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Your Dog’s Hip and Joint Health

Diet may help arthritis symptoms in aging dogs



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Arthritis and the older dog

Aches and pains, creaky joints, stiffness — aging dogs can suffer the same problems some aging humans do.

As dogs get older, they lose cartilage in their joints, which can lead to inflammation and pain. This joint pain may affect a dog’s mobility.

Some larger breeds are more likely to suffer from joint pain. They include:

  • Great Dane
  • German shepherd
  • Labrador retriever
  • Golden retriever
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Mastiff

The Benefits of a Hip and Joint Health Diet for Your Dog.

Some studies suggest that certain ingredients may provide support to dogs suffering from joint pain.

  • Natural sources of glucosamine & chondroitin are building blocks of healthy cartilage.
  • Balanced minerals help maintain strong bones.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids, a healthy fat found in some fish, may help keep joint cartilage healthy, reduce inflammation and support improved mobility.

For optimal hip and joint health:

  • Talk to your vet about the best diet and weight for your dog.
  • Look for dog foods labeled “hip and joint health,” which contain Omega 3 fatty acids, plus other ingredients that may benefit achy dogs.
  • Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight. Even a few extra pounds, especially on a dog prone to joint problems, can be painful.
  • Provide an orthopedic dog bed for support and comfort.

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Doggy Diets: What Is a “Novel Protein”?

New dog food can help those doggone food sensitivities



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Why is my dog having a reaction to a food they’ve eaten a zillion times?

It’s just a dog thing! Studies suggest that after eating the same type of food for a long period of time, dogs can develop sensitivities. Protein is essential to your buddy’s muscles, organs, nerves, skin and coat. But too much of the same kind of protein can sometimes cause persistent tummy trouble or itchy skin.

Out with the old & in with the new…food

“Novel” protein just means “new” protein your pet hasn’t eaten before. Beef, chicken, lamb and turkey are all common ingredients in dog cuisine. If you find that your pet has developed a reaction to one of theses ingredients, just swap it for a less-common protein source:

  • Duck
  • Bison
  • Rabbit
  • Salmon
  • Venison
  • Herring

These ingredients often come in dog foods labeled “limited-ingredient,” “grain-free,” “natural” or “for sensitive stomachs.” In fact, when you’re researching possible replacement foods, ingredient labels are your best friends. Just be sure to double-check that the new food doesn’t have any old proteins in it.

How to make the switch

Start slow to avoid tummy upset. To transition your dog to a different diet, replace a small amount of their old food with the new food at the usual mealtime. If your pup tolerates the new stuff well, keep replacing a little more of the old food with the new at each meal for seven days, until you’ve switched completely over to the new food.

It can take up to three months for a replacement diet to work its magic. Give it time and record your pooch’s progress!

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Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Remedies for Dogs

A guide to Canine nutritional supplements



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Premium dog food usually has all the nutrients your pooch needs. But some pets benefit from a little extra nutritional boost. That’s where vitamins, minerals and supplements come in.

If your dog is a picky eater, is recovering from an illness, is pregnant or nursing puppies, or has certain diseases or skin problems, ask your vet whether a nutritional supplement might be useful.

Here’s a quick look at different supplements and how they may help. Because vitamins, minerals and supplements can have side effects, it’s important to consult your veterinarian before giving them to your pet.

Acidophilus: Beneficial bacteria that aid digestion and cut down on excessive gas and occasional diarrhea. May also help with bad breath, dry skin and dull coat.

Antioxidants: Substances such as turmeric, glutathione, lycopene and pycnogenol: that help protect against cell damage.

B Vitamins: Useful to aid tissue support and to help stimulate a weak appetite.

Brewer’s Yeast: A good source of protein and B vitamins.

Vitamin C: Helps support healthy bones, teeth and skin; helps protect against cell damage.

Calcium: Helps supports healthy bones, especially in elderly and lactating animals.

Chondroitin: Can help support joint and cartilage health.

Vitamin D: Helps support healthy teeth and bones; helps the body absorb calcium.

