Dog Arthritis Glucosamine

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Dog Arthritis Glucosamine

If you are starting to feel a little stiff in your joints, you may consider using glucosamine supplements on a daily basis. It works wonder!

Glucosamine works wonder on dog arthritis as well.

What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) and a major component of joint cartilage. It is a naturally occuring substance produced in an animal's body and is composed of a sugar and an amino acid.

Glucosamine is contained in joint cartilage. It is essential for producing healthy cartilage tissue and a key ingredient in cartilage metabolism. Its function is to maintain and regenerate healthy cartilage in joints.

As our dogs (and we) age, however, the production of glucosamine slows down. This, coupled with the normal wear and tear on the dogs' joints, results in degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis.

It makes perfect sense, therefore, that as our dogs start to age (around 7 years old), we should feed them glucosamine supplements as one of the various preventive measures against arthritis.

Glucosamine for Dog Arthritis

Glucosamine supplements are mostly derived from chitin, a component that makes up the shells of shellfish (e.g. Alaskan king crab).

Glucosamine supplements help to improve joint health by supplementing the nourishment of the cartilage with more glucosamine than the body produces itself.

Supplementation therefore can slow down and even stop cartilage loss in the joints due to injuries, degenerative joint diseases, or simply overuse.

Several recent studies on the effects of glucosamine on dog arthritis (such as this one) have shown that, when taken orally, glucosamine is absorbed and distributed to joint tissues. The studies also claim that glucosamine does have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it helps in cases of degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis.

It has also been shown that supplementation of a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin is most effective against arthritis, both in dogs and humans.

Chondroitin, also known as chondroitin sulfate, is a naturally occurring compound found in cartilage. It also promotes healthy joints by neutralizing the effects of destructive enzymes, increasing water retention, and enhancing the elastic properties of cartilage.

Remember that, once started, dog arthritis is a permanent condition. Therefore, supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin should not be stopped. Otherwise, the arthritis dog joint will revert back to its degenerative condition.

Some Glucosamine Products For Dogs

Dosage of Glucosamine for Dogs

The following are the recommended daily dosages for dogs according to their body weight. To be super safe, you may want to double check with your vet, especially if your dog is on other medications.

  • 5-20 pounds body weight: 250-500 mg
  • 20-45 pounds body weight: 500 mg
  • 45-90 pounds body weight: 1,000 mg
  • 90+ pounds body weight: 1,500 mg

Always give the supplements separate from meals, and always start with the highest dosage possible (e.g. if your dog is 5 pounds, start at 500 mg) to see if your dog shows good results.

If you can see improvement within a few weeks, scale back the dosage and see if the improvement can be maintained at a lower dose.

Remember that all dogs are individual beings and they respond differently to even the same supplement. So don't give up if your dog doesn't respond to one particular glucosamine product.

If your dog doesn't show any improvement after 4 weeks on a supplement, switch to another product and see if he responds better.

Is Glucosamine Safe for Dogs?

Glucosamine is generally safe for use in dogs, with the following exceptions:

  • Dogs with diabetes: Diabetic dogs or dogs who are at risk for diabetes should not take glucosamine supplements because glucosamine is sugar-based.
  • Dogs with bleeding problems: Dogs whose blood cannot clot properly should not use glucosamine without the supervision of a veterinarian because this supplement may increase blood clotting time in dogs.

Other Sources of Glucosamine

Besides supplements, dogs with arthritis can also get additional amounts of glucosamine from certain food items.

So what food items rich in glucosamine that we can give to our dogs? Here are some you may want to consider:

  • Cartilage: Since cartilage is rich in glucosamine, one thing we can give our dogs is cartilage (e.g. trachea). It's kind of a no-brainer, isn't it?
  • Green Lipped Mussels: Green lipped mussels are a type of shellfish from New Zealand. These mussels are rich in glucosamine. They are also rich in Omega-3 and Chondroitin sulfate, so you can't really lose if you give these mussels to dogs with arthritis!
  • Bone Broth: If you have been making bone broth for yourself, consider also making some for your dog, as it is another good way to get glucosamine.

    No time to cook? No problem! You can get some that is already cooked for you online