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A little more than a year ago, Sydney could barely move. It was heartbreaking because she was in a tremendous amount of pain, she would whimper and cry every time she tried to stand or move, and she had trouble going potty. My girl was only six years old and she looked like she was 100 years old. And she wasn't losing weight.
I did a tremendous amount of research and found a solution that worked. Within 48 hours of changing her supplement protocol, she was a different dog – running out the door and playing with her siblings. We were finally on the right track.
Someone recently asked me for an update on how Sydney is doing. I've learned a lot over the past year and have made a few changes to Sydney's diet and supplements. Sydney is better than ever, she's losing weight, and her mobility is improving daily.
In this blog, post I'm going to share what I've learned over the past year that's helping Sydney with her joint health and mobility.
1 – DIY Raw Feeding for Dogs
Feeding a raw diet is fantastic because it doesn't contain inflammatory ingredients. Instead, it contains ingredients that support joint health, like duck feet, beef trachea, bone broth, fermented fish stock, and more. This year, I made the following changes to my dogs' raw food diet:
- I'm feeding more DIY raw and less premade raw
- I feed more whole pieces of raw
- I'm feeding less to the dogs
- I'm being more creative with their veggie mix (more details below).
Rodrigo and Scout were always at a healthy weight and they've both trimmed up a bit. Sydney and Zoey are finally losing weight and we can see a difference in their waist. A friend suggested that I begin using a measuring tape to track their progress instead of the scale so I'll be taking their numbers this weekend!
My goal is to see a difference in Sydney and Zoey's size by the end of the year and I want to see them at a healthy size by next spring.
2 – Canine System Saver
Sydney gets Canine System Saver at least five days a week. I've tried many joint supplements and this one has consistently provided support for not only Sydney's joint health but her thyroid and liver health as well. Before I consistently put her on CSS, she was losing hair in small patches and she was prematurely greying -signs of a hypothyroidism. Her tests came back negative, but she does need thyroid support which she gets through diet.
Many people thought she was a senior dog. Today, she has her hair back, she's no longer turning grey, and she no longer needs monthly acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. Instead, I take her quarterly for an acupuncture treatment because it's great for relaxation.
Canine System Saver is an investment, however, once you find a supplement that works, then the price becomes less of an issue. To make a bottle last longer, I only give it to Sydney 5 days a week, one meal per day. The other two days a week, she eats whole meals of green tripe with no supplements added.
3 – Golden Paste
I finally found a golden paste recipe that works great (it calls for bone broth) and I add a tablespoon to Sydney's morning and evening meals at least five days a week. The golden paste works to naturally reduce inflammation, prevent pain, and support joint health (and more). I was worried that Sydney wouldn't like the taste of turmeric in her food, but she doesn't mind. And adding Ceylon cinnamon stops her from smelling like cat pee.
I also add golden paste to Rodrigo's meals. Too much gives Scout and Zoey soft stool so I began adding golden paste (along with garlic, medicinal mushrooms, and oysters) to my veggie mix (recipe above).
I get my turmeric powder through my local raw food co-op. You can also try your local natural store if you don't have a co-op in your area. I would avoid buying turmeric from supplement stores unless they are all natural and can help you choose the right brand for your dog.
4 – In Clover Connectin Chews
I used to add a joint supplement powders to Sydney's meals and although I was cutting back the amount she ate (using a scale to measure), by the time I added these powders, her meal weighed more than what I would feed her if she were at a healthy weight.
Coincidentally she stopped losing weight shortly after I switched to the joint supplement and one day I began to wonder if the supplement was the cause – while it does a great job for her joints, it wasn't great for Sydney's waistline. So I switched all the dogs back to In Clover Connectin chews. I give them as a “treat” five days a week. In Clover Connectin chews are low in calories, the dogs like the taste (and the smell because they're super smelly), and they work!
While I think that a healthy dog can get by without a joint supplement, Sydney's health history and the memory of her being in pain are proof enough that she needs additional support. Since adding Connectin back into the joint regimen, Sydney rarely needs a pain reliever. She goes for walks, plays with her dogs, and she's my mischevious, bossy girl again.
In Clover has generously offered a discount to Keep the Tail Wagging® readers. Save 10% on your order (all of your orders) when you use KTTW10 at check out. I also love In Clover's Glow, which provides Omega-3 support if I don't have fish oil or sardines on hand. Or if I just want to give my dogs a healthy treat. And my dogs also benefit from In Clover OptaGest, a prebiotic that feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut.
5 – Raw Sardines
I know that Omega-3 fatty acids support joint health while offsetting the inflammation caused by the Omega-6 fatty acids in meat – so I add fish oil, sardines, and oysters. In a perfect world, I would feed 100% grass fed, pasture raised proteins. In my world, that's only part of my dogs' diet because grass fed, pasture raised proteins are expensive.
To cut costs, I began adding more whole foods in place of supplements and this included alternating fish oil with raw sardines and canned oysters. The dogs LOVE the new additions to their diet and I love the benefits that I'm seeing. The dogs have even softer coats, Sydney's skin has improved (her thyroid condition creates dry skin), and Sydney is moving around like the girl I remember.
I get my raw sardines from OC Raw. If your store or co-op doesn't carry OC Raw, try your local Asian market. I wouldn't recommend feeding raw oysters because we get a lot of warnings in my area of the country. I buy canned oysters that have been boiled in water. I also buy sardines canned in water with no salt added; these are great as a backup; my dogs love the raw sardines more.
While what I was doing for Sydney last year was helping; it ended up hurting her too because she stopped losing weight and one thing we all know is that extra weight is terrible for a dog's joints.
Now that I've had Sydney on this system for a while, it seems like a no-brainer and I wish I would have figured this out a long time ago. What I give her today in no way discounts what has worked for her in the past; this system simply works better because it supports her joints, improves her mobility, and it doesn't derail her weight loss by adding unnecessary calories.