By: Melanie Trepanier Just like humans, dogs can be plagued by painful, swollen joints. They may not be able to tell you they’re sore, but the signs and symptoms are all too common. The joints could be warm to the touch, you may observe their difficulty going up and down stairs, no longer wanting to get in and out of the car, not wanting to go on those once loved and never long enough, long walks etc. The point is you know your dog best and when they start showing signs of ageing, the physical pain is palpable to you as an owner and you would do anything to stop the pain for them. The good news is, it can be done and without the use of harmful NSAIDS. Step 1: Address the underlying inflammation Poor diet can wreak havoc on the immune system and cause low grade chronic inflammation. Many dog foods include common allergens like wheat, soy, preservatives and meat from unethical sources. Spend some time reading the ingredients on the bag of your dog food brand of choice and focus on eliminating these ingredients as much as possible. Additionally, toxins can play a harmful role on gut health further aggravating your dog’s joint health and mobility. Over-using NSAIDS and other drugs can lead to toxic build-up that’s more damaging than beneficial. Step 2: Add healthy fats A poor doggy diet can lead to an imbalance in Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, especially with the tendency for them to be on a high grain diet. Adding healthy fats to their diet can help balance the immune and hormonal systems creating a more favourable environment for self-healing. Choose fish foods and grass-fed animal feed whenever possible and add fish-oil to kibbles (just make sure it’s not rancid). Step 3: Supplement with a quality natural health product There are many products to choose from and it can be challenging to choose what’s right. Glucosamine is common. It’s an amino-sugar typically from Asian shell fish that may support cartilage production, but may do little to address the pain and inflammation. Consider products that will calm-inflammation and gently detoxify. A leading example is the SierraSil mineral complex found in Leaps&Bounds. Completely natural and thoroughly tested in people, it offers consistent and reasonably quick (under two weeks) results. Bill Bookout, director of the National Animal Supplement Council commented that SierraSil Leaps&Bounds had significant results for his rescued Akitas. Whether your dog was prone to a joint health condition or succumbed to the imprudence of youth with an injury by overzealously chasing ducks or what have you, try natural remedies first. NSAIDS should be used as rescue medication but not a first line defense.