What is inflammation and how does it affect my dog?
Healthline defines inflammation as “your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system.”
In humans, inflammation can cause fever, fatigue, mouth sores, or even abdominal pain. Inflammation can play a role in diseases including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
A range of factors including environmental factors, diet, smoking, and drug or alcohol use can contribute to chronic inflammation. Studies show that chronic stress can also lead to inflammation.
Inflammation can also be found in our pets. Dogs are prone to inflammation just like humans. You may be wondering how to help your pup fight inflammation and keep them feeling their best.
How can I reduce inflammation in my dog?
Keep your dog at a healthy weight
Obesity can be linked to many other medical conditions that are caused by chronic inflammation including diabetes and heart disease. This is one of many reasons it is important to keep your pup at a healthy weight. If your pup needs to lose a few pounds, work with your vet on a plan to help them lose weight gradually and in a sustainable way. Crash dieting or a cycle of losing weight quickly and gaining it back is just as bad for your pup as it is for you.
In addition to having your pup eat healthier, talk to your vet about an exercise plan. As long as you’ve got the vet’s approval start slowly. Consider adding time to your walks gradually and finding new and fun ways to play inside if the weather isn’t great for spending time outdoors. You may even find that you’re becoming healthier alongside your best friend!
Provide your dog with a well balanced diet
In addition to keeping your pup at a healthy weight, adequate nutrition can help reduce inflammation. At Ollie, this is one of our favorite ways to reduce inflammation. Our food is designed to be easily digested so your pup can get the most out of our human-grade ingredients.
Our recipes are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for reducing inflammation. In addition, our recipes are packed with superfood ingredients like spinach, blueberries and chia seeds. We use a quiz to customize a meal plan for your pup. The quiz asks about your pup’s age, breed, activity level and weight so that we can create the best plan for your pup’s health.
Use natural anti-inflammatories
If your pup is still battling inflammation even though they’re at a healthy weight and eating well, you may need to supplement with another anti-inflammatory. There are natural anti-inflammatory supplements as well as medications. When it comes to supplements, its best to check with your vet before giving them to your pet. Even if they’re all natural or plant based, they can still have side effects or interact with other medications your pup takes.
According to Whole Dog Journal, “First and foremost is fish oil, a source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which reduce inflammation and provide other benefits to the body."
"Use fish body oil, such as salmon oil or EPA oil, not liver oil, which is high in vitamins A and D and lower in omega-3 fatty acids. (Also, liver oil would be dangerous at the high doses needed to fight inflammation).”
Turmeric is another herb used to fight inflammation. You can find some in your spice cabinet or at your local Asian market. The compound, curcumin is what helps fight inflammation. There are many products for pups on the market with turmeric or the active compound curcumin in them so chat with your vet about the best brand and appropriate dosing for your pup’s size and medical condition.
The most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) for dogs are carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl), deracoxib (Deramaxx), meloxicam (Metacam ), deracoxib (Deramaxx), firocoxib (Previcox).
Some vets will okay the use of aspirin for your pup for a short term injury. It is generally not for chronic conditions in dogs due to the risk of side effects like gastrointestinal bleeding.
While the occasional use of aspirin is okay, you should never give your pup acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Keep these medications for your own use and out of the reach of your pup.
When giving NSAIDS to your dog, the FDA asks pet owners to keep in mind the acronym BEST. You want to watch your pup for:
If you see any of these signs in your best friend, you should stop giving the medication and call your vet right away!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.