Ingredients to avoid in dog food

Ingredients to avoid in dog food

Eating a healthy diet is one of the best things people can do to prevent illness, age comfortably, and feel good in general.  For some reason, that philosophy doesn’t always translate to our dogs.  Within the past century, dogs went from eating real food off tables to “dog food” which may not offer that much nutritional value depending on the brand.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t good dog kibbles, wet food, raw, and more out there.  However, there are a lot of brands that use low quality ingredients that may be contributing to a number of issues for your dog.  This blog isn’t meant to put any particular brands on blast.  Rather, this article will list numerous ingredients you want to avoid when it comes to feeding your dog and hopefully that will help you make an educated decision on foods to choose for your pet.  After all, you are what you eat – and so are they.


Ingredients to avoid in dog food

There is a lot of controversy that surrounds grain free diets currently.  Most of it is the result of attention grabbing headlines over a correlation study filled with bias.  In and of itself, a little wheat probably isn’t too harmful to dogs.  The bigger issue are dog foods where the majority of ingredients are sourced from wheat.

When you read (this article lists how to read the ingredient panel) an ingredient panel, the first ingredient listed is the major ingredient in the food by weight.  The second is the second most by weight, etc.  In an ideal world, the first wheat ingredient would be listed a little further down the list (maybe the 4th or 5th listed) rather than being a major ingredient.  Wheat is believed to play a roll in allergies, among other things.  Therefore, just like in humans, it is ideal to limit how many grains we are eating.



Corn is a cheap filler used in many dog foods.  It can be difficult for a dog to digest, may contribute to allergies, and has a higher glycemic index than most other foods in making dog food.  A higher glycemic index contributes to the potential of developing type 2 diabetes, and all the secondary issues related to the chronic disease.  In addition, it doesn’t appear to have any major nutritional value.  A little corn to help as a filler in kibble, etc. is probably okay.  However, we want to avoid it as a major ingredient if possible.


There are a few issues with soy.  For one, the majority produced in the United States are genetically modified.  They are covered in pesticides, such as Round Up, which is believed to promote cancer development, etc.  It’s also believed to affect the digestion of protein.  Soybeans contain large quantities of natural toxins that block the enzymes needed to digest protein.  This can lead to gastric distress which can affect nutrient absorption.  This contributes to amino acid deficiencies that affect our dog’s health.

Why are they used in dog food then?  They help add bulk to food and are a cheaper source than meat for protein.  Again, we don’t want to see this as a major ingredient in a food panel.

White Flour

White flour has minimal nutritional value.  It is what remains after grain is stripped of the nutrient dense bran, germ, etc.  In addition, it contains a high glycemic index.  This contributes to conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

Corn Syrups

Corn syrup has a high glycemic index.  Getting regularly fed a food which corn syrup will contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Byproduct are all the ingredients remaining from an animal carcass after the meat and bones are removed.  This can include hair, beaks, etc. with minimal nutrient value.  These ingredients can be simmered like a stew then eventually ground and used in dog food.  According to some references, there may not be much nutritional difference between named byproducts such as chicken byproduct, beef byproduct, etc.  and their non byproduct counterpart.  However, it is difficult to know what exactly is in it.

You should always avoid a non specific source for byproduct.  If you see meat or animal byproduct, the source can be roadkill, dead on arrival animals, diseased livestock and more.  These are not good sources of nutrients for our pets.  As a matter of fact, it’s best to avoid any food where the ingredient in general is listed as meat and not a specific source such as chicken, etc.

Why are byproducts used then?  It is cheaper for the manufacturer to produce dog food.  If you see byproduct in an ingredient label it may be a clue that they are using cheaper ingredients in general.  Therefore, it’s probably not worth spending top dollar on foods that contain these ingredients.  It may even be best to avoid the ingredients in general as you may not know exactly what you are getting.

Food Dyes

Food dyes have been shown to contribute to allergic type reactions, behavior issues, and cancer in humans.  With that understanding, it may very well lead to similar issues in dogs.  The most notorious offenders are Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2, and Yellow 6.  The dye is probably more to catch the eye of the human purchasing food than attracting the dog.  So, it’s best to avoid them if at all possible.


These are fat preservatives found in dog food.  They have been linked to cancer in humans and animals.  However, the FDA allows them as long as they are in low doses.  However, dogs fed this food get a cumulative exposure so it may be difficult to discern if the “low dose” is creating an issue.  Therefore, it’s best to avoid this ingredient.  Rather, look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener commonly found in gum and toothpaste.  It seems to be making its way into dog treats and food recently.  It’s not particularly harmful to humans, but it is for dogs.  If you see this ingredient, it is best to choose another food option.

