Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog.

Joint Problems

Joint Problems and Nutrition

By Lew Olson • April 2007 Newsletter
The information contained in this newsletter should only be used as a guideline. Always make sure you have a correct diagnosis from your veterinarian before proceeding and always follow their directions and protocol.

Joint Problems and Nutrition

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April 2007


Lew Olson,

PhD Natural Health, LMSW-ACP


Joint Problems and Nutrition

Arthritis and joint pain is a major concern for many dog owners. New prescription drugs for dogs have offered some relief to help with mobility and comfort. However, some of these drugs also contain side effects, which leave many of us searching for safer alternatives. In this article, I will be discussing nutrition options, along with supplement information to help with inflammation and mobility caused by arthritis and joint problems.

In 1996, my Rottweiler, Tommy, was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma. Tommy also had elbow and hip dysplasia that had affected his mobility for the last five years. His pain caused him to walk with a stilted gait and act far older than his years. If his pain from arthritis problems didn’t make his life difficult enough, he now had the serious cancer diagnosis to face.

I began researching cancer in dogs and found information on work that Dr. Olgivie was doing on nutrition at Colorado State University. I had the opportunity see him speak at the Holistic Veterinarian Conference in New Orleans that same year. His research about diet and supplements seemed promising. Tommy had been raised on dry dog food (with some fresh food added) but when I got home, I immediately put Tommy on a low carbohydrate menu, with higher amounts of animal fat and animal protein.

It was through this diet change that Tommy gained some unexpected benefits. Within a few weeks, I noticed Tommy was running again, and wanting to interact and play with my other dogs. With his increased energy, we were able to start chemotherapy, and we were able to give Tommy two years of remission. But the most remarkable thing that stayed with me was his increased mobility and energy from that diet.

When I began researching nutritional needs for canines, I discovered their natural diet consisted of animal fat and protein, with little or no carbohydrates. Feeding dogs a diet high in starches and grains puts extra labor on their digestive tracts (shorter and more simple than our ours) and the increased sugars often robbed them of energy and may well lead to further joint pain.

At this point, I put every dog in my house on a raw diet. While a diet low in carbohydrates (sugars) may not stop joint pain, arthritis or joint disease from developing, it can add great comfort by reducing the inflammation. I completely omitted all grains and avoided all high glycemic foods, including fruits and root vegetables. Vegetables that need to be avoided altogether are from the nightshade family. These include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers.


Diets that work well for dogs with joint pain and/or arthritis are from the research that developed cancer starving diets. These are low glycemic (sugar) and higher in fat and animal protein. They can be prepared cooked or raw.

For these diets, you will probably feed around 2% to 3% of the dog's body weight daily. This amount can be split in half and fed twice daily, as listed below, or served four times daily in smaller amounts. Variety is suggested to keep the dog's appetite stimulated.

A Raw Diet

The Morning Meal
Feed a variety of high fat protein sources, alternating between or mixing together any of the following:

  • Muscle meat: especially high fat varieties such as hamburger, lamb, pork or goat
  • Canned fish: including mackerel, salmon, or sardines packed in water, not oil (do not feed tuna)
  • Eggs: These are very healthy and can be added to every meal if desired
  • Dairy: whole milk yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Organ meats: including liver and kidney in small amounts (no more than 10% of the total diet. It is usually best to feed small amounts daily rather than larger amounts periodically, as these foods are rich and can cause diarrhea if too much is fed at one time)
  • Heart: this is another very healthy food to include in the diet
  • Vegetables: although they are not necessary, you may also want to feed vegetables (either cooked or pureed), including broccoli, dark leafy greens, cabbage, zucchini, crook neck squash and Bok Choy

The Evening Meal
Raw Meaty Bones:

  • chicken necks, wings, backs and frames
  • turkey necks
  • beef necks and ribs
  • pork necks, breast, feet and tails
  • lamb ribs

Raw meaty bones can be ground if the dog has trouble chewing. Northern Tool carries a good meat grinder at www.northerntool.com, part #168620, for about $129.

A Cooked Diet

Cooked diets also need to offer variety and large batches can be packaged into meal sized portions and frozen for later use. Feeding amounts are the same, approximately 2% to 3% of the dog’s body weight daily. For instance, a 100 pound dog would eat two to three pounds of food a day, a fifty pound dog would eat one to one and a half pounds of food daily, and a 25 pound dog would eat 1/2 pound to 3/4 pound daily. A cup is approximately 8 ounces or 1/2 pound, some dogs will do well on two meals a day, others may need three or four smaller meals a day.

Do not overcook the meat, but rather cook lightly which will retain more of the nutrients. Butter can be used for cooking (unsalted butter for those dogs with kidney or heart problems), for flavor and palatability.

Sample Diet One
(one meal for a 100 lb dog, or two meals for a 50 lb dog, or four meals for a 25 pound dog)

  • One pound regular hamburger, 4 oz beef liver or kidney, cook with a small amount of butter
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled broccoli
  • 1/2 cup cooked yellow crookneck squash
  • 4 oz whole milk yogurt

Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add yogurt.

To this cooked meal add the following:

Sample Diet Two

  • One pound ground chicken and four ounces of chicken liver, cook with a small amount of butter
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Spinach
  • 1/2 cup cooked cabbage
  • 4 oz Cottage Cheese

Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add cottage cheese.

To this cooked meal add the following:

Sample Diet Three

  • One lb ground pork, 4 oz of pork or beef liver, cook with a small amount of butter
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage
  • 1/2 cup zucchini
  • 4 oz Whole Milk Yogurt

Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add yogurt.

