What is Inflammation in Dogs - How To Reduce It?
by Manya Vaish
Do you know that more than 61% of hypothyroid dogs suffer from inflammation?
In simpler words, inflammation is defined as the body’s way of reacting to an injury, infection, or other long-term conditions in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful. It can be either external or internal.
Just like humans, chronic inflammation is a problem that can cause health complications in our furry companions. Inflammatory immune responses are normal but having chronic inflammation is not.
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What is Inflammation?
Inflammation in your dogs is a natural response from their immune system that helps in healing the injured tissues and fighting off foreign invaders. It can be caused due to several reasons such as - injuries, long-term conditions like colitis, arthritis, and conjunctivitis, or the presence of a harmful pathogen.
When cell damage or pathogen is detected, the immune system increases the blood flow to that area. However, when their immune system reacts abnormally, treating the body’s own cell or an element of the diet as a foreign invader, results in chronic inflammation.
Symptoms of Inflammation in Dogs
The most common types of inflammation in dogs are - inflammation of the joints, of the skin, and internal tissues. Inflammatory disease can be acute, chronic, mild, or severe. The symptoms vary on the type of inflammation your dogs might be facing. Here are some examples:
Inflammation of the joints or Arthritis is one of the most unfortunate conditions dogs and humans share. The most common form of arthritis found in dogs is - canine osteoarthritis. It occurs when the smooth cartilage that cushions the bones of the joint wears away, causing bone-on-bone friction. The joint gets filled with extra cells and inflammatory substances, causing irritation, wearing down of the cartilage, swelling of the joint lining, stiffness, and pain.
Symptoms of Arthritis include-
- Limited mobility (difficulty in moving or standing up)
- General stiffness
- Negative reaction while being handled or touched
- Licking the areas affected
Inflammation can extend to your dog’s skin causing itchy skin, rashes, bald spots, and significant discomfort. It can be extreme if left untreated for a while.
Symptoms of Skin Inflammation include-
- Excessive grooming
- Fur loss
- Skin redness
- Secondary skin infections
Steatitis involves sterile inflammation of adipose tissue in the abdominal cavity of dogs that results in adhesions, hypomotility of abdominal organs, or both. It can be a bit tough to spot Steatitis in your dogs. However, it is most commonly recognized by the lumps that appear under their skin. If left untreated, it can lead to decreased appetite, lethargy, fever, and may also cause physical pain when touched.
Symptoms of Steatitis include-
- Lump in the subcutaneous tissue (fatty tissue)
- Decreased appetite
- Reluctance to move, jump, or play
- Pain with handling or with abdominal palpitation
Inflammation in the small intestines or Enteritis is mostly hidden. The underlying cause may be genetic, food allergies, parasites, bacteria, or infections. Inflammation of the intestinal lining inhibits the normal digestion of food and can cause chronic vomiting, long-term diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain.
Symptoms of Enteritis include-
- Diarrhea/abnormal stool
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
Types of Inflammation In Dogs
When it comes to defining the types of inflammation your dogs can face, it is also essential to distinguish between the two main types - chronic and acute inflammation.
Acute or short-term inflammation can be caused due to an injury or illness. For instance, when you get an injury, there is swelling and redness as your body tries to jumpstart the healing process. The five key signs of acute inflammation involve - pain, redness, loss of function, swelling, and heat.
Sometimes, the inflammation is “silent” and might not show any symptoms at all.
The more potentially insidious form of inflammation is chronic inflammation. It’s a long-term reaction that can continue for months or years. If left undiagnosed, it can even damage the DNA of your dogs. It often results in microscopic damage to the body’s cells and oxidative stress, which is linked to premature aging and can increase the risk for illnesses like heart disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation can have links to several other diseases such as - diabetes, allergies, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and psoriasis, etc.
How Can Your Dogs Diet Reduce Inflammation?
The canine and human gut microbiomes have significant similarities. If you feed your dogs a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, they have better digestive health. Though a high-fat diet promotes increases in both body weight and inflammation, the role of polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is completely opposite.
In order to help your fur companions fight off inflammation, you should improve their diet. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for energy and a balanced diet. These are specifically classified as polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) and essential fatty acids as your dogs cannot produce such fatty acids on their own. The only way dogs can obtain such fatty acids is through their food.
Apart from this, exercise is another great way to help your pet keep inflammation at bay. However, while routine and gentle exercise can reduce chronic inflammation, exercises performed too often can lead to inflammation in the muscles and joints. So, it is important to find a delicate balance and not pressurize your pups.
The anti-inflammatory hormones produced by omega-3 fatty acids work together with omega-6 to offset inflammation. These help dogs across the span of their lives because of their anti-inflammatory nature.
The various benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs include-
- Reduced inflammation level
- Protection against arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythms)
- Boosts brain function
- Slows down canine cognitive dysfunction
- Helps to treat heart disease, chronic kidney diseases, and arthritis
The inflammation response in your pooch’s body is triggered by omega-6 fatty acids. These are crucial to your dog’s when they experience heat, redness, swelling, pain, or loss of function.
Omega-6 fatty acids hold several benefits including-
- Improves your dog’s ability to promote and repair skeletal and muscular tissue.
- Stimulates fur growth
- Provides good bone health
- Regulates the metabolism rate
What’s A Healthy Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio For Your Dogs?
Too much or too little of anything in your dog’s diet can impact their health. Feeding them with balanced meals having appropriate amounts of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids is very essential. Ideally, a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids should be 5:1 and not exceed 10:1.
In addition, highly processed dog food/kibble strips away the essential fatty acids while undergoing the kibbling process due to intense heat. Hence, manufacturers have to add synthesized and artificial nutrients to rebalance the food.
Here’s how you can correct this imbalance:
Adding omega-3 rich fresh ingredients such as fishes like - sardine, mackerel, anchovy, and salmon to your dog’s diet can help bring back much-needed balance.
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How Is Poonch Food Maintaining The Omega-3 and Omega-6 Balance?
One of the easiest ways to avoid inflammation in your dog is by making sure that you serve them healthy meals. To get the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your dog’s bowl, you just need to switch to fresh food. While going to the market daily might not be possible, you can opt for healthy Poonch meals.
All the meals at Poonch are prepared with fresh ingredients containing the appropriate amount of fishes such as - sardines, mackerel, and anchovies. The resulting meal contains a balanced blend of valuable omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, inherent antioxidants, and other required nutrients.
Fresh food is made with higher quality ingredients and cooked at lower temperatures than commercially-produced foods, which is easier on your dog’s digestive system. So, to boost your canine companion’s overall health, you need to feed them with fresh and balanced meals.
You can opt for the subscription packs or avail trial packs to see results for yourself now.
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