Arthritis and Joint Pain in Dogs

Arthritis and Joint Pain


wellbeing, healing and disease prevention

Reading time: 8 minutes

The woes of joint pain, read on or download a free copy of our Arthritis and Joint Pain management here

Arthritis is a general term describing over 100 conditions affecting joints and surrounding tissues.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form, also called degenerative arthritis.

Studies show that one in five dogs suffer from arthritis.

experiencing joint pain. Arthritis is a chronic illness and can become debilitating. There are many ways to approach relieving your dog of arthritic pain.

As pet owners, we must remember that canines are brave creatures who will often mask their discomfort. We have to be proactive, and take the initiative in preventing and caring for a dog who may have arthritis.

Arthritis is the most common source of pain for our canine friends as they age, but the condition can also be seen in very young dogs.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

The signs of arthritis in your dog may be very subtle. The most common indications are listed here:

  • lameness and stiffness (especially after rest)
  • slow gait
  • difficulty in rising from rest
  • lethargy and tendency to sleep more
  • urinating indoors
  • muscle atrophy (wasting away)
  • swelling or heat may be evident
  • pain, which may be vocalised when touched
  • licking of joints
  • gain or loss of weight
  • depression
  • nervous or aggressive behaviour
  • reluctance to jump, or to be active

Let’s look at the REAL cause of dog arthritis: Arthritis was once thought to be the result of wear and tear – but more recent research shows this isn’t the case.

Researchers from Stanford University say arthritis may be the result of chronic, low-grade inflammation.  In a nutshell, the immune system releases proteins that damage joints. These proteins bind to cartilage-producing cells in the joints, and lead to the secretion of more damaging proteins.

This creates a cascade of chronic, low-grade inflammation in the joint. If your dog already has some arthritic changes it can create further pain.

Low-grade inflammation isn’t just linked to arthritis. It’s now believed to be the cause of virtually every health condition and disease.

Dr Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, says, “inflammation appears to play a role in many chronic diseases

Now you might be thinking, “Great, I’ll give my dog anti-inflammatory drugs and the arthritis will go away.” But those drugs won’t address the cause of your dog’s inflammation. Ironically, new research shows NSAIDs (or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause even more damage to your dog’s joints and soft tissue. Not all inflammation in the body is a bad thing. When your dog is exposed to the following:

  • viruses – bacteria - injury

then acute inflammation will bring white blood cells to start the healing process.

However, chronic inflammation is not good. It’s the kind of inflammation that

stays for weeks, months and even years. Chronic inflammation is the real culprit


behind most degenerative and inflammatory health issues.

In fact, researchers are finding that:

  • heart disease can be linked to dental disease;
  • chronic bladder infections can lead to bladder cancer; and
  • chronic low-grade inflammation is a major driver of joint degeneration.

So, let’s take a look at the best ways to reduce and prevent against the onset of inflammation. These steps will help you prevent the root cause of your dog’s arthritis, in the order of importance. The more steps you can do, the more your dog will benefit and not just his / her joints.

Step 1 – Diet is the key

As both Hippocrates (“you are what you eat) and Traditional Chinese medicine (“food is like a medicine”) advocate diet is the starting ground to good health. What your dog eats will contribute to either a healthy or unhealthy gut.

Foods to avoid with Arthritis - Inflammatory foods and a poor diet for gut health will include:

  • processed/ refined carbohydrates (both wheat and grain-free kibble/dry food), grain-based foods (kibble/dry food) with wheat, rice, spelt, oats, barley, rye, lectin from unsprouted grains and soy;
  • food additives and preservatives;
  • meat from stressed, factory-farmed animals;
  • genetically modified foods (GMOs);
  • dairy of any kind such as cheese, milk, dairy based probiotics including yoghurt and kefir as they are not ideal for your pet’s health and dairy feeds viruses;

Choose instead to feed your dog a fresh, raw and grass-fed or organic diet for optimal nutrition and gut health AND ensure your pet is on a high-quality probiotic.