Dietary Fiber: Aids digestion, helps regulate cholesterol levels.

Vitamin E: Helps promote lung, heart and digestive health.

Fatty Acids: Cod liver oil, Omega-3 and Omega-6 contain these and help support the cardiovascular system, skin, coat, joint health and digestion.

Folic Acid: Helps support the cardiovascular system.

Garlic: Can help repel fleas.

Ginger: Helps support digestion; can help soothe motion sickness.

Glucosamine: Can help support joint and cartilage health.

Huperzine A: An herbal substance that may help control seizures.

Hyaluronic Acid: Helps cushion joints and helps promote skin elasticity.

Iron: An essential component in blood.

Linatone: A fatty acid.

Lutein: A substance believed to help support eye health.

Magnesium: Helps build bones, maintain teeth and muscle, nerve, skeletal muscle, heart and cell function.

Melatonin: A hormone that can help induce sleep.

MSM: Helps support joint cartilage.

Probiotics: Microorganisms that help promote healthy digestion.

Psyllium: A source of dietary fiber.

Senna: A plant-derived substance that can help relieve occasional constipation.

Shark Cartilage: A source of calcium.

Tryptophan: An amino acid that can help with stress relief and to promote sleep.

Valerian: May promote sleep.

Vitamin K: Necessary for blood clotting.

Zinc: A trace element that supports the immune system.

Always consult your vet before giving your pet any vitamins or supplements.

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Understanding Raw Nutrition For Dogs

Learn how to give your dog a safe, healthy raw diet



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Raw foods may sound foreign or slightly intimidating, but they don’t have to be. In fact, there are different shades of raw diets pet parents can choose. Learn if going raw with packaged foods can help nourish your pet’s unique diet or lifestyle needs.

Raw foods are minimally processed, contain more moisture, and include quality ingredients to help improve digestion, skin and coat.

Ready-to-serve raw foods for dogs are made mainly from raw meat, organ meat, fat and ground bone with a small amount of fruits and vegetables as secondary ingredients. Grains are typically absent from raw formulas.

How packaged raw foods are prepared safely

Because meat is typically cooked to kill harmful bacteria, some Pet Parents may be concerned about the safety of raw meat formulas for their pets.

Fortunately, a USDA-accepted system called High Pressure Processing (HPP) can remove bacteria like salmonella, listeria and E. coli from packaged raw meat formulas while leaving the nutrients intact.

HPP uses pressurized chilled water that’s evenly applied to the meat, killing bacteria without cooking. HPP is used on both raw meat as well as freeze-dried raw meat products carried at PetSmart.

Nutrition, color and taste of the meat are not negatively affected by HPP.

Alternative raw options

If you’re not ready to commit to a completely raw diet for your pet but would like to explore some of the same nutritional benefits, there are other raw choices that can suit your needs. These alternative raw options are also shelf-stable.

Freeze Dried Raw

Freeze-dried raw food carried at PetSmart can be served as a complete meal or added to kibble. This type of nutrition removes the water from the meat while preserving nutrients. Chemicals and additives do not need to be used to maintain shelf life.

The raw dog food is frozen first. Next, frozen water is removed through a process called sublimation, which essentially vacuums all of the moisture. The result is freeze-dried raw food.

Things to keep in mind with a raw diet

Check the packaging of your packaged raw food to ensure that it meets AAFCO standards as a complete and balanced source of nutrition for your pet’s life stage.

Before making the switch to a raw pet food, consider a 7-day diet transition to help prevent gastrointestinal upset in your pet that can result from a sudden switch. However, a quicker transition may be possible due to the lack of food processing and generally easy digestibility of raw diets.

Homemade raw diets are not recommended. Not only can they increase the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria, but also they may not offer the complete and balanced nutrition of raw food brands.

A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that approximately 95 percent of homemade pet food recipes lacked an essential nutrient while about 83 percent were deficient in multiple nutrients.

Take care in handling your pet’s raw food by always washing your hands after serving and properly cleaning bowls after feeding.

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