Many of our pets through age, heredity, or physical stress are showing signs of joint pain and discomfort. While some pets are predisposed to these crippling ailments through breeding, other factors such as weight, joint stress, even diet can bring on symptoms and are often overlooked.
With conventional treatments, such as prescriptive drugs working to subdue the discomfort, often the underlying disease is neglected. Increasingly though, researchers, veterinarians, and owners are finding help by recognizing the roles of nutrition, environmental factors, and non-drug therapies. Now our pets are benefiting from an ever an increasing range of natural alternative treatments that have few, if any, side effects and begins with nutrition.
Nutrition - Commercial foods have improved tremendously over the last few years. Yet, just as we should improve our own health with fruits, vegetable, and whole grains, we should also try to offer more natural diets to our pets.
Dietary Supplements - Studies now offer evidence that while many of the antioxidants and trace minerals found in a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement are beneficial, of particular interest are Ester-C, a non-acidic form of the anti-oxidant vitamin C2, and the omega-3 fatty acids - EPA and DHA. Other supplements include shark cartilage, Coenzyme Q10, and chondroitin sulfate.
Weight - Recent studies have shown that 40-60% of adult cats and dogs are dangerously overweight. Pets are given too many treats, too much food, and too little exercise3. Maintaining your arthritic pet’s ideal weight is important because of the stress extra pounds can place on the joints.
Environmental factors - When was the last time the floor felt comfortable to you? Not to mention the cold drafts or dampness. New heated bedding designs and joint supporting fillings can help provide soothing relief AFTER exercise sessions.
Herbal Remedies - Animals are the original herbalists. And, most of what we know about herbs we have learned from animals, whether through observation of animals in the wild, or scientific experimentation. Detoxification blends and anti-inflammatory herbs can help pets achieve natural health balances4.
Homeopathy - New combination formulas, from several manufacturers, offer more symptom-based homeopathic treatments for pets. For pet owners interested in learing more about the homeopathic system, new quidebooks, such as Homeopathic Care for Dogs & Cats by veterinarian Don Hamilton, along with the ”standards” such as the Materica Medica and the Repertory are a must!
Flower Essences - Flower essences play a part in healing in all levels by treating the mental-emotional level thereby enabling physical healing methods to treat disease5.
Massage - Massage increases blood circulation, helps aches and pains, reduces blood pressure, soothes away fears, encourages relaxation, and is a natural way to increase the bond between you and your pet.
Acupressure - Stimulation of acupressure points can produce pain relieving endorphins, relieve muscle spasms, and release the body’s natural cortisone.
Aromatherapy - Animals of all kinds can benefit from the remarkable “showers of energies” of aromatic essential oils. Formulas for rheumatism and ostheoarthritis can be found for animals in such books as Veterinary Aromatherapy by Nelly Grosjean. Because of the potential of toxicity with cats, essential oil hydrosols are the only options advised.
When weighing your choices, remember it may take a little longer for the non-drug therapies to become most effective. But you and your pet just might feel better creating an environment, both inside and outside the body, that supports the natural healing inclination.
© Terri Grow
With conventional treatments, such as prescriptive drugs working to subdue the discomfort, often the underlying disease is neglected. Increasingly though, researchers, veterinarians, and owners are finding help by recognizing the roles of nutrition, environmental factors, and non-drug therapies.