To this cooked meal add the following:

Sample Diet Four

  • One can 16 oz Mackerel or Salmon
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup Kale or other dark leafy green
  • 4 oz Cottage Cheese

Cook vegetables and eggs. You do not need to cook the canned fish as it is already cooked. Mix together. No calcium is needed for this sample diet because the mackerel, salmon or sardines already contain soft, steamed bones for calcium content.

To this cooked meal add the following:


The following additional supplements are listed because they help fight inflammation and pain.

Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids: Vitamin C in high doses can help with pain relief, and when you add bioflavanoids it helps with collagen rebuilding and repair.

Vitamin E: This vitamin helps as an antioxidant, and in high doses (100 IU per 10-20 lbs of body weight daily) it helps the immune system and vascular health.

EPA Fish Oil (Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid): I am referring to fish “body” oil and not Cod Liver Oil. It is the Omega 3 fatty acids in Fish oil that help reduce inflammation, help with skin and hair coat, and support the immune system.

L-Glutamine: This is an amino acid that helps to slow down muscle atrophy. The recommended doses are 500 mg per 25 lbs of body weigh daily.

Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Manganese (Berte’s Flexile Plus): Glucosamine helps keep synovial fluid in the affected joints, which eases pain and discomfort. The Chondroitin helps rebuild and repair cartilage. And last, the manganese (a trace mineral) is a mild muscle relaxant that helps get Glucosamine and Chondroitin to the affected joint areas.

Yucca Intensive: Yucca is an effective anti-inflammatory. However the properties are mainly in the liquid of this plant, so the tincture is needed for best effects. Give one drop per ten lbs of body weight, twice daily WITH meals. Do not give on an empty stomach.

Herbspirin (use Willow Bark Liquid: This is a blend with Willow Bark, the natural form of aspirin. While Willow Bark is the whole herb form of aspirin and considered safer on the stomach, this herb is still considered a Non Steroidal, and only give as needed and WITH meals.

Enzymes: Some enzymes help with digestion and some help with inflammation. Both of these can help in arthritis conditions, as pain and discomfort can cause poor assimilation of nutrients. Berte’s Zymes are specific for digestion and are to be given with meals. Bromelain or Pro-Brom is made from Pineapples and is designed to be given in between meals (at 100 mg per 20 lbs of body weight twice daily) to help control inflammation.
For dogs with joint pain, be sure to make regular check up visits with your Veterinarian and try to keep the dog on a regular exercise program. This could be as little as short walks daily, to as much as swimming, chasing a ball or short hikes. Soft bedding can also be important for joint ease and dogs with arthritis need warmth for comfort during inclement weather.

Pet Food Recall Update, Information and Links

I’d like to offer a big thank you and appreciation to Sandy Daens for keeping up with this news, and putting this information together.

On March 16, Menu Foods, a Canadian pet food manufacturer for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers and a contract manufacturer for top branded pet food companies, issued a recall of 60 million cans and pouches of the company's "cuts and gravy" style moist dog and cat food. The recall affected foods produced between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007. Cats and dogs had been reported as becoming ill and/or dying from kidney failure after eating certain foods made by Menu Foods.
The initial recall included store brands from Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway and others, and national brands Hill's Pet Nutrition (Science Diet), Proctor & Gamble (Iams and Eukanuba), Nestle Purina (Mighty Dog), and Nutro. On March 30 and 31, the recall was expanded to include Purina's Alpo, dog and cat treats and food made by Del Monte, and one formula of Hill's prescription dry cat food, which is the only dry food included in the recall to date.

The ingredient suspected as causing illness and deaths in pets is wheat gluten imported from China and supplied to Menu Foods, Nestle Purina, Hills Pet Nutrition and Del Monte by an unnamed U.S. supplier. The Food and Drug Administration is still in the process of tracing which manufacturers bought wheat gluten from this supplier, and said the recall could expand further.

Initial testing conducted by the New York State Food Laboratory found aminopterin, a rat poison, in wheat gluten in the recalled foods. The FDA was not able to confirm aminopterin in their own testing. On March 30 the FDA announced they had found melamine in the wheat gluten they had tested. Melamine was also found in crystal form in the urine and kidney tissue of deceased cats. Melamine is a chemical used to make plastics and is a byproduct of several pesticides.

While 15 deaths have been confirmed, the FDA has received more than 8,000 complaints of illness or death possibly linked to the contaminated foods. PetConnection.com, a website headed by "Good Morning America" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Gina Spadafori, had received reports of nearly 2,800 deceased pets by March 31. These were self-reported numbers; however the FDA acknowledged that many more confirmed deaths than the initial 15 are expected.

Bigger than you think: The story behind the pet food recall

By Christie Keithhttp://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/04/03/petscol.DTL

What you should do:

  • Check the Menu Foods recall list at www.menufoods.com/recall.
  • For brands not made by Menu Foods, check http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html for updates.
  • To look for current information, check http://www.petsitusa.com.
  • Add your pet to the Pet Connection database at http://www.petconnection.com/recall/
  • Report your pet's illness or death to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for your state. Contact information for state coordinators can be found at http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html.
  • If your pet has eaten recalled food, contact your veterinarian to discuss urine and blood tests, even if your pet is showing no symptoms. Symptoms of Chronic Renal Failure can include: increased thirst, frequent urination, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and weight loss. Symptoms of Acute Renal Failure can include: little or no urine production, dehydration and vomiting. Acute Renal Failure is an emergency and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Happy Spring to everyone from me and the Bean! Spring announced itself at our house with the birth of a beautiful Paint Colt. Danny was born on Saint Patrick’s Day and is certainly teaching us all many lessons about patience, laughter and the tenaciousness of a young stud colt!


DotBravo Co.

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© Copyright 2007 Lew Olson, All Rights Reserved

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