If you have a large dog, there will come a time when you begin the search for a solution to their hip and joint pain. I’ve tried so many things, I can hardly remember them all. There may not be one solution and every dog is different. It becomes an ongoing puzzle for the rest of their lives.
Zu began having inflammation in his back right hip when he was four years old. He had never been injured other than regular dog stuff while playing so I chalked it up to possible genetics. Last year when he turned six, I had his hips x-rayed. Our veterinarian found that the ball joint was not smooth. It was possibly genetic or he had grown too fast in his first year. He HAD grown fast. He was adding ten pounds a month, not strange for a large-bone German Shepherd, but it really wasn’t healthy. I backed off his rich, nutrient puppy food around his eighth month but he didn’t slow down. By the time he was one year old, he was a trim 110 pounds. There was no way of knowing if damage had been done….until he turned four.
Most of the time Zu feels good. He does have days, after playing too wildly or during cold winters, where he’s uncomfortable and restless. It can take 3-4 days of pampering, after he chases a bee in several directions at once, to get him back to normal. We do a lot more walking than Frisbee now, even if it’s just in circles in the back yard training him to walk “with me”.
Along the way, we’ve tried Carprofen, Tramadol, Meloxicam, CBD drops, Cosequin, massage, ice packs…you get the idea. On the occasion he’s really hurting, he gets a half dose of Tramadol. Zu is super sensitive to medication so whatever his recommended dose would be for his weight, I half it or may even start with a quarter dose. He has been on a raw diet, with added supplements, for two years and I think it has helped. I try massage daily but he has to be super tired to allow it. He’s very protective of his hip.
It’s important to keep Zu’s weight as low as possible and it’s something I struggle with constantly. When he turned five years old, his metabolism seemed to slow down. I watch every thing he eats. Zu is treat motivated so I try to make each training treat count.
I use turmeric for inflammation in my own body and found that the supplement can be used for dogs, too. There are a number of recorded benefits such as the ease of arthritis, reduction in blood clots and aid in digestion. There are also ongoing studies on cancer and dementia prevention. If you would like to add turmeric to your dog’s meals, do your research to make sure it doesn’t interfere with other medications. Start small.
This recipe does not include black pepper or a fat (coconut oil/olive oil), both needed for full absorption. Zu gets both in his meals so the treat is a little extra during the day. You can also make Golden Paste to add to both the treats and meals.
I am not a veterinarian. Before starting your pup on any new supplement, having a discussion with your vet is highly recommended. Turmeric is a natural blood thinner, and even though there is only a small amount in this recipe, please check with your veterinarian if your pup is already on a blood thinning medication.
UPDATE: JUNE 2021
Zu has reached that place in his life where the raw food diet no longer works. The protein is too dense and he is not satiated. I’ve cut back as much as I can but since he’s slowing down, he is gaining weight. So, I have transitioned him to a cooked food diet so I can control the protein content. Dogs gain weight eating too much protein, humans gain weight eating too many carbs. He’s doing very well on it and his hip seems to be steady. He only gets turmeric in the cooler months as it increases his body temperature. So, if your pup is heat sensitive, leave out the turmeric in this recipe during the summer. The treats are still tasty!
Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Dog Treats
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutter
- Small bowl
- Pastry brush
- 4 cups oat flour
- ½ cup flax seeds ground
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 cup water
- 2 eggs (1 for wash)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add oat flour, ground flax seeds, turmeric, water and 1 egg. Mix well until combined into a ball. Dough will be sticky so add more flour to make it manageable for roll out
- With a rolling pin, roll dough out to 1/4" in thickness on an oat floured surface.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Beat the second egg in a bowl and brush the top of each treat.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until treats are golden brown. Time will vary depending on your oven.
- If still warm after removing from oven, cool on a wire rack. Turn off your oven and allow treats to cool for 1 hour. This will help make them crunchier.
- Store cookies in air tight container in refrigerator for two weeks, or freeze for three months.
- Use organic ingredients when possible.