Senior dogs deserve the best care for their joint health. Joint supplements can be a great addition to their routine, helping to maintain mobility and ease discomfort caused by arthritis and degenerative joint disease. While maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise are crucial, the right nutritional supplements can provide added support to your dog’s joints and protect their cartilage. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of joint supplements for dogs and highlight the top recommendations for your furry friend’s well-being.
Does Your Dog Need Joint Supplements?
If your dog has reached their senior years (7+ years) or has been diagnosed with arthritis or other joint issues, joint supplements can significantly improve their comfort. While these supplements cannot cure degenerative joint diseases or arthritis, they can help maintain your dog’s overall well-being.
Joint supplements can provide the following benefits:
- Maintain mobility
- Decrease pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Encourage new cartilage growth
- Prevent cartilage breakdown
Identifying Symptoms of Joint Pain in Dogs
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in dogs, resulting from the gradual wear and tear of cartilage during the aging process or due to developmental orthopedic diseases. While osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, joint supplements can slow its progression and relieve pain, allowing your dog to move more comfortably.
Look out for these common symptoms that indicate your dog may benefit from joint supplements:
- Limping or lameness
- Stumbling or slipping during walks
- Stiffness, especially after lying down
- Joint swelling
- Loss of muscle mass in the rear legs and hips
- Difficulty getting up or lying down
- Trouble navigating stairs
- Reluctance to exercise
- Inability to jump
- Mobility issues or behavioral changes such as aggression or changes in appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. Your vet will conduct a physical exam, discuss your observations, and may request additional tests to better understand the condition of your dog’s joints.
Best Joint Supplements for Dogs
Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best joint supplement based on your dog’s health conditions, age, and overall health plan. Here are some of the leading joint supplements for dogs:
Dasuquin® with MSM: Available in soft chew, chewable tablet, or capsule form, Dasuquin® with MSM combines traditional joint supplement ingredients with all-natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Cosequin®: With various formulations including chewable tablets, soft chews, and capsules, Cosequin® offers options specific to your pup’s life stage and breed.
Movoflex®: Designed for dogs of different sizes, Movoflex® contains ingredients like eggshell membrane and hyaluronic acid to strengthen joints and improve mobility.
Nutri-Vet® Joint Health DS plus MSM: Ideal for large breed and senior dogs, this liver-flavored chewable tablet contains MSM for inflammation reduction and hyaluronic acid for joint, skin, and fur health.
Duralactin®: Available as a chicken-flavored soft chew or vanilla-flavored chewable tablet, Duralactin® contains MicroLacti, a dried milk protein that supports long-term joint health.
Flexadin®: These soft chewy treats are available in different sizes for small/medium and large dog breeds, promoting overall joint health.
Vetoquinol® Triglyceride OMEGA: A gel capsule supplement with omega-3 fatty acids, this product improves mobility, joint pain, heart health, and overall coat and skin health.
Zesty Paws® Mobility Bites: Soft chews formulated for adult and senior dogs, these bites contain OptiMSM, vitamins C and E for strength, flexibility, and comfort.
Vibeful® Mobility & Joint Health: Designed for all sizes and breeds, this beef-flavored soft chew contains glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, DHA, and EPA-omega-3 fatty acids for optimal joint health.
VetriScience® GlycoFlex Plus Peanut Butter: A peanut butter-flavored joint supplement suitable for medium and large breed dogs at any life stage.
Best Ingredients for Joint Supplements in Dogs
When it comes to choosing the right joint supplement for your dog, certain ingredients offer specific benefits:
Glucosamine stimulates the growth of new cartilage and protects existing cartilage, ensuring smooth joint movement without pain. Unlike most anti-inflammatory medications, glucosamine has been proven safe for long-term use, making it an excellent early intervention for dogs prone to osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan found in your dog’s cartilage. It keeps joints lubricated, absorbs shock, and sustains the tissues lining the joint. Combined with glucosamine, chondroitin reduces inflammation and prevents cartilage destruction in the joint.
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils)
Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support joint health, heart function, coat and skin health, and the immune system. These fatty acids regulate joint inflammation and inhibit the enzymes responsible for cartilage breakdown.
Green-Lipped Mussels (GLM)
Extracts from green-lipped mussels possess natural anti-inflammatory and joint protective properties. Supplements combining GLM with glucosamine and chondroitin effectively reduce pain and preserve joint function in dogs.
MSM is a naturally occurring supplement with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps flush out waste from cells, promoting healthier joints. MSM also acts as a natural pain reliever by blocking nerve stimulation.
How to Choose the Right Dog Joint Supplement
As your dog ages, joint pain may become more prevalent. By providing the right joint supplement, you can alleviate pain and discomfort, lubricate the joints, and reduce inflammation. However, always consult your veterinarian before introducing any new supplements or medications to your dog’s routine.
Consider the following when choosing a joint supplement:
- Glucosamine sulfate is not as effective as glucosamine hydrochloride for dogs.
- Human glucosamine preparations are not suitable for dogs due to digestion issues.
- Dogs specifically require EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids for reducing arthritis-related inflammation.
- Keep an eye out for common side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite, and report them to your veterinarian.
Joint supplements are a safe long-term option for reducing inflammation and pain, improving joint function, and slowing down joint damage and arthritis progression. Before starting any new regimen, consult your veterinarian to ensure the supplement is safe and suitable for your dog.
Remember, your dog’s joint health is crucial for their overall well-being. With the right joint supplements, tailored to their specific needs, your furry friend can lead a happier, more comfortable life.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet or medication regimen.