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Food for dogs and cats for joints: how to feed in case of osteoarthritis?

How to feed a pet with osteoarthritis?

Increasingly, they become patients of veterinary clinics elderly dogs and cats.

Over the years, pets become sluggish, less mobile, more difficult to get up from the bedding, or reluctantly going out for walks in a warm, cozy home.

The inexorable aging process of every living organism causes a number of changes manifested in the deterioration of the work of skeletal muscles, weakening of bone strength, often the development of obesity, as well as changes in the joints, the consequence of which is osteoarthritis.

Why is there so much interest in this particular problem among hundreds of other potential geriatric diseases?

This is the progressive degenerative process of the locomotor system, osteoarthritis is considered to be the most important cause of chronic pain which has a negative impact on the quality of life, especially in large, molossed dogs and, as it is carefully estimated, affects as much as 20% of the dog population.

So as we can see, the number of patients suffering is huge.

In my practice, I very often encounter questions related to this disease entity and all ways of bringing relief from suffering, or in other words - ensuring the comfort of being ill.

I want to tell you about these diseases in my article.

I will try to explain in an accessible way where does osteoarthritis come from and what you can do to protect your pet from it.

  • What is osteoarthritis?
  • What can we do to help a sick dog or cat??
  • Diet in osteoarthritis
    • Selenium
    • Manganese Gluconate
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin E
    • Nutraceuticals
  • Traditional drug therapy
    • Hookup sent out
    • Indian incense
    • Phyllantus embolia
    • New Zealand mussel extract
    • Hyaluronic acid
  • Drugs for joint disease
    • Glucosamine
    • Chondroitin sulfate
    • MSM (methylsulfanylmethanine)
  • How long does osteoarthritis treatment take??
  • Feeding dogs with Osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (lat. Osteoarthritis is a complex complex of disorders that consists of the destruction of the articular cartilage, synovitis, and changes in the bone epiphyses.

The consequence is damage to the elements that build the joint, impairment of its functions and the presence of pain symptoms.

In medical nomenclature, it is sometimes referred to as chronic deforming arthritis (Latin. Arthritis chronica deformans).

A characteristic feature of this disease is the presence of clinical symptoms of the musculoskeletal system, manifested by acute or chronic pain, deformation within the joints and, consequently, to varying degrees of limitation of movement.

In a suffering pet, we observe the presence of inflammatory processes that affect the joint as a whole and include:

  • bones,
  • soft tissues,
  • ligaments,
  • tendons,
  • muscles,
  • wallets.

The lesions may affect one or more joints at once.

They can appear as a result of a previous injury or as a result of the presence of dysplasia, but also as a consequence of overweight or obesity, or excessive strain on the joints.

Excessive physical effort or too strenuous movement affects many of our pets and is not limited only to hard-working police or rescue dogs.

It includes all individuals running a lot, for example chasing the "postman " around the fence or barking at people walking along the street.

Causes of joint degeneration in dogs

What is important, the ailment often concerns large breed dogs and molossers, headed by German Shepherds and heavy cats with a large body weight, e.g. maine coons.

Most often, degenerative changes include large joints of the pelvic limbs, important for mobility, such as the hip and knee joints, but also the elbow joint in the thoracic limb and the joints of the spine, i.e. generalizing the joints exposed to heavy loads, heavily exploited during the life of each animal.

Unfortunately, the disease is chronic and is characterized by a progressive course with periods of exacerbation, during which sometimes the activity of the animal is significantly reduced.

What is important it is accompanied by pain, the greater the greater the mobility of the animal.

In the case of degeneration of the spine, pain ailments result from the compression of the diseased structures on the nerves - nerve bundles and blood vessels. The progressive degenerative process is, of course, inherently associated with inflammation.

As a result, the activity of the animal is reduced and, as a consequence, the muscles stabilizing the joint are atrophied and the motor functions are quite severely impaired.

And here the vicious circle closes - the sick individual does not walk, because it hurts, which results in muscle atrophy and progressive weakening of the joint, as a result of which there is no strength to move later.

So you can see how we are dealing with an important problem, especially since it affects so many animals.

Remember also that the disease process is progressing and so far we cannot cure it definitively

All that is left for us is to slow down the development of the disease, and to combat the already existing clinical symptoms, which sometimes make the animal suffer.

What can we do to help a sick dog or cat??

Before the doctor undertakes any treatment, he should take some time to explain the disease to the owner.

It is worth describing all the possibilities of therapeutic treatment and the potential side effects of using drugs that relieve pain and inflammation continuously or periodically.

In all cases, we strive to relieve pain and thus improve the animal's mobility, but also, if possible, slow down the progression of the disease and prevent its consequences.

Although drugs that are the basis of pharmacotherapy, they alleviate symptoms, they have a very limited impact on the rate of development of lesions, and at the same time have a number of potential side effects.

All drugs should be used in consultation with the attending physician and on his explicit recommendations. It is not allowed to administer generally available painkillers to animals, as it may lead to very serious consequences and side effects.

Therefore, any non-pharmacological effect of reducing excess body weight remains extremely important.

