Many dogs suffer from joint problems and arthritis, especially as they age. These painful conditions occur when the cartilage between the bones begins to thin and wear away. When this happens, the ends of the bones start to rub against each other. As a dog owner, you will certainly want to do all you can to reduce your dog’s pain and increase mobility. Nearly all of the time-tested joint supplements you find will include a compound called Glucosamine for dogs.
Glucosamine for dogs can found as a stand-alone supplement, but in most cases it will be used in combination with other elements. There are a growing variety of supplement additives that appear to assist Glucosamine with reducing inflammation or increasing joint lubrication.
What Is Glucosamine for Dogs?
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in your dog organically, but it is reduced through age or physical impacts. Glucosamine for dogs is one of several natural substances or nutraceuticals formulated for the treatment of joint pain and arthritis. In dogs it is often used to:
Glucosamine for dogs assists in the the repair of damaged cartilage, the moist, spongy protective material between joints. When cartilage is damaged the joint becomes inflamed and releases enzymes that cause more damage. This is how the joint degenerates and brings on the pain and lack of mobility dog owners hate to see.
The Glucosamine for dogs you find in most preferred supplements comes from the shells of crabs, oysters or shrimp. It can also be synthesized in laboratories from plant sources. Glucosamine is often used in combination with chondroitin sulfate, another supplement which helps cartilage retain water. Chondroitin is usually taken from shark or cow cartilage.
Most dog joint health supplements are regulated as dietary supplements, not as drugs, by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). They are evaluated for safety once they have been introduced into the market. Glucosamine for dogs has been successfully used in veterinary practices in Europe and the U.S. for well over two decades.
How Does Glucosamine Help Dog Joints?
No one knows exactly how the corrective process works, but Glucosamine for dogs appears to improve one of the building blocks of cartilage. This is the connective tissue that cushions bones at the joints. Depending on the breed of dog you have, this may be caused by trauma or the wear and tear that occurs over a number of years. Other factors include genetics, diet and impacts on your dog’s joints due to being overweight.
A scientific research project in 2012 found that Glucosamine sulfate offered pain relief superior or equal to "the commonly used analgesic or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs." A 2007 report in the American Veterinary Medical Association Journal found that supplements containing glucosamine provided a "moderate level" of comfort. It also stated the results were on par with some prescription drugs.
Does Glucosamine for Dogs Have Side Effects?
There have been very few side effects caused from taking glucosamine. This is rare with a product that has been actively used for both human and dog joint pain for nearly 25 years. Issues to watch for include allergic reactions (especially from shellfish), insomnia and increased thirst and urination. You should check with your veterinarian if your dog has diabetes, since glucosamine is a sugar-based substance.
How Do I Give My Dog Glucosamine?
Most joint health supplements with Glucosamine for dogs are given orally. You will find a mix of tablets, pills, powders and liquids on the market. Many chewable tablets and pills include chicken or liver flavor and many dogs see them as tasty treats.
Never give medications or supplements designed for humans to your dog. The formulations are different and you could put your dog at risk. Glucosamine supplements are generally administered daily. Glucosamine based supplements are readily available online, in pet-supply stores and veterinary clinics.
It is always a good idea to inform your veterinarian when introducing a new supplement, drug or food with additives to your dog’s life. Most veterinarians recommend evaluating the effects of a dog joint supplement after your dog has taken it for at least four to six weeks.