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  • Yvonne

Feed Foods That Fight Inflammation

Do One Thing: July 2019. This article is part of the 2019 "Do One Thing" series, which focuses on one small project we can do each month to support our dog's health.


Let's talk about inflammation. It's a key concept when we discuss health, disease prevention, and longevity. 

Inflammation is a response to some kind of damage to the body. For example, 'normal' inflammation happens when we cut or bruise an area on our body - there is localized pain, redness and swelling; all of which are the body's way of promoting healing in that area. After a short time, the swelling and pain subside and the area heals. This is a very visible and normal inflammatory response. 

But what happens when inflammation is internal and chronic? Chronic inflammation can last for weeks, months or even years, and can lead to a weakened immune system, which in turn leads to many chronic, serious diseases within the body.

Highly processed dry kibble is a pro-inflammatory diet. Kibble is typically loaded with poor quality ingredients, high amounts of starch, synthetic vitamins, minerals, artificial flavours and preservatives.

Food is a powerful ally in the battle against disease, and feeding a fresh food diet offers a wide range of health benefits, which include decreasing chronic inflammation within the body. 

Your assignment for July ...

Add anti-inflammatory foods to your dog's diet. What we eat, and what our dogs eat, have a profound affect on our state of health. This list highlights a few of my favourite anti-inflammatory foods. Many of you will already be feeding vegetables, berries, and fatty fish to your dog. In that case, great job! You may want to choose one or two additional anti-inflammatory foods and slowly introduce them to your dog.

10 Foods That Fight Inflammation

  1. Green leafy, and cruciferous vegetables

  2. Berries - blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries, for example

  3. Beets - packed with antioxidants, beets are anti-inflammatory and promote liver health. You may need to limit how often you feed beets since they are somewhat higher in natural sugar. (Beets contain oxalates, and many not be a fit for dogs who have a tendency towards oxalate stones.)

  4. Tomatoes - in the form of plain, unsalted tomato paste. The lycopene in tomato paste is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. (Tomatoes are a member of the 'nightshade' family and some canine nutritionists caution that foods from this group may aggravate arthritis in dogs.)

  5. Fatty fish - salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, for example.

  6. Coconut oil - choose organic, non GMO, expeller or cold pressed

  7. Herbs - there are a number of herbs with anti-inflammatory abilities, such as dandelion greens, calendula, and alfalfa. A suggested amount for organic, fresh minced dandelion greens is 1 tsp per 10 lbs of body weight. Start with a much smaller amount to test for tolerance and build slowly. Respect your dog's taste preferences and if your dog doesn't like these herbs, don't force it.

  8. Ginger - a natural anti-inflammatory root that may help dogs living with arthritis and joint pain. You can feed finely minced ginger to your dog if she likes it.  Ginger has a strong odor and taste and not every dog will enjoy it. You might find that organic powdered ginger, or ginger capsules are better tolerated. A suggested dose for minced raw ginger is 1/4 tsp for tiny dogs, 1/2 tsp for small dogs, 3/4 tsp for large dogs. Start with a much smaller amount to test tolerance and gradually increase slowly. * Ginger may thin the blood, may lower blood pressure and blood sugar, so check with your holistic vet if your dog is on any medications and discontinue two weeks before and after surgery.

  9. Turmeric - effective in reducing inflammation associated with arthritis, reduces chronic inflammation, and supports the immune system. Golden Paste is a combination of turmeric, coconut oil, water, and freshly ground pepper. This mixture can be added to your dog's meals. *Turmeric acts as a blood thinner; check with your holistic vet if your dog is on any medication, and discontinue turmeric about 2 weeks before and after any surgery. 

  10. Medicinal Mushrooms - reishi, shiitake, turkey tail, for example. Mushrooms must be thoroughly cooked, served as a broth, or dried in supplement form.

*This is a helpful article on adding mushrooms to your dog's diet:

Some of these foods will be a fit for your dog, and others may not be. Amounts to feed will depend on your dog's body weight, tolerance, current health, and caloric needs.  With any new food, it's best to choose one new food at a time, introduce slowly and increase gradually. 

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