Any exercises that prevent muscle wasting and strengthening them, and consequently ensure proper mobility of the joints, are helpful.

Also remember that the diagnosis of osteoarthritis will be associated with the lifelong treatment of the animal, hence the methods used must be safe in the long term.

So it turns out extremely important adequate nutrition of a sick individual. Certain substances and dietary supplements have proven beneficial effects in this condition.

Diet in osteoarthritis

Diet for arthrosis

Animal with overweight or obesity you need to lose weight as much as possible, because there is a close relationship between osteoarthritis and excess body weight.

Obese animals developed joint degeneration earlier than those with normal body weight, and additionally showed more severe clinical symptoms.

The greater the weight, the greater the load on all bone and joint structures, which are "worn out / worn out " faster.

Proper metabolism of the articular cartilage undoubtedly depends on the constant availability of nutrients such as:

  • amino acids,
  • vitamin E,
  • vitamin C,
  • glucose,
  • microelements (selenium, magnesium, zinc, copper).

Feeding an animal a balanced diet containing all these ingredients supports pharmacological treatment on the one hand, and on the other hand, by limiting or delaying its development, it reduces pain.

So it's worth knowing what to give your pet.

Undoubtedly, an important group of dietary supplements that stimulate the regeneration of articular cartilage and have protective properties antioxidants, such as: selenium, manganese, and vitamins C and E.


Selenium being a trace element it is part of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase.

It plays an important defense role in the antioxidant system. Thus, it has a documented anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory effect, which is undoubtedly valuable in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

During it, there is a strong decrease in selenium, hence its supplementation leads to a reduction in swelling and stiffness of the joints and reduces inflammation.

Manganese Gluconate

On the other hand manganese gluconate is responsible for the production chondroitin sulfate, which is an important component of articular cartilage and necessary in the process of bone formation. Manganese Gluconate it also regulates the content collagen in other tissues and is essential for the metabolism of vitamin E.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, that is ascorbic acid significantly affects the metabolism and production of collagen. It is essential for the proper development of the cartilage of the articular surfaces.

Being antioxidant protects cells against the action of free oxygen radicals and thus has an important anti-inflammatory role.

Vitamin E

A similar anti-inflammatory effect as ascorbic acid also has Vitamin E. It is considered to be one of the most powerful oxygen free radical scavengers.


When fighting osteoarthritis in our patients, it is impossible to ignore all the others nutraceuticals, that is substances with proven beneficial and pro-health effects in the context of this disease.

By inhibiting inflammatory reactions and the degradation of articular cartilage by limiting the production of post-inflammatory eicosanoids, they undoubtedly constitute an important support in the treatment of osteoarthritis. It is worth getting acquainted with them, the more so as nutraceuticals do not cause adverse side effects, unlike chemotherapeutics.

It is certainly worth enriching the diet with fatty acids from the family omega 3, especially long-chain unsaturated fatty acids, which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

They are found in greater amounts in fish oil.

Their operation, in a nutshell, consists in inhibiting the production of strong inflammatory substances, thanks to which the resulting inflammation is much smaller.

Their use in osteoarthritis not only blocks the induced cyclooxygenase pathway, but also allows to reduce the doses of anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. carprofen).

Thanks to this, we minimize the risk of side effects.

So let's use them, the more so as the benefits we get seem obvious.

Traditional drug therapy

In the fight against many diseases, for many centuries before traditional pharmacotherapy was introduced, nature remained.

It is there that, using the wisdom of folk medicine, we can find many substances present in plants, which, if skillfully applied, can prove very helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis not only in animals, but also in humans.

Hookup sent out

The plant whose healing properties we can use is certainly a plant hookup scattered (pour. Harpagophytum procumbens), commonly known as "devil's claw " or "devil's claw ".

The herbal raw material is its roots harvested after the end of the flowering period.

Importantly, it has an effect similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, thanks to the content of iridoid glycosides. A disseminated hookcock reduces inflammation and associated soreness in the joints.


Another plant with a healing effect is turmeric (pour. Curcuma longa).

The herbal raw material in this case are rhizomes containing curcuminoids with anti-inflammatory properties, inhibiting prostaglandins and lipoxygenase.

Indian incense

Yet another plant that can be successfully used in the treatment of osteoarthritis is Indian incense (pour. Boswellia errata).

In this case, the resin obtained from the incisions in the bark of this plant is curative.

Indian frankincense resin has a therapeutic effect due to the content of boswellic acid with strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Phyllantus embolia

And finally Phyllantus embolia, an American plant already used by Indians with documented anti-inflammatory properties.

Water extracts from the fruits of this plant with chondroprotective activity, i.e. protecting the articular cartilage, may turn out to be an alternative to traditional, conventional therapy.

Of course, there are many more dietary supplements with beneficial effects in osteoarthritis.

These are, for example, plant extracts:

  • Amur cork or
  • chinese orange,
  • green tea extract, or
  • grape skin extract.

It turns out that the administration of an egg shell membrane may also have a beneficial effect.

