Top Five Joint Supplements for Dogs
Joints play an essential part in keeping your pet mobile and active. As joints age, they may start to degenerate and develop a condition known as osteoarthritis (also called Degenerative Joint Disease—DJD). This chronic, progressive condition can affect one or more joints in your fur baby’s body—from elbows and hips, to even his spine. Osteoarthritis is common in dogs and their humans. In fact, every year about 2 million dogs are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, with almost 20% of older dogs affected.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms in Dogs
Arthritis can be referred to as the inflammation of one or more joints, which in turn causes pain and swelling of the effected joints.
A dog with arthritis can experience intense pain during times of cold, damp weather. This is especially true in the morning. Symptoms can vary from dog to dog, but here are a few of the most common symptoms. Be sure to watch for these symptoms in your canine friend:
- Stiffness and/or limping
- Abnormal gait (walking differently than he used to)
- Decrease in activity level
- Pain when touched in certain areas
- Unable to manage stairs
- Difficulty getting up from a resting position
- Can’t manage getting in and out of the car
Your dog may even cry, yelp or whimper when touched in a painful area. Some dogs may also show signs of grumpiness and irritability caused by their pain. If you suspect your fur baby may be suffering pain due to DJD, be sure to call your veterinarian for a check up as soon as possible.
Visiting the Vet for Diagnosis
Your vet will do a complete physical examination, as well as reviewing your pet’s symptoms and the length of time he’s been showing signs of pain. The veterinarian will be able to assess the range of motion of your pet’s joints, feel for changes in the bone structure, and for listen for any clicks or crunches when manipulating your pet’s joints.
Your vet may even find it necessary to order an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis
Treatments and Supplements for Osteoarthritis in Dogs
There are a wide variety of treatments available for dogs suffering with arthritis. Osteoarthritis can’t be cured; however, the goal of treatment is to manage the disease by controlling the symptoms and possibly even slowing its progression. Treatment options are similar to humans—dogs may even have reconstructive surgeries, such as joint removal/replacement.
Another helpful treatment for pups with DJD is physical therapy. With physical therapy, your pup’s range of motion may increase, while muscles are strengthened with exercises. Swimming and massage are very helpful, as are cold or heat treatments.
There are also medications that work to control the pain of arthritis, and supplements that help stimulate the growth of healthy cartilage, keeps enzymes from destroy the cartilage and more.
One note of caution: some people are tempted to give their dogs supplements meant for humans. However, this is not recommended. The reason is that humans and dogs metabolize the ingredients in these supplements differently. Dogs have a shorter digestive tract, which means that a human joint supplement isn’t absorbed—it just passes through the dog’s body without any benefit. Supplements made for dogs are especially formulated to be absorbed more quickly in the dog’s short digestive tract. Another danger is in the ingredients. Some human supplements may contain ingredients that are harmful to your dog and could even poison him. So, it’s best to give your pup joint supplements made especially for dogs.
Top Joint Supplements for Dogs with Arthritis
We’ve done the research to help you find the best joint supplement for your doggie pal. If you ever have a question about which supplement may be best for your pet, be sure to ask your veterinarian. They know your pet and his health and will help you find the best supplements to ease his arthritis.
Here’s our list of the top joint supplements for dogs:
1). NaturVet ArthriSoothe Hip & Joint Formula Tablets
This veterinarian-created formula helps to soothe the aches and pains that come with DJD. It also works to support synovial fluid to keep your pup’s joints lubricated, while maintaining healthy cartilage and connective tissue. The tablets also contain antioxidants that remove free radicals that can cause damage to cells.
Some of the active ingredients include: chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine HCI, Boswellia Serrata, omega 3 fatty acids and more. These tablets are liver flavored.
2). Infinite Hip & Joint Advanced Formula
This all-natural supplement is a yummy beef flavor, which your dog will love. This product includes natural herbs (safe for dogs) that have been used from ancient times to help ease arthritis conditions. These chews contain no dangerous additives—they’re all natural—and work to improve your pup’s mobility while relieving his pain, joint inflammation and stiffness.
