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In 2014, I decided to start sharing my journey as a raw feeder. I had been feeding my dogs a raw food diet for a year and wrote about what I had learned as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Looking back, I cringe at how little I knew about raw feeding and decided to update each of those blog posts in 2018-19.
Rodrigo and Sydney developed arthritis at a young age; back in 2014, I thought it was because of poor bone growth, which was diagnosed by their former vet. I often wondered if it was just bad luck because we fed them large breed puppy food, or if it was hereditary. Regardless of the reason, our dogs had joint issues and I spent years trying to find a joint supplement that gave them support.
Little did I know that the kibble I was feeding them promoted inflammation and was contributing to their poor joint health. When we switched our dogs to a raw food diet, their joint issues went away.
Causes of Joint Pain in Dogs
A few ways dogs can experience joint pain include:
- an injury that compromises the joints around the bones
- hip, knee, or elbow dysplasia
- arthritis brought about a decrease in the cartilage between the bones
- carrying too much weight, which adds stress to their joints
- rapid growth during the puppy months
Initially, my dogs experienced inflammation as a result of the diet I was feeding them; today, Rodrigo and Sydney are senior dogs and experience
Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs
I know my dogs are feeling pain when I see the following:
- slower walking, choosing to opt out of playing
- difficulty standing in the morning or after napping
- hestitation when jumping on the sofa or bed
- licking the joints (elbow, shoulders)
How a Raw Food Diet Supports Joint Health
One benefit of raw feeding is that it's an anti-inflammatory diet. Today, my dogs don't eat grains or other inflammatory foods. Their diet includes more Omega 3 fatty acids, which support joint health and reduce inflammation. Kibble is high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation and I wasn't offsetting those fatty acids by adding fish oil, sardines, or other Omega 3 fatty acid sources.
Food that Supports Joint Health
While the following foods aren't a substitute for joint supplements for my senior dogs, I add them to the bowl for all of my dogs because they are a good addition to their diet:
I don't add all of these in the same meal; they're just a part of my dogs' diet.
- beef trachea/gullet
- duck feet
- bone broth
- golden paste
- fermented fish stock
- raw sardines
- carp burgers from Scout and Zoe's
Joint Supplements for Dogs
Rodrigo and Sydney (my senior dogs) get the following:
- Canine System Saver
- WINPRO Mobility
- Duralactin (which is an anti-inflammatory and helps with any pain)
Scout and Zoey (5 years old):