When it comes to chronic ailments in animals, many are aware that the vast majority of causes are environmental. Many animal guardians assume that chronic illness is a part of the aging process and that it cannot be avoided. What many may not be as aware of is that the greater part of these ailments can be easily preventable. Companion animal arthritis is no different.

As with almost all chronic pain, arthritis is highly correlated to an animal’s diet. Many animals suffer from genetically weakened immune systems and genetic chronic inflammation. In all cases, an animal’s diet is a key component in healing or deteriorating the physical body. Though there are various types of arthritis and chronic inflammation that arise from a range of origins, they all have one universal property; with a few lifestyle changes, each type of arthritis symptoms can be significantly lessened or altogether preventable. The following is a list of five readily available means of reducing and/or preventing companion animal arthritis.

1)      Diet Change- the vast majority of processed foods contain significant numbers of inflammatory ingredients. Just like humans, companion animals’ bodies must be nurtured with whole foods, not preservatives and by-products. What many companion animal care givers fail to realize is that even the expensive ‘prescription’ diet science based foods are among the worst brands for listing preservatives and by-products as first ingredients on their labels. Without getting into the gruesome details, these brands as well as other nutrient-poor foods do not contain ingredients that will nurture an animal’s body to health but rather will weaken the immune system and generate a body that is devoid of nutrient retention. The longer term effects of this type of anti-inflammatory diet include; arthritis, painful inflammation, unnecessary shedding, obesity, severe dehydration, kidney stones, bladder crystals, certain types of cancers ad early stage organ failure. By changing an animal’s diet to a nutrient-rich regimen, we will give them their best shot at a long term life free of the pain and suffering of inflammation. Nutrient rich diets include; raw food, cooked meats and steamed veggies as opposed to store bought processed foods. Excluding these whole food sources, there are also several types of nutrient rich store bought foods that are far higher in quality than science based diets which are categorically full of preservatives and by-products. Ask your local Animal Communicator or holistic vet which types of foods are best suited to your companion animals.

2)      Yucca Root- Yucca plant has healing properties within it that invoke the body’s natural corticosteroids. When the body suffers from painful inflammation, naturally most would be inclined to consume anti-inflammatory medication. Many of these medications do not work with the body but rather against it; breaking down the immune system little by little. As opposed to medical steroids such as prednisone that will break down proper immune function, Yucca Root will work with the body to promote a healthy functioning immune system.

3)      Add anti-inflammatory foods to diet- Returning to the diet once again, any animals who suffer from arthritis and other chronic inflammation may experience a reduction in painful symptoms by adding simple anti-inflammatory foods to the diet. Whether adding these anti-inflammatory foods to processed diets or on their own as a meal, any addition of these foods is likely to reduce symptoms and treat the root cause of the inflammation. Of course, most cats will be far more finicky about their food than will dogs. Whether it is a dog or cat in question, locating appropriate anti-inflammatory foods will encourage a healthier physical state for our animal friends. There is a wide selection of anti-inflammatory food options for our animal friends. Some of these options include; whole salmon (not canned), sardines (fresh), steamed broccoli, steamed celery, cucumber, several types of nuts and seeds. It is also important to note that adding omegas will increase digestive health, thereby encouraging a healthy weight. It is a good idea to consult with your holistic veterinarian to find out which combinations of anti-inflammatory foods are best for your animal friends.

4)      Fish Oil/Omegas 3 & 6 supplement- Adding sources of omegas to an animal’s diet is crucial in terms of reduction of inflammation. There are innumerable sources of omegas that are readily available. Advocating for whole foods once again, feeding natural sources of omegas are often more nutritious than adding a food supplement. For example. Adding fresh fish to the diet will be a healthier option than fish oil alone. Though fish oil is a concentrated form of the omegas found in fish, the actual food will have other healthy components within it to nurture and moisturize the animal’s body. When an animal eats heavily processed and refined foods, these foods strip the body of moisture. Despite the lower grade and science based diets listing omegas as sourced within these foods, it is almost always too minimal of an amount to treat any type of moisture loss or lack of retention of moisture in the joints, skin, coat and organs. By supplementing the diet with wild salmon oil, for example, we are allowing the animal’s body to retain the necessary components of their food in order to have optimally functioning organs and tissues. Be sure to supplement fish oils that have specified fish origins as opposed to labels that just read “fish”. Any labels that read ‘fish’ without specification are likely nutrient poor, polluted fish sources.

5)      Coconut oil- Coconut oil is a highly effective and tasty addition to an animal’s diet. In addition to its nearly miraculous anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil will keep our animals feeling younger and more playful. For a more complete list of the many benefits of coconut oil for companion animals, view: Adding coconut oil to an animal’s daily regimen will help to both reduce genetic inflammation as well as prevent much of the hardship of later-onset inflammation. As with all holistic remedies, coconut oil must be given in small doses over a longer period to take effect. This is why beginning our animals on a coconut oil regimen at younger ages is a smart idea. This way, they will have had years to accumulate the added moisture in their joints and organs before aging sets in. If we are only learning about the many benefits of coconut oil as our animals are already aging, this oil can still have an anti-inflammatory effect over a shorter period of time.


As our animals age, the more moisture we can induce in our animal friends’ joints, bones and organs, the more notable their quality of life will increase. As animal’s age, their bodies are also lesser able to retain moisture. Without moisture, organs shut down, ranges of motion become decreased and quality of life diminishes. The important thing is that we, as caregivers of animals recognize that we can make a grand difference in the lives of our beloved animal friends by understanding how food and diet impacts an animal’s quality of life. We must acknowledge, too, that moisture is the body’s best friend and do all we can to promote a healthy and well rounded quality of life for those who are unable to do so for themselves.

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