Becoming a pet parent is one of the most precious and unforgettable moments in life. Bringing home a puppy or kitty is the start of a brand new adventure, full of cute moments, a lot of laughter, and plenty of "How to Potty Train" manuals. Adopting elderly dogs and geriatric cats is also exciting, with the added bonus that they are already trained on basic potty procedures. Naturally, you want to care for your new best friend as much as possible.
After all, they are your fur baby and you're responsible for their well being. Something that many pet owners agree upon is that health concerns and diseases are some of the scariest parts about owning a pet. Not only are veterinarian appointments that uncover the ailments shocking, but the follow-up exams and constant worrying about your pet's health can be beyond dreadful and overwhelming. More and more people are focusing their attention on protective measures when it comes to the health of domesticated animals.
It's far better to have a proactive mindset than it is to lead a reactive life. If you had the opportunity to keep your pet from experiencing illnesses, would you take it? We sure would, and we know you would, too. Instead of having your heart break at the news of an illness, why not incorporate various compounds and supplements that prevent against diseases into your pet’s life?
So let's talk about anti-inflammatories and why they are something that you might want to consider adding to your pet's dietary regimen. We have the top fifteen anti-inflammatory agents up our sleeves and we’re going to reveal them to you, too!
It can be nearly impossible to combine all fifteen of them into your pet’s daily feeding schedule, so don’t feel like you have to start giving every single one to your furry friend! Instead, try to consider where you think your pet’s health could improve and select an anti-inflammatory or two that would assist that particular area the most.
What in the World is Inflammation?
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, we thought it would be wise to talk about inflammation. Most people have heard of inflammation before, even beyond the context of pets, and being a dog or cat owner. That’s because people are prone to inflammation, too.
Inflammation has everything to do with joints, bones, and cartilage. When your body experiences pain, signals are sent from your body to your brain, as well as vice versa, in order to communicate to your entire being that you are hurt. It's an innate response that takes place as a way of protecting you. Your immune system responds to injuries by way of inflammation.
If you've ever bumped into a sharp corner and noticed that your skin becomes a reddish hue, or if you've ever scratched the surface of your skin and realized that the surrounding area is a bit pink, then you have witnessed one of the physical symptoms of inflammation. To an extent, inflammation is important and even necessary. If damaged areas didn't become inflamed, the body and the brain would not work in tandem to heal the area of concern, primarily because they wouldn't realize that anything was wrong.
The problem arises when inflammation gets out of control and settles into a constant state of existence. Long-lasting inflammation can cause a lot of unnecessary internal issues that end up piling up on each other, creating discomfort and complicating life in general. Persistent inflammation makes the body work harder than usual to perform basic functions and keep everything moving as it should.
When your body is under heightened stress for a long period of time, it is more prone to developing diseases and weakening over time. Once inflammation has passed the fine line between productive and dangerous, it’s vital that actions are taken to reduce inflammation.
Risks Associated with Anti-Inflammatory Medications
The natural response to inflammation is to head to the store and pick up an over-the-counter resolution for your symptoms. Of course you want to minimize the pain you’re feeling. Who wouldn’t? The same goes for pets with inflammatory issues. When you mention that your dog is experiencing symptoms of inflammation, one of the most common suggestions is that you place your dog on an NSAID, or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. NSAIDs have become a sort of knee-jerk reaction, in a way, and it makes sense.
If your canine companion is having trouble with inflamed joints, and NSAIDs are specifically designed to calm inflammation in pets, then it makes absolute sense to pair a case of inflammation with one of the many NSAIDs out there.
However, NSAIDs do pose a few health risks that you should be aware of, including…
- Changes in appetite
- Lack of thirst
- Hiding in dark areas
- Constant scratching or licking
- Jaundice, particularly in the whites of the eyes or the skin
- Nausea symptoms or actual vomiting
- Odd bathroom behaviors
If you witness anything that seems out of character, it could be a response to the NSAID. Do not administer any further doses of the medication to your pet, and call your vet immediately. The sooner your pet is seen by a professional, the better. It might not be anything serious, but it’s always better to follow-up than to make assumptions.
