Joint health is incredibly important when it comes to our dogs… Just think of all the pressure that’s on the cartilage between our dogs’ bones and joints when they are dashing around the field in excitement.
We need this cartilage to stay supple, spongy and watery in order to do its job as a shock absorber, keeping your dog pain-free and happy!
Why do dogs need joint support?
If your dog is fit and healthy, their ball and socket joints will work smoothly to ensure they can do their zoomies as usual! However, as your dog ages, they produce less and less glucosamine naturally. This means that the cartilage within the joint will start to dry up, causing friction and discomfort. Similarly, certain breeds of dog can be prone to joint issues due to their size or hip dysplasia. These breeds include:
- St. Bernard
- Newfoundland Dog
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shepherd
- Great Danes
- Miniature / Toy Poodles
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Cocker Spaniels
When should I consider joint support for my dog?
If your dog is a breed that could be likely to develop joint problems later in life, have you considered starting them on joint support in their younger years? Always consult your vet before starting any form of supplement but you will probably find that from the age of 12 months, your vet will be happy for you to supplement your dog’s diet.
What is Glucosamine?
Did you know that glucosamine is not only a naturally occurring substance in your dog’s body, it is also found in our bodies as well as in the outer shells of shellfish?
The 2 most common forms of glucosamine are:
- Glucosamine sulfate
- Glucosamine hydrochloride
In dog supplements, you will often see glucosamine mixed with other ingredients such as Chondroitin Sulfate and Methylsulfonylmethane (or MSM, for short) to help optimise their efficacy in supporting your dog’s joint health.
Does Glucosamine for dogs work?
Before we answer that, let’s dive into some cool science…!
Studies have shown that giving a mixture of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can help reverse and repair cartilage damage (1) and a blind study proved the positive effect of this combination for dogs with osteoarthritis (2). Chondroitin Sulfate is a naturally occurring chemical found in the body, enabling your dog’s cartilage to keep its cushion-like consistency.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another organic sulfur that is well known for its joint benefits. Tolerated well with dogs, MSM is a common anti-inflammatory agent (3).
So, in a nutshell, yes! Glucosamine for dogs does work. It is commonly mixed with other organic supplements in order to optimise the benefit to the joint.
How can I help support my dog’s joints?
You cannot fully prevent your dog from developing joint problems however there are steps you can take to help:
- Maintain a healthy weight to relieve pressure on the joints
- Ensure physical activity is low impact
- Explore supplements such as salmon oil and curcumin
You might consider giving supplements if you notice any of the below:
- Favouring one leg or limping
- Swollen joints
- Struggling to stand / sit
- Difficulty getting in and out of the car (or on and off their favourite spot on the sofa)
If you suspect joint pain, talk to your vet before supplementing your dog’s diet.
Healthy joints start with a healthy lifestyle
Keeping your dog fit and healthy is essential when it comes to joint care. Ensure their exercise is low impact and keep them at an optimal weight for their size and breed. It goes without saying, extra weight will mean extra stress on the joints - resulting in pain. The pain will lead to inactivity, causing weight gain and so the vicious cycle begins again.
Supplements such as glucosamine can help to keep your dog’s joints lubricated – especially as they age as well as reducing joint inflammation. Keep an eye on the active ingredients as we’ve highlighted above and look for a well-rounded supplement which includes more than one. You know what to look for now!
We hope this guide helps to keep the wear and tear on your dog’s joints to a minimum and has given you the tools to care for them if they are displaying signs of a problem. Our vet services are on hand and can be contacted here should you have any questions.
Mixtures of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate reverse fibronectin fragment mediated damage to cartilage more effectively than either agent alone - PubMed (nih.gov)
Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement - PMC (nih.gov)