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World Arthritis Day: Pre-empting the pitfalls of old age in pets

World Arthritis Day, or WAD, is a global awareness day held every year on October 12th, with the intention of developing our knowledge of the existence and impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs).  

This year’s campaign is centred around ‘Living with an RMD at all stages of life’, and this includes our pets too. Like humans, animals can fall victim to arthritis and joint discomfort, which can have a deteriorating effect on their quality of life.  

Canine arthritis is a degenerative, inflammatory disease which weakens the animal’s joint health and mobility. It currently stands as the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs, affecting four out of five older dogs.  

Despite your best efforts, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are an abundance of therapeutics, which can be used at home, to help alleviate joint pain and stiffness in pets. Let’s take a look at the recurring contents of the most successful joint relief formulations. 

Omega-3 

This stringent of fatty acid supplements work as a natural method of decreasing inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. Omega-3’s include EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and should only be consumed through diet (supplements included).   

Dogs specifically need EPA and DHA to decrease inflammation associated with arthritis. The most dominant source of EPA and DHA on the pet market is fish oil, with researchers discovering several weight bearing improvements and anti-inflammatory effects in dogs.  

Our Fishy’s Salmon Oil is a natural oil, produced from the fresh extracts of sustainably sourced North Atlantic Salmon. The cold-pressed process preserves the oil’s original properties, aiding joint mobility without the need for chemical additives.  

Arthritis is a fight that isn’t going away, but encouraging a diet rich in Omega-3 should be at the heart of your pet’s arthritis management plan. Not only does it help with their functional activity, but it acts as a brake pedal to rapid joint deterioration in such progressive conditions.  

Although, you must be very careful that you aren’t promoting unintentional weight gain with Omega-3 supplements. Fish oil and similar additives tend to be high in calorie, so if your pet is already overweight, it’s important to restore them to a healthy weight before introducing further Omega-3.  

Turmeric and curcumin 

Turmeric is a flowering plant belonging to the ginger family, and more importantly, an anti-inflammatory supplement used to aid joint stiffness and discomfort in canine medical conditions.  

However, the magic behind turmeric’s soothing properties stems from the antioxidant curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric). A 2017 study published in BMC Veterinary Research revealed that dogs with osteoarthritis showed less pain indicators after receiving a curcumin-based mixture for 3 months.   

Natural treatments like turmeric and curcumin can be used as a safer alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) when managing arthritis in pets. NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen, can obstruct blood flow and cause clotting, which dogs are more vulnerable to than humans. In fact, NSAIDs can exacerbate the destruction of joint cartilage, making arthritis a harder battle for the long term. 

Sadly, our pets aren’t getting any younger and seeing them growing older is a tough watch. With the help of our 4joints Turmeric Granules, you can promote and maintain healthy joint mobility, so the struggles of arthritis are resisted, and your pet has a better standard of living for longer.  

If your pet already has existing bone and joint issues, we advise conversing with your vet to find the most appropriate solution for their unique needs. Especially for older pets, NSAIDs might be too harsh of a regimen, and the gentler turmeric remedies may be more fitting for ageing animals.

Glucosamine

The science behind glucosamine derives from an amino sugar that comes in three forms: glucosamine sulphate, glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetyl glucosamine. Most joint supplements for arthritic pets contain glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride, having been deemed the most effective. 

Dogs naturally have glucosamine in their body, but as they age, production levels drop. In turn, their ability to rebuild cartilage becomes less effective and causes their bones to grind against each other. Overtime, the constant bone-to-bone contact causes the cartilage to erode and inflames the joint.  

The secret to prolonging this from happening is to buttress your pet’s diet with glucosamine-rich foods and supplements. It acts as a natural lubricant, cushioning their joints with the extra protection they need to stay healthy and mobile.  

Long-standing conditions, like arthritis, require you to plan ahead and halt the pain at the source. Merely responding to the symptoms is futile, that’s why we created 4joints Extra Strength Liquid. This product focuses on the maintenance of flexibility, containing glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin to assist healthy joint function.  

Chondroitin 

Your pet is more susceptible to any joint illness as they approach their later years, but feeding them chondroitin is an extra precaution that will help delay this from happening to soon. 

Chondroitin sulphate is vital for maintaining the thickness of your pet’s natural joint lubrication, giving structure to cartilage and offering compression resistance. It’s important when giving your pet chondroitin sulphate that they also have enough levels of glucosamine coexisting. This partnership encourages more cartilage elasticity, lessening the risks of your pet developing joint diseases. 

If you’re looking to introduce your pet to the joint-repairing perks of chondroitin, our 4joints Tablets are a great place to start. These extra strength tablets are a quick and easy way for animals to maintain joint mobility through nutritional supplements.  

Collagen

Dogs experience a loss of collagen in their connective tissues as they age, which can trigger the start of degenerative disc diseases like arthritis.  

In order to postpone this where possible, we advise incorporating additional collagen into your senior pet’s diet to keep their joints strong and pain-free.  

The superior collagen for dogs is undenatured type II collagen, or UC-II. Multiple studies have shown it to be highly effective in supporting joint health because of its undenatured 3D triple helix structure. This unique form helps to improve joint condition by inhibiting the inflammatory response that leads to cartilage degradation. 

Add a spring in their step 

Whilst the natural formulations we’ve covered are very productive pain mediators, they aren’t going to completely clear your pet’s arthritis. For the best results, we advise using our supplements in line with bespoke veterinary advice, rather than seeing organic products as the cure. 

By introducing your pet to the listed home remedies early on, you’re slowing down the risk of age-related mobility issues. Pre-empting the arrival of degenerative diseases will save you money and heartache in the long run, and more importantly, will keep your pet feeling happier and healthier for longer.  

Find your nearest Johnson’s retailer here.  

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