Inflammation is commonly associated with pain and negative health effects, and it is a goal of dog owners to minimize inflammation as much as possible, but did you know that the inflammatory response is actually a good thing?
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to things like injury, tissue damage, infections and toxins, just to name a few. The inflammatory process, in its healthy state, actually allows for proper healing and recovery (1,2).
What is the inflammation response in dogs?
Briefly, when any type of insult to the body occurs: (2,3)
- Initially, blood flow is restricted to the area of damage.
- Within a few minutes, the blood vessels in that area relax to increase blood flow greatly.
- Blood vessels also increase in permeability, allowing large molecules to escape the blood vessel into the area of damage. These molecules, such as immunoglobulins, fibrinogens, albumin, are important in regulating the immune response.
- Phagocytic cells including leukocytes and macrophages move to the area of damage and remove harmful substances and dead tissue.
- Once the cause of the damage and the associated damaged tissue is removed, the healing process can begin, where new, healthy tissue is generated.
Okay, so if inflammation is a good thing why do I hear so much about how to reduce inflammation in dogs?
The inflammation discussed above is the acute and subacute phase of inflammation and is considered to be a healthy inflammatory response to damage.
However, problems begin when the inflammation is no longer in the acute and subacute phases and becomes chronic.
Chronic inflammation is defined as slow, prolonged inflammation that lasts for long periods of time, from months to years (4). Chronic inflammation occurs when the body does not successfully heal the area of damage, and therefore the inflammation is not resolved and replaced by healing. Rather, the body continues to produce inflammatory markers and long-term damage to the tissue occurs.
Chronic inflammation can either be localized to one organ or area or generalized to the whole body (2). Arthritis and joint inflammation are good examples of localized chronic inflammation, while generalized chronic inflammation is usually due to something like an autoimmune disease.
Symptoms of chronic inflammation in dogs
If this has you wondering when you should be concerned that your dog may be experiencing chronic inflammation, here are some clinical signs you can look for: (4)
- Body pain, stiffness, trouble getting up and down: If you notice that your pup is having a hard time getting up after laying down for long periods of time, is hesitant, stiff or in pain when moving around and just isn’t as playful as he used to be, your dog may be experiencing chronic joint inflammation. Note that this won’t just be a one-time occurrence, but instead, it will be something that is common and may occur for months.
- Fatigue or depression: On top of not wanting to jump up and run around, your dog just may not seem like themselves. They won’t have that glitter in their eyes anymore and seem to be sleeping a lot.
- Weight gain or weight loss: If your pup has had some unexpected changes in body weight, this may be due to chronic inflammation. Weight gain may be due to the sedentary nature of your dog who is in pain. Not only that, but being overweight can actually contribute to chronic inflammation as well and cause it to become worse. Weight loss may be indicative of inflammation elsewhere in the body, such as in the gastrointestinal tract.
So, how can I reduce inflammation in my dog naturally?
First and foremost, your goal as a dog owner should be to prevent chronic inflammation before it begins. The three main ways to prevent dog inflammation and joint pain include:
- Proper exercise
- Proper diet to maintain weight (avoid obesity)
- Preventative care for joints
In some cases, dogs may be genetically predisposed and require corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are prescribed by a veterinarian to treat inflammation. However, long term use of these drugs may have negative side effects on the health of your dog, such as suppression of the immune system or kidney and liver problems (5,6). Because of these side effects, pet owners often end up looking for natural means to reduce inflammation.
Chondroprotective agents, such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid have been proven to help protect from inflammation and cartilage damage (5). Additionally, CBD oil is coming into the spotlight as a safe and natural anti-inflammatory for dogs (6).
Luckily, Rocket Animal Health’s Canine Cush soft chews were designed with these joint-supportive nutrients as the ultimate inflammation relief for dogs!
Canine Cush not only contains highly bioavailable forms of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid, but it also contains CBD oil with 0.0% THC. And to add even more benefits, Canine Cush provides Boswellia and Curcumin to really pack a natural, anti-inflammatory punch.
Check out more about Rocket’s veterinarian-formulated Canine Cush joint health supplement today to provide your dog with a long and pain-free life!