs into your dog's food you will be less likely to overdo one of them.
Maintaining a healthy balance is key here. Don't be afraid to experiment and get a sense for what your service dog likes and dislikes.
Remember that there are so many foods that are rich in antioxidants and safe for your service dog's consumption. Apart from culinary herbs, there are a number of spices, fruits, berries, and veggies that can be added to your dog's diet to increase antioxidant levels.
Implementing blueberries, goji berries, and cranberries into your service dog's diet can bring more bioavailable vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C to each meal. All of these important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help service dog's age more pain-free.
In addition, adding phytoplankton, astaxanthin, or spices like turmeric, cumin, ginger, clove, or cinnamon can also support a healthy body and decrease inflammation as well as other age-related illnesses.
While it can feel like you need to do everything all at once in order to bring your dog some relief, take diet changes slow! You do not want to overwhelm your service dog's system or miss any intolerances due to too many changes at once. Take diet shifts slowly and you will be sure to find a healthy balance to relieve your service dog's arthritis pain.