Are Joint Supplements Good For Dogs?
As a responsible dog owner, you should always look for ways to better your dog’s life.
From special diets to supplements, you have all the power to make that change.
Are joint supplements good for dogs, though?
What should owners know about them before they start giving them to their pet?
Joint supplements are a widely accepted form of preventative joint care for dogs, but not all owners are well-educated on how they work.
Today, we’ll learn more about joint supplements and how they can be beneficial for dogs.
With this, we hope to help you be better prepared to determine if they could be a practical option for your pet.
Are Joint Supplements Good For Dogs?
The majority of vets agree that supplements are safe for dogs to consume.
As long as they are made from all-natural ingredients and formulated specifically for dogs, they are a safe choice.
Joint supplements are the most commonly purchased type of supplements for dogs, and that is because they have been shown to help ease joint problems.
This category of supplements is typically formulated to give your dog extra vitamins and minerals.
As such, they help lubricate joints, improve energy levels, and allow some relief from joint pain.
Most owners will see a change in their dogs in around one month of taking joint supplements, but many of the effects are subtle and long-term.
Why Do Dogs Need Joint Supplements?
It is believed that about one in five dogs over one year old will have joint stiffness.
Once dogs have aged past seven, more than 80% will have some type of joint pain or arthritis.
Why does this happen?
Joints are surrounded by cartilage and fluids that protect the bones.
Both the fluids and cartilage break down over time, and this leads to joint pain.
Specifically, the joint area suffers from irritation, inflammation, and pain.
Do Joint Supplements for Dogs Really Work?
Those who are considering giving their dogs a supplement are likely worried about how effective it will be.
After all, why would you spend time and money on giving your pet something that may turn out to be ineffective?
Now, do joint supplements work for dogs?
Thankfully, all-natural joint supplements have been found to be a good choice for dogs suffering from joint pain and arthritis.
Glucosamine and chondroitin, in particular, are well-known for their positive effects.
There is no evidence that these and similar supplements don’t have a positive effect.
Using these supplements, combined with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as NSAIDs, can be a great practice.
While the supplements help prevent further joint damage, NSAIDs help manage pain and inflammation.
What Age Should You Give Dogs Joint Supplements?
At first, you may have thought that dog joint supplements are things you will only worry about when your dog gets older.
You will be surprised to hear, then, that joint supplements can have benefits well before your dog actually suffers from any pain.
In fact, it can be beneficial to start giving dogs joint supplements as soon as they are fully grown.
In most cases, it is not recommended to start your dog on supplements until they are out of their puppy stage, usually between 12 months and 16 months.
It is natural for the protective features of joints to degrade over time.
Sadly, it is impossible to know how fast that degradation is until your dog is already suffering.
By giving preventative treatment from an early age, you can help to slow down that degradation.
Joint supplements help your dog’s body age in a safer, healthier way, and that can have some serious long-term benefits.
What Are the Side Effects of Glucosamine in Dogs?
As you know, dog joint care is not something that every pet owner is familiar with, and that’s OK!
There is always time to learn more.
One of the most common ingredients of joint supplements is glucosamine.
What is this compound, and how can it help take care of your pet’s joints?
What Is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a naturally-occurring substance often used as a joint supplement or as part of one.
Dogs are often given glucosamine to help with these common issues or injuries:
- Joint damage and pain
- Hip dysplasia
- Spinal disc injuries
- Joint surgeries
- Low activity
How Does Glucosamine Work?
Glucosamine is known as a chondroprotective agent.
What this means is that it helps protect the joints from added pain and additional damage.
Basically, glucosamine helps manage the ongoing effects of joint pain while also preventing them from getting worse.
Supplements are formulated to help the body repair any damaged cartilage.
As this cartilage is repaired, the joints will be more lubricated and less likely to become inflamed.
Glucosamine is known to be most effective when used in combination with chondroitin; both are usually included in joint supplements.
Glucosamine Side Effects
Most joint care supplements that include glucosamine are rated as safe for long-term use.
Long-term use is often preferred because it can help prevent joint issues for a long time.
As with any compound, however, these supplements could cause some side effects.
The most commonly observed side effects are:
- Allergies (especially if the dog is allergic to shellfish)
- High thirst levels
- Frequent urination
- Possibly risky for diabetic dogs
In most cases, no side effects were seen when using the proper dosage of joint supplements.
It is important to remember that you should only give your dog glucosamine formulated for dogs.
Human-grade glucosamine has much too high of a dose for dogs and could cause serious problems.
How Long Does It Take for Glucosamine Chondroitin To Work in Dogs?
As mentioned, many dog joint supplements or meds will contain a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, and other beneficial ingredients.
These compounds work well together to prompt the regeneration of cartilage.
More cartilage means less joint pain and joint damage over time, and that is a good thing for your dog.
How long does it take for supplements containing these two ingredients to actually show positive effects?
Generally speaking, small effects can be seen in just a few days.
Your dog may get up more quickly in the morning or jump around more than usual.
Within two to six weeks, you should be able to notice a range of positive effects.
It may be hard to recognize full effects, but some type of change should be evident within the first six weeks.
Why Does the Time Vary?
There are a lot of things that can affect how well cartilage protection and generation goes:
- What other ingredients are in the supplement?
- How much exercise does the dog get?
- Does the dog have any conditions that cause their joints to be less healthy?
- Is the dog predisposed to joint problems because of its breed?
- Does their diet and sleeping position support positive joint care?
As you can see, joint care can be a relatively complicated thing.
Top Dog Joint Care Tips
Here are a few more tried-and-tested tips for dog joint care.
With these, you can expand your knowledge about this part of dog care even more.
1. Watch the Calories
Dog owners may give supplements inside of a treat to make it easier to eat.
If you need to give a larger dose or give the supplement frequently, this could lead to unintentional weight gain for your pet.
As such, be sure to watch out for those extra calories.
Most pets will be OK, but dogs that need to be watched more closely for weight may need to be fed something other than high-calorie treats.
2. Look for Natural Ingredients
When choosing a joint care supplement, be sure to check out the ingredients list and the sourcing.
Choosing an all-natural product is important.
Additionally, most will recommend that you avoid supplements that source chondroitin from sharks and similar seafood.
That source is much less sustainable than sourcing from bovine cartilage sources.
3. Never Use Human Glucosamine or Chondroitin
It might be tempting to buy human-grade glucosamine or chondroitin to use for you and your pet, but this should not be an option.
Human-grade supplements are formulated differently than supplements for dogs.
Not only will the doses be far too large for your dog, but the exact compounds used are often different, as well.
This is because human bodies and dog bodies process things differently.
And each supplement is formulated to be effective for their target consumer.
Joint Supplements for Dogs
As owners, you want your pet to be as happy and comfortable as possible.
For that reason, you may want to consider adding joint supplements to their diet.
Are joint supplements good for dogs?
Only you can determine if your dog will respond well to this type of supplement, but you can get some help by talking to your vet.
On the whole, joint supplements are known to be good for dogs.
While these added nutrients won’t work miracles on your dog or reverse all signs of joint problems, they can make life easier for your pet.
You never know what kind of difference they could make until you give it a try.