As your dog enters the senior years, you may notice they don’t move around as much or as easily as they once did.
Many times, the slower movements can indicate joint pain due to degeneration and arthritis.
Using supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM for dogs helps slow the degeneration and ease joint pain so your beloved pet can move comfortably and regain more youthful activity.
It is helpful to know how each of these supplements work so you can find the best one to fit your pet’s needs.
Glucosamine for Dogs
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that occurs naturally in the body. It is the first compound required in the synthesis of all nitrogen containing sugars in the body, and it provides the building blocks the body needs to build cartilage.
As people and dogs age production of glucosamine by the body slows resulting in a drop in natural levels in the body.
This can lead to joint degeneration as the body’s ability to repair damaged cartilage is negatively affected by decreased levels of glucosamine.
Canine glucosamine is used as a nutritional supplement to help ease pain from arthritis as your dog ages. Scientific studies suggest using a glucosamine supplement can help treat osteoarthritis, especially in the hip and knee joints.
As your pet ages, you will want to consider giving your dog glucosamine as a dietary supplement to provide continued support to the body’s natural repair processes. There are many supplements available, and you need to evaluate each option to find the best glucosamine for a dog like yours.
Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs
Glucosamine for dogs comes in the same forms as for humans. There are two common forms of glucosamine in dietary supplements: glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine HCl.
While glucosamine for people is safe to give to dogs, sometimes the glucosamine for humans includes salts in the formulation that can irritate a dog’s digestive system. Therefore it is recommended to use a veterinary formulation designed specifically for dogs.
Foods specially formulated for joint health include glucosamine and other ingredients that support joint mobility.
Hills Science Diet Healthy Mobility Dry Dog Foods contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs to support joint health. Owners who choose to use dog food with glucosamine do not have to remember to give an extra supplement.
Other owners prefer giving a supplement as a special treat. Supplements are available in soft chews, chewable tablets, granule, or liquid form.
Liquid glucosamine for dogs such as Rejenease can be given directly or added to the food. Each of these products provides dosing directions based on your dog’s weight. Dosages will start at a higher loading dose for 4 to 6 weeks then be reduced to a maintenance level.
Regardless of the form of glucosamine you choose, this supplement is safe to use in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers. By using supplements with glucosamine and other ingredients that support joint health, you may be able to reduce the need for prescription medications.
There are many options available for your dog. Whether you desire to give a supplement as a special treat or in the form of dog food formulated to promote joint health, you can find the best glucosamine for dogs to meet your needs.
Chondroitin for Dogs
Often, dog food formulated for joint health includes chondroitin as an ingredient. Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a compound that occurs naturally in the body and contributes to the health of joints and cartilage.
It is a glycosaminoglycan that serves an important role in the structure of cartilage and contributes to its ability to resist compression forces.
When combined with glucosamine, chondroitin can help replenish important components to repair damaged cartilage and slow the degenerative process.
Chondroitin also has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to block and reduce the level of enzymes present in the joints that break down cartilage. The enzymes are naturally present in joints but increase in the event of injury or abnormal wear on the cartilage.
Chondroitin is an important supplement for older dogs to help combat the degenerative process in joints.
Chondroitin Supplements for Dogs
Many of the supplements that contain glucosamine also include chondroitin.
Chondroitin supplements usually come from bovine cartilage, but some products use mussel, shark or whale cartilage. There is no difference in effectiveness based on the source.
Chondroitin can be given in the same forms as glucosamine. You can feed the same foods formulated for joint health as listed above to provide supplementation.
Chondroitin is not known to have any interactions with drugs, so it is safe to give alongside anti-inflammotory drugs and pain medications.
Supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin may decrease the need for other medications over time.
Methylsulfonlylmethane (MSM) for Dogs
MSM is a naturally occurring compound that contains sulfur and appears to have anti-inflammatory and pain reducing qualities.
Sulfur is present in cells throughout the body and occurs in the highest concentrations in the hair, skin, nails and joints. It is a key element for cell membrane permeability and allows cells to pump nutrients in and waste and toxins out.
Once the toxins are outside of the cells, MSM will scavenge foreign proteins and free radicals to safely eliminate them from the body. Studies report that MSM also strengthens cartilage and other connective tissues by forming cross-linkages with disulfide bonds.
These bonds help maintain structural integrity in the cartilage. In addition, MSM helps reduce pain by blocking the transmission of pain impulses in nerve fibers before they reach the brain.
MSM occurs in very small quantities in many foods, but supplements contain much higher doses. It can be synthesized in the laboratory but can also be harvested from the cellular walls of pine trees, ocean plankton, or other primitive plants.
All sources yield an equally effective product.
MSM Supplements for Dogs
MSM is included in many of the same supplements as glucosamine and chondroitin to provide a comprehensive joint health product.
Dasuquin with MSM, Glycoflex III and Phycox all include MSM in their formulations. Like glucosamine and chondroitin, MSM does not appear to have interactions with medication and is considered safe to use with anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers.
Continued use of these supplements may reduce the need for other medications to manage pain.
Slow Degenerative Joint Disease
As your dog ages they may experience degeneration of the smooth cartilage in joints leading to pain, inflammation and osteoarthritis.
Providing supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM to your canine friend can help slow degenerative joint disease by providing the building blocks the body needs to repair cartilage, by neutralizing destructive enzymes and free radicals and by reducing joint pain caused by inflammation.
The supplement you choose will depend on you and your dog’s preferences.