Animal fat/rendered fat

If you see the terms animal or rendered fat, it’s probably a low quality ingredient.  Similar to the byproduct section above, we want a specific source of fat listed such as chicken, etc.  If not, it’s possible the source is a diseased animal, road kill, or other.  This is particularly problematic as fat stores toxins in humans and animals.  Therefore, we need to know the source the fat originates from so that we aren’t feeding our pets something that could create numerous health issues.

Powdered cellulose

Powdered cellulose is actually saw dust.  It is filled with an enormous amount of insoluble fiber.  This can create issues with digestion and absorption of nutrients such as protein and important minerals.  Small prey animals have no physiologic requirement for the plant fibers such as cellulose used in many dog foods.  A little fiber certainly helps, but the amounts found in many foods are probably more problematic than helpful.

There are probably more ingredients out there worth avoiding, but this is a good starter list to help you when making dog food decisions.  Many chronic issues and diseases can be attributed to what dogs eat, just like in people.  Therefore, it’s best to feed the best quality food that fits your budget.  When shopping, keep your eye out for these ingredients to avoid in dog food.  Your pet will be thankful you did.

Interested in learning more about pet nutrition topics?  Visit our blog for information on other topics!

Is your dog in pain?

As animal chiropractors, we frequently see dogs in pain.  Often, an owner brings their pet in because they aren’t using stairs, aren’t jumping on or off furniture, and/or are lethargic.  When we examine their spine, the muscles often spasm and the dog is sensitive.  The owner is often shocked to see some of the indicators of discomfort that a chiropractic exam reveals.  However, dogs rarely show signs of pain so it can be difficult for anyone to figure out when they are hurting.  In this article, we will discuss why dogs don’t show pain, what are some signs, and what we can do.

Why don’t dogs show pain?

Dogs have evolved over thousands of years to hide signs of pain.  Before humans added them to our families and provided regular meals, dogs needed to hunt.  As predators, they weren’t at the top of the food chain.  Therefore, it was advantageous to hide signs of pain so that larger predators wouldn’t target them.  This instinct is well instilled in them and the primary reason our dogs are so stoic.  While the signs of discomfort aren’t obvious, there are a few symptoms pet owners can look for.

What are some of the signs of a dog in pain?

All dogs are different, just like people.  Some are more open to showing signs of pain relative to others (although the majority still hide it).  In addition, some might be open to showing discomfort at home and when you bring them to the veterinarian, they hide it.  However, there are a few things you can look for that are often indicators.  These are:

  • Excessive grooming – dogs frequently groom themselves.  However, if you see your pet focusing on one localized area it could be a sign of discomfort.
  • More vocal – if your dog is more vocal than normal, it could be an indicator.
  • Loss of appetite – this is one we see frequently in our practice.  Dogs that are in a pretty good amount of pain might refuse to eat.
  • Increased aggressiveness – if you have a friendly dog that is all of a sudden nipping and showing signs of aggression, it could be a sign of pain.  This can even be focused toward owners in addition to strangers and other dogs.
  • Panting – this is fairly common for a lot of the cases we work with.
  • Issues with movement – if your active dog all of a sudden won’t do stairs or jump on/off furniture any more there may be an issue.
  • Hiding – a lot of dogs will hide when they aren’t feeling well.
  • Shaking – a great indicator, we see this in acute back and neck pain.

Your dog is a master of hiding pain.  They often won’t show signs until the pain is fairly advanced.  However, if you see some of these signs there’s a good chance something is bothering your dog.

What can we do as dog owners?

Many of our patients visit their primary veterinarian before coming to see us.  Your vet will try to identify the cause of pain, and suggest a prescription to help relieve discomfort.  If it is joint related, they may suggest visiting a board certified animal chiropractor.  The IVCA and AVCA are the 2 major board certifications in the United States.  We recommend trying to find a board certified animal chiropractor if you are interested in care for your pet as they have been trained appropriately.

Are there any additional ways to help?

There are a number of different ways to help with discomfort for your dog even without a prescription.  This includes:

  • CBD oil – we have numerous clients that use CBD oil and claim that it is effective.  It is often retailed in holistic pet shops.
  • Golden paste – if you have an older dog and joint issues are a problem, you can utilize golden paste to see if it helps.  It is a combination of turmeric, coconut oil, and a little black pepper.  This is a great anti-inflammatory. Make your own by following this recipe or you can purchase made options from your pet store if they retail it.  Fish oil can also be a great complement.
  • Joint supplements – these can help with joint issues as well.  Glucosamine on its own is great.  However, we recommend a supplement such as Connectin Hip and Joint which contains anti inflammatory herbs in addition to cartilage protecting nutrients.
  • Essential oils – while we aren’t the foremost experts on essential oils, many of our clients use them and claim they are effective.

