Anti-Inflammatory Diets for Dog Joint Health: Boost Mobility With Nutrition

Jan 28, 2024

Caring for our dogs means looking after every aspect of their health, and that includes their joints. Dogs love to run and jump, and as dogs age, their joints can start to show the wear and tear of all those good times. It’s crucial, then, to give them the support they need to keep going strong, and anti-inflammatory diets for dogs can help boost mobility and vitality!

Chronic Inflammation: What’s It About?

Inflammation plays a critical role in joint health, acting as both a necessary response to injury and, when chronic, a contributor to joint discomfort and mobility issues. In a sense, inflammation can play both a good and bad guy in your dog’s body. Inflammation is the immune system’s natural response to threats like infection or injury. But, if this response becomes constant or excessive, it can lead to the deterioration of joint tissues and is a known factor in conditions like arthritis​​.

Your dog’s diet is so important! It has a really big impact on managing inflammation. A balanced diet can help regulate the inflammatory process and make sure it acts as a protective mechanism rather than a chronic condition. Scientific studies have shown that obesity, which is often influenced by diet, is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation in dogs. This state of inflammation has also been linked to various negative health outcomes, including joint pain​​.

Additionally, research suggests that gut health is intimately connected with joint health. A balanced gut microbiome can keep systemic inflammation in check, which in turn may help reduce joint pain in dogs. This is particularly important for them, as chronic inflammation can negatively impact their joint health, leading to pain and reduced mobility​​. Chronic inflammation can also affect their mood, and that can affect not just their overall joint

In our approach at Bernie’s Best, we step away from common joint health supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Instead, we concentrate on whole-food ingredients that are rich in natural anti-inflammatory compounds. For example, omega-3 fatty acids, found in ingredients like flaxseed, anchovy, and algal oil, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They help manage and reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the joints​​.

What Is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet For Dogs?A mixed breed dog eats a blueberry as part of an anti-inflammatory diet for dogs

An anti-inflammatory diet for dogs is a nutritional plan designed to reduce inflammation within the body, particularly in their joints and digestive system. This diet typically includes foods rich in natural anti-inflammatory agents, while avoiding those that can cause or make your dog’s inflammation worse.

Core Components of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

So, what types of foods and ingredients does an anti-inflammatory diet for dogs include? Luckily, nature provides a lot of them! Some of the most effective include:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish oils like anchovy oil and plant sources like flaxseed oil, these fatty acids are known for their ability to reduce the production of inflammatory compounds in the body.
  2. Antioxidants: Ingredients like blueberries, green tea extract, and astaxanthin help neutralize free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and lead to inflammation.
  3. Proteins & Collagens: High-quality proteins, including those from lean meats, support the repair of body tissues, including joint cartilage. Undenatured type-II collagen is particularly beneficial for joint health.
  4. Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins like vitamin C and K2 play essential roles in maintaining the integrity of the connective tissues and bones. Minerals like boron are crucial for bone health.
  5. Natural Herbs and Spices: Ingredients like turmeric, which contains curcumin, have been used for centuries for their anti-inflammatory properties. They’re superheroes when it comes to joint health!

Additionally, anti-inflammatory diets for dogs include the following foods:

  • High-Quality Proteins: Lean meats, poultry, and fish provide the building blocks for tissue repair without contributing to inflammation.
  • Healthy Fats: Oils from fish and certain algae or plants that are high in omega-3s help counteract the inflammatory response.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress in the body.
  • Fiber-Rich Foods: These can help maintain gut health, which is closely linked to inflammation and overall immune function.

There are also many things that anti-inflammatory diets for dogs should NOT include, as they can trigger inflammation or add to your dog’s weight unnecessarily, which can put stress on your dog’s body and joints. Healthy dog food will be rich in the ingredients that help the anti-inflammatory response, and be careful about the inclusion of any of the following:

  • Processed Foods: These often contain high levels of unhealthy fats and additives that can trigger inflammation.
  • Excessive Carbohydrates: Especially simple carbs, which can lead to weight gain and increased inflammation.
  • Red Meat and Fatty Cuts: These can contain high levels of saturated fats, which may contribute to inflammation when consumed in excess.

Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

There are lots of benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet for dogs, ranging from improved joint health and mobility to better digestive function and an overall healthier immune system and response response. By reducing inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce the risk of chronic inflammation-related diseases, such as arthritis and some cardiovascular issues.

Tailoring Joint Health Nutrition For Your Dog

It’s important to note that every dog is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Factors like age, breed, existing health conditions, and overall lifestyle should all be considered when designing an anti-inflammatory diet. Checking with your vet as you contemplate an anti-inflammatory diet for your dog is always a good idea to start. They can help you understand your dog’s specific needs and ensure that any new diet will provide balanced nutrition while targeting inflammation.

But there are also some things about tailoring joint health nutrition to your dog with an anti-inflammatory diet that are somewhat universal.

First, no matter what you feed your dog, and no matter what diet they’re on, being able to absorb all the nutrition optimally is key. A healthy digestive system is what makes sure this can happen, and why we always focus on gut health from the inside out. Your dog’s food can be the best in the world, and you can give your dog treats that are amazing, but if their gut health isn’t in check, your dog’s joint health likely won’t be either because they simply aren’t able to absorb the nutrients they need and they may struggle with more of an inflammatory response.

This leads us to a second universal concept–keeping your dog’s immune system in check will help make sure their inflammatory response is as it should be, and will be protective, not a trigger for chronic pain.

Bernie’s Marvelous Mobility and Bernie’s Healthy Hips: Optimizing Nutrition For The Best Joint FunctionA Bernese Mountain Dog runs on the beach because of the anti-inflammatory diets for dogs good effects

When we decided to create joint supplements for our own dogs, Bernie and Lady, we went straight to the most current science. We wanted ingredients that worked, and were clean and holistic when possible. We took a step away from popular joint health supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM because they just didn’t have the science that backed them as much as it does other ingredients. Instead, we concentrated on whole-food ingredients that are rich in natural anti-inflammatory compounds. We harnessed the power of ingredients like undenatured collagen, turmeric, and green-lipped mussels to support joint health in dogs better.

A balanced diet with an anti-inflammatory focus can help regulate the inflammatory process, ensuring it acts as a protective mechanism rather than a chronic condition.

Our commitment to your dog’s health is shown by our choice of ingredients that support their body’s natural ability to manage inflammation. We wanted Marvelous Mobility and Healthy Hips to contribute to better joint health and overall well-being for our own dogs, but also for yours! We’re proud of our comprehensive approach to supporting your dog’s active lifestyle. Giving your dogs our anti-inflammatory chews can help keep them as active and happy as possible throughout their lives.

And that’s what it’s all about!

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