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How to Identify and Reduce Inflammation in Dogs & Cats

How to Reduce Your Dog's Inflammation

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By: Tess Marty & Rianna Young

As we step into the new year, many of us are setting resolutions to prioritize health and wellness. But while we’re hitting the gym and drinking more water, shouldn’t we be prioritizing that same healthy mindset for our pets?

Just like us, dogs and cats can face health challenges. Inflammation is a common concern, whether it be joint pain from arthritis or rashes from allergies. 

In this article, we'll explore what inflammation is, delve into the reasons behind it in our beloved pets, and discover how your pet can get relief, particularly when it comes to enhancing skin and coat health.

Table of Contents: 

  • Understanding Inflammation
  • Chronic Inflammation 
  • Causes of Inflammation in Pets
  • Where Arthritis Occurs
  • Inflammation in Hip + Joints
  • Supplementing Traditional Treatments 
  • Natural Alternatives (Hemp, Turmeric, Salmon)
  • Conclusion

Why do Pets Get Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury, infection, or irritation. It's a biological process involving various cells and molecules that work together to protect the body. While inflammation is an important part of the healing process, chronic inflammation can be detrimental to your pet's well-being.

Whether we see it or not, inflammation is a common occurrence. It can be caused by injury, illness, allergies, environmental stress or genetics. Most commonly acute inflammation happens around the site of the area affected (think poison ivy redness and itchiness where your arm has touched).  

With injury or allergy, there is increased blood flow to the area via dilated capillaries. This allows immune cells sent to the affected area to permeate the tissue. 

 

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The Signs of Inflammation in Pets

Five common clinical signs of inflammation in pets are

  1. Swelling: puffiness in the skin or joints 
  2. Redness: Pooling of blood in certain areas where pain may be occuring
  3. Pain: Resulting from inflammation caused by arthritis or hip dysplasia 
  4. Loss of Function: Difficulty moving and a change in mobility is a red flag
  5. Heat: Overheating or panting can be a sign of inflammation 

So, if inflammation is the body’s natural healing process, why not just let it run its course instead of treating it?

While some inflammation is healthy as part of the healing process, chronic inflammation can cause harm rather than good. In chronic inflammation, the fighter cells sent to the site are on high-alert and can cause longer-lasting effects. 

The Long-Term Effects of Chronic Inflammation

On the other hand, chronic inflammation is when the body is triggered by an injury or allergy before it has time to heal, causing pain and discomfort in pets. Think of it like this, if your cat is allergic to chicken, and it eats chicken every day, the healthy reparative inflammation won’t subside by the time the cat eats again, causing the inflammation to persist.

Chronic inflammation can cause long-term tissue damage (including organs), redness and itchiness, and pain. In fact, chronic inflammation in pets can lead to a multitude of other health issues because it is oftentimes the most obvious sign or symptom of chronic concerns.

Using hemp=based CBD treats with Glucosamine can reduce the impact of swelling on inflamed joints. The Calm + Joint Bacon soft-chews provide senior dogs with a tasty soft-chew that tastes like a Sunday morning. 

How to Identify Inflammation in Your Pets

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Arthritis in Aging Dogs & Cats 

Arthritis is a leading cause of inflammation in aging pets. The wear and tear on joints over time can result in painful inflammation, limiting your pet's mobility and overall comfort. Arthritis can occur in any joints in the body, but seems to mainly impact hips and joints in dogs and cats. 

There are many reasons pets develop arthritis, from activity levels to nutrition to development. Among them, hip dysplasia is common in many dog breeds, particularly the larger breeds, and is the most common cause of arthritis of the hips.

Starting as hip dysplasia, an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause lameness and arthritis of the joints. A genetic trait that is more affected by environmental factors.

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Read our recent blog post on  can improve your pet’s mobility by reducing joint pain and inflammation here: How CBD Can Transform Your Dog’s Mobility

Your Pet's Allergies & Inflammation

Just like humans, pets can suffer from allergies triggered by environmental factors or certain foods. This immune response can lead to skin inflammation, itching, and discomfort. Like people, many pets experience at least some form of allergy in their life.

Signs of allergies in pets often include itching, ear infections, runny or crusty eyes, red or irritated skin, paw licking, sneezing, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pet has a food allergy, you might be prompted to perform an elimination diet to work out the ingredient you’ll need to stay away from.

It’s important to speak with your veterinarian to figure out what is causing your pet’s reaction. Identifying the root causes of your pet's allergy is key to ending the cycle of inflammation. 

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Pet Skin Conditions & Inflammation

Skin conditions, like dermatitis increase infections, often causing localized inflammation. Symptoms like, constant scratching and discomfort can increase anxiety and even affect their behavior. Even the constant licking or scratching the affected area is a common. Be sure to monitor your pets because over licking can lead to excessive inflammation, redness, and itching.

Pain is often associated with reactivity, so if your pet suddenly develops behavioral issues, you should speak with a vet to rule out inflammation or pain.

Some rashes are from abrasive materials like ice salt in winter or drying seawater in the summer, and usually will subside faster than allergies or injury, but are still important to be aware of. 