We recommend visiting your veterinarian first to determine the cause of pain.  During your visit, you can ask about natural remedies such as these.

It would be great if we could talk with our dogs, for a number of reasons.  However, a huge benefit would be to know when they are in pain and could use some help.  Unfortunately, they are excellent at hiding pain due to their evolution.  However, there are subtle signs as we mentioned previously that can indicate discomfort.  If there is discomfort, a visit to your vet will help in addition to numerous other natural remedies.  Dogs are an integral part of our family.  If you see any of these signs it could be an indicator of pain, and your dog will appreciate you for noticing and helping them!


Pumpkin Packs a Powerful Health Punch

What’s all the hype about pumpkin? Every fall (just around the corner!) we hear about all sorts of pumpkin options from drinks to food items to your holiday favorites. But did you know pumpkin is also a nutrient and fiber-rich food that could benefit your cat and dog’s health? 

Most often we find pumpkin in treats, canned food, and even kibble and raw food for our pets. When we hear the word pumpkin we often think of the jack-o-lantern carving tradition and of course pumpkin pie. But did you know that pumpkin is part of the winter squash family with a history dating back to as early as 7000 BC? It is a low carbohydrate, low fat, low calorie, no cholesterol, and low protein squash and every culture seems to have their own way of serving pumpkin as a nourishing meal. Pumpkins are mostly harvested in the fall just like many other squashes. They are easy to store for the long winter months in dry, cool, and dark spaces or cellars.

When ripe, pumpkins are going to be a rich orange color. It is best to bake a pumpkin before use but it can also be served as a raw treat for dogs. Our pets can also consume the rind or skin portion for added nutrients. Oftentimes, we find the skin unappetizing so we only scoop out the fleshy part of the squash for consumption when making tasty treats for the humans in the house. When pumpkins vine-ripen and mature, the meat should be sweet. 

Key nutrients in pumpkins include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamins C, B6, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, fiber, and small amounts of lipids and amino acids. It is often used to help the body fight infection, maintain fluid balancing, protect against heart disease, regulate blood pressure, support the digestive system, and decrease diarrhea. Many believe it can also help prevent cancers, cataracts, and arteriosclerosis. With all of that wonderful information about pumpkin, I can understand why people wait for this beautiful squash each fall season.

Pumpkin can be served to both cats and dogs. It is often suggested for digestive upset and can be incorporated into your pet’s diet as a treat or even daily. One tablespoon per 10 lbs. of body weight is the recommended amount but you could add more or less based on your pet’s preference or the reason for use. Stop into a local store like The Pet Beastro to try some of our pumpkin-based favorites along with all of our seasonal offerings for your cats and dogs this harvest season!

Beat Heat Hazards This Summer

This summer has been quite warm, and we can expect a slew of hot and steamy days ahead of us this August. Being prepared for the sweltering weather can make those hot days, if not cooler, at least a lot safer! Here are a few heat hazards to be prepared for as we head into the dog days of summer.

Hot Pavement On Pup’s Paws

Know that feeling of trekking over hot sand or pavement on a warm summer day at the beach? It’s important to remember that is how your pet feels when walking on asphalt and pavement that has been baking in the sunlight. Although you may be thinking about how great a walk is for their health, it’s important to remember how tender their paws are and that they can burned by hot surfaces. A good point to consider is – if you wouldn’t walk on a surface barefoot, don’t let your pet either. Schedule your walks for cooler times in the day on surfaces like grass or in the shade. If you have a dog walker who helps get your pup her daily walk, fill them in on your guidelines for a safe and comfortable walk.

Dehydration And Heat Stroke

Water is a necessity for your pet every day, not just on hot days as dehydration can kick in on dry days as well. If you’re uncertain if clean water is available where you are going, carry portable water bowls with you, whether for long walks or on vacations. Certain short-nosed dogs like pugs and bulldogs, darker-colored pets, pets with thick coats or overweight pets are especially susceptible to the effects of dehydration.

Keep your eyes open for these warning signs of dehydration in your pet:

  • Excess lethargy – super tired
  • Decreased urination
  • Dry gums
  • Refusal to eat
  • Sunken eyes
  • Decreased skin elasticity (Gently pinch your pet’s skin near the shoulder up into the shape of a tent; if the skin is slow to snap back, your pet may be dehydrated.)

