Should You Start Giving Your Dog Joint Supplements?
Dogs are among the most active pets anyone can have. They require constant exercise and moving around in order to keep them from being restless and anxious.
All dog parents have experienced at least once in their lives how things in the house get broken, bitten into pieces, scratched, and reduced into a state of ruin when their dogs get anxious and restless. The most probable reason is that such a dog did not get walked or did not get to run around in the backyard or dog park that day.
Since dogs require enough exercise through walking or running around, fur parents should make sure that they have strong bones to support them.
Although regular exercise helps in strengthening your dog’s joints, some breeds are more prone to developing joint problems and may need supplements to strengthen these.
When should you give your dog joint supplements?
Age is an important factor. Dogs who are in their advanced years are more likely to develop joint problems than younger dogs.
Thus, if you notice that your relatively young dog is walking around with a limp or struggling to climb onto your stairs or couch, it is probably time to consider giving your dog joint supplements. At its early stages, a developing joint problem can still be prevented through the help of joint supplements for dogs.
It is also important to consider the environment that your dog lives in. If you live in a setting where your dog cannot freely run around or have limited mobility, it is wise to ask your veterinarian if you should give your dog joint supplements as early as twelve months. The earlier you can prevent joint problems from developing, the better to do so.
Dogs who also suffer from obesity may need joint supplements earlier. Overweight dogs will strain their joints more than dogs of normal weight. On this score, dog parents should be reminded that a healthy diet and exercise are as important in preventing health problems in dogs, including joint problems, as much as providing them with supplements.
When your dog is overweight and develops joint problems, he or she is likely to suffer from joint pains. When your dog suffers from joint pains, he or she is less likely to move around and be active and will, thus, pack on more weight. Thus, before you even consider giving your dog a supplement, focus first on providing them with a proper diet and exercise.
What breeds are prone to developing joint problems?
Your dog’s breed can also be a determining factor on whether you should give your furbaby a joint supplement. As mentioned earlier, some breeds are predisposed to developing joint problems.
Dog breeds which are prone to suffer from joint problems early, include Golden Retrievers, Bloodhounds, Newfoundlands, Otterhounds, Pit Bulls, Chow Chows, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Pugs, and Shih Tzus.
If your dog belongs to any of these breeds, you should seriously consider giving them joint supplements as soon as they are at least a year old which is the usual stage when their bodies stop developing, or upon your veterinarian’s advice, as early as eight (8) weeks.
However, some veterinarians may advise giving canine joint supplements to dogs on the list as early as eight (8) weeks. If your dog is past the age of one year, it is still not too late to start giving your furbaby the joint supplement that he or she needs.
Why should dogs take joint supplements?
Dogs age quicker than humans. As they grow older, so do their bodies. As they move towards their senior years, they start experiencing slower production of the essential proteins that are necessary in building and strengthening joints. They then become at risk for joint problems which include elbow and hip dysplasia as well as arthritis.
Joint supplements for dogs that contain ingredients such as MSM, Omega-3 EPA and DHA (fatty acids) from fish oil, glucosamine, and chondroitin helps in giving dogs nutrients that work as pain relief and will help your dog improve flexibility. Joint supplements will also work to reduce inflammation as well as strengthen joints and cartilage in canines.
It is important to note that dogs do not always show that they are in pain. While humans may show specific reactions in order to show pain, dogs, by nature, will try to hide it.
Since dogs are pack animals, they maintain the instinct of enduring pain because a pack member who shows pain may be left behind by the group. Showing pain may be perceived as weakness, which can lead the pack to think of the member as a liability. Dogs have not yet evolved to understand that living with humans may not be as harsh as living with a pack.
What do canine joint supplements do?
As earlier mentioned, joint supplements for dogs may contain chondroitin and glucosamine. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine conducted a study on the benefits of the said nutrients and found that when combined, chondroitin and glucosamine aids in promoting cartilage development.
These nutrients serve as building blocks of normal articular cartilage. It may not prevent arthritis but it will particularly be helpful in keeping other joints in a healthy state. Meanwhile, fatty acids from fish oil, particularly Omega-3 EPA and DHA, contain anti-inflammatory properties. Although your dog’s bodies produce these particular nutrients, it cannot produce enough on its own.
These nutrients are highly important in keeping your dog healthy and in helping your dog maintain healthy joints and strong muscles. Finally, MSM or methylsulfonyl methane is an organic compound that contains sulfur, which, in turn, is an essential building block for amino acids, cartilage, joints, as well as other connective tissues.
When your dog suffers from an injury or performs an intense physical activity, MSM’s anti-inflammatory properties will help your dog recover quickly. Moreover, strained connective tissues can be soothed by MSM as it helps in the reduction of stress and swelling.
Studies likewise show that MSM can help in providing long-term relief from the pain and discomfort that may be caused by muscle conditions, arthritis, and chronic joint problems.
As a final word of advice, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dogs joint supplements, especially if your dog suffers from certain health conditions and/or requires a specific diet.
Some joint supplements may not be suitable for dogs with special care conditions.
Laura Robinson, DMV
Dr Laura practices at the Antonio Animal Hospital in California, where she was born and raised. She is an advisor to Wuffes, ensuring all our products and content is of the highest standard