It is not easy for pet owners to see their dogs grow old, especially when their pace slows down and they start limping. This natural aging process generally leads to joint pain, usually because of osteoarthritis. This is when your dog starts growing hesitant to move around which in turn leads to inactivity. This is bad for your dog because they require exercise to maintain healthy muscles, bones and joints. The root of all these problems is the reduction in the natural production of glucosamine in their bodies.
If you wonder what glucosamine is, it is a substance that occurs naturally in your dog’s body where most of it is concentrated in healthy cartilage. It produces glycosaminoglycan that’s required to form and repair body tissues like cartilage. So as your dog ages, this natural repair process of the body also slows down because of a drop in the natural production of glucosamine in the body. This leads to eventual joint pain and stiffness which in the long term leads to the development of painful osteoarthritis and arthritis, especially in your dog’s hip and knee joints.
Instead of letting your dog go through all this trouble, it’s now possible to artificially compensate for the loss of glucosamine in the body through glucosamine or joint pain supplements for dogs.
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Benefits of using glucosamine to prevent canine osteoarthritis
The main benefit of using glucosamine is to help reduce the pain and stiffness in joints associated with arthritis and osteoarthritis. It is during osteoarthritis that the joint cartilage degenerates with age.
Glucosamine helps by slowing down cartilage degeneration by providing the necessary building blocks for new cartilage synthesis. It also helps by preventing any further cartilage damage and also by repairing any damaged cartilage. Besides, it also helps reduce joint pain in your dog through its anti-inflammatory effect. In other words, it prevents swelling and pain in the joints and also helps improve lubrication in your dog’s joints.
So in a nutshell, glucosamine helps naturally restore your dog’s joint health to induce increased mobility. And as complaints of any side effects are really rare, it’s safe to take these supplements on a long time basis. In fact, regular use of these supplements can help reduce the need or dependence on any NSAIDs which only help at reducing joint pain. They do not in any way help repair the joints and to make things worse, they have its share of side effects.
Different types of joint pain supplements for dogs
You will be surprised to hear that glucosamine dog supplements come in as many forms as human supplements. This is to ensure that you have some type of supplement you can give your dog, and need not try to give your supplement to your dog. It is not suggested to give your supplements to dogs because human supplements are formulated to help improve degeneration and reduce pain in humans. So they may be too strong for dogs to digest. This is why it is safer and better to give your dog only veterinary formulas.
Ask your vet
Your dog’s supplements are available in various forms to select from like pills, soft chews, chewable tablets, liquids, powder form and even exist in pet food. However, they all contain different concentrations, which is why it is better to consult with your doctor to find out which form is best for your dog.
In some cases, dog food may be more than enough for joint pain relief in your dog. However, in case of bigger breeds or advanced cases of osteoarthritis, the food may not be enough and you may have to give additional supplements for joint pain relief. Your vet will be able to assess how much and which dog food is best for your dog, and if you need to give any other supplement along with it. Your vet decides the dosage based on your dog’s breed, weight and the extent of joint pain. Some dog owners prefer mixing the powder or liquid form in the dog food so that they do not have to go through the hassle of giving the supplement to their dogs. There are others who don’t mind giving their dogs pills, while some others prefer giving their dogs chews as special treats.
So while your vet decides the right dosage for your dog, it is you who can decide which type you feel is the best and easiest to give your dog. While there are various types and brands of supplements in the market today, there are a few which are rather popular with dogs and vets like Dasuquin and Cosequin.
Additional useful ingredients
Most joint pain supplements include other ingredients like chondroitin and MSM. Chondroitin is another naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan that is required for optimal joints and cartilage health. It is glucosamine and chondroitin which together work at repairing damaged cartilage while slowing down the degenerative process.
Even chondroitin contains anti-inflammatory properties, and blocks and reduces the levels of the enzymes that cause the breakdown of cartilage in joints. While these enzymes naturally occur in joints, they increase in number when the cartilage undergoes abnormal wear or some injury.
Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM is another ingredient found in most supplements given to prevent canine osteoarthritis. It is used for its anti-inflammatory properties, and because it provides the body with sulphur the body requires to generate cartilage and for improved joint flexibility.
It is safe to take glucosamine supplements to prevent and even treat canine osteoarthritis because it does not give any adverse side effects. Your vet will generally first prescribe a loading dose for quicker results and relief at first. Once you notice your dog returning to normal and doing activities like climbing stairs, jumping and willingly going for walks, then your vet will most likely prescribe a lower maintenance dose which your dog can safely take for life. In fact, most dogs who experience relief from glucosamine supplements tend to feel joint pain after a few weeks of discontinuing it.