A Holistic Approach to Managing Hip & Joint Pain in Pets

By Marty Grosjean
A Holistic Approach to Managing Hip & Joint Pain in Pets

Your pet's health has a direct connection to their quality of life. Chronic pain, swelling and inflammation, cartilage breakdown, all of these can have a tremendous negative impact on your pet's well being. Conventional veterinary medicine often places an emphasis on the use of prescription medication and steroids to relieve arthritis pain from degenerative joint disease or treating the symptoms of hip dysplasia.

But anti-inflammatory drugs are not the only solution to help improve the mobility and comfort of your senior dog or cat. More pet owners are turning to holistic alternative treatments to improve their pet's quality of life to manage arthritis pain or discomfort that comes from degenerative diseases of the joints and cartilage.

What it Means to Take the Holistic Approach to Joint Health

When you bring your pet to a holistic veterinarian, the diagnosis and treatment of the pain, discomfort, or illness incorporates a wide-ranging outlook of your pet’s overall health and well being to better analyze the causes behind the symptoms and apply alternative therapies to eliminate the issue. Joint health in pets, especially dogs, can be affected by any number of causes.

Arthritic dogs and cats, whether due to age, breed, or genetic disposition, can experience difficulty in movement, loss of interest in physical activity, and elevated levels of pain and discomfort that require effective pain management and preventative solutions. But working with a holistic veterinarian means that prescription pain medications are avoided or used in very small doses in favor of alternative medicine, changes in lifestyle and diet, and physical therapy for treating arthritis.

Alternative Therapies for Managing Arthritis Pain

The holistic approach relies on natural treatments for managing arthritis pain and preventing further damage from degenerative disease. When it comes to arthritis in dogs or cats, holistic remedies can be highly effective as a means to reduce inflammation. The potential benefits of these alternative therapies are best recommended for pets that are dealing with mild or intermediate levels of pain and immobility.

If your dog's arthritis pain is severe or significantly chronic, natural therapies may still be utilized but in conjunction with conventional prescription medication to help relieve arthritis pain.

But what are some of the best ways to treat arthritis with holistic remedies and therapies? For dog owners and cat owners who are concerned about the health and well being of their furry four-legged friends and don't want to rely solely on pharmaceuticals that can have adverse side effects.

Balanced diet and regular exercise are both crucial components of any good holistic strategy for treating arthritis and other illnesses or diseases that affect your dog's joints. But other treatment options can also play an important role in helping your pet live a long and happy life without risking the side effects that come from plying your pet with non steroidal anti inflammatories that can be harsh on the kidneys, the liver, and the gut of your dog or cat.

The following are some of the most common and effective alternative therapy options that a holistic veterinary medicine can offer for combating canine arthritis and degenerative diseases that can plague both dogs and cats:

Proper Nutrition

Your dog's diet can have a major impact on helping to manage pain due to arthritis. Weight management plays a considerable role in helping your dog alleviate joint pain, the more your dog weighs, the more stress that can put on his or her joints. But if you feed your dog the right food, full of nutrients and low in empty calories and unnecessary fillers, that can help them lose weight and place less strain on the joints.

Pets that are carrying excessive weight could be categorized as overweight or obese. Not only does this threaten to shorten a dog's life, but contribute to joint pain in arthritic dogs.

But before you make any major changes to your pet's diet, be sure to consult first with your veterinarian to find out if dietary shifts are safe for your pup.

Joint Supplements and Other Dietary Therapeutic Options

Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog or cat is absolutely vital for reducing pain in the joints. Along with proper nutrition, giving your dog supplements to help reduce inflammation and improve joint health can make a world of difference in the comfort and safety of your pet.

Some of these supplements include chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, both of which stimulate growth in the cartilage. Fish oil is another active ingredient intended to help reduce inflammation and help increase the wellness of the joint.

Inflammation is a large part of the cause of pain, especially in and around the joints. Without the inflammation, the pain is easier to manage. A well-rounded diet and dietary supplements can be a potent combination for getting your pet to rediscover his or her love for running, jumping, and playing outdoors...often more effective than just standard anti inflammatory drugs.