No Waiting In The Car

We love giving our pets rides as much as some dogs (and even cats) love it themselves! But if you are considering running errands with your pooch, unless it’s a cool day with a temperature below 65 degrees, it’s best to leave your buddy at home or take them inside on your errand with you. Being locked in a hot car, even with the windows cracked, is a recipe for pain, discomfort, and possibly much worse for your pet. So if you’re in doubt, it’s best to take them out… you love their company anyway!

Keeping Cool

When it comes to keeping your pet cool, it’s simple –  think of how you keep yourself cool in the summer and follow the same general guidelines. Use fans, ice packs and cubes, and frozen treats for portable cooling options. And just like you would for a child, let your pets run under the hose or sprinkler in the backyard or even take a dip in the kiddie pool.

We may not be able to stop the heat but if you’re smart about ways to keep cool and situation to avoid, you and your pet will be made in the shade this summer.


Article courtesy of our friends at The Pet Beastro

Golden paste

Golden Paste for Arthritis and Overall Health

Golden pasteWhen it comes to supplements for dogs, there are very few I recommend as frequently as golden paste.  It has many positive effects, but its primary strength is that it is an anti-inflammatory.  Inflammation is the cause of many issues, including joint pain (which I deal with as an animal chiropractor).  However,  chronic inflammation is also known as the silent killer because of its potential role in many diseases.  This article will focus on what golden paste is, what conditions it may help, and how you can acquire it.

What is golden paste?

Golden paste is the name of a supplement that features turmeric, coconut oil, and black pepper.  The major active ingredient in this mixture is turmeric.  More specifically, there is a compound in turmeric called curcumin that provides the benefits.  These benefits include:

  • anti-inflammation
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-oxidation
  • pain relief
  • and more

The black pepper and coconut oil are used to enhance the absorption of curcumin and provide a means to combine the ingredients together.  All of these ingredients act together to pack quite the powerful anti inflammatory punch!

What conditions might golden paste help?

As an animal chiropractor, I see a lot of dogs suffering with joint pain.  The biggest of the conditions is arthritis, which turmeric provides profound benefits.  In fact, a recent study on humans showed that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, actually outperforms ibuprofen when treating arthritis.  There was another nice benefit as well.  There weren’t any of the side effects associated with ibuprofen use!

In addition, golden paste helps with pain – even if there isn’t arthritis.  Inflammation stimulates pain nerves in the body which leads to a feeling of discomfort.  Addressing this inflammation will help reduce these nerve signals.  Therefore, your pet will benefit from this supplement if they are in pain, even if they aren’t arthritic.  Senior dogs with mobility issues benefit tremendously!

What conditions might benefit that aren’t joint related?

In addition to helping support joints and decrease pain, turmeric helps counter chronic inflammation.  As I mentioned previously, chronic inflammation is referred to as the silent killer because it plays a large role in many diseases.  The conditions that may benefit include:

  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • cancer
  • allergies
  • epilepsy
  • heart health
  • liver health

Therefore, golden paste is way more than an anti pain supplement for your pup.  It’s a supplement that improves their overall health!

Where can you find golden paste?

There are a few options for you.  If you are a hands on type of person, you can make it yourself.  The recipe I recommend for our patients is based on a veterinarian’s recommendations.  You can find the ingredients locally.  If you prefer to shop while sitting at home, this turmeric powder comes highly reviewed.  Island Fresh Coconut Oil is a number 1 seller on amazon (and well reviewed also).  Finally,  the black pepper in your house should work!

If you aren’t a do it yourself type of person, don’t worry – there are some options available for purchase.  These include:

  • Zesty Paws – This is a chewy treat better suited for pets that may not like the golden paste placed directly on their food.
  • Simple Thrive – Another treat, very well reviewed.
  • Kin and Kind – makes a product that you can sprinkle on top of your pet’s food.  Looks like great quality.

Sometimes a dog will turn their nose up at one option, so it’s always nice to have multiple options.

Golden paste is a fantastic supplement that is easily accessible, whether homemade or purchased online.  It helps animal chiropractors address joint pain and arthritis.  However, the anti inflammatory benefits have widespread benefits.  It is, in our opinion, one of the best pet supplements out there!

Want to learn about other supplements we recommend?  Check out our favorite products.


*If you purchase any of the products listed in this blog, we do receive a small commission.  However, you can find many of the recommended products at local pet stores and these brands aren’t the only ones out there.  We just wanted to recommend the ones that are highly rated.

Why Is Nutrition Important?