Many of them still require research and the development of precise dosing in dogs and cats - hence they were intentionally omitted in the article.

New Zealand mussel extract

Recently, dietary supplements containing New Zealand mussel extracts.

So far, the mechanism of action of these substances is not known, but it is known that these supplements turn out to be effective, so it is worth considering their use in dogs.

Hyaluronic acid

Among the novelties used in the nutrition of patients suffering from osteoarthritis, it is worth mentioning hyaluronic acid.

In its natural form, hyaluronic acid is commonly found in synovial fluid.

Hyaluronic acid is mainly used in the form of injection, but there are also preparations in the form of tablets for oral use.

And although there are many doubts whether this form is absorbed at all and therefore works, scientific research proves the usefulness of oral forms.

Hyaluronic acid can be a good choice when combined with classic substances such as glucosamine and chondroitin.

Drugs for joint disease

Treatment of osteoarthritis

And finally, we got to the most classic substances that have been used for many years in the treatment of osteoarthritis in humans and animals, that is:

  • glucosamine,
  • chondroitin sulfate,
  • MSM.


Glucosamine is perhaps the most popular nutraceutical used in this disease.

This is because being a component of the glycosaminoglycans of cartilage and synovial fluid builds cartilage tissue, gives it elasticity and appropriate hardness.

The biological activity of glucosamine manifests itself in the penetration into chondrocytes, but also in the inhibition of the enzyme collagenosis, lysosomal enzymes or limiting the production of free radicals.

Unfortunately, its production decreases with age, which translates into the occurrence of osteoarthritis.

And here, supplementation can be very helpful, the more that using this type of preparations we do not note any adverse side effects.

Plus, it often works reduce the dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which undoubtedly is of great benefit to the patient.

The administration of glucosamine brings another very important effect, as it allows to replenish the amount of fluid in the diseased joint, which is reduced as a result of treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Chondroitin sulfate

Apart from glucosamine, another classic substance used in osteoarthritis is chondroitin sulfate.

It is the main ingredient cartilage proteoglycans and extracellular matrix.

Scientific studies have repeatedly proven that the use of chondroitin sulfate together with glucosamine reduced the degree of articular cartilage damage by lowering post-inflammatory cytokines in the synovial fluid.

Thanks to this, it was possible to significantly reduce the swelling of the joint and relieve pain symptoms.

Although the exact mechanism of action of chondroitin is unknown, it has been proven that it inhibits chemotaxis, phagocytosis, the release of lysosomal enzymes and the formation of inflammatory granulation tissue.

These are important components of the inflammatory process.

MSM (methylsulfanylmethanine)

Finally, it is worth mentioning a substance called MSM, that is, Fr methylsulfanylmethane, the more that it is often included in the composition of various dietary supplements.

Well, MSM, being a source of sulfur, is part of the connective tissue, but also by stimulating collagen synthesis, it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, additionally regenerating cartilage tissue.

In preparations chondroprotective is combined with glucosamine and chondroitin complementing their action.

How long does osteoarthritis treatment take??

Treatment with preparations from the group of chondroprosthetics, which include chondroitin and glucosamine, should last a few weeks minimum (6-8 weeks) because the body needs time to improve the functioning of the joint through nutrition and the reconstruction of articular cartilage.

Importantly, you can use dietary supplementation and traditional anti-inflammatory treatment to eliminate pain symptoms without increasing the risk of adverse interactions.

On the market of preparations that are dietary supplements, we have a huge number of items containing the substances described above.

Feeding dogs with Osteoarthritis

Ready-made food for a dog with joint disease

They can also be extremely helpful ready-to-eat food, dedicated to dogs with osteoarthritis.

Today, virtually every good pet food company has products for dogs with osteoarthritis in their basket.

I would not like to advertise specific feeds, but so there is really a lot to choose from - it is important, however, to carefully analyze the composition of the feed.

It is worth taking advantage of the benefits of nature, because thanks to nutrition we can limit the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, which, by causing side effects, do not remain indifferent to the body.

This is important because, unfortunately, a sick animal very often requires long-term, if not lifetime, administration of drugs, which unfortunately increases the risk of complications, for example in the digestive system.

However, let's try to choose products intended for animals, and not their human "counterparts " due to a slightly different composition and concentration of active substances.


It is worth treating osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a huge challenge for veterinarians, but also for pet owners in the context of the prolonged life of our patients.

It is the lack of treatment of the causal disease that makes new products appear on the market - substances that have a beneficial effect on the affected joints.

It is worth using them skillfully, choosing those carefully tested, safe, but also effective preparations that, by reducing inflammation, improve the functioning of the joints, thus eliminating pain.

We cannot cure osteoarthritis, but as with few other problems, we can significantly delay its development.

Thanks to this, we will provide the animal with appropriate comfort, sometimes for many years.

It is worth doing to enjoy having a fit dog for as long as possible, which can bring us a lot of joy during many long walks, which I wish you and myself.

Your pet suffers from osteoarthritis?

Or maybe you want to learn more about natural treatments for Osteoarthritis?

Now add a comment under the article, I will try to clarify your doubts.

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