Unveiling the Mystery Behind Paw Licking
I often caught my dog incessantly licking his paws. After a while, I began to wonder what was…
I often caught my dog incessantly licking his paws. After a while, I began to wonder what was…
Your pet’s dental health is an important piece of their overall health and wellness. Oral disease can be caused…
Cats are notorious for hiding their discomfort very well, so it’s important to be aware of subtle changes in their behavior or routine that may indicate an underlying problem.
Unfortunately, signs of arthritis in cats are often dismissed as normal signs of aging or go unnoticed altogether.
Our job as pet owners is to pay close attention to their behaviors, so we can easily pick up on the tiny clues that they aren’t feeling their best. Since every cat will show discomfort differently, here are some behaviors to keep an eye out for that may indicate joint pain.
Changes in litter box habits – Since most litter boxes have sides tall enough that your cat has to lift their legs and/or jump to enter/exit, they may seek alternative places to do their business that are easier to access. Similarly, they may struggle to settle into a comfortable position inside the litter box, or you may find that their aim is a little ‘off.’
Expert tip: Litter box habits offer a first line of observation into your cat’s health and well-being. If you observe changes in their routine, it’s best to schedule a vet visit as soon as possible.
Changes in sleep patterns – Cats tend to develop strict routines, including specific preferred places to nod off throughout the day. Suppose your kitty historically likes to sleep up off the floor (my cat prefers the tall back of our couch) and suddenly prefers lower ground (often tucked out of sight). They may be too stiff to climb up or down from that place. Additionally, if the cat becomes more interested in hiding overall, that can be another red flag that they aren’t feeling great.
Avoiding the stairs – This behavior mimics how dogs display joint pain — hesitating or struggling to go up or come down the stairs. This is particularly difficult with stiff joints if the stairs are bare (not carpeted) because they offer less cushion and traction for unstable joints. If kitty seems to suddenly spend all day on one level of the house, consider that they may need extra joint support.
Less interest in playtime – While it’s common to observe your cat’s activity level decrease as they age, it’s not always simply because they’ve lost interest. Cats with healthy joints should still be able to jump, climb, and run for short play sessions throughout the day. If your cat seems interested in playing but prefers to participate without moving from their lounging spot, joint pain may be to blame.
Irritability – Perhaps the most common indication of discomfort is a shift in their personality. Cats who don’t feel well will choose to seclude themselves as much as possible and become easily annoyed when they feel threatened. This can be as subtle as pinned ears when you pet them or a hiss if you pick them up.
There are several ways to prevent and manage joint pain for cats:
If you’re not sure where to start, stop in to speak with one of our experts for tips!
Joint health is a topic most pet owners don’t think about until their dog or cat has begun showing signs of pain or stiffness.
The truth is, once you start to notice signs that your pet is uncomfortable, damage has already been done to the joint. It will take time (and a larger expense) to rebuild cartilage and try to reduce inflammation.
Just like with planting a tree, the perfect time to start addressing joint health is yesterday. The second best time is today.
Here are the questions we get asked most frequently about joint health.
We believe it’s important to begin taking preventative measures for your pet’s joint health early on. Depending on the age, breed, and activity level, different supplements may be recommended. For instance, for younger puppies and kittens, omega-3 fatty acids are great for their inflammatory issues, as well as for their brain and eye development.
When trying to find the best supplement to improve joint health in your pet, it is important to remember that each pet has unique needs. There is no universal supplement or application.
Supplements come in many forms, like chewable tablets, liquids, powders, and capsules, and offer different levels of support. Furthermore, there is no universal dosage that is suitable for every pet, so it is necessary to find a dosage that is tailored to your pet. For instance, a fish oil capsule may be recommended for one pet, while a green-lipped mussel powder may be recommended for another.
There are a variety of dietary choices that can help to reduce inflammation in our pets. A diet that is high in animal-derived protein, fat and moisture, and low in carbohydrates, generally has a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce inflammation. Additionally, these foods can be rich in amino acids to promote organ health, and antioxidants to support our pets’ immune systems.
Adding fresh fruits and vegetables, raw eggs, and commercially prepared meal toppers to their bowl can have positive effects. Moreover, using bone broth or goat milk can improve joint health as well as provide excellent benefits for your pet’s overall wellness.
