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Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the body’s cartilage and synovial fluid. It helps maintain the bone structure and repairs any damages inflicted on it. While humans who have arthritis have been taking the supplement to soothe aching joints and prevent the disease, it’s now also given to dogs to help treat arthritis in dogs too.
Yes, dogs too suffer from deterioration of their joints and ligaments which leads to pain and mobility problems. Their inactivity can lead to other problems if not taken care of promptly. Veterinarians suggest changing the dog’s diet by giving them food that is infused with glucosamine.
While this may provide relief to some dogs suffering from joint pain, it may not be enough for other dogs. This is when you have to give them oral supplements containing glucosamine, with your veterinarian’s consultation.
Giving glucosamine supplements to your dog
Glucosamine supplements give your dog lots of relief from the pain and discomfort of arthritis. It’s when you spot signs of possible arthritis in your dog that you should consult your vet about the condition immediately to find out how you can give him relief from the pain and discomfort.
Glucosamine supplements for dogs come in various forms like chewable treats, pills, powders and liquids. However, this doesn’t mean that you can randomly pick and start giving your dog any one of the supplements. You have to make your choice based on your veterinarians’ suggestions which are usually based on your pooch’s breed and specific needs.
Sometimes glucosamine supplements may also be suggested for your dog as a preventive measure. Remember, the adage ‘prevention is better than cure’. It applies to your dog too as it’s always better to have him hale and healthy instead of waiting for him to start developing joint problems and then start giving him the supplement.
Most dogs are somewhat receptive to glucosamine supplements, and it’s not so difficult to give it to them. You have first to try giving the supplement to your dog directly, and if he refuses to consume it, you could camouflage it. This can be done by breaking up the pill or capsule and mixing it in his food, or you can wrap it in his favourite snack like cheese, deli meat or any of your dog’s favourite munchies.
How to choose the right joint supplement for dogs
There are many brands and types of joint supplements for dogs available in various dosages, forms and prices. They usually contain other ingredients along with glucosamine-like chondroitin, MSM, Vitamins E, D and C, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, yucca or garlic; it’s essential that you read it’s list of ingredients before giving the supplement to your dog.
Supplements suggesting a dosage of one 1500 mg tablet per 40 pounds of your dog’s body weight will not deliver 1500 mg of glucosamine as there are other ingredients in the supplement. It may have only 1000 mg of glucosamine, which may be insufficient for your dog.
These discrepancies in dosage and accurate ingredient labeling occur because these supplements are not medications and are thus not regulated by the FDA. So make sure you do your research, calculations and consultations with your vet before giving supplements to your dog. It is always better to choose supplements that have a guaranteed analysis and contact the company for third-party testing proof or verification of the report.
It is always better to start giving your dog a supplement with a single substance, or rather only glucosamine. This way you can not only accurately gauge its effects and benefits on your dog, but also find out how well your dog accepts the supplement. Once you feel your dog is comfortable with the supplement, and then you may try other supplements with additional ingredients.
Of the many ingredients found in these supplements, chondroitin sulphate is one ingredient that’s as important and effective at improving joint health like glucosamine. It’s because medical professionals believe that it helps hold or retain fluids in the cartilage, which in turn promotes joint mobility.
How often should I give my dog glucosamine?
Any of the standard delivery methods for glucosamine supplementation like pills, capsules, liquid, powder or intramuscular injections is efficient and acceptable for your dog. However when you are starting a supplement, start with a higher dosage level than in injections.
It helps compensate for the degradation that occurs during digestion. In case of injections, the glucosamine directly reaches the bloodstream and gives faster results than other supplements which are why it’s administered in lower dosages. Pills, capsules, powders and liquids all degrade at about the same rate in the stomach.
Comparing supplement costs
If you are comparing the costs of glucosamine supplements, you have to compare the cost per daily dosage of each product and not the price per ounce or tablet. As the amount of glucosamine per ounce or pill varies, you have to calculate the daily dosage cost for each product to find its exact value.
Also buy a supplement with a reasonable everyday dosage as some products need you give as many as eight capsules, twice or thrice a day for large dogs, which is a waste!
While glucosamine supplements will indeed help give your dog relief from the pain and discomfort of arthritis, you also have to maintain a healthy diet and provide your dog with sufficient exercise for relief from the discomfort of arthritis.