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat.’ And it’s true, good nutrition provides a base for the body to build upon. Without a good, healthy diet our bodies do not get the vital nutrients necessary to support its function and prevent disease.

Health Starts in the Gut

The small intestine is linked to the rest of the body as the site of absorption of nutrients and home to over 80 percent of the immune system cells. The small intestine is also where most disease comes from. When under stress, the walls of the small intestine are weakened which causes gaps resulting in leaky gut. Leaky gut allows bacteria and pathogens to escape from the small intestine and into the bloodstream. Once the blood is ‘dirty,’ we see allergies arise. If left untreated, the body can follow the disease progression from leaky gut, to allergies, to autoimmune concerns and finally, cancer.

Animals and people who enjoy a nutritious diet rarely get sick. If they do get sick, they are able to fight it off faster and easier than those with poor nutrition.

Nutrition provides many things to the body including:

  • Amino Acids
  • Enzymes
  • Probiotics
  • Trace Minerals
  • Natural Vitamins and Minerals
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • Antioxidants

Nutrition and Our Pets

The Pet Beastro is dedicated to providing the best pet foods that we can. We make certain all foods we feature offer your pet the highest nutrition possible. Family and independently-owned pet food companies are able to have a say in what ingredients they put into their foods. They are also able to decide what farmers to trust and what farmers to avoid, while supporting local agriculture. This also allows them to avoid GMO ingredients, as well as meat and poultry from less that humane farms. They sincerely care about the health of your animal and the quality of the product they provide.

Large pet food companies use many fillers, synthetics, and otherwise unsavory ingredients in their foods. They are never self-owned, instead they are owned by large conglomerates that hold the final decision on what ingredients are used and where exactly they are coming from.

Independent companies offer dense nutrition that support our pets from the start. Companies such as Primal, Zignature, Open Farm, Nature’s Logic, Vital Essentials, and many more carefully choose what they are putting into their foods. They make sure that they are getting the best ingredients and following the highest processing standards.

By providing the best nutrition possible, we are giving our pets the weapons they need to fight through a world that is seeing more disease than ever before.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates


This guest blog is supplied by our partners in animal health, the Pet Beastro.  To learn more about them visit


ingredients to avoid in dog food

10 Reasons To Try A Raw Diet

Raw Diet

Our pets are part of our family. We love them and want the best for them. With recent concerns about fillers, preservatives, and other unknown and dangerous additives in pet food, many owners are looking for a new way to ensure they are doing what is best for their pet.

One of the best ways is nature’s way—a raw diet. A more natural diet that mirrors the way animals track and hunt prey in the wild and eat it, raw. Animals in the wild eat all of the animal they hunt: muscle meat, tendons, organs, and bones. They also eat vegetables and fruits, and they eat it all fresh, preserving the natural vitamins, proteins, minerals, and nutrients contained in it. No grains, corn, flour, and other fillers usually found in your standard pet food.

Health Issues That Justify Switching To A Raw Diet

  1. Unhealthy Teeth & Gums– Biting and tearing of raw meat and bones promotes oral health. Teeth and gums benefit from the natural brushing and flossing from eating a raw diet. A starch-laden kibble or canned mushy pet food doesn’t offer the same abrasion and can even promote plaque and tartar.
  2. Bad Breath – An unhealthy diet of processed meat and fillers can result in bad breath for your pet due to unhealthy teeth and gums. With better overall oral health comes fresher breath.
  3. Digestion Issues – Your pet’s digestive system is designed to process the raw meat and organs of other animals along with fresh fruits and vegetables. When we replace those with fillers and artificial ingredients, we are disrupting their natural digestive process. The nutrients and vitamins that are easily digested from naturally-sourced raw diet just aren’t there.
  4. Many Large Poos – Commercial pet foods contain a lot of fillers which are difficult for a pet’s digestive system to break down, resulting in larger amounts of and more foul-smelling waste. Pets that eat a raw diet experience smaller poop with very little odor as their body uses most of the nutrients it eats. The waste also quickly crumbles to ash as it is biodegradable.
  5. Dull Coat – When your pet is eating a diet of fillers and processed foods, you can see it reflected in their fur. Once your pet has been on a raw food diet, you will notice their coat starts to feel cleaner and softer and look shinier. Another added benefit is they will even stink less.
  6. Excessive Shedding – A pet who isn’t getting the adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in its diet will have a dull coat and shed more frequently.
  7. Weight Gain – Just like in humans, obesity in our pets is on the rise. And considering all of the unnecessary fillers in pet food, it’s not surprising pets raised on or switched to a raw diet rarely are overweight. This is because they are getting exactly what their body needs without any of the ‘extras’ that cause weight gain.
  8. Low Energy Levels – The more energy your pet gets from their food, the better they will feel. With a raw diet, your pet gets more of what they need to feel healthy.
  9. Behavior Challenges – Just like humans, when we don’t eat well, we generally don’t feel well—physically and mentally. A raw diet is a pure diet, without any additives or fillers. Your pet is getting what is naturally meant for them to eat. Oftentimes eating raw bones is actually helping them relax.
  10. Overall Poor Health – Many ailments are caused by poor nutrition including:
    1. Seasonal allergies
    2. Food allergies
    3. Digestive upset and colitis
    4. Cat hairball issues
    5. Idiopathic Vestibular Disease(IVD)
    6. Bladder crystals
    7. Skin and fur disorders

