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Everything You Need to Know About the Best Joint Supplements for Dogs

by Geoff Works |

Dogs' playful nature makes them prone to developing musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis and ACL injuries. These complications can limit their mobility and reduce their quality of life.

An effective way to keep your dog’s body healthy is by adding supplements into their regular diet. There are substances that provide various benefits for your dog, and pet owners must know which supplements they should give.

We’ve rounded up the best canine joint supplements to help keep your pooch fit and healthy.

What are Supplements?

Nutritional supplements are a concentrated source of ingredients added to your dog’s diet. They typically contain hard-to-come-by but beneficial contents like vitamins and trace elements. Dog supplements are given to pooches with injuries and medical conditions and those who are receiving insufficient nutrients. 

They can be used to treat the following:

  • Digestive and immunity
  • Skin and coat
  • Joint and mobility
  • Allergy relief
  • Heart health
  • Behavioral problems

Does My Dog Need Vitamins?

Commercially processed dog food provides your pet with various vitamins and minerals, while homemade diets may be insufficient and may require additional sources of nutrients. Pet owners can check the dog food’s label to know if it contains everything their dog’s body needs.

Supplements can be added as long as they match your pet’s diet. Consult your veterinarian to determine what, if anything, is needed for them to be fit and strong.

What are the Risks of Taking Supplements?

Unless your dog is eating a nutritionally balanced diet, supplements are not needed. In fact, they would be at risk of receiving excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals if they do. For example, too much calcium causes skeletal problems, excessive vitamin A harms the blood vessels, and too much vitamin D can harm the bones.

How Can My Vet Help?

While there is no cure for degenerative diseases in dogs, various treatment options are available for canine musculoskeletal conditions. First, your veterinarian may use ultrasonography, CT scans, or MRI to diagnose your dog’s severity and current state properly. 

Afterward, your vet will determine a treatment plan that will work best for your pet. They may recommend laser treatments, acupuncture, or surgery. You may ask your vet for non-invasive treatment options, such as adding dog supplements to their regular diet.

Choosing the Best Joint Supplement for Dogs

As mentioned, poor nutrition is one of the leading causes of osteoarthritis in dogs. Commercially processed foods are usually stripped of their nutrients. What pet owners can do is provide their dogs with the nutrients their body needs to prevent issues caused by deficiencies. 

By simply knowing the ingredients and reading labels, you can determine if a product will help your pet.

A balanced and complete supplement makes up for the many toxins and empty processed foods your dog eats.

Here are things you should look for in joint supplements for dogs:

  • Vitamins and minerals must be balanced correctly to work effectively.
  • Supplements must be formulated to meet the biochemical needs of your dog.
  • Formulations should not trigger allergies and other adverse reactions.
  • The most recent formulation research must be shown.
  • Flavor can be added, but the supplement must be balanced and not just be a flavored mix.
  • The ingredients must be listed on the label in milligrams and international units. This helps you check and compare the nutritional facts of different products quickly.
  • The substances must be bioavailable, which means the supplement can be absorbed and used by your dog’s body. 
  • Ingredients can assimilate in and be absorbed by your dog’s body quickly.

What is the Best Joint Supplement for Dogs?

There are various ingredients that are beneficial for promoting joint health and regeneration. Before buying and feeding dog food, we advise talking to your veterinarian first to know the right combination of these substances. 

Glucosamine Hydrochloride

Cartilage is one of the critical parts of your joints that allow them to move smoothly and painlessly. Because it stimulates cartilage health and growth, glucosamine hydrochloride can be taken both by dogs with healthy joints and those with joint pain. In fact, it can be taken by pups as early as eight weeks old. However, it will take a while before it builds up in your dog’s system.

The recommended serving of glucosamine hydrochloride for healthy dogs is 30 milligrams per kilogram of your dog’s total body weight. It must be taken once daily for four weeks and reduced to 15 milligrams afterward.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly added to dog food and dog treats as they are beneficial for pups of all ages. This substance promotes joint lubrication, reduces pain and inflammation, and boosts the heart, skin, and kidneys. Fish or krill oil contain omega-3 and other common fatty acids, including EPA and DHA.

One hundred milligrams of combined EPA and DHA are recommended for every kilogram of your dog’s body weight. You may also consult your veterinarian for the proper supplementation your pet needs. Dog owners must remember that omega-3 fatty acids are sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen. Be sure to store these supplements in containers that block sunlight and place them in freezers or low-temperature areas.

Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)

ASU reduces inflammation and stimulates healing after damage, ensuring your dog’s cartilages are protected. They work alongside two vital joint supplements for dogs, namely glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate. This compound contains one-third avocado oil and two-thirds soybean oil. 

ASU can delay the development of osteoarthritis. However, they cannot help dogs with end-stage arthritis as there is no more cartilage to protect.

Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate stops enzymes that destroy cartilage and can be administered to dogs older than eight weeks old. This supplement can be challenging to extract, but there are low-molecular-weight versions available. This variety of chondroitin sulfate is easier to absorb by the gastrointestinal tract.

The recommended dosage of chondroitin sulfate is the same as glucosamine, but the dosage of both can be lowered if given together. 

Prevent Musculoskeletal Conditions with Joint Supplements for Dogs

Joint supplements for dogs can help delay joint-related problems, and even reduce their risk of an ACL/CCL tear. They also provide long-term benefits, such as boosting comfort and mobility. However, pet owners should not depend entirely on supplements as they are intended to complement regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Get more dog nutrition and diet tips from the Lick Sleeve blog.

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