Dog Joint Supplements: Are They Helpful?

Searching for the best dog joint supplements for your pet pooch? Have a look at our extensive guide and help your dog's joints get better today!
Dog Joint Supplement

Joint supplements for dogs - Do they really work. Shutterstock Images

For pet owners, nothing is more satisfying than watching your pets play around and have a good time. And for this healthy, functioning joints are important in ensuring that your pets are as active as they can be. Nonetheless, there are instances where these joints need some boost to keep them at optimum health. That’s where dog joint supplements come in.

What are Dog Joint Supplements?

Dog joint supplements are dietary supplements intended to support and maintain the health of the joints in dogs. It can also be used to provide some form of relief for joint pain and stiffness, especially for dogs who suffer from osteoarthritis.

Dog Joint Supplements - Reasons To Consider

Dog joint supplements are given to dogs to maintain joint health and relieve any discomfort brought about by joint problems like osteoarthritis[1]. Much like in humans, aging has its effects in a dog’s joints[2]. Normal wear-and-tear causes the cartilage between the bones to thin out, causing them to scrape against each other[3]. This results in pain and stiffness. In young dogs, the body compensates by repairing the cartilage but in older dogs, this ability becomes less efficient, hence the need for this type of supplement.

Dog joint supplements may also be given to dogs that are at high risk for joint problems. These include certain breeds[4] like German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. The supplements may be used alone or in combination with veterinarian-prescribed medications.

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The Key Ingredients to Look for in Dog Joint Supplements

Dog joint supplements come in different brands with different ingredients. The most important ones include:

Glucosamine Hydrochloride - Glucosamine is an amino sugar that functions as the building blocks of cartilage (source). It comes in two forms - sulfate and hydrochloride - both of which can be safely given to diabetic patients. Glucosamine sulfate tends to be absorbed faster, but glucosamine hydrochloride is more bioavailable and requires a much smaller dose to be effective. Dogs with osteoarthritis of the hip and joint tend to experience better pain control using this compound.

Chondroitin Sulfate - Also an important ingredient in joint supplements, chondroitin works by inhibiting the enzyme that destroys the cartilage. It is often used alongside glucosamine for increased effectiveness of both (source).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - This essential fatty acid proves to be helpful not just in humans, but in dogs as well. Its powerful anti-inflammatory effects help reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis (source). According to veterinarians, supplementation with omega-3 reduces the amount of medications needed to relieve pain.

Boswellia serrata - The extract of this plant is said to have pain relief effects similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. ibuprofen, ketoprofen).

Do Dog Joint Supplements Really Work?

Dog joint supplements can be quite effective, especially if started early on in dogs that are predisposed to osteoarthritis. Take note that these supplements may have a slow onset of action, so it is best to also use appropriate painkillers while waiting for the effects to kick in. Furthermore, these supplements are intended if only a few joints are affected and you only have to protect the other joints. Experts say it would be useless to use joint supplements on dogs that have osteoarthritis in all joints.

How to Choose the Best Dog Joint Supplements?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are deemed the most important compounds for promoting joint health not just in dogs, but even in humans. Thus, you must pick a supplement that contains these two. Also check the amount, as there is a minimum amount required based on your dog’s weight.

Fish oil is also a must. To sum it up, the key to picking the best dog joint supplement is checking the label and consultation with your trusted veterinarian for some valuable advice.

The Bottom Line

If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, there are several treatment options that prove to be effective. One of them is the use of dog joint supplements. However, much like dietary supplements in humans, these supplements must only serve as an adjunct in addressing the problem and in promoting the health and wellbeing of your pets.

Before you use one, make sure that you talk to your veterinarian first to determine the best dog joint supplement for your beloved pet.


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