Are you ready to make the switch to raw? Call The Pet Beastro at (248) 548-3448 to schedule a Nutrition Consult with one of our Pet Nutrition Specialists and we will offer suggestions that are perfect for your pet’s breed, age, and basic health conditions.

*By Dr. Jill Tack at The Pet Beastro.

Natural Treatments for Dogs with Arthritis

natural treatments for dogs with arthritis

As animal chiropractors, we see a lot of different conditions walk into our practice.  However, one of the biggest issues we see is arthritis.  Arthritis is particularly tough on a dog’s rear end, but can have whole body effects.  In this article, we want to describe some natural treatments for dogs with arthritis that we use in our practice.

How do we know if our dog has arthritis?  Some of the symptoms associated with the condition are:

  • Slipping and falling on floors
  • Inability to do stairs or to get in and out of a vehicle
  • Difficulty getting up from laying down
  • Difficulty getting comfortable and more

If you see these symptoms, there’s a reasonable chance your dog is dealing with some level of arthritis (although an x-ray will confirm the diagnosis).  Over time, the effects will become more pronounced.  However, there are natural treatments for dogs that can help slow the progression of arthritis and help provide relief.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic is a great treatment for preventing and providing relief for arthritis.  This is because arthritis is the result of chronic inflammation and abnormal stress on a joint.  Both of these stresses are things chiropractic helps address.  When a joint quits moving well it leads to inflammation and abnormal pressure on the bones that hold a joint together.  Over time, these can contribute to bone spurs and other signs of arthritis that lead to discomfort.  By restoring normal motion, it helps slow the progression of arthritis – and provides relief for any dog already afflicted with it.


Supplements are another one of the treatments for dogs with arthritis.  They can help repair damaged joints by providing necessary nutrients that a joint needs in addition to lubricating it.  When it comes to supplements, we tend to recommend fish oil and glucosamine products.

Fish oil has numerous benefits throughout the body, but who would have suspected benefits for arthritis?  We wouldn’t, but after reading through a few veterinary rehabilitation books it was noted multiple times in clinical trials.  The belief is that the anti-inflammatory effects are in part responsible, but there are probably other factors in play.  You can find fish oil at local pet stores or online.  We recommend a pump bottle fish oil since it recommends the dose per weight.  You can also add a turmeric supplement for additional inflammation support.

We also like to add glucosamine as one of the treatments for dogs with arthritis.  You can even begin adding joint supplements earlier in life to help prevent the progression of arthritis as well.  We tend to recommend holistic, more natural sources for joint health.  Brands we like are Super SnoutsWapiti LabsWholistic HealthConnectin, and other brands with similar ingredient panels.

Additional Products

For dogs that slip a lot in the house, we recommend runners.  When a dog is slipping in a house, they aren’t able to grip the ground correctly. This will lead to muscle atrophy over time since they aren’t able to use their muscles correctly.  In addition to runners, you can add additional items.  Dr. Buzby’s toegrips can make a difference or products such as Valfrid dog pads can help.   I tend to prefer gripping devices that aren’t a full sock design because the paw still needs air flow.  If you can change the sock periodically throughout the day, the Gripper brand may do the trick.

We also like to recommend pet stairs or ramps for getting into cars or getting up and down off furniture.  When it comes to choosing a product, part of it will depend on the size of your dog etc.  You certainly want something stable.  Pet Gear makes a portable option that can be used in the house for furniture and at the car.  They have multiple options worth considering.  Looking for something a little more aesthetically pleasing?  Check out Best Dog Supplies dog stairs.

Have a larger breed dog that needs help getting into the car?  You may need something a bit more heavy duty.  Pet Loader makes a sturdy option for you.  You can also check out some of the products from Pet Gear if your dog would prefer a ramp with no steps.

