We've been lucky (knock on wood) that our Kitsune has always been a pretty hardy pup. He'll be 8 later this year and, so far, we've never experienced any major health scares with him. He has a couple of chronic issues that, thankfully, are things we've been able to easily keep well managed. Recently Kit was diagnosed with mild arthritis in his back legs. Although mild, Kit was getting painful enough on some days that our vet gave us a prescription pain killer for him. I hate seeing my little buddy in pain, but the potential side effects of giving him NSAIDs often made me nervous. I stared researching to see if there were any alternative ways to help reduce his arthritis pain without negative side effects.
Side effects of using NSAIDs on dogs can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite, intestinal ulcers, liver failure, and kidney failure. Of course liver and kidney failure are the scariest side effects. Kit has always had a very sensitive stomach. Possibly TMI, but he gets diarrhea often, and we've tried, many times, to figure out why.
Despite all the vet testing we've had done over the years, multiple vets have never been able to diagnose Kit with anything other than an extra sensitive GI tract. Between his sensitive stomach and his food allergies I'm very, very careful about what I feed him. The name of the game is to try to avoid anything that will upset his stomach. Since his arthritis diagnoses I found myself having to choose between the worse of two evils. Do I give him medicine that will help his legs but upset his stomach (or worse)?
Luckily early on in my research I came across a magical concoction called golden paste. The main ingredient in golden paste is turmeric, a plant in the ginger family. Native to Southern India, powdered turmeric is often sold as a spice for use in Indian dishes. It's also known to have many health benefits - everything from reducing dental plaque to fighting cancer!
The recipe for golden paste that I use is 1/2 cup high quality turmeric powder, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup coconut oil, and 1 1/5 teaspoons ground black pepper. I heat the ingredients on low heat and mix until everything is well blended and the mixture is uniform. Then I store it in a mason jar in the refrigerator.
A couple of weeks ago I started offering Kit golden paste (1/4 of a teaspoon per 10 lbs) because of its ability to reduce inflammation and thus help ease arthritis pain. I was pleasantly surprised when it seemed to be helping! Kit's number of 'bad days', days when we needed to resort to prescription pain medication, became few and far between. Because he rarely needs his NSAIDs now, I don't have to worry as much about things like stomach ulcers and liver failure. In fact, turmeric has actually been shown to help prevent ulcers rather than cause them!
The biggest benefits we've seen to date, other than eliminating Kit's arthritis pain, are that it also seems to have helped his teeth and GI issues. For years now I've struggled to keep Kit's teeth healthy. Although I feed him raw meaty bones and brush his teeth, his teeth have always been prone to plaque buildup. I've been a bit concerned that I would have to eventually book him in for a dental, despite all my efforts to keep his teeth clean. I didn't know, at first, that turmeric could help fight plaque buildup. I was surprised when his teeth started looking better and better, despite no extra effort on my part. His teeth still aren't perfect, but since we started giving him turmeric they have definitely improved.
Kit's GI issues have vastly improved since we started giving him turmeric! He's had soft poo a few times since we started giving him golden paste, but not nearly as often as what's been normal for him. Who would have guessed that after years of trying to figure out why Kit experiences GI upset so often, and not being able to find anything to solve his issues long term, that something I originally started giving him to help with his arthritis would vastly improve not only his arthritis, but his stomach issues as well.
I give Kit his golden paste once a day in the form of a treat. I don't want this post to get too long, plus I need to make Kit more treats this weekend, so next week I'll post the treat recipe we've been using. I've been giving him turmeric daily, with his breakfast, for weeks now and we've experienced nothing but benefits. I'm so happy I was able to find a safer way to deal with his arthritis and, unexpectedly, with his teeth and GI issues as well.
I'd love to hear from you! Have you ever used turmeric as a supplement for yourself or your pet? If so, what where you're experiences with it like?