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Did you know that dogs experience some similar aging health problems as humans? For example, they can develop arthritis which affects as many as 10 million adult dogs in the USA itself.
And it’s not easy seeing your dog limping around in discomfort and pain because of pain in their joints and hips. If you want to do something about it, you can by giving supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate for dogs.
The problem, however, is that there are so many joint supplements available, it’s somewhat tricky finding the right one for your dog. Things get confusing when you ask friends and family for suggestions as different dogs respond differently to various supplements and dosages.
And it’s a waste of time and money trying out different products to see how your dog responds to them. While your veterinarian can help you out, it’s also better if you keep yourself informed about the available options.
Besides, you need to be careful while looking for joint supplements containing glucosamine for dogs because the nutraceutical market doesn’t have any regulatory laws or quality control board. So here’s some help in finding the right supplements for your dog.
1.Does he need one?
You need to find out if your dog needs a supplement as some dogs improve just through weight loss and regular, gentle exercises. However, you may have to start supplements if your dog finds it difficult even to stand or sit, performing even mild activities and tends to sleep more than usual. Also, loss of appetite, hot, swollen joints and a stiff and difficult-looking gait are all signs of arthritis that needs medication and pain relief.
2. Buy from reputable companies
If you are sure, your dog needs a supplement, make sure you buy something from reputable companies. This is important as the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements. You have to check for the reliability, safety and quantity of ingredients used in the supplements by learning more about the company you plan to buy.
3. Learn about ingredients used
You need to find out if the components used in the product were tested for safety and efficiency in treating arthritis in clinical trials. Sometimes testimonials and letters attesting a product’s efficacy you find on the manufacturer’s website may be fake.
Even product reviews aren’t trustworthy as they may be made up. So look for a scientific analysis conducted by an independent company or university with data mentioning how effective the ingredients and supplements are.
The common ingredients in joint supplements are chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. They are structural components of healthy cartilage tissue which treats and controls osteoarthritis pain.
Other ingredients you may find in supplements include natural anti-inflammatories like omega-3 fatty acids, Boswellia, bromelain, ASU, MSM, vitamins C and D and bone health supporting ingredients like calcium, magnesium and vitamin E.
4. Place of manufacture
You also have to choose your supplement based on its area of production. Don’t rely only on the company’s office address listed on the bottle. You need to find out if the product is manufactured in the USA if that’s where it’s claimed to be produced.
This is essential as even though the ingredients may be safe and effective, you receive an adulterated supplement if it’s manufactured in a dirty manufacturing plant or while using poorly maintained equipment. Though there’s no guarantee, it’s safer to buy made in USA supplements than products made in countries like China, India or Mexico.
5. Ingredients’ place of origin
Most manufacturers outsource their components from the open market and don’t create their ingredients. Find out where the ingredients come from as though the product may be manufactured in the USA, the ingredients have to come from reputable sources.
You need to know if the glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and other ingredients in the supplement are safe for your dog. There should not be any adulteration in the ingredients before they are used for making supplements as it only reduces the supplement’s working abilities
Remember, you will be regularly giving these joint supplements for dogs, for perhaps the rest of their life. And if there’s something unsafe in them, then while your dog may get some joint pain relief, they may end up suffering from some other complications or problems.
6. Right proportion and amount of ingredients
You also have to find out if the supplement contains the right amount of different ingredients for your dog size. For example, if your dog weighs eighty pounds, he needs about 1500 mg of MSM every day.
So while glucosamine supplements with 1000 mg of glucosamine and 500 mg of MSM will give him sufficient glucosamine, he only gets a third of the required MSM. As MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulphate are prescribed only once a day, supplements containing just 500 mg of MSM will not provide much joint pain relief to your dog.
Most pet owners make the mistake of just reading labels and giving the listed dose once a day. It’s usually products containing a bevy of ingredients that are more likely to hold the wrong proportion of ingredients in them. You thus end up with a supplement that is not so effective at treating your dog.
As other ingredients in the product may lead to the supplement’s poor absorption and efficiency, you need to find out not only how much glucosamine and chondroitin the supplement contains, but also if it contains other ingredients which may inhibit its performance.
These six tips should help you choose the right joint supplement for your dog. But remember, that you also have to incorporate a healthy diet for joints, and encourage your dog to do some regular light, gentle exercises. You can’t expect miracles from the supplements. They work better if taken while following a healthy, nutritional and meat-based diet with regular, mild exercise.
Last, but not least, make sure you regularly give your dog it’s supplements, and be patient for results. Your dog will take some time for improvement and feel better with the supplement. Of course, always consult your veterinarian before you start your supplements no matter if you are starting it for joint pain relief or as a preventative measure.