There are many natural treatments for dogs with arthritis and we plan to focus more content on it in future blogs.  In the meantime, if your dog is in their senior years and suffering from some of the symptoms we mentioned consider visiting a board certified animal chiropractor, adding some supplements to help their joints, and getting a few items to help with their mobility issues.  Have more questions or want us to focus on some other aspects of arthritis?  Comment on this blog!


*In an effort to be completely transparent, we do receive a commission if you purchase any of the products.  Doing so allows us to continue producing content like this to help pet owners.  However, there are many great products out there in addition to what we list in this article.  Feel free to explore other options

Animal Chiropractic for Senior Dogs

Animal chiropractic for senior dogs

Aging is not easy for anyone, especially our dogs. Their back end gets weaker, it is hard to get up and down, they quit using stairs, they experience discomfort, and so much more. This can be tough for a pet owner to come to grips with.

However, what if I told you animal chiropractic care could help? I see it all the time in our practice. It helps with mobility problems, comfort, activity levels, and can even slow the progression of arthritis. In this article I’ll define who is considered a senior dog, explain what animal chiropractic is, list some issues it helps, and then inform you how to find a properly trained animal chiropractor.

Who is considered a senior dog?

As many people know, dogs age much faster than we do.  However, did you know certain breeds and different size dogs age differently than others?  Generally speaking, smaller breeds live longer than larger breeds.  Since this is the case, I believe the best definition for a senior dog is any animal that is in the last 25% of their life based on the standard for the breed.  This is usually when we start to see weakness in the rear, discomfort getting up and down, a decrease in activity, and the progression of arthritis.  So, how can animal chiropractic help this?  We must first define what animal chiropractic is.

What is animal chiropractic?

Many people have at least heard of chiropractic for humans.  However, many people are confused as to what chiropractic actually is!  Chiropractors train to evaluate the spine for structural dysfunction, often referred to as subluxations.

Subluxations are areas in the spine that aren’t moving as they should or are in the wrong position.  When dysfunction like this occurs, inflammation can build up and stress joints, nerves, and more leading to pain and reduced function.  To correct this, a chiropractor palpates and motions the spine searching for heat secondary to inflammation, muscle spasm, and joints that aren’t moving well.  When they locate a problematic area, a correction is given via an adjustment to restore normal biomechanics.  When it comes to animal chiropractic, the adjustment is very gentle and there’s typically no cracking or popping!

What conditions might animal chiropractic help a senior dog with?

The spine of a senior dog has endured a lifetime of wear and tear.  This contributes to things we frequently see in practice such as:

  • Decreased mobility
  • Discomfort
  • Decreased rear muscle tone
  • Arthritis and more

Many of these symptoms are secondary to subluxations of the spine, and they often intertwine.

How does this happen?  Initially, a joint quits moving well.  This doesn’t cause too many problems at a young age, but things can snowball later if we don’t correct it.  Eventually, inflammation builds up to a point where it is uncomfortable for a dog to fully engage a joint.  When this happens, a pet owner might notice a dog doesn’t want to use stairs any more or really struggles getting rested in any position.

Over time, this discomfort starts to affect the muscles.  If it is painful to get up from laying down or to walk, a dog will not do it.  The muscles start to atrophy, and even more stress is placed on the joints because there’s less muscle to support it.  There’s an old adage that applies here, use it or lose it – and they will certainly lose muscle tone if they don’t use it.  This becomes cyclical and the discomfort leads to less movement and more muscle wasting, which leads to even less movement and even more muscle wasting.


This will also contribute to arthritis.  Arthritis is the result of chronic inflammation and abnormal stress on a joint.  Arthritis doesn’t form overnight.  It is the result of abnormal biomechanics over long periods of time.  A subluxation left uncorrected is exactly this.  The lack of normal motion in the joint will lead to an inability to pump inflammation away.  The longer the inflammation sits there the longer, the longer it eats away at cartilage.  In addition, this loads a joint up with abnormal stress and combined these progressively lead to arthritis.

The great thing about animal chiropractors is that they train to find and correct subluxations!  This will help alleviate many of the problems senior dogs deal with.  An adjustment will restore normal motion to a joint.  Restoring motion allows joints to pump inflammation away.  With a decrease in inflammation, there’s a decrease in pain.  When the pain is gone, the dog is more willing to be active and is much more mobile.  This will lead to increased muscle tone.

Needless to say, animal chiropractic can be a very important therapy for an aging dog.  However, who is trained appropriately to work with animals?

How do I find an animal chiropractor?