Physical Activity

Exercise is so important for helping to manage arthritis pain in pets (and humans too!) One of the most effective natural treatments for arthritis management is simply moving around. Dog parents sometimes lose sight of the fact that a good walk for a dog is about more than just going to the bathroom.

Long walks can provide pain relief for dogs with arthritic joints while also benefitting a dog's body at the cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Exercise is among the best treatment options that holistic veterinarians (and conventional ones) will suggest you try to reduce pain and inflammation in dogs as it stimulates joint fluid and helps to manage pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Your Pet

For centuries, humans have been using holistic therapies to maintain their health and well being. Many of these therapies have been used to treat arthritis and manage chronic pain in humans and their pets.

Yes, it's true - today's holistic veterinarians recommend many tried and true therapies rooted in traditional chinese medicine. For taking a holistic approach to managing joint pain, there are a variety of options that holistic vets will prescribe for treating arthritis pain, offering anti inflammatory properties without the heavy side effects of prescription and over the counter medications.

Veterinary Acupuncture

The use of thin needles inserted at various regions of the body for pain management is becoming more popular in holistic veterinary medicine as it can relieve arthritis pain by triggering the body's own natural pain relief chemicals through the flow of bioenergies and encouraging internal balance within the body. These natural pain medications don't have the potential adverse side effects of anti inflammatory drugs and they are better for your pet in the long run.

Dogs and cats alike can reap the potential benefits of veterinary acupuncture, even those pets that may need to be relaxed beforehand. This doesn't mean giving the pet a sedative, it means bringing the pet to a more laid back and calm mindset. Essential oils and other forms of aromatherapy can be ideal for achieving this goal.

Chiropractic Care Treatment

The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association and the American Kennel Club both recommend chiropractic care as both an early prevention method for reducing joint pain and inflammation and a useful answer for pain management. Proper alignment of the spine can have a therapeutic effect on other areas of the body and every adjustment can relieve pain and discomfort.

The nervous system can benefit from chiropractic care for increased functionality and improved mobility. Applying these treatments early on can provide the building blocks for ensuring that your pet's arthritis pain is minimized.

Holistic veterinarians aren't the only ones who rely on chiropractic care to address a range of conditions from hip dysplasia to osteoarthritis to nervous system dysfunction. Conventional veterinarians will incorporate chiropractic into their traditional treatments to provide relief and eliminate these and other ailments and illnesses that can reduce a pet's quality of life.

In some cases, chiropractic and acupuncture are used together to bring your dog or cat back to optimal health and wellness.

Veterinary Massage

Another natural method for reducing pain, inflammation, and restoring your pet's range of motion while eliminating discomfort is therapeutic massage of the joints and muscles that are keeping your dog or cat from doing all of the things they used to love.

But it's important to have someone with experience to do the work for you. This isn't something you can or should do yourself. If the massage is done improperly, it could cause more harm than good. A properly-performed massage can stimulate blood flow and circulation, improve flexibility, promote mobility, and relax the muscles to provide pain relief.

Bioresonance Energy Products

A holistic therapy from Europe called bioresonance energy can also offer an excellent way to treat mobility issues in pets. BioPower Pet offers its Mobility Magic tag and spray that emit natural energetic frequencies to relieve inflammation and stiffness. The tag hangs on your pet’s collar like an ID tag and works 24 hours a day. The spray is ideal for topical application to supplement the energy of the tag.

All of these natural treatments can make an improvement in your pet's life, no matter what your dog's age.

Going Holistic with Your Pet's Care

A healthy immune system is only one of the many potential benefits of holistic care for your dog or cat. Managing arthritis pain in your pets is another. Natural treatments have given pets, young and old, the advantage to outsmart the aging process and provide comfort where arthritis and other degenerative joint disease symptoms have made even the simplest actions like walking and running too painful.

Now you can treat arthritis pain and a loss of joint cartilage with holistic options that will give your dog or cat the life they used to live. Joint pain can be a thing of the past with natural treatments and a holistic approach to health and wellness.