The next step is to avoid medications and toxins as much as you can such as:

  • unnecessary steroids
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  • prescription deworming drugs
  • flea and tick medications that contain pesticides
  • antibiotics which can lead to an imbalance of healthy gut flora, also known as dysbiosis

Next on the list is looking at vaccine damage. Vaccines contain foreign animal protein and heavy metals like mercury and aluminium. Read our fact sheet on heavy metals. These components are meant to exaggerate the immune response when injected, however this combination wreaks havoc on the immune system and causes chronic inflammation in the gut and the body.

Limiting vaccines is an important step in limiting inflammation. Find a good holistic vet to work with to ensure your dog is not being over-vaccinated. “Titre” test instead. This will determine the level of antibodies still present from the previous vaccine(s). If you want to vaccinate the average is about every 3 to 5 years. You can also help the body to heal and repair by using a product that helps to remove the toxic effects of vaccines. These homeopathic remedies can be given months and even years after a vaccine and still help.

Step 2 – Support their liver (this is critical)

The liver is the largest organ and is the engine of the body. The liver filters the blood and has hundreds of other functions, most of which are necessary to life and are not done elsewhere in the body as it is the only organ in the body with this capability. The liver has an amazing ability to recover from injury and regenerate new tissue.  The liver regulates the levels of many different chemicals and substances in the blood, and it excretes bile, a yellowish-green digestive fluid. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down the nutrients, chemicals, and drugs into forms that are easier for the rest of the body to use.

When the liver is overloaded, many different diseases can affect it. Ever heard of a sluggish or a fatty liver? This is quite common and is a precursor to disease in your pet’s body. This is largely due to toxins: Hepatotoxins (agents or drugs harmful to the liver) can cause severe, sometimes irreversible liver disease. Examples include heavy metals, anti-inflammatory drugs, certain antibiotics and anaesthetics, anticonvulsant medications, and anti-parasite drugs and dips. For more information on liver and liver disease read our Liver Rescue and Heavy Metals fact sheets.  So, as you can see it is critical to support your pet’s liver with a high-quality liver tonic such as Dishy Dogs Liver Pet.

Step 3 - Give them the right Fats

Fats are one of the most important ingredients in your dog’s diet. In fact, they affect every cell in his body. If your pet doesn’t get enough fat or gets the wrong balance of fats, things can go very wrong.

Many of the fats your dog eats are either omega-6 fats or omega-3 fats. Both are important and both help control your dog’s hormones and immune system.

The omega-6 fats trigger inflammation and the omega-3 fats reduce inflammation. These fats work in perfect balance with each other unless we mess around with the foods they eat.

It’s important to remember that today’s foods are different than the foods your dog’s ancestors ate.   Most foods today are high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. This ratio causes the chronic inflammation that can cause or worsen arthritis.  Grains are high in omega-6 fats, as are factory-farmed animals which are fed grains. So, feeding factory-farmed animals to your dog is pretty much the same as feeding him grains.

To reduce inflammation, ideally your dog should be fed grass-fed animals

However, with intensive farming it is wise to add omega-3 fats to balance the fats in your pet’s diet. You can do this by adding high-quality omega oils such as Dishy Dogs Omega Pet which will not only reduce inflammation but boost your dog’s immune system. Please note: whilst fish is thought to be a good source of omegas unfortunately, fish is also loaded with heavy metals and heavy metals contribute to inflammation.

Step 4 - Boost their immune system

In a land mark study done by Scientists in Ohio they found that an immune-boosting protein also relieves joint pain. The study spanned 3 decades and was called the Ohio Survey. More than 8,000 people participated in the Ohio Survey and follow-up studies after that. The results? 8 out of 10 patients reported significant relief in joint pain, and 7 out of 10 reported less morning stiffness. Simply from taking this immune-boosting nutrient!

So, what is this nutrient that brought relief to thousands of sufferers? It’s a combination of proteins and peptides that have been used for centuries to boost immunity.  This combination is all-natural and is designed by nature to nourish us from the very first moments of life, in fact, it’s found in mother’s milk …colostrum.

How will Colostrum help my pet?

