How Ageing Looks Like
Ageing is parallel to time, meaning every tick of the clock translates to the slowing down of our bodies’ processes related to healing and production of new cells that let us live our lives to the fullest. As we age, our bodies slowly begin to disintegrate. We lose our hair volume resulting to baldness, muscle mass resulting to the sagging of our skin, and our ability to use up energy from the food we eat resulting to obesity. These may all seem skin-deep, but some of the small things our bodies lose the ability to regenerate, most of which we take for granted, can cause us so much pain and contribute to an exponential disintegration. Ageing affects all living things, but it does so distinctively. For example, Greenland sharks get to live until they’re 200 years old and are only considered mature when they turn 100 years old; if on average, dogs only live until 15 years old, this means that they age 13 times faster.
Old Dogs, New Illnesses
Many health problems arise as ageing hits our dogs hard. Neurons that allow our dogs to sense lose their ability to regenerate, their bodies’ ability to use up energy from food slows down causing them to gain weight, and tissues that keep the ends of their bones from rubbing into each other lose their ability to heal. The loss of these joint tissues causes dogs so much pain that their movements become limited and they lose their appetite. This lack of exercise and food intake messes up their entire bodies, causing health complications that are far more detrimental. This painful condition that indirectly causes other health issues is called arthritis.
Arthritis for Dogs
Although arthritis is a problem in itself, what really gives birth to more health problems is the pain and distress it causes to our dogs. Unlike humans, dogs cannot tell us how bad their arthritis hurts. Arthritis is characterized by the thinning of the tissue that cushions the ends of bones around the joint area. We can find these tissues in our knees, elbows, and even our knuckles. Unlike for us humans who only have 2 legs that carry the weight of our bodies, dogs have 4 tiny legs that get worn out faster. When enduring the symptoms of arthritis, dogs commonly experience stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints of their hips and knees. Factors that cause arthritis include the amount of exercise, their age, weight, breed, and injuries that might have caused tears in their joint tissues. Some of the dog breeds that are more prone to arthritis than the others are Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherd; these dogs are commonly known for being active and athletic. This increases the speed at which their joint tissues get worn out and the probability of injuries that go unnoticed. Among other things, the possibility of arthritis should be considered by dog owners before getting bigger dog breeds. Certain vitamins can reduce the swelling of our dogs’ joints. These can be supplemented through the use of herbs that are commonly found in our kitchens or at our local organic store. Eastern countries have been using herbs for medical treatments for centuries, although there are now herbal variants of laboratory-made medicines in capsule and syrup form. Herbal medicine in capsule form is good to use, but it’s more economical buy the herbs from local organic stores.
Top 10 Herbs
Although dogs’ arthritis is a condition that can be treated surgically, certain herbs can alleviate its symptoms. There are many powerful and easy to find herbs that can reduce swelling and pain brought about by arthritis in dogs. Some are normally incorporated with the food and drinks we ingest, while most are common bases of commercial herbal products that promote healing and wellness.
- Cat’s Claw for dogs’ arthritis may seem like a funny irony, but it’s actually the bark of the root of this tropical vine that does all the wonders. Its use can be traced back to early civilizations. In reasonable doses, cat’s claw is safe to ingest. The bark of its roots can be boiled to make cat’s claw herbal tea. 2 tablespoons of the tea can be mixed with the dogs’ cold water to help improve their immune system. Not only does it treat the ache caused by arthritis, but it also helps the body fight against other diseases.
- Licorice is an herb which has roots that can soothe aching joint tissues caused by arthritis. More than the soothing it can provide, it can also protect the swollen joint tissues from stressors that can make it worse. Since licorice root is safe and sweet, drinking it in tea form will not stress suffering dogs more. Although it is safe, it should not be taken for extensive periods of time. More than its ability to protect the joints, licorice can also prevent other illnesses.
- Aloe Vera is a succulent that has long thin leaves that contains a gel-like substance inside. This plant has developed a cult following due to its phenomenal ability to speed up the healing of skin injuries. One of its powers includes the soothing of burns and swelling. Some beverage companies believe that aloe vera can detoxify and promote internal healing as well. As treatment for dogs’ arthritis, the aloe vera gel directly derived from the leaves of the plant can be topically applied to around the joints of our pets. It can also be mixed with banana puree to soothe the joint pains internally.
- Thunder god vine is one of the oldest herbs used in Chinese folk medicine. The extracts of its peeled roots can be ingested to boost the immune system. Due to its potency and the toxicity of the other parts of the vine, once brewed, only small amounts of the concoction can be ingested by dogs. A couple of tablespoons should be mixed with wet food and consumed immediately.
- Turmeric is one of the favorites in the wellness industry. Due to its properties that decrease swelling, turmeric tea is often taken to aid in weight loss and managing rosacea. With these swelling management properties, it can alleviate the pain caused by arthritis in dogs. Turmeric is bitter, and can therefore be taken only in small amounts, diluted in water, and mixed with a tablespoon of honey.
- Boswellia tree produces herbs and sap that harden, from which boswellic acid is derived from. Boswellic acid treats arthritis by blocking substances that attack healthy joints. Like many herbs with medicinal properties, boswellia capsules and creams are commercially available. If dog owners can obtain fresh boswellia herbs and dried saps, these can be boiled to produce tea. Gauzes can be dampened with the boswellia concoction and wrapped around the joints of dogs with arthritis. A cup of the boswellia tea can also be mixed 3 cups of mango puree to make it palatable for our dogs to ingest.
- Willow bark has been chewed by early civilizations for its power to target overall swelling and pain. For dogs with arthritis, the barks of the willow tree can be brewed, chilled, and mixed with pureed watermelon. After regular intake, dogs with arthritis will have less difficulty in walking and moving.
- Eucalyptus leaves contain tannins, the same bitter substances present in wine that soothe swelling. The soothing properties of eucalyptus leaves are so potent that it has the ability to decongest sinuses when inhaled through the nose even in its popular gel and oil form. Although eucalyptus is unsafe to ingest, it can be boiled to make a concoction to which gauzes can be dipped. While still warm and damp, the gauzes can be wrapped around the joints of dogs with arthritis; when using this herb, dog owners must keep their eyes on their pets as they may lick the damp gauze.
- Ginger roots are commonly used in cooking all around the world. This has been long used in Chinese folk medicine to lessen swelling. Sliced ginger can be boiled to make tea; however, to neutralize its strong taste, it will have to be mixed with apple puree. Since it is commonly used in savory dishes, dog owners can prepare Thai ginger chicken but without garlic and onions for dogs with arthritis.
- Green tea leaves are heated immediately after picking not just to preserve the flavor, but also its properties that calm down swelling. It has been enjoyed by Chinese aristocrats for about 2000 years for its flavor and detoxifying properties. Today, most skincare products include green tea extract in their ingredients for its ability to depuff eye bags, treat acne, redness, cuts, and burns. Unlike ginger tea, green tea tastes subtle. Because it contains caffeine, it is not recommended that dog owners let dogs with arthritis drink very concentrated green tea. Green tea leaves must only be soaked in the hot water for 1 minute before they’re strained out. Similar to the eucalyptus concoction that we can get after boiling the leaves, we can use the green tea to dampen gauzes. The gauzes can be wrapped around the joints of dogs with arthritis while still warm and damp. Unlike with the eucalyptus gauzes, dogs with green tea gauzes do not need as much supervision.