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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Glucosamine for Dogs: Why It's Important

It can be difficult for pet parents to watch their dog grow older and begin to slow down. However, the signs that you may consider a natural slowing down due to old age may actually be signs that your dog is experiencing joint pain leading to unwillingness for your dog to move around. Because regular exercise is important in maintaining healthy muscles, bones and joints, your dog's inactivity can lead to even more joint and muscle stiffness.

Glucosamine is a natural substance found in your pet's body, with the highest concentration found in healthy cartilage. The glucosamine in your dog's body produces glycosaminoglycan, which is used to help form and repair body tissues such as cartilage. As your dog ages, the natural production of glucosamine in the body slows. As a result, the natural repair process in the body slows, eventually leading to joint pain and stiffness. The ongoing wear and tear on your dog's joints, combined with the slowed repair time of the cartilage, leads to the development of painful arthritis. The good news is that research has found that providing supplements of glucosamine for dogs can help rebuild cartilage, which can help restore your dog's joint function and activity levels.

Benefits of glucosamine for dogs:
  • Glucosamine has an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to reduce your dog's pain
  • Side effects are very rare
  • Helps restore joint health naturally, increasing mobility
  • Improves lubrication in your dog's joints
  • May reduce or eliminate the need for NSAIDS, which have possible side effects and don't repair the joints, only reduce pain
Glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM

While glucosamine is the most common ingredient in supplements for joint health, there are other components which may increase the effectiveness of your dog's joint supplement. Chondroitin is another natural substance found in your dog's cartilage and, when paired with glucosamine, has an even more beneficial effect on your dog's joints. MSM (methylsulphynolmethane) is a natural sulphur compound also thought to help improve joint flexibility and reduce pain and inflammation.

It can take a few weeks to see the beneficial effect of a joint supplement. Typically, your dog will start on a "loading dose" for several weeks and then reduce to a lower "maintenance dose." Your dog can stay on a joint supplement for his or her entire life, and in fact you might find that your dog's signs of joint pain will recur within a few weeks of discontinuing the joint supplement.

Some signs that your dog is benefiting after starting a joint supplement are more playfulness, less stiffness, more willingness to climb stairs, jump, or go on walks, and just an overall happier demeanor.

Recommended glucosamine supplements for dogs

Even though we cannot turn back the clock for our pets, glucosamine is a safe and natural way to help improve your dog's joint function and quality of life. Many pet parents are surprised at the improvement they see in their dog's activity level after starting a joint supplement:

Tip

Glucosamine is a beneficial ingredient and is often included in dog joint supplements. It promotes healthy cartilage and is a natural anti-inflammatory.

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