Glucosamine for dogs: What you need to know
By Aleza Freeman, Pet Lifestyle Contributor
Dogs run hard and play harder. They’re like four-legged ninjas (with cuddly alter-egos).
However, that animal spirit may take a toll on their joints as they age. Over time, the lubrication and cushioning between the bones of dogs and humans alike wear down at the joints, usually due to age, trauma or disease.
If you’re thinking about adding a hip and joint supplement to your pup’s healthcare routine, we have one word for you: glucosamine.
Read on to learn all about this superstar ingredient for dog hip and joint health.
Where does glucosamine come from?
Your dog’s growing pains would totally bite if not for glucosamine. It happens to be one of the most commonly used supplements for hip and joint support in dogs.
Seeing as it’s so doggone common, you may be wondering where it comes from (and how to get your paws on the stuff). It’s not like the glucose-glutamine compound is a typical fixture in your medicine cabinet.
Here’s a quick look at what it is and how glucosamine works:
- Glucosamine is a component of synovial fluid and cartilage (the lubrication and cushioning we mentioned earlier).
- Technically known as a Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) molecule, it is produced in your dog’s body naturally.
- The compound itself was first isolated in 1876 by a German surgeon, who found two common formulations, glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate.
- As cartilage in your dog wears down over time, so does the production of glucosamine.
- Glucosamine supplements are typically sourced from the shells of crabs, oysters and shrimp or synthesized from plant sources.
- Glucosamine found in supplements helps maintain synovial fluid that lubricates joints and helps cushion cartilage.
Why glucosamine is good for dogs?
You don’t have to take our word for it. There are tons of scientific studies on the matter. One study found that glucosamine supplements may slow down the progression of arthritis.
This nutrient may also help lubricate joints and stimulate the production of proteoglycans, which help maintain the health and resiliency of joints and connective tissue.
While glucosamine is considered a boost for cartilage by itself, combining it with other naturally occurring GAGs, including chondroitin and MSM, (like in our SmartyPaws chews) may lead to an even quicker or better response.
Here are a couple of examples:
Glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate
Along with glucosamine, this GAG is considered a building block of cartilage. A study by the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences found that combining glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate can help reverse and repair cartilage damage.
Glucosamine with MSM
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is considered to be an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and aide in collagen production. A source of sulfur, it is found in milk, fruit, vegetables and grains. If your dog is experiencing any discomfort, combining glucosamine with MSM can be a natural way to make them more comfortable while their bones absorb the good benefits of the glucosamine.
When to start glucosamine for dogs?
Joint supplements for dogs are the most common type purchased by U.S. pet owners, according to a study by Rockville, MD-based market research firm Package Facts. Studies show that nearly 20% of all dogs older than one year and 80% older than seven years suffer from the stiff, achy joints of arthritis.
As dogs age, the cartilage and fluids protecting their bones break down, leading to irritation, inflammation and pain. Along with arthritis and osteoarthritis (also known as Degenerative Joint Disease), some dogs are born with hip and joint issues such as hip dysplasia.
Common symptoms for joint and hip problems in dogs of all ages include:
- Difficulty trying to sit down or stand up
- Struggling to jump into the car
- Taking shorter walks
- Refusing to walk upstairs
- Favoring a leg
- Lifting a limb in the air
- Swollen joints
- An audible popping or cracking in the hips
Always take your dog to the veterinarian if he’s experiencing any of these symptoms. They may be a natural part of growing and aging, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. The American College of Veterinary Nutrition also recommends talking to your vet if you’re thinking about using any supplement.
There’s no doubt you want to give your dog the best glucosamine on the market. So do we. That’s why our multifunctional health supplements are made with a premium blend of ingredients for hip and joint health.
In addition to Chondroitin and the aforementioned MSM, our SmartyPaws health supplements contain even more premium ingredients for dog hip and joint health including Bromelain, Green-lipped Mussel and Omega-3 EPA & DHA (fatty acids) from Fish Oil. Fatty acids are vital to everyday health, strong muscles and healthy joints.
Together, these superstar ingredients offer a range of benefits for healthy bones and joints in dogs including:
- Easing joint stiffness due to normal daily exercise and activity
- Helping maintain healthy bone and joint function
- Helping maintain healthy joints and connective tissue
- Helping relieve occasional joint stiffness
- Helping support the structural integrity of joints and connective tissues
Along with promoting healthy joints, SmartyPaws are packed with other premium ingredients to support gut, immune, allergy, skin and urinary tract health. Our daily multifunctional health supplements are designed by our Veterinary Advisory Board (VAB) to help your dog lead a happy and healthy life.
Just one easy serving a day supports good health from nose to tail. Now that’s something to bark about!