It all starts with the jaunty walk that becomes stiff, he no longer capers around you as much as he used to, and he probably gives a deep groan when lying down. As your dog grows old he’s no longer able to move his joints as freely as before and it’s only natural to empathize as you see how much it hurts to move those aching joints. In many ways, dogs suffer from the same kinds of joint issues that we get when we age, and the pain and discomfort they experience isn’t that different.
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Common Joint Problems Dogs Can Develop:
- Osteochondrosis, also referred to “growing pains.” This disease mostly affects medium, large and giant breed dogs. Its underlying causes are currently unknown although experts believe they can be triggered by a puppy’s diet and lifestyle.
- Degenerative joint disease. This is characterized by lameness, scarring, swelling and muscle wasting among several other symptoms. Sometimes it can be due to developmental abnormalities or joint deformities that are inherited, while at other times it can be caused by natural wear and tear.
- Dysplasia which means “malformed socket” is a disease that can affect a dog’s shoulder, hip, and elbow. It is considered a hereditary condition that’s more common in larger dog breeds and can only be treated through surgical correction.
- Arthritis. This is a disease that causes stiffness, fluid buildup, and swelling in one or several joints in the dog. Arthritis comes in many forms and can arise from autoimmune, infectious or cancerous causes. Stiffness, fluid buildup, joint swelling in one or several joints, are some of the symptoms you’re likely to see if your dog has arthritis. The disease can also be hereditary in some purebred or hybrid dog breeds.
- Patellar Luxation or “trick kneecap” is another joint condition that usually affects small and toy dog breeds at any stage of their life, causing the kneecap joint to dislocate from its socket. Like arthritis, it is considered hereditary and can lead to lameness or joint deformities in severe cases.
Giving Hip and Joint Supplements for Dogs
Joint supplements for dogs are drugs that are used to treat or manage conditions like arthritis that may interfere with your pup’s joints and compromise his mobility. They can be grouped into three basic categories namely:
- Preventative supplements which are used to keep your dog’s joints strong and healthy to avoid developing joint complications in the future.
- Treatment supplements that do the work of repairing joint damage.
- Nourishing supplements whose function is to support your dog’s body tissues and immune system as well as build healthy joints.
Joint Supplements That Your Vet Is Likely To Recommend To Use For Chronic Joint Complications Include:
- Glucosamine which is a naturally occurring compound that forms in cartilage. It helps fight inflammation, nourishes the cartilage and cushions the joints.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and is responsible for creating and supporting connective tissues, joints and joint fluid as well as the skin, eyes among other body organs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, or “fish oil,” have shown encouraging results in reducing inflammation and is considered one of the best arthritis supplements for dogs. When choosing a supplement ensure it contains both EPA and DHA fatty acids.
- Collagen joint supplements for dogs usually come in the form of a salmon fish powder which you can add to your dog’s food. It helps your dog maintain healthy joints, tissues, and skin.
- Turmeric joint supplements for dogs. Turmeric contains a natural chemical known as curcumin which offers many of the same benefits found in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal medication. It’s one of the most preferred natural remedies for treating dogs with stiff joints.
These are just a few of the many supplements available on the market. However, finding the best joint supplement for dogs is not as simple as buying over the counter medicine from a convenience store. The best approach is to consult with your vet to come up with a suitable plan tailored to deal with your pet’s specific issues. Such a program should consider factors like his diet, genetics, and lifestyle.
That’s not to say that some of the supplements don’t work. However, there isn’t that much research that has gone into finding out how effective they are in managing joint complications. Some vets advocate using other methods such as continuous exercise to maintain mobility and even complementary therapies like acupuncture. If your pet is overweight with bad knees, for example, a vet may recommend a healthy diet and weight loss rather than prescribing supplements.
For Pet Owners Who Do Give Their Pets Joint Supplements, Experts Suggest You Do The Following First:
- Consult a vet in advance to see if it is safe.
- Check for a mark of approval on the medicine packaging by an independent lab or regulatory body.
- Keep a record of your pet's behavior, such as the way he walks, both before and after using the supplement to tell if there’s any change.
- Avoid exceeding the recommended doses as too many supplements may lead to side effects like loose stool and excessive gas.
- Be on the lookout for shellfish allergies in case you’re using glucosamine made from seafood.
- If your pet has high blood pressure avoid supplement versions that are in salt form.
- Unless you have a vet’s approval, do not give your pet glucosamine or chondroitin with blood thinners, such as heparin or aspirin. That’s because this can harm some breeds, like Doberman pinschers, which are susceptible to bleeding problems.
Top 3 Joint Supplements for Dogs Reviewed
1. Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus with MSM Chewable Tablets
Cosequin DS Plus contains a combination of ingredients that help protect your dog's joints and supports mobility in your pet, to give him a healthy lifestyle. It comes in a bottle of 60 tasty chewable tablets.
- Helps support joint function for dogs.
- Contains 600 mg Glucosamine Hydrochloride active ingredient.
- Is recommended to be administered for an initial period of four to six weeks.
- Contains MSM, a naturally occurring, organic, sulfur-containing compound for optimal joint function that increases joint mobility.
- Available in tasty soft chews and chewable tablets.
What We Liked:
- It’s fast acting and you will notice changes in your dog within 3-4 weeks.
- Veterinarians usually recommend MSM as the most important ingredient for joint health, which this supplement contains.
- Cosequin DS Plus includes natural flavors that are meat based which your pet dog will find very tasty.
What We Didn’t Like:
- For pet owners who are sensitive to this, it isn’t vegan and contains dry brewer's yeast.
2. Doggie Dailies Glucosamine for Dogs: 225 Soft Chews
Doggie Dailies is a highly effective hip and joint soft chew made of glucosamine. These dog treats are specially formulated to provide vital vitamins, minerals, essential enzymes and nutrients that promote healthy joints and improve mobility.
- Comes in 225 soft chews containing vital vitamins, minerals, essential enzymes, and nutrients that come with a chicken flavor.
- These chews are made using cold-press extrusion to preserve the integrity of the ingredients and ensure maximum effectiveness.
- This formula is designed to reduce inflammation, lubricate joints, and repair cartilage.
- The product is made in the USA in an FDA registered factory using strict quality & safety standards with every batch certified as safe by an independent lab.
- Package includes two bonus ebooks, and the product comes with a money back guarantee.
What We Liked:
- It’s fast acting and especially good for dogs with hip issues.
- Easy to administer because of their great taste and texture. Dogs think of them to be treats.
What We Didn’t Like:
- The glucosamine ingredient in the supplement is derived from shellfish, so you need to be careful that your dog is not allergic to this before administering.
3. Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs
This natural dietary supplement is derived from Wild Alaskan Salmon and contains powerful Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids (with EPA and DHA) to promote skin and coat health. It also supports the proper functioning of your dog’s joint, cardiovascular, and immune system.
- The Pure Salmon Oil used in Zesty Paws is a natural fish oil additive supplement packed with vital nutrients for the proper functioning of the skin, coat, hips and joints, heart, and immune system.
- Contains POWERFUL OMEGA FATTY ACIDS from EPA and DHA, which are great for keeping skin and coats soft and healthy.
- Is a great alternative to capsules or soft chews, and easy to administer and can be mixed with your dog’s regular food.
- This Salmon Oil is made in FDA-registered facilities that are NSF and GMP-certified in the USA.
What We Liked:
- Easy to feed your pet as it can be mixed with other foods, and doesn’t create a mess while serving.
- It promotes not only your dog’s joints health but also does wonders for his skin and fur.
What We Didn’t Like:
- The pump can be a little difficult to operate.