When a Tripawd has arthritis, a healthy diet is more important than ever. Good nutrition keeps joint pain and inflammation down, but the wrong foods can make their bodies hurt more. To minimize the pain of arthritis, here are three foods you should never feed your arthritic pet.
Top Three Foods You Should Never Feed to a Tripawd with Arthritis
We love sharing information about pet nutrition topics, but remember we are not nutrition experts. Don’t change anything about your pet’s diet, until you start a conversation about pet arthritis and nutrition with your veterinarian.
You can also consult with a vet who is passionate about pet nutrition. The board certified veterinary nutritionists of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition are a great place to find one!
Until you have that conversation, here are some interesting facts about food and arthritis in dogs and cats to discuss with your vet.
Don’t Feed Refined Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates get a bad rap for causing weight gain and blood sugar spikes in people and pets. But not all carbs are bad. Unrefined carbs (also known as “complex” carbs) are naturally occurring in many whole foods like fruit, vegetables, oats and quinoa. Those aren’t the carbs you want to worry about.
It’s the refined (or “simple”) carbs you don’t want to feed a Tripawd with arthritis (or any pet really!). Highly processed foods like white flour, bread, pasta and rice contain loads of refined carbs that do a number on the body.
For example, refined carbs turn to sugar when ingested. Since sugar is an inflammatory food, it can spike blood sugar, promote obesity and ignite joint pain and inflammation.
So, no matter how much your pet loves pizza or hamburgers with a bun, if you want to fight arthritis pain, keep refined carbohydrates out of your pet’s mouth.
Don’t feed too much Omega-6 essential fatty acids.
While essential fatty acids (EFAs) aren’t necessarily a “food,” they are the naturally occurring by-product of oils and fats found in all diets. They’re grouped into two types: Omega 3s and Omega 6s. Both types of EFAs are required for good health, but we could all benefit from less Omega 6 EFAs and more Omega 3s.
For example, cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, halibut, and herring are rich in Omega-3s. Some plants, like soybean and flax, also contain this healthy EFA. These foods with Omega-3s promote good skin and coat health, reduce inflammation in the body (including the joints) and have even been shown to help with mental sharpness.
Omega-6 oils, on the other hand, are the byproduct of some meats and cheap commercial oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, and canola oils. Many pet food companies use these oils in their recipes, which leads to a higher ratio of Omega-6 oil in most pets’ diets. When there’s too much of it, arthritis symptoms get worse.
While the body needs both types of oils for proper nutrition, researchers still don’t know the best Omega-3 versus Omega-6 balance for pets (or people). For now, experts recommend supplementing your pet’s food with a high quality Omega-3 fish oil. This ensures a higher ratio of good versus bad essential fatty acids in the diet.
You can read more about EFAs in this excellent article by holistic veterinarian Randy Kidd, DVM, PhD, “Fatty Acids for Pet Skin and Haircoat Health.”
Skip the Sausages and Lunch Meat
Sometimes we must feed our pets whatever it takes to get their appetite revved up, like immediately after amputation surgery. That’s about the only time we will say “Get out the Oscar Meyer hot dogs!” Lunch meat, hot dogs and sausages are terrible foods to feed a Tripawd with arthritis.
Pets love ’em, but processed meats are bad for the body. They contain ingredients that promote diabetes, heart disease and chronic inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis. The impact of process meats is a topic beyond the scope of this article (but not this one). But it essentially means that if you want to keep painful inflammation down and joints moving freely, keep packaged meats away from your arthritic pet.
So what should you feed a pet with arthritis pain?
Stay tuned for our next nutrition post. We’ll share a few tips about happy, healthy foods to help your achy Tripawd feel better and fight arthritis.