These chews include the following active ingredients: glucosamine, organic turmeric, chondroitin sulfate and MSM (methysulfonylmethane).
3). Doggie Dailies Advanced Hip & Joint Dog Supplements
If your dog likes chicken flavored anything, then he’s sure to love these supplements! These chewable tablets will help with your fur baby’s mobility, while easing his pain and stiffness. These supplements are made in the USA and contain no harmful or unnecessary additives.
Some of the active ingredients include: glucosamine, MSM (methysulfonylmethane), chondroitin, Yucca Schidigera, Co-Enzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid.
4). Nutramax Cosequin Maximum Strength (DS) Plus MSM Chewable Tablets
These chewable tablets contain a patented ingredient called Cosequin, which has been scientifically proven to help dogs maintain healthy joints. It’s advertised as the #1 veterinarian recommended supplement for dogs with arthritis. As with the other supplements, the ingredients are meant to help your furry pal maintain his joints and connective tissue.
The main ingredients in these chews include: glucosamine hydrochloride (HCI), sodium chondroitin sulfate, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) and manganese.
5). Active Chews Premium Hip and Joint Treats
These chicken-flavored chewable supplements contain ingredients meant to help lubricate your pet’s joints, while easing his pain and stiffness. These chews are made with all-natural active ingredients and are not cooked. Baking or cooking causes treats to lose their potency. So, these treats will give your pup the maximum strength of each ingredient. This treat is made in the USA.
The active ingredients include: glucosamine, chondroitin, organic turmeric, MSM, Vitamins C & E, Yucca Schidigera and organic black pepper.
Helpful Medicines for Your Dog’s Arthritis
If supplements don’t completely manage your pup’s pain and stiffness, it may be time to ask your veterinarian about additional treatment options. While these options can be helpful, it’s important to remember that medications can have side effects. In addition, never give your fur baby any human medication made to treat arthritis, as some of the ingredients can be poisonous to dogs.
Corticosteroids: these medications are anti-inflammatories that work to relieve the inflammation and swelling of joints affected by arthritis. Steroids are very helpful, but can cause significant side effects. These medications are only prescribed when other treatments don’t relieve your pup’s pain and stiffness.
NSAIDs: are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications that are often helpful in relieving pain and make your dog more comfortable. The main downside of these medications is that they can cause gastrointestinal problems, liver or even kidney problems. If your vet recommends these medications, they’ll probably want to see your dog on a regular basis, to make sure he’s not suffering unwanted side effects. One note: do not give your fur baby NSAID medications made for humans (such as ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.). These can be poisonous to your dog and could even lead to death.
Opioids: these strong painkillers only treat the pain of your fur baby’s arthritis—they do nothing to treat the swelling and inflammation of this painful disease. These medications are often used as a last resort or for pets who are experiencing side effects from other treatments.
Opioids are only available by prescription from your veterinarian
Complementary Treatments for Your Dog’s Arthritis
There are a few other treatments your vet may recommend to ease your canine companion’s arthritis symptoms. These include:
- Gentle exercise: such as walking, to keep your pet moving. Frequent short walks are best; remember not to overdo it. Daily walks are highly recommended.
- Healthy weight: extra weight will put more stress on your fur baby’s joints. If he’s overweight, you might ask your vet about a gentle weight loss plan for your pup.
- Easy access to food and water: if your precious fur ball develops arthritis in his neck, he may be having trouble putting his head down to reach his food and water. Placing his food on a raised step or platform may help to ease his discomfort, while making it easier for him to reach is food.
We’ve covered a lot of information in this article and hope that it helps you find the best supplements and other treatments for your dog’s arthritis. Be sure to check with your vet before making changes to your dog’s eating habits, exercise routine, etc. Your fur baby deserves the best possible treatments and help when he’s suffering with arthritis. Your vet is the best person to offer advice and explain treatment options that may help your fur baby live more comfortably and enjoy a more active life with you.