If your dog seems to find it difficult moving from one place to another, it’s most probably because of joint degeneration. Don’t worry; it’s not something to worry about as it’s a common problem with aging dogs, especially the larger breeds like Labrador retrievers. Joint problems are due to a progressive loss of cartilage and because the body stops producing cartilage. This is when chondroprotective medications like glucosamine help by protecting the cartilage and preventing future further loss.
How glucosamine helps
Glucosamine is a diet supplement which if taken on a regular basis helps improve joint problems. It helps relieve pain, and can even be given to dogs as a preventative measure before they get any joint problems. It’s safe for dogs and recommended by veterinarians. While it may not give a complete stop to the condition or rid your dog of joint pain, it does help reduce the muscle inflammation and bone loss. It also improves joint function and movement by helping with the rebuilding of the lost cartilage.
Painkillers vs. glucosamine capsules
Painkillers are not useful as they only give temporary pain relief to your dog. They may even hide any hidden and escalating joint problems in your dog. It doesn’t even control the joint degeneration. Glucosamine supplements are better as they give a partial remedy to the problem. They are also cheaper than pain medication and have fewer side effects than pain medication. The chances of it interacting with other supplements and medication are also lower.
The supplements, however, don’t give instant relief. They work much slower than pharmaceutical painkillers. You may have to wait for as long as 30 days of taking glucosamine supplements to start seeing improvements in your dog’s condition. Also, remember that it takes some time for the benefits of the supplement to fade away after discontinuing it. So don’t assume that your dog has been cured of the pain and discomfort of joint pain after missing a few days of the supplements. It may be better in fact if you consider putting your dog on a lifetime maintenance program.
Types of glucosamine supplements
Glucosamine supplements are available in various forms like pills or capsules, liquid and powder form. Each form of the supplement has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Pills and capsules
There are some cooperative dogs like Labrador Retrievers which have no inhibitions about taking tablets. It’s usually the smaller canines who are naturally poor eaters who don’t like taking medications with food and treats. While tablets are usually in a chewable form which most pets willingly consume, capsules don’t come in chewable format. They have to be consumed as a treat or mixed in food or given directly to the dog.
It is true that you can mix liquids with your dog’s moist foods. But it can also in the process make your dog dislike the food because of the liquid supplement’s taste. It’s especially if the supplement doesn’t taste appealing. Your dog may eventually end up refusing to eat their food. You thus don’t know how much of the supplement they actually consume.
The same problem applies to powder glucosamine supplements. As dogs don’t like the taste of the powder, many people tend to mix it in their dog’s food. While your dog may consume the required supplement if they eat all their food, you don’t actually know how much of the powder they consume if they don’t eat their food. This is why glucosamine capsules are a better option for dogs. Your canine friend either swallows it or throws it out, so you know if he’s got his daily dose or not. You can at least try again if he throws it out, but you don’t know how much he’s swallowed if you mix liquid or powder glucosamine with his food.
Glucosamine capsules as a preventive measure
Instead of waiting for your dog’s joints to degrade, it’s better to prevent its onset in the first place. This can be achieved through the following tips:
• Start giving your canine glucosamine supplements every day from the age of 1-2 years
• Maintain a regular exercise regimen for flexible movements
• Put your dog on a healthy diet with high-quality nutrients
How to give your dog a glucosamine capsule
Some dogs give problems taking capsules and may try to bite your fingers as you place the capsule down their throats. The best way to get your dog to take their capsules is by associating taking pills with something they enjoy like going for walks, treats and playing. It easier to give a glucosamine capsule that tastes pleasant as your dog likes the taste of the capsules. The only problem is that you have to keep the capsules out of your dog’s reach. They may end eating more than required and end up overdosing themselves if they get their hands to the bottle.
Most dogs end up eating their capsules or pills if it’s mixed with their dinner. If possible, hide it in a special treat so that your dog is tempted to take it. Some dog biscuits are designed so that you can hide the pill in it and give it to your dog. You can use any food, as long as its flavour is strong enough to mask the capsule’s flavour. It’s better to start feeding your pet empty treats. Once they like them and look forward to them you can hide the capsules in the treat and give it to them.
Pill pushing devices
These devices let you push the capsule to the back of your dog’s throat. There’s no worry about the dog biting off your fingers but they are tricky to use and need practice. They, however, are really effective once you are comfortable using them. Remember that no matter how difficult it may be to give your dog their glucosamine capsule, it’s important that you give it to them. It’s for their benefit, to help rid them of their joint pain and discomfort.
Many people consider glucosamine capsules to be a better option for their dogs. Of course, this is a personal choice as it’s mainly your pet’s willingness to take medications that is the deciding factor. It’s sometimes better if you consult your veterinarian to find out which is the best form of glucosamine supplement for your pet.