As pet owners, we want nothing but the best for our animal companions, especially when it comes to their health. Several health conditions can negatively impact our furry friends lives and one of the most common is arthritis. Arthritis is a condition that can cause pain, stiffness, and mobility problems. Management of this disease requires a multimodal approach involving weight and environment management, exercise modification, medications and supplements, and diet management.
In this article we’ll explore the correlation between diet and arthritis in domestic cats and dogs and discuss the benefits of switching from a highly processed diet to Fetching Foods which produces products that are minimally processed using high-end human grade ingredients, and are without fillers, artificial additives, and by-products.
There are two main types of arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which has a genetic component and Osteoarthritis, developing over time in an isolated joint. RA is an autoimmune disease, characterized by the immune system attacking its own joint, leading to more severe inflammation, pain, and deterioration.
Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear leading to a reduction in the cartilage cushioning the ends of the bone faster than the body can replace it. The outward signs and symptoms between the types of arthritis are similar.
Both cats and dogs who may be suffering from arthritis can display behavior including decreased activity, abnormal spinal position, muscle atrophy, hesitancy in actions such as running, jumping, and climbing. Dogs specifically may exhibit excessive licking of the affected joints while cats may resist using their litter boxes.
The link between diet and arthritis
A key factor in achieving this is providing our pets with a long, happy, and healthy life is feeding the proper nutrition they need to thrive. The ideal diet for cats and dogs should consist of high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients, such as fresh and whole lean proteins, healthy fats, and if appropriate, a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, the reality is that most pets are not receiving the proper nutrition they need. The typical highly processed pet food diet falls short of these ideal standards and is often made with fillers, artificial additives, synthetic vitamins/minerals, and low-quality meat by-products that are unsafe to use in human-grade food production. The use of these low-grade, often chemically or artificially treated meat-by-products has led to a host of health complications among domestic pets including obesity, digestive issues, and even arthritis.
While genetics can be a factor in rheumatoid arthritis, age, obesity, and diet contribute most to the development and proliferation of arthritis in pets. As pets age the accelerated rate at which the cartilage between joints is naturally worn down leads to a general decrease in mobility. Add to that, about 60% of cats and dogs are classified as overweight or obese, which is greatly determined by the level of exercise and quality of food. An overweight animal has an increased load on the joints, exacerbating cartilage damage caused by arthritis.
Research has shown that a diet lacking in essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, can contribute to joint inflammation and damage. AAFCO doesn’t require antioxidant levels or even a vitamin C requirement, a powerful antioxidant. This is likely omitted because cats and dogs can produce it within their bodies. But added antioxidants like vitamin C can be beneficial to combating arthritis symptoms.
But In addition, a diet high in inflammatory ingredients, such as corn, wheat, and soy, can also worsen arthritis symptoms. Most commercially available pet food is highly processed and uses these inflammatory ingredients as fillers in their products. The overall quality of life of your pets can be greatly affected by consistently feeding this type of diet.
All Fetching Foods Only Dog products contain naturally occurring anti-inflammatories and antioxidants such as blueberries and astaxanthin. They also contain omega 3, turmeric, and in Only Dog Venison-Salmon there is beneficial salmon oil. The Just Cat and Premium Cat products all contain Omega 3 and astaxanthin which are known to reduce inflammation and improve immune system function. Overall, the benefits of a fresh, natural, high-quality diet cannot be overstated.
What to expect after switching your pet to a raw or gently cooked diet
As previously stated, diet is a major factor in your pet’s health and can make the difference between the thriving pet you once knew and a combination of problems. The improvements to overall health from switching your pet’s diet are easily observable and palpable.
- Reduced inflammation: The highly processed nature of commercial pet food can cause inflammation in your pet’s body, leading to chronic health issues such as arthritis. A raw diet, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, can help reduce inflammation.
- Improved digestion: A natural raw or gently cooked diet can also improve your pet’s digestion by providing food that is high in natural enzymes and easily digestible nutrients. This leads to better nutrient absorption, less gas, and smaller stools.
- Healthier weight: Processed food often contains a high level of carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. A raw diet is naturally low in carbohydrates and high in protein, which can help maintain a healthy weight in your pet.
- Healthier skin and coat: The natural oils found in a raw diet can lead to healthier skin and a shinier coat. This is due to the presence of healthy fats that fight inflammation such as omega-3.
How to switch your pet to a raw diet
If you’ve decided to switch your pet to a whole, natural, by-product free diet, congratulations! Your pet’s health and mobility will benefit almost immediately from the change. Fetching Foods offers a step-by-step guide to help make the transition easier. Additionally, our Article section has more information on raw feeding and nutrition regardless of your familiarity with the process.
We recommend purchasing the Sampler Pack to introduce your pet to a variety of proteins. This will also help you determine which proteins your pet prefers. We also provide an option to create Custom Meal formulations of the proteins your pet is known to enjoy or novel proteins with added joint health supplements, including: Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Yucca Schidigera as well as any other beneficial herbs.
Switching to a raw diet may take some time and patience, and the benefits aren’t limited to helping to manage arthritis. Plus, you may even notice improvements in your pet’s mobility, especially if they suffer from arthritis or joint pain. Make the switch to a fresh, whole, raw diet with Fetching Foods to see the difference in your pet’s health and happiness.