Dietary Restrictions, Nutrition Plans, and Supplements for Pets with Inflammatory Issues
Just like there are anti-inflammatory agents, there are also many agents that cause inflammation. Most of these agents are found in foods that don't sound damaging to your pet's health at first glance. That's why it is so important to constantly learn and research more about what is actually good for your pet's digestive systems.
Cats and dogs deserve a little treat every now and again. We wholeheartedly support surprising your pet with something yummy and out of the ordinary. It keeps life fun! However, we encourage you to think about any of the foods that you permit your pets to eat outside of their usual diet. Then, compare those occasional treats to the foods on this list.
If you see any of them listed below, we advise that you no longer give those foods to your furry friend because they have been shown to heighten the possibility of developing inflammatory problems.
- Sunflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Corn-based oil
- Cooking shortening
- The yolk of eggs
- Any type of hotdog
- Turkey bacon
- Pork bacon
The Fifteen Anti-Inflammatory Agents that are Safe for Dogs
We are all about preventative measures, so while it is important to solve the side effects of inflammation that your pet is currently experiencing, it’s equally as essential that you work to prevent inflammation from recurring. There are many different types of anti-inflammatory aids that work to fend off another bout of excessive inflammation.
Inflammation is not something you just have to accept as something that will inevitably happen. You can prevent inflammation for your pets by intentionally supplementing their lives with various herbs and natural foods.
There are hundreds of different inflammatory-fighting compounds to choose from, so we decided to narrow down your options and make a list of fifteen anti-inflammatory agents that are well-suited for pets.
Those fifteen sources of anti-inflammatory help are...
- CBD Oil
- Devil's Claw Root
We will go in-depth on a few of these incredibly effective sources of inflammation reduction, starting with alfalfa.
Alfalfa is safe for dogs as long as it hasn't bloomed yet. Once the flowers come to fruition, alfalfa is less effective, if effective at all. Also, alfalfa seeds are not good for dogs, even though the stems and the leaves are. There is a dangerous compound known as I-canavanine that exists in the seeds of alfalfa. If your pets ingest I-canavanine, serious problems involving the circulation of blood in your pet's body can occur.
Alfalfa is an herb that adds a plethora of nutritional benefits to your pet’s diet. Alfalfa makes a huge difference in your pet's protein intake. The amount of vitamins in alfalfa is impressively high and its primary source of antioxidant properties comes from chlorophyll, an antioxidant found in alfalfa. Due to its anti-inflammatory nature, alfalfa is proven effective as a supplement for pets with arthritis.
The herbaceous remedy is also perfect for resolving issues that have to do with kidneys and overall digestion. When urine becomes too acidic, it poses a threat to the bladder and increases the possibility of your pet developing cysts. As a diuretic, alfalfa dilutes the acidity of urine by prompting greater levels of urine production.
Arnica montana is a plant native to Europe. Usually sourced as an extract from the actual plant, arnica oil is made into a cream that can be used as a topical remedy. The anti-inflammatory abilities of arnica are very similar to other agents that fight the misery that constant inflammation brings with it. The one thing that helps arnica stand out among other anti-inflammatory options is the fact that it can be applied externally.
Administering anti-inflammatory agents in pill form or trying to mix ingredients into your pet’s food are not the simplest tasks. But with arnica, you can apply the arnica-infused ointment, cream, or lotion to your pets fur coat with ease. We advise that you monitor your pupper or kitty cat the first couple of times you lather them in arnica, just as a precautionary measure and to make sure they don’t lick it off of themselves.
CBD is the leading natural anti-inflammatory agent. One of the best actions you can take for pets with inflammation is to give them cannabidiol, whether it be in the form of a lotion, capsule, treat, or oil. CBD for pets with inflammation is usually offered as an oil, though it can also be purchased in pill form or added into lotions and creams. As a natural anti-inflammatory agent for pain relief, CBD is often given to dogs and cats that are in physical pain, though it can also be used to eliminate anxiety, stress, and any associated behaviors.
