7 SuperFoods to Maintain and Strengthen Your Dog’s Healthy Joints

If you own a medium or large breed dog, the dreaded thought has likely crossed your mind; torn ACL. Cruciate ligament injury. Bad news for your wallet, and your Best Friend. Good news! You can prevent cruciate ligament injuries. The key to avoiding injury and supporting your dog’s joint health is to start early and adopt good nutritional habits. Following are our favorite superfoods for your dog’s healthy joints.

Sadly, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and CCL (cranial cruciate ligament) tears are the most common injuries dogs experience today. A dog’s ACL and CCL are parts of her knees. Much like humans, our dogs are prone to injury in these joints. Often, injury comes about innocently during routine activities.

A torn ACL is an unpleasant injury, both for you and your dog. Consequently, this type of injury makes the knee unstable. Additionally, a torn ACL is quite painful for your Best Friend. It stretches other ligaments, causes swelling, and discomfort. Most likely, you’ll notice this type of injury right away. Your dog won’t be able to put any weight on her leg, and may cry out.

Obviously, there are SO many reasons to prevent cruciate ligament injury of any sort, as well as preventing or relieving arthritis and symptoms of your dog getting older. Your dog’s joint health if vital, particularly from a preventative standpoint. Following are ways to keep your dog’s joints healthy, along with 7 superfoods to maintain and strengthen your dog’s healthy joints!

Reasons for Injury

Of course, a dog may injure her ACL in any number of ways. Your dog may be carrying around some extra weight that puts strain on her knees. Many owners love to play fetch. However, that intense activity and unexpected changes in direction may put strain on your dog’s knees. Couple this with a dog who has some extra weight or is not conditioned to this sudden, intense activity and it’s a recipe for injury.

Maintain Healthy Joints by Avoiding Injury

Wallace and Oliver delight in rough play from time to time. I don’t worry too much about cruciate ligament injury because of their ideal weights and healthy diet.

If you could avoid a painful cruciate ligament tear, wouldn’t you? As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you could spare your Best Friend the pain, and yourself the financial grief, wouldn’t you choose that first?

Yes! Of course! By feeding your dog a species appropriate diet and keeping her at a healthy weight, ailments like arthritis and cruciate ligament injuries won’t be ailments you and your Best Friend have to deal with!

Preventative ACL Care with Diet and Exercise

First, keep your dog at a healthy weight. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. If your dog is currently overweight, consider replacing some of her food with leafy green vegetables, broccoli, or green beans. You can substitute up to 20% of a dog’s diet with fresh foods. Additionally, adding fresh foods to your dog’s kibble has a whole host of other benefits.

Treats; a Hidden Culprit

Every day, my lovely neighbor throws these HUMUNGOUS biscuits over the fence to my dogs. Little do we know, those treats are absolutely packing on the calories! If you’re like me, you may have potty trained your dog by doling out a seemingly endless supply of treats. A treat every time she comes in? Sure! The problem is that our lovely little manipulators (who have us firmly wrapped around their little paws) now insist upon getting a treat each time she comes inside.

A clever switcharoo is to freely dole out veggie treats or low-value type treats like such as training treats, green beans, freeze dried vegetables, 1 piece of kibble, or even these awesome Dandy multivitamins! You can even get 20% off these Dandy Vitamins for your first 3 months if you use our promo code MEGAN20! The best thing you can do for your dog is keep her at a healthy weight. Fewer treats help with this!

Superfoods for Your Dog’s Healthy Joints

  1. Oysters: These are so simple to share with your Best Friend! They are a solid source of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Additionally, zinc promotes healthy joints, selenium supports thyroid health and balances the immune system, and iron stabilizes energy levels. Start by rinsing canned oysters and adding 1-2 oysters to your dog’s meal. A little goes a long way!

2. Fish Oil/Oily Fish: Fresh salmon (gently cooked), canned sardines or mackerel in water are chock-full of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s should be an essential part of your dog’s diet, as they are anti-inflammatory, support skin and coat health, and can increase mobility. Make sure to use fish canned in water and add 1-2 small fish per meal. Your dog won’t know what lottery she won when you place one of these dandies in her bowl!

3. Chicken Feet: These contain glucosamine and chondroitin (in it’s unadulterated, whole form!). Glucosamine and chondroitin lubricate joints and can even help repair damaged cartilage. Dogs can enjoy chicken feet raw (never feed cooked bones). Or, you can use the chicken feet to make a joint supporting bone broth. An added bonus is that the chewing action from crunching on chicken feet is that your dog will get a gentle dentle brushing.

We recently celebrated a customer’s 12th birthday! The cake was embellished with crunchy, delightfully beneficial chicken feet! (Yes, a little creepy. Remember, your dog likes different and grosser foods than you!)

4. Bone Broth: Bone broth is full of collagen boosting compounds like glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid which keep bones strong. Also, bone broth contains anti-inflammatory compounds that ease stiff joints. Plus, bone broth is super-simple to make. Here’s an easy recipe!

5. Turmeric: Turmeric is having a moment in the health world! I personally take a turmeric supplement and I love it. My injured runner’s feet know when I’ve missed a day. As far as your Best Friend’s joint health goes, turmeric eases pain from chronic inflammation. Additionally, it has anti-cancer, heart, and digestive health benefits. Here’s a recipe for Golden Paste, which is a simple way to add turmeric to your dog’s dish.

6. Sweet Potatoes: These root vegetables are a wonderful, anti-inflammatory addition to your Best Friend’s dish. They contain a compound called beta-cryptoxanthin, which helps prevent joint inflammation before it starts. Also, sweet potatoes are full of fiber for healthy digestion. To feed, bake the sweet potato as you would for yourself, then mash the cooked flesh into your dog’s food. You can also dice up and cook the sweet potato. These should never be fed raw.

7. Papaya: Papaya are packed with anti-oxidant properties that support healthy cells and prevent cell damage. They are also high in vitamin C, which dogs can produce on their own, but added vitamin C gives them an extra boost. Notably, papaya is lower in citric acid than many other vitamin C rich foods. This makes papaya much easier to digest. To share papaya with your dog, slice up a small amount and add it to her dish. You can also share fresh papaya slices as treats!

Keep Your Dog’s Joints Healthy For Years of Bliss with Your Best Friend

Too many dogs are plagued by arthritis, injury, and other joint ailments that rob them of joyful time with their humans. By keeping your dog at a healthy weight, enriching her life with a consistent exercise routine, and feeding a fresh, species-appropriate diet, you can give your best friend the vigor and quality of life she deserves.

It’s not difficult to begin adding small amounts of superfoods to your dog’s dish. Nor is it too late to add small amounts of superfoods to your dog’s dish! You can be proactive with your dog’s joint health, but you have to start somewhere. Our dogs thrive on variety (think about if you had to eat the same meal, twice a day, for your ENTIRE life) and generally have very few (if any) gastrointestinal issues when small amounts of healthy foods are added to their dishes. What are your dog’s favorite superfoods? If you don’t know yet, start today and find out!

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