A look at how your animal’s body moves, and why it’s so important to support his joint health and prevent arthritis.
When it comes to arthritis in dogs and cats, solutions for supporting joint health while reducing inflammation and pain are the main points of focus. Luckily, many wonderful natural therapies can help address joint health and disease. In this article, I want to talk about the scaffolding of orthopedics, as well as the importance of preventing arthritis and providing supportive care for joint health.
How your animal’s body moves
How does your dog or cat’s body support his joints, spine, and bones? The answer is a really important part of this discussion! Joints, limbs, and muscles are specialized tissues within the body that serve their purpose primarily by contracting. This is accomplished when muscle tissue employs the proteins, actin and myosin, which slide past each other to create movement.
Every muscle has interwoven connective tissue that attaches the muscle fibers and bundles together. If you picture muscles as a large, ornate, stained glass window, the fibers and bundles would be the different-sized colored glass panels. The surrounding and supporting connective tissue would be the lead that surrounds and supports the windows. This connective tissue is composed of collagen strands that give it a tremendous ability to withstand pulling or longitudinal strains. It also has limited elasticity, which allows it to stretch while still holding the tissues together. Without connective tissue holding the muscles together, your dog or cat would lose her strength and the ability to move her bones or support her frame.
Besides controlling movement, the muscles are a major part of the body that, in essence, prevents all the weight from being solely supported by the joints and bones. Unhealthy muscle tissue leads to an increase of wear and tear, resulting in deterioration, inflammation, and arthritis.
In short, the skeletal muscles play a major role in your dog or cat’s health and well-being. So, what are some ways to keep them healthy?
Supporting your dog or cat’s muscles
Here are ten of the best nutrients for supporting your animal’s muscles and helping to prevent or improve arthritis. They can easily be added to your animal’s daily diet.
- Vitamin C – Unlike humans, dogs and cats make their own vitamin C. However, if your animal’s immune system is at all compromised, then he may this vitamin. The good news is, vitamin C is found in raw meat, as well as vegetables like Swiss chard and spinach. For a cat, a full raw meat diet will provide adequate amounts of vitamin C.
- B vitamins – Eggs, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and leafy greens are all high in these vitamins.
- Vitamin D – And add beef liver, wild salmon, raw milk, and egg yolks to her diet.
- Vitamin E – I feed my dogs raw soaked almonds as treats, but other foods high in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, spinach, avocados, squash, trout, shrimp, olive oil, hemp seed oil, and broccoli.
- Omega-3s and amino acids – Feeding whole fish or phytoplankton are easy ways to up the Omega-3s in your animal’s diet. Phytoplankton are tiny, microscopic plants that form the base of the food chain in the ocean. It’s one of the most valuable sources of nutrition on earth and is chock full of essential amino acids.
- Calcium – Raw milk and digestible bone (chicken and turkey necks are awesome) are two great sources.
- Magnesium – Swiss chard, spinach and almonds are rich in this mineral.
- Quality protein – Chinese medicine promotes feeding what you are trying to support – in this case, that would be muscle meat, heart, etc.
- Collagen – This nutrient supports the connective tissue. Think of the lead glass description above, or look at it as the scaffolding that holds the joints and bones in their supportive positions. Give your animal bone broth — it’s easy and inexpensive to make! Phytoplankton has a plant-based collagen as well. Even cats love it!
- N-Dimethylglycine (DMG) – The last thing I would like to talk about is DMG. Any high performance animals (e.g. working dogs or those in agility, flyball, etc.) should be on DMG, but so should all aging dogs and cats. The results of DMG are incredible; it helps with joint pain and arthritis, muscle fatigue, muscle stiffness, and increases the body’s ability to restore its balance of lactic acid. It’s essential!
Next time you think of orthopedic health or arthritis in terms of your dog or cat, really look at it from a holistic approach, which makes use of the amazing ways nature helps the body stay strong, supportive and fluid.