Should You Use Joint Supplements For Dogs?
Joint supplements for dogs are often used today for dogs with arthritis, dogs who have had joint injuries, and for dog with hip dysplasia. In many cases they are the same nutraceuticals or supplements taken by humans. Nutraceuticals are nutritional supplements that often have similar effects as drugs but they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Are joint supplements effective?
According to many veterinarians and dog owners, joint supplements are effective for many dogs. However, research into joint supplements is inconclusive. Some researchers suggest that there is a “placebo effect” at work when owners give their dogs joint supplements. They wish and hope that the supplements will help their dogs, so they optimistically look for signs that the supplements are helping. On the other hand, there is no evidence that these nutraceuticals do any damage or harm to dogs or humans. So, they may work for some dogs. We simply don’t have any definitive answer on whether these supplements really work or not.
How do joint supplements work?
Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, two of the most popular joint supplements, help rebuild cartilage in a dog’s joints. Smooth cartilage is necessary to prevent the dog’s joints and bones from rubbing against each other, causing pain and inflammation as found in arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin are said to work better in combination with each other.
Perna mussel,or the green-lipped mussel, is an edible shellfish from New Zealand. It’s often added to joint supplements. Along with glucosamine, it contains glycosaminoglycans, which help build cartilage, and a kind of omega-3 fatty acid which is good for dogs.
Creatine is adapted by the dog’s body to store quick energy. It builds lean body mass in humans. In dogs, when combined with exercise, it is believed that it may help dogs that are starting to lose muscle.
MSM is methylsulfonylmethane. It contains a form of sulfur that is easy for the body to use. Sulfur helps the body produce collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin, which are all necessary to make cartilage. It also helps the body make antioxidants.
Should you give your dog joint supplements?
If your dog is starting to feel the effects of arthritis, or if he has a joint injury or suffers from hip dysplasia, then you can talk to your veterinarian about joint supplements for your dog. Many veterinarians do recommend giving dogs joint supplements under these circumstances. Your dog may need an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Rimadyl to help manage pain in some cases, but it is usually safe to give your dog joint supplements in conjunction with an NSAID. In some cases, you can wean your dog off the NSAID if the joint supplements are proving to be effective for your dog. This can happen if your dog has a mild form of arthritis, for example. But you should always talk to your veterinarian before making these decisions.
If you do decide to give your dog a joint supplement, many dogs take them for the rest of their lives. However, you can often dial back the dose after the first six to eight weeks, as you see how your dog is doing on the supplement.