There are two routes to become an animal chiropractor.  A practitioner must first complete veterinary or chiropractic school and receive their doctorate.  After that, they will attend additional training for animal chiropractic at a different program.  These programs usually encompass hundreds of hours of additional training which includes a textbook and hands on curriculum.  At the end of training, they will then have an opportunity to certify with one of the major boards.  These boards include the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association or the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association.

My personal recommendation would be to search out someone who is board certified.  However, if there is no one local then my next recommendation would be to find a practitioner who attended a program that prepares them for these boards.  Some of these programs include Options for Animals, Healing Oasis, the Parker University animal chiropractic program, or ACES.

Unfortunately, it is inevitable that members of our fur family will age.  This is typically accompanied by decreased energy, discomfort, weakness in the back end, and reduced mobility.  However, there are natural solutions such as animal chiropractic that can help.  Is your dog entering their golden years?  Find an animal chiropractor today!

Interested in learning more about other ways to help your senior pet?  Check out our article on natural treatments for dogs with arthritis.

cbd oil

Must Have Supplements for Luxating Patella

Supplements for luxating patella

Many small breed dog owners deal with a condition known as luxating patella (or floating kneecaps).  One day their little pup is running blissfully around the back yard then out of nowhere they come up lame.  There is usually a yelp and the affected leg rises into the air.  It is heartbreaking, especially for someone who has never run into the problem before.  Your next step is a trip to the veterinarian where you leave with a diagnosis of luxating patella.

The truth is, it is somewhat common in small breeds such as Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Malteses, and more.  Many veterinarians actually diagnose it without the owner even knowing there is a problem.  What is this problem?  Luxating patella is a condition where a dog’s knee cap will slip out of its normal location in a groove formed by the bones of the legs.  When this happens, the dog will come up lame and try to maneuver the knee cap back into groove.

There are grades for luxating patella

These are:

  1. Grade 1 – The knee cap slips in and out of the groove, but returns to the normal position spontaneously.
  2. Grade 2 – The knee cap slips out of the groove occasionally and can be replaced with manipulation.
  3. Grade 3 – The knee cap slips out of the groove most of the time, but can be replaced with manipulation.
  4. Grade 4 – The knee cap slips out of the groove and cannot be replaced manually.

Fortunately, grades 1, 2, and some of grade 3 respond favorably to chiropractic care, physical therapy, and more.  Grade 4 may require surgery.  However, every case benefits from joint protecting supplements!

What are the best supplements for luxating patella and why?

The problem with a knee cap that slides in and out is that it can rub against the joints and create inflammation.  This leads to wear and tear, known as arthritis, that can become debilitating at a later age.  To counter this, we need supplements to protect the joints.  There are a number of supplements out there that contain glucosamine, an important joint protectant.  However, they are often synthetic and aren’t easily absorbed by a dog’s body.  Instead look for more holistic options such as the products we review below!


Green Lipped Mussel

Joint supplements featuring Green lipped mussel are excellent for countering the joint damage of luxating patella.  They feature healthy omega 3 fatty acids in conjunction with glucosamine and chondroitin (key building blocks of joints and cartilage).  Super Snouts has a highly reviewed product that works well.

supplements for luxating patella
Proprietary Blends

Wholistic is a great brand that features many great supplements.  Their Canine Complete Joint Mobility supplement features glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, green lipped mussel, and adds other vitamins and minerals to boost your pups overall health.

supplements for luxating patella

InClover Connectin also offers a joint supplement with a proprietary blend that features additional herbs with anti-inflammatory properties.  Green lipped mussel is not present in this product.  However, it does pack quite the punch with the addition of numerous herbs.

supplements for luxating patella
Deer Antler Velvet

Another holistic joint supplement we see a lot features deer antler velvet.  Deer shed their antlers every year, which contain a ton of nutrients.  Antlers are one of the fastest growing tissues in the animal world and have impressive regenerative capabilities.  The velvet is processed and turned into a dietary supplement for your dog.  Wapiti Labs has a whole line that you can check out for your dog!

supplements for luxating patella

As you can see, there are many options.  When it comes to finding the right supplements for luxating patella, you want to focus on quality.   Many of the ones we listed are great examples, but they are far from the only options available.  You can certainly browse for other options, but definitely search for some of the ingredients we mention.

Luxating patella is certainly a troublesome condition.  However, starting supplementation at the earliest signs can help protect the joints over a lifetime!


*In an effort to be completely transparent, we do receive a commission if you purchase any of the products.  Doing so allows us to continue producing content like this to help pet owners.  However, there are many great products out there in addition to what we list in this article.  Feel free to explore other options.  Also consider visiting reputable websites such as Chewy where there are many options available.