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.

Treating Inflammation and Pain in Dogs – October 2013

Inflammation is the body’s response to a variety of different issues that can include allergies, arthritis, and injuries. Some examples can include cruciate ligament tears, over-strenuous workouts, over-active play, or cuts and abrasions to the skin. It is the body’s reaction to try to repair and isolate the condition. However, while the body tries to deal with the condition, it often can create discomfort and pain for your dog.

There are prescription medications that can be prescribed for pain. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as Rimadyl, Metacam and Deramaxx or steroids, such as prednisone. Both of these different types of pain medications can have serious side effects and it is very important to know that the two CANNOT be used together! NSAIDs can cause serious gastric problems and they can compromise the liver and/or the kidneys. Steroids cause increased thirst, can affect the liver and kidneys, and can increase the incidence of pancreatitis.

Because of the side effects these different medications can cause, it makes sense to consider some alternative solutions that can alleviate many inflammation issues and may keep you from having to pursue medications that have strong side effects and are hard on the body’s organs. The links below provide additional information regarding the negative side effects of both NSAIDs and steroidal medications.

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Whenever your veterinarian prescribes medication for your dog, it is a good practice to research the side effects of the different medications.

Beneficial alternatives for fighting inflammation consist of three components. These include:

1. Diet

2. Natural inflammation fighting supplements and

3. Exercise

You can feed foods that do not promote inflammation, use supplements that naturally decrease inflammation and pain, and engage your dog in an exercise program to keep joints healthy and promote comfort and mobility.


The primary ingredients that cause the most inflammatory process for canines are sugar and carbohydrates. Some of the worst offenders include grains, starches, fruit and certain vegetables. Dogs are carnivores and their bodies need animal-based fats and proteins. Canines need fat for energy, staying hydrated and for needed calories. They need animal-based proteins, which are made up of amino acids such as l-taurine and l-carnitine. These amino acids are vital for heart, liver and kidney health, keeping connective tissue in good repair and promoting healthy skin and a shiny coat. Plant based proteins DO not have these needed amino acids.

Dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates; however, they are necessary in home-cooked diets to provide the fiber needed for stool formation. In raw food diets, the bone provided provides the necessary fiber and therefore, carbohydrates are not needed.

To help fight inflammation, the two best solutions are to feed either a raw diet with no carbohydrates or a home-cooked diet that contains 75% animal protein and fat and 25% low glycemic (sugar) vegetables. Either of these diets will help fight inflammation and pain. These diets will also help with dogs that suffer from allergic conditions that cause itching, redness and hair loss.

You can find more in-depth information about the benefits of feeding raw and home-cooked diets in my book, ‘Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs!‘ There is a section on a low-glycemic diet and its benefits and in includes recipes.

Fresh food diets offer whole food ingredients that contain more nutrients because the food has not been processed. You control the ingredients that go into the diet so you can avoid the foods that can cause inflammation and skin irritations! Home-prepared diets, whether raw or cooked, offer a wide variety of foods that can be easily adjusted to accommodate the different needs and health issues in your dog.

Supplements that Help Fight Inflammation

Supplements that are helpful in fighting inflammation include:

Omega 3 Fish Oil capsules: The EPA and DHA in fish oil (Omega 3 fatty acids) help offset the already over abundant Omega 6 fatty acid found in most foods. If there is too much Omega 6 in the diet and not enough Omega 3, the abundance of Omega 6 can cause inflammation. Omega 3 fish oil also helps support the immune system, heart, liver, kidneys, coat and skin. The recommended dose is one 1,000 mg capsule (180 EPA / 120 DHA) per 10-20 pounds of body weight daily.

Bromelain & Quercetin: Bromelain is an enzyme made from pineapple and is effective in reducing inflammation. When given together with quercitin, it also helps reduce allergic response. Together, Quercetin and Bromelain enhance each other’s anti-inflammatory actions and bromelain helps with the absorption of quercetin in the bloodstream. This supplement should be given at 300 mg once or twice a day for large dogs and 150 mg once or twice a day for medium dogs.

Yucca Intensive: This supplement MUST be given WITH food and MUST NOT be given with either NSAIDs or steroids!! This supplement is a liquid form of yucca that can be given at one drop per 10 lbs of body weight once or twice daily. Yucca contains saponins, a precursor to steroids but without the harmful side effects, that helps fight inflammation.

Tasha's Herbspirin (use Willow Bark Liquid)): This is an herb made from willow bark, which is a natural form of aspirin. It is beneficial for both inflammation and pain. It comes in liquid form, is easy to administer and can be given with food. For dogs 6 months to a year old, you can give 1/2 ml. For dogs over one year or an average of 50 pounds, you can give 2 ml.

Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids: Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids, given in high doses can reduce pain and help repair capillary damage. It is best to increase the dosage over a two-week period increasing the dosage at regular intervals until loose stools develop. Once loose stools develop, bring the dosage down to the last lower dose given. This supplement will also help with allergy symptoms.

If you would like additional information about the benefits of natural supplements for various health conditions, you can find more in-depth information about supplements in my book, ‘Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs!


Exercise is very important. Exercise helps keep joints flexible, muscles toned and circulation healthy. A good exercise program that consists of low-impact motion exercises is especially beneficial for senior dogs and dogs dealing with arthritis. For senior dogs, several short walks a day are all that is needed. Swimming is also excellent for dogs with arthritis and those recovering from muscle or cruciate injuries. What is most important is an exercise program that is compatible to what your dog can tolerate.

Another way to offer support and comfort to inflamed joints is to apply heat to the affected areas. I put salt or rice in a cotton sock, heat it in the microwave, and apply it to my dog’s neck, back or joints to bring some temporary relief. Make sure the sock is warm, but NOT TOO HOT!

The change of seasons from warm to cooler temperatures can cause some joint stiffness, especially in our senior dogs, and can bring on some allergy issues, so we hope this information is helpful.

Halloween is right around the corner.

Have a great time Trick or Treating and Dressing up your dogs,

But keep the chocolate and candy away from your pups!