Inflammation is essential in an emergency. It stimulates the immune system and starts the natural healing process. Yet, chronic inflammation can keep your pup sick and tired. That’s no way to live. Not when you can introduce anti-inflammatory foods for dogs and reduce inflammation for an improved quality of life.
Chronic inflammation is a common modern-day problem. Science traces it to a variety of sources. Obesity, poor diet, and environmental toxins all contribute to your dog’s inflammation.
Fortunately, when you recognize the causes of chronic inflammation, you can reduce or eliminate them so your dog can live his best life.
The Inflammation Problem
The inflammatory response is an essential part of your dog’s healing process. It acts as a barrier against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens inside and out.
For example, if your dog cuts his paw, it bleeds. But after a short time, the skin “knits” itself back together by regenerating new skin cells. The whole process is biological, with the white blood cells rushing in to protect the body against pathogens and stimulate healing.
That’s inflammation at work. The skin will be red, tender, and maybe a little swollen, but that’s normal and encourages rest so the body can heal.
This is the normal cycle of inflammation healing the body. The problem comes when the body never stops the process, and it becomes acute inflammation as a way of life instead of an emergency repair.
That puts your dog’s body in a state of high alert, and it’s not meant to function that way.
Chronic Inflammation Contributes to Diseases
There’s no shortage of research on the inflammatory response and the resulting diseases. For example, cancer is one of the leading causes of death for our beloved pets, and it’s linked to chronic inflammation. Joint pain is another inflammatory response. If your pet suffers from arthritis or mobility issues, they cope with inflammation.
A short list of other health problems includes:
- Heart disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Skin disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
The available research indicates virtually every type of disease can be traced to chronic inflammation.
By now, you’re probably wondering what causes acute inflammation and if there’s any way you can prevent it.
Causes of Chronic Inflammation
Scientists agree that the root cause of inflammation is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress comes from free radicals in the environment. Also part of biology, your dog’s body naturally produces free radicals as a normal part of living. For example, as your dog digests food, the metabolism creates free radicals.
These free radicals are unpaired electrons frantically looking for a match. They’re not only in your dog’s body but also in processed foods like kibble and dry dog food. They’re in the air your dog breathes and the water he drinks. Free radicals are everywhere in the body and the environment.
All these unmatched electrons darting around create an imbalance in your dog’s body chemistry. The body doesn’t know what to do with them, so it’s in a state of distress and trying to cope, creating inflammation.
So, how do you balance out the free radicals? You add antioxidants!
You’ve probably heard about superfoods like blueberries, curcumin, and turmeric. These antioxidant-rich foods contribute to your dog’s health and boost the immune system. When your dog eats enough antioxidants to counteract the free radicals, your dog will experience the health benefits inside and out.
You’ll see the difference in your dog’s wellness, and it all starts with nutrition.
9 Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Dogs
Good nutrition is at the heart of any healthy lifestyle. But “good” nutrition is a little vague, so let’s break that down.
Nutritionists and veterinarians will tell you good nutrition includes the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and nutrients, fiber, and water. But what’s the “right” amount? It changes depending on your dog’s life stage, health, and if they have special dietary needs.
For example, senior dogs often benefit from a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Some benefit from supplements for joint health like chondroitin and glucosamine.
Protein sources like chicken and turkey are good lean meats to build muscles and overall wellness. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are natural anti-inflammatory foods thanks partly to their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Carbohydrates and fiber improve your pup’s digestive system, while vitamin C, fish oil, and calcium offer additional health benefits.
Good nutrition is the right balance of ingredients for your dog’s age, health, and lifestyle.
The health benefits of eating an anti-inflammatory diet cannot be understated. These foods are rich in antioxidants to counteract those nasty free radicals and reduce your dog’s inflammation. Fish oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other foods offer a potent anti-inflammatory response to those free radicals. You’ll see they’re rooted in real foods.
Natural anti-inflammatory foods safe for your dog include:
- Leafy greens: like spinach and kale, for example, are rich in antioxidants
- Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids
- Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin: fresh or canned but NOT pumpkin pie filling as it’s filled with sugar.
Such high-quality whole foods contribute to your dog’s healthy immune system can improve health issues. They have anti-inflammatory properties, so your dog’s body can counteract the effects of those wild free radicals. When your dog’s immune system is strong, it supports their overall health, and you can see it in their bright eyes and glossy coat.
What Do Dog Owners Need to Know?
In addition to feeding an anti-inflammatory diet, feeding the appropriate amount of food for your dog’s breed, age, size, and activity level is essential. Too many loving pet parents show their love by overfeeding food and dog treats, often leading to dog obesity, contributing to inflammation and diseases.
Additionally, pet owners might look at this list and think, “I can feed my pup these foods.” You can, but start small. For example, you can offer baby carrots as a treat or offer your pup some salmon, but if you want to prepare your dog’s meals yourself, make sure you have nutritional guidance.
Nutrition is more than simply switching to a mix of healthy superfoods. Also, you’ll want to avoid harmful foods like grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate, and xylitol.
Fortunately, healthy lifestyle changes nourish your dog from the inside out and can reduce inflammation. It starts with your dog’s diet. When you feed your dog healthy dog food, you may start to notice increased energy and an overall sense of well-being.
We offer three ways to start if you’re ready to try a well-researched, nutritious pet food with proven anti-inflammatory effects. There are no fillers or preservatives—only fresh natural remedies through high-quality ingredients.