Does Raw Food Help Dogs’ Arthritis?

Supplements may be a better way help dogs’ joints feel better.

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Q. I wanted to know what you think about feeding my dog a raw diet? I have a Basset-Beagle mix who is 10 years old and has arthritis. She gets Adequin shots, and the vet has recommended that she be put on J/D prescription diet, but she does not like it.

I have been trying to find different solutions that I could either mix with it or another supplement that I could use that would give her some extra benefit for her joints. Right now, she loves the raw chicken that I have bought from Blue Ridge Beef, so I have mixed it with the J/D and she will eat it that way.

I just wanted to know what your thoughts were on feeding a raw diet to a dog her age.

A. Although there are some benefits to a raw diet, when it comes to a raw meat diet I would be very cautious. Although raw meat is what canines eat in the wild, there are serious health risks that can affect not only dogs, but their owners as well.
 
In multiple scientific studies, raw meat (beef or chicken) has been shown to contain high parasite counts and bacterial contamination. Salmonella, Shigella, Cryptosporidium, and other bacteria and parasites can be found in high numbers in raw meat. This is highly related to the confined environments in which cattle and poultry are raised. Many of these parasites and bacteria (especially Salmonella) pass through the dog with their feces into the environment, thereby creating a hazard to any human who may come into contact with it.
 
There are other strategies to supplement your dog’s diet to improve her arthritis. Add some fish oil capsules, or add glucosamine-chondroitin capsules, or both. The J/D diet is effective, but it is relatively pricey and many dogs do not care for the taste.
 
Many owners offer their dogs raw food diets that don’t include raw meat. You may want to explore this option because it has the benefit of providing the benefits of raw food without the risks of bacterial contamination and potential spread of disease in the environment.


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Ro   Thompson Falls, Montana

9/1/2014 7:31:36 AM

I have to disagree with the answer. I too, was skeptical and afraid of trying a raw food diet for my dog for the reasons stated above. But after continued health issues despite frequent vet visits, and after more research I decided to give it a try. I am floored at how well my dog is doing. No more colitis, and no more stiffness! Yes, you need to be careful about the raw food, and yes, you also need to be aware of all the nutrient requirements for your dog...for example you can't just feed straight hamburger and expect it to be a balanced dies just because its raw. Furthermore, I was appalled at the number of dogfood recalls there are. Top name brands as well as cheaper brands. I am convinced (from experience) that the ingredients in kibble were causing a lot of the problems my dog had been having for over 2 years. Sorry to the cautious folks out there (and I truly understand your caution), but I am now a huge believer in a complete raw food diet for my precious dog. He is like a puppy again!

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

4/29/2013 8:15:52 PM

Good information. thanks

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

4/28/2013 3:26:58 AM

My daughter has a 16 year old lab with arthritis and she give him glucosamine-chondroitin and it has made a huge difference. The improvement happened with a couple of weeks. He moves around like nothing is wrong.

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