Just like with people, as dog's age, wear and tear can take a toll on their joints. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve your dog's symptoms and improve his joint health.
Stiffness and pain in the hip joints can make it difficult for dogs to stand up or lie down, navigate stairs or participate in daily activities, such as walks or playtime. While large dogs and certain breeds are more prone to joint conditions than smaller dogs, most dogs experience some level of joint deterioration as they age. Joint supplements can ease the symptoms of joint deterioration and improve joint health.
The primary conditions that affect dog joints are osteoarthritis and arthritis. Arthritis results in joint inflammation and can affect dogs at any age, but is more common in older dogs. Osteoarthritis is a more severe form of arthritis that can affect the surfaces of the joint and cause loss of range of motion, in addition to pain.
If you suspect your dog may be experiencing joint problems, you should take your dog to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Call your vet if you notice common signs of joint problems:
Problems standing up or lying down
Avoidance of stairs
Aggressive or fearful response when being groomed, touched or petted
Your veterinarian can recommend a variety of treatment options for your dog, including joint supplements. There are hundreds of products on the market that contain combinations of various supplements for joint health. Look for products that contain the eight best joint supplements for dogs:
A good multivitamin can fill any nutritional gaps left by your dog's regular food. Improving your dog's nutrition can have a positive impact on his overall health and joint health. This nutritional boost can also provide your pet with more energy, which can help combat the fatigue your pet may experience as a natural consequence of aging and joint discomfort. If you have an older dog, you may want to consider using a multivitamin specifically formulated for the health needs of senior dogs.
Hip and joint health products that contain glucosamine are popular choices for many pet owners. Glucosamine can help lubricate your dog's joints, which may reduce pain. It can also reduce inflammation and improve overall joint health and mobility. It works by stimulating cartilage growth and thickening synovial fluid, which can slow the progression of arthritis and improve joint function. This may help your dog regain lost range of motion and resume normal activities.
Chondroitin promotes water retention and elasticity in cartilage, which can improve shock absorption in the joint. It may also help reduce the production of inflammatory mediators, which can damage the joint. Common sources of chondroitin in supplements include shark and bovine cartilage. Because there is no advantage to using shark cartilage instead of bovine cartilage, it is recommended that pet owners use products sourced from bovine cartilage, because some sharks are threatened or endangered species.
Chondroitin is frequently paired with glucosamine in joint health supplements. Pets with arthritis may see significant pain reduction and improvement in mobility when using these supplements. Chondroitin is particularly useful in reducing lameness caused by joint pain.
MSM has anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects, which can make it useful in the treatment of canine arthritis. It is primarily produced by oxidizing dimethylsulfoxide, but can also be found in small amounts in horsetail, fruit, milk, grains and vegetables. Like chondroitin, MSM is often combined with glucosamine for joint health .
Curcumin, a compound contained in turmeric, has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and wound healing benefits. Supplementation with turmeric may help ease the symptoms of arthritis in dogs. Turmeric can ease pain and stiffness in joints and reduce overall inflammation in the body.
Perna canaliculus is a green-lipped mussel that provides a natural source of glycosaminoglycans. Additionally, it is a good source of essential fatty acids, antioxidants and carotenoids. The extract from these mussels has been found to have significant anti-inflammatory properties. Supplements that include Perna may decrease pain and improve mobility in dogs with arthritis.
Hyaluronan has physical properties similar to rubber and is one of the two main components of joint fluid. Because of hyaluronan's ability to attract water and promote healing, hyaluronic acid supplements can reduce inflammation and pain in arthritic joints.
Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous benefits for your dog's health, including relief of joint pain. This supplement also supports hearth health, improves skin and coat and can relieve allergies. Dogs can not produce omega-3 fatty acids, so they must get them from their diet. Fatty fish, such as salmon, are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but they can also be obtained form some plant sources. Many dog foods contain excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, but not enough omega-3s. Supplementing with omega-3s can balance your dog's diet and provide the many benefits of this nutrient.
The inflammation, pain, and loss of mobility that accompanies joint problems in dogs can have a serious impact on your dog's quality of life. However, with your vetererian's guidance, these eight supplements can help ease symptoms and restore joint function to your canine companion.