Ask the Vegan Vet: Diet for Dogs with Arthritis

"My dog has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and my veterinarian has prescribed painkillers along with a meat-based diet. I don't want to feed him meat, but I don't want to compromise his health either. I feel like I've tried everything. Do you have any suggestions?" - Karen C.

Dear Karen,

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is suffering from arthritis.  I'm so glad you've done acupuncture, chiropractic and laser.  You're a wonderful caregiver.  Adequan does tend to help, but of course is expensive.  If he is still in pain on the Rimadyl, traditionally trained vets would tend to add a second pain-reliever such as Tramadol or perhaps gabapentin.  I always recommend glucosamine and omega fatty acids to dogs with joint issues.  Soy and avocado may help in small amounts as well.  I'd respectfully disagree with the meat prescribed by the holistic vet.  Meat has more potential toxins than plants (such as accumulated pesticides, antibiotics, steroids, etc.) and may increase inflammation.  Adding more fresh food to the V-Dog, such as the sweet potato or squash and spinach or broccoli is a great idea.  Many holistic vets were historically taught to prescribe a raw meat diet.  Now, some of the pioneers of the raw food diet are recommending a vegan diet instead (See Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, 4th Edition Mar 2017).

All the best,

Dr. Lorelei Wakefield, VMD

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