The immune-boosting effects of colostrum are well-studied especially in puppy and human baby populations. These effects are now being used extensively in adult dog populations to improve their immune system function. Colostrum is the only natural source of insulin-like growth factor. Insulin-like growth factor increases cartilage and collagen production. This helps cushion joints so you can move more freely with less pain. Colostrum contains other growth factors, too.  Growth factors like platelet-derived growth factor, which helps regenerate bone and cartilage tissue.  That’s why colostrum is so effective at increasing mobility in joints. For a high-quality colostrum see Dishy Dogs Colostrum Pet.

But colostrum does so much more than boost our immune system, it assists with healing allergies, soothe joint pain, and support healthy bones and joints. To learn more about Colostrum’s powerful healing benefits, go to our website read Dishy Dogs Colostrum fact sheet

Step 5 – Detoxify your pet from heavy metals.

Heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum (both are found in vaccines), lead, arsenic, thallium, copper, nickel, barium (sprayed in the air) is everywhere in our environment, and are the major cause of irreversible liver disease and cancer. They are in our waters, foods (e.g., fish) and soils. It is important to remove heavy metals from our own bodies and that of our pet’s if we want to eliminate disease. Dishy Dogs Detox Pet is a high potency heavy metals detoxifier. Not ONLY will it help your pet’s liver it will eliminate yeast and viruses which feeds off heavy metals.

Step 6 - Add Antioxidants

Free radicals are tiny but dangerous substances that build up in your dog. They are a by-product of metabolism, inflammation and environmental factors like pollution. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause them to die. Free radicals build up like rust on a car and cause degenerative disease and premature aging.  Antioxidants are molecules that can prevent the cell damage free radical’s cause. This is because antioxidants have anti-aging effects that help prevent the following:

  • cancer; heart disease; eye problems; and immune issues.

Because antioxidants clear the “rust” out of your dog’s body. This makes them the perfect choice for reducing or eliminating arthritis. Here are some foods and supplements that are loaded with high quality antioxidants:

  • Turmeric contains curcumin. Not only is it an antioxidant, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory. Adding a high-quality turmeric tonic such as Dishy Dogs Turmeric Pet will do wonders in reducing inflammation and boosting antioxidants intake.
  • Adding a high-quality multi-vitamin and antioxidant supplement such as Dishy Dogs Vitamin Pet will do wonders to prevent the onset of arthritis and eliminate the “rust” out of your pet’s body.
  • Supplementing your pet’s diet with Selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that is found in most foods and in every living cell in the bodies of humans and animals. In fact, selenium is an essential mineral and is vital to the health of both animals and people. When ingested, selenium is converted in the body to an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage by free radicals. Dishy Dogs Vitamin Pet is loaded with antioxidants, essential vitamins and other minerals such as selenium.
  • Feed your dog berries such as blueberries, raspberries and cranberries as they offer great antioxidant support for your dog. They’re high in vitamin E, lutein, vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene AND they are great for the liver.

PLEASE NOTE: do NOT give your pet the following foods:

  • dairy, eggs, and gluten of any kind as they feed pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that are either dormant or active in your dog’s body. Viruses and bacteria are the cause of most illness in ourselves and our pets;
  • apple cider vinegar, as it is bad for the liver;
  • fermented foods, such as kimchi and kombucha as they are bad for the liver;
  • yoghurt, kefir and anything dairy based;
  • liver (cooked or raw). Whilst there are many vitamins and minerals in a healthy liver the truth is, the liver of all animals is loaded with toxins.

In conclusion: Instead of wasting your money on NSAIDS that can make your dog’s arthritis worse, follow these simple 5 steps which will not only get to the root cause of your dog’s arthritis, they will assist you in helping your pet live a long pain free life. Don’t forget these steps also reduce the risk of cancer, allergies and other diseases.

 Dishy Dogs is certified “Australian Made and Owned”. Our ingredients are of the highest quality and are 100% human grade, preservative, dairy, gluten, egg and additive free with no added salt, sugar, flavour or colours.