Using a paw balm or wax on inflamed skin may be necessary. Especially, before and after walks. If skin issues persist, consult your vet because it can be a sign of dermatitis or a chronic skin condition that can cause chronic skin inflammation. 

More Ways to Combat Your Pet's Inflammation 

Turmeric: The Inflammation Buster

One of the most common anti-inflammatory supplements is turmeric. This multifaceted root is an antioxidant with amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Typically used to relieve digestive issues, Turmeric can improve digestive healthy by aiding in the breakdown of bile in the liver. This can make food move a lot easier through your dog or cat's gut leading to a firmer, more healthy bowel movement. 

A wonder for arthritic joint pain in dogs and cats, it can also be used to hydrate and improve coat health. In addition, Turmeric has wound-healing and anti-fungal properties. It can help conditions like arthritis, gastrointestinal problems, and chronic allergies, which is why it was a crucial ingredient to include when developing our Calm + Coat Tincture

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Can Salmon Oil Help Reduce Inflammation? 

Fish oils, especially salmon oil, have both internal and external benefits. From a healthy inside comes a soft, shiny coat and reduced irritation. Salmon oil has a higher healthy-fat content than other fish oils, and the extra omega-3 fatty acids give a wider range of benefits.

Salmon oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can benefit joints and pain. This oil has been found to help some pets bear more weight on their joints, which is linked to lessened pain. It reduces the inflammation around degenerating cartilage around joints and can help mobility.

It is especially noticeable in pet skin allergies and irritation, because it helps keep skin from drying and flaking, causing extra itching. It can also help with rashes and skin conditions like hot spots. It works to help your pet fight environmental allergens and fight inflammation from within, all while giving a beautiful and healthy coat

Using CBD For Your Dog's Inflammation

How will it work for your pet's skin and joints?

Studies have found that hemp oil can have anti-inflammatory benefits in our pets. Many pet parents have found that the addition of cannabinoids can have a positive effect on their arthritic pet’s mobility.  Our Calm + Joint Bacon Strips are the easy approach for pet parents looking for a holistic approach to their pets wellness: 

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The Benefits of Happy Hounds | Soft-Chews for Dog Hip + Joint Support

For pets with dermatitis, another study found that dogs who were regularly administered cannabinoid saw a decrease in itching over the course of two weeks. Cannabidiol  acts on the endocannabinoid receptors in the body that help to interrupt the process of sending antibodies to the site of inflammation, which can reduce the amount of those “fighter cells” we talked about before going to the site and causing extra discomfort.

Additionally, hemp can work to suppress the immune system when presented with an allergen, potentially reducing overactive responses. Our Calm + Coat Tinctures incorporates Salmon Oil, Turmeric, Valerian Root, and Hemp to fight inflammation. 

With all of the recomended benefits to improve your dogs skin, joint, and anxiety, it's the editors choice for happier healthier pets. Easily added to food, treats, or a licki mat to reduce swelling and fight the symptoms of chronic sensitivity and soreness in dogs and cats. Outside of the aforementioned holistic routes there are traditional paths that you may be more familiar with. 

Supplementing Traditional Treatments:

Traditional treatments for inflammation often consist of a trip to the vet for diagnosis. Most pain and inflammation is treated using NSAIDs, which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is crucial to follow veterinary guidelines with NSAIDs.

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For environmental allergies, your vet may prescribe a daily or as-needed medication like an antihistamine (think Zyrtec or Claratin), or even monthly injections like a cortisone shotPrescription medications, like NSAIDS, can destroy gut flora, which is essential to fighting inflammation. Always speak to a healthcare professional about your specific concerns around digestion and gut reactivity. 

Food allergies are often mitigated with a change in diet or added medications. For rashes or dermatological issues, your vet will usually suggest a hydrocortisone cream or an over-the-counter antihistamine short-term. Even with all of these in place, your pet may still experience discomfort. 

Because medications or shots wear off over time and symptoms may return before another dose is safe to give. Additionally, some medications must be used carefully with pets with kidney, liver, heart, or digestive problems. That’s where holistic approaches come in handy. These are not guaranteed treatments, and you should always talk with your vet about time frame.

That being said, there are many natural options to help mitigate allergies, discomfort, and inflammation, especially given as other medications start to wear off. Tweaking your pet’s diet, skincare regime, and trying to work within your environmental conditions can all provide lasting relief and comfort to your pet. 

Starting Your Pet's Wellness Journey 

Of course, when presented with inflammation in any form, it’s important to discuss with your veterinarian about treatment. Using naturally beneficial and traditional medications can be used in tandem as long as there is no interference. Always consult your vet to ensure there is no impact on your current course of action.

But there are ways to naturally help reduce some of the symptoms associated with inflammation with the fatty acids from Salmon oil, Turmeric, and Cannabidiol (CBD)

Don't just take it from us--meet Mister Max, who uses both CBD Treats and Tinctures. 

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(Max, 6, Siberian Husky)

"He loves the Calm + Coat Oil on a frozen licki mat and we use the Calm + Joint Bacon Soft-Chew Treats daily!" - Katherine, Max's Mom

 

 

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