Cannabidiol is extracted from hemp plants, which are considered cannabis if the THC levels are greater than a certain threshold. Although CBD is sometimes derived from cannabis plants, you never have to be concerned about the natural anti-inflammatory agent causing psychoactivity in your pet's brain. CBD improves pain relief without the high effects that accompany many forms of cannabis. CBD is applauded for the ways in which it can help resolve current symptoms of inflammation and reduce the inflammation altogether, but also for its ability to actively prevent inflammation from coming back.
Have you ever been ill and turned to ginger root as a supplement to help you feel better? Many teas that are said to have healing purposes contain ginger in their sachets as well, and this is no coincidence. Ginger is key when you are trying to minimize the achy symptoms that colds cause, as well as calming an upset stomach as a result of flu-induced nausea.
Ginger is a multi-faceted healer because it calms so many different symptoms. The plant is known to reduce the painful nature of debilitating arthritis as well as base-level joint problems. The best part about ginger is that it can be used both for both minor and major joint pain. Whether your pet is in the thralls of arthritis that prevents them from doing their daily activities, or your pet is experiencing slight discomfort from minimal joint pain, ginger is sure to help.
One thing to note is that ginger is a blood-thinning agent. This quite literally means that when ginger is circulating throughout the body, it naturally thins the blood. Normally, this is completely fine and not life-threatening. However, ginger should not be given to pets that are preparing for surgery nor to pet that are recovering from a recent operation. Blood thinners make it nearly impossible for blood to clot, but blood must absolutely clot when the body is opened up and operated on, so ginger is not a good match for pets in these cases.
Glucosamine is the primary ingredient in many natural remedies for pain relief in pets. One brand name in particular is Cosequin. While it has a few additives, the main component of Cosequin is glucosamine, which is a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and sodium chondroitin. Glucosamine is an amino sugar, but it is often paired with the salt, sodium chondroitin, because the duo work together to provide healing sensations to the joints of your pets.
Glucosamine is deserving of attention because the origin of the sugar is so fascinating. Here’s your fun fact for the day! Glucosamine comes from the exoskeletons of various arthropods that are found in water. Some examples of sources of glucosamine are lobsters, crabs, and shrimp. Even more interesting is the reality that your pets produce glucosamine naturally on their own, too. See, glucosamine is found in cartilage just by nature, but the reason glucosamine is so beneficial as a supplement in cases of canine and feline arthritis is that it replaces the glucosamine that has eroded away with the damaged connective tissues.
When joints are inflamed and cartilage begins to breakdown, the joint-on-bone movement becomes so painful that your pet won't want to move. Instead of succumbing to a new lifestyle of immobility, your pet can recover with the help of supplemental glucosamine. The amino sugar repairs damage while reducing pain, making for a happier pup and a more playful kitty cat. Pain is optional with glucosamine!
Horsetail is something to invest in if your dog is on the path of recovery from an injury that affected his or her connective tissues. Horsetail is often advised for pets that have just come out of surgery of any kind because the herb is a constructive pain reliever. The most impressive quality of horsetail is its ability to reconstruct tissues after they have been damaged. Horsetail promotes healthy recovery and actively works to recreate the cartilage that was lost because of illnesses and injuries.
Meadowsweet is an herb that promotes healthy bones and strong joints. Primarily used for anti-inflammatory purposes regarding the bones and joints, meadowsweet is a must-have for dogs and cats with minor to serious bouts of arthritis. Even if your pet doesn't have arthritis or any degenerative bone problems, meadowsweet also works to prevent joint issues from ever happening in the first place.
The eight other natural dog and cat anti-inflammatory agents that we highly recommend are...
- Devil’s claw root
Where Can You Purchase CBD for Pets
Innovet is your one-stop shop for the best natural anti-inflammatory agent for pets! If you think your pet would benefit from CBD oil, we offer both hemp-based and full-spectrum CBD oils. Neither one will elicit psychotropic effects, so the choice you make is more about personal preference than anything else. Other options available to you are capsules, chewy snacks, and treats for dogs. CBD is the best natural herbal anti-inflammatory agent, and we cannot wait to hear about the positive effects your pet experiences with CBD!
Dr. Sara Ochoa
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University
Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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