In order to keep your pet’s joints healthy, it is crucial to maintain their weight. Too much weight can put a strain on the joints, reducing their activity. For instance, a 20-lb dog that gains 3 lbs is equal to a human gaining 26 lbs. This extra weight can rapidly lead to a dangerous cycle of health complications, such as joint stress, a decrease in activity, and obesity.
To prevent this cycle from starting, we recommend you take these two steps to manage your dog or cat’s weight.
Preventing pain and discomfort in your pet’s joints is crucial to their enjoyment of life. And fortunately, there are many options for your pet. Please remember that there is no clear-cut solution, and your pet will respond differently to different dietary choices and supplementation – so professionally guided experimentation is key for both you and your pet.
Green-lipped mussels (GLMs) are perhaps nature’s best whole food source of nutrients to boost your pet’s joint health and mobility. They are shellfish sourced just off the coast of New Zealand, easily identified by the bright green stripe on the lip of the shell. While they offer a long list of benefits for your pet’s whole body health, they shine in their ability to relieve joint pain and stiffness.
Omega-3 Fatty acids – GLMs are rich in EPA, DHA, and ETA, which makes them a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) do an excellent job preventing the enzyme COX (cyclooxygenase) from producing chemicals that trigger inflammation. ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid), an omega unique to GLMs that cannot be found in fish oil, inhibits other inflammatory pathways in the body. In simple terms, ETA prevents inflammation before it even starts!
Omega-3s also help manage pain, boost the immune system, promote healthy skin and coat, and support kidney, heart, and brain development.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are the building blocks for healthy joints. Glucosamine is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG). This substance helps the body produce synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant for your pet’s joints. Over time, the body’s production of glucosamine will decline, leading to joint stiffness. Chondroitin helps form healthy cartilage and strengthens the capsule that holds the fluid. It also stimulates the body to produce more hyaluronic acid to further cushion the joint. In other words, these help to slow the aging process of your dog’s joints — meaning less pain, stiffness, and better mobility.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and are believed to stimulate cartilage growth. They also affect neurotransmitters (like serotonin) to help reduce pain.
Vitamins and minerals found in GLMs have antioxidant properties which can prevent or slow free radicals from damaging healthy cells. They are rich in Vitamins C and E, zinc, magnesium, copper, and selenium, to name a few.
Green-lipped mussels are available as single-ingredient treats, chewable supplements, or powders to add to your pet’s meals. To see if GLMs are right for your pet, stop in and talk to any of our experienced team members.
Joint health is an important concern for pet owners, as joint problems can cause pain and decreased mobility in cats and dogs. Thankfully, there are a number of joint supplements that are designed to help improve joint health and reduce pain. These supplements typically contain one or more of the following ingredients: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine HCl, chondroitin, MSM, and hyaluronic acid.
Let’s take a closer look at these ingredients and how they can benefit your pet’s joint health.
Both glucosamine sulfate & glucosamine HCl are forms of glucosamine, a naturally-occurring substance found in the cartilage and other connective tissues of both cats and dogs. Glucosamine helps to protect and strengthen the cartilage, which helps to prevent joint damage and reduce pain. It can also help to reduce inflammation in the joints.
Glucosamine may take weeks or even months to start working, so it’s important to be patient when adding them to your pet’s diet.
Chondroitin is another natural substance found in the cartilage of cats and dogs. It works in conjunction with glucosamine to protect and strengthen the cartilage and can also help reduce inflammation.
If your pet is taking other medications or supplements, it is essential to let your veterinarian know since chondroitin may interact with them.
MSM is another naturally-occurring sulfur compound that helps reduce inflammation and joint pain. It also helps to improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness and inflammation. MSM can also help rebuild cartilage and minimize further joint damage.
MSM supplementation does have potential side effects with higher doses. These can include nausea and dizziness. Please follow dosage instructions carefully.
Hyaluronic acid is found in the joint fluid of both cats and dogs. It is a major component of joint fluid and helps to lubricate and cushion the joints. As pets age, the levels of HA in their bodies decrease, leading to joint pain and inflammation. Giving your dog or cat HA supplements can help replenish the natural lubricant in their joints and improve joint health.
Like glucosamine, hyaluronic acid can take several weeks before your pet may experience benefits.
All of these ingredients are effective at improving joint health in cats and dogs. They help to protect the cartilage and reduce inflammation and pain while also helping to improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness. As a result, your pets can enjoy better mobility and less pain.
If you notice signs of joint stiffness or decreased mobility, stop in to speak with one of our experts to determine the best supplements for their needs.
Our pet’s immune system is the foundation of health. It wards off infections, parasites, bacteria, and viruses and supports overall well-being.
If our dogs and cats don’t have a robust immune system, they are more vulnerable to illness, allergies, arthritis, and even chronic inflammatory issues.
Fortunately, there are readily available supplements you can add to your pets’ diets that act as immune system boosters.
Here are our four favorite supplements to strengthen your pet’s immune system and improve all-around health.
Mushrooms are nature’s medicine cabinet. While not all mushrooms are medicinal, most edible ones have medicinal properties. To regulate the immune system, we recommend mushroom supplements containing turkey tail, chaga, reishi, and maitake.
Turkey tail mushrooms have high concentrations of essential sugars (beta-glucan polysaccharides) that help the body activate the immune system. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine even found that a compound from turkey tail lengthened the survival time of dogs with cancer.
Chaga mushrooms can both boost and slow down the immune system. This means they have properties that can help reduce inflammation but also help regulate overactive immune responses to arthritis.
Reishi mushrooms are reported to have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulating effects. This mushroom is high in antioxidants that can help nourish, detoxify, and protect the liver. This critical organ detects, captures, and clears bacteria and viruses.
Maitake mushrooms have been shown to have compounds that may enhance the immune system and provide anti-inflammatory properties, including tumor-fighting abilities against specific types of tumors.
We recommend Super Snouts Super Shrooms and Adored Beast Turkey Tail supplements.
We have always been staunch advocates for including pre- and probiotics in your pet’s diet! Nearly 80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut, so keeping a healthy microbiome is essential for whole-body health.
We strongly encourage you to add pre-and probiotic foods to your animal’s bowl at every feeding. Or better yet, find a supplement that provides both. Make sure to rotate through the supplements for optimal benefit. For example, use Adored Beast Love Bugs for a month, switch to Fido’s Flora the next, and then to Gut Soothe.
You can also support your pet’s gut microbiome with bowl toppers like raw goat milk and kefir.
Fat is an important component of your pet’s diet. Omega-3 is an “essential” fat that your dog’s body can’t produce on its own. That means she needs to consume them through food or additional supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids strengthen cell walls, including the membranes of the body’s immune cells. One of these cells includes the white blood cell (macrophage), a critical immune system “enforcer” that seeks out and destroys pathogens in the body.
It’s important to choose a quality omega-3 supplement. We recommend Nordic Naturals. Alternatively, you can add a healthy source of omega-3 fats to your pet’s diet with toppers like Primal Sardine Butcher’s Blend or Market Mix.
Thousands of substances act as antioxidants, including the commonly known ones like vitamin C, manganese, selenium, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Generally speaking, antioxidants can help slow the aging process and boost the immune system by minimizing free radical damage. Free radicals are damaged cells created by your pet’s metabolic process. If a damaged cell is missing a molecule, it will try and repair itself by taking that molecule from another cell. This action can damage the cell’s DNA and will make the host (your dog or cat) more susceptible to disease.
Antioxidants act as a natural “off switch” for free radicals and stop the chain reaction of cells cannibalizing each other for spare parts.
Our go-to antioxidant supplement is Phyto Synergy. This liquid is made from 100% pure marine phytoplankton that is high in antioxidants and easily absorbed in the gut. Antioxidants are also abundant in fresh or frozen berries, which are easy to incorporate into your pet’s meals.
Supplements are just that – they enhance your pet’s diet but will never replace a well-balanced nutrition program. Stop by the store if you would like to discuss your current feeding regimen or explore a new one – including whether supplements may be appropriate for your pet. We’d love to help you improve your pet’s health through better nutrition.
Have you heard of “Golden Paste”? It’s a healthy and easily digestible paste made from turmeric that can help reduce inflammation, and skin irritations, and improve gut health in dogs and humans alike.
Best of all, Golden Paste takes only minutes to make with ingredients most of us already have in our kitchens.
Golden Paste is typically made with a combination of ground or fresh turmeric, coconut oil, and black pepper.
Turmeric, an herb belonging to the ginger family, contains several compounds, collectively known as curcuminoids. The most well-known is curcumin, which gives turmeric its orange color. Curcuminoids are known to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and possible anti-cancer effects.
Adding a small amount (½-1 tbsp) of Golden Paste to your pet’s bowl at meal time can aid in:
Like any new food or supplement, we recommend gradually introducing Golden Paste into your pet’s diet. Turmeric has a very potent taste, and sometimes dogs will not want anything to do with it. Therefore, it is important to slowly introduce the new flavors to their palate. Once a dog has become accustomed to the paste, the recommended dosage is:
Turmeric paste can have some minor side effects and it is important to monitor your pet for any negative reactions.. If improperly dosed, dogs may experience gastrointestinal distress. If you notice your dog is showing any negative symptoms —like loose stool or diarrhea— decrease the dose and follow up with your veterinarian.
If you think your dog’s health may benefit from Golden Paste, give this easy recipe a try! Even though your dog won’t experience instant results, you should see some positive changes in a few weeks!
Pumpkin is a commonly recommended supplement for dogs and cats for everything from loose stool to constipation to an occasional bowl topper or a regular supplement. But what is it about pumpkin that makes it so great for your pet? Let’s find out what makes this sweet treat a favorite among vets and nutritionists!
Pumpkin is rich in dietary fiber – both soluble and insoluble.
Because pumpkin contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, it can essentially help to normalize your pet’s stool, whether it’s too loose or too firm. It’s a win-win situation!
As a preventative, pumpkin is an excellent source of prebiotics that feed the good gut bacteria- probiotics. This is a wonderful addition for any pet with a sensitive stomach as it can aid in the digestive process. Also, since roughly 80% of your pet’s immune system resides in their gut, a happy belly can mean a healthier pet!
Pets need food that allows them to consume all their vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is packed with essential vitamins and minerals:
Not only is pumpkin a great source of vitamins and minerals your pet needs, but it also assists with the absorption of these nutrients to improve many functions of their body.
Kibble-fed pets often live in a mild state of dehydration, as the body pulls moisture from itself to digest the dry food. Therefore, adding moisture to your pet’s kibble is essential. Adding moisture-rich pumpkin can help to keep your pet well hydrated. Added moisture is crucial for not only the digestive process but also…
Pumpkin is super versatile for your furry friends. You can include it as a treat, bowl topper, or toy filler. Pumpkin is worth the hype! With the holidays right around the corner, include your pet in the holiday festivities and try incorporating more pumpkin into your pet’s diet!
*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide medical advice or replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian.
News Flash: The study in question is NOT peer-reviewed. It’s also strictly theoretical, meaning it may (likely) not work, or even be dangerous.
I could probably go on forever questioning why the media (and even some “reputable” associations) continue to share non-peer reviewed, non-verified information, but I won’t. We know a great headline catches clicks and shares. And before you go on and say this has absolutely nothing to do with pets, or pet food – it does! This is just parallel example about how bad science is used to propagate either a false sense of security, fear – and sell a product. I’m also not “anti” CBD, but that isn’t the point. There are several applications where it is useful for pets and people, but in this instance there simply an overabundance of bad information swirling around CBD preventing and/or treating COVID-19 that makes for a great example for my point: why it is so important to dive deeper into everything.
I hope that those who read this see it as an opportunity to learn how to challenge information and data. So often we look for someone to just give us “the answer” and it is just not that simple. Determining what is right for you and your pet in your unique situation will take some work. Take this article as an example of how to learn about how to do that work, vet your sources and arrive at an educated conclusion.
FDA Oversight & COVID-19
As a background to the entire discussion it is important to realize that an “era of speed to market” is upon us. The FDA has allowed some alternative testing methods while also accelerating the process for drug and vaccine development. While the FDA is still overseeing these processes, they are reviewing studies and data more efficiently given the current pandemic. Having said that, the FDA has also acknowledged that many companies are trying to take advantage of people’s fears by offering up solutions like X, Y and Z – and if you see CBD companies using this “study” to gain attention it is proof of just that. In fact, the FDA has been aggressively sending warning and cease/desist letters to companies making these claims because they are in clear violation of the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act. You can see a lot of those warning letters for CBD companies here: FDA Issues CBD Warning Letters.
This isn’t the first time companies have taken advantage of a crisis, or preyed upon people’s fears and vulnerabilities. Manufacturers of colloidal silver products have also recently received warning letters for claims that it prevents and/or treats COVID-19. We can only wait for irresponsible CBD companies to make unsubstantiated claims coming off the heels of this “study”. One would hope that this prompts CBD manufacturers and marketing agencies to be responsible and transparent with their products.
Understanding Peer-Review vs. Non-Peer-Reviewed
The public largely doesn’t realize that research journals, some great and some not so great, are pre-publishing papers without peer-review. This is simply to share current research and information freely with other researchers for the sake of collaboration. Typically, a lot of this information is not as easily accessible to the public because many of these papers are somewhat gated through journal memberships, and/or with a pay-per-article download/view. Research manuscripts go through vetting processes which doesn’t eliminate, but at least filters out a lot of “bad science” before it makes its way out to the public and media outlets. This current “open access” of information is a great thing for the scientific community – however it is NOT a great thing to be circulating potentially harmful and incomplete information to the general public who generally does not understand if this information is verified, factual or theoretical – they simply see “study” and think, it MUST be true because it’s “science”. Unfortunately humans make mistakes, manipulate data and come to flawed conclusions – either by error, omission and/or on purpose. Hence the need for peer-review.
Not Applicable to “The Real World”
The reality is that much of the information out there regarding Covid-19 prevention and treatment is inapplicable to the real world as they are preliminary experiments that were conducted in a controlled environment, on small scales and with measured variables – and many have not had peer-review. This will obviously change over time, but this is the current reality and the reason why so many people are working on this all over the world at warp speed. Am I Covid-19 or infectious disease expert? No. But I do know how research works and what the value of scaling research, test-retest repeatability and of course the value in peer-review and critical analysis– and much of the information out there has little to none of it.
The CBD/COVID-19 Study:
So, to finally summarize this COVID-19/CBD “study”; researchers acknowledge that SARS-CoV2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets, with potential for aerosol and contact spread. The virus uses receptor-mediated entry into the human host via angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) that is expressed in lung tissue, as well as oral and nasal mucosa, kidney, testes, and the gastrointestinal tract.
Having said that, the researchers hypothesize (educated guess) that a theoretical path for combating, or decreasing susceptibility, of this virus could be modulation of ACE2 levels in these gateway tissues. The researchers have potentially identified 13 high CBD-C containing C. sativa varieties of the hemp plant that have the potential to modulate ACE2 gene expression and ACE2 protein levels. Further, their initial data suggest that some C. sativa extract down-regulate serine protease TMPRSS2, another critical protein required for SARS-CoV2 entry into host cells. They theorize that these substances could be used as an active ingredient in a mouthwash-type product to reduce the incidence of viral entry via the oral mucosa.
It’s also important to note that all of the authors are employed by one or more start-up companies engaged in medical cannabis and disease research. While not always the case, this could lead to bias in the results. Again, this further highlighting the need for peer-review.
STUDY CONCLUSION: The authors recognize that their hypothesis needs further large-scale validation as a potential AJUNCT therapy (not mainline treatment) for COVID-19.
The Study in Context and the Media:
Unfortunately, we didn’t see the media articles explain the mouthwash as an adjunct treatment. Leaving the general public, the potential to assume that smoking or using other various marijuana and/or hemp products could help prevent and/or treat COVID-19. The sad thing is that people will read headlines at face value and think that smoking a sativa strain of the hemp plant may provide some protection or therapy against COVID-19. Worse, it may influence some to try using this for their pets. Regardless, we know that smoking is actually increases risk-factors for COVID-19 complications and other respiratory diseases. This just highlights the medias frenzy to distribute click-worthy information, without verification and obviously without regard for human (or animal) health or safety. If only the media visited preprints.org they would have found a highlight at the top that says “This version is not peer-reviewed” which is an indicator that it should not have been widely distributed.
In conclusion, it’s important to always vet the source of any information relating to health and nutrition. Find the original source of the information, in this case it happened to be a non-peer-reviewed theoretical paper which needs validation of said theory. While it may provide hope as an adjunct therapy for some, only a series of carefully designed scientific experiments, trials and validation methods will tell. Take that for what it is worth.
Nicci is the owner of award-winning NorthPoint Pets & Company, in Connecticut. She is also the Founder & CEO of Undogmatic Inc. Her undergraduate and graduate education includes biology, chemistry, business, and nutrition. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry on multiple R&D projects and has had the privilege to learn from leading international figures in the human and pet health industry. She regularly lectures at national conferences, including federal, state, and municipal K9 events. Her current research involves identifying pathogenic risk factors and transmission among raw fed pets through a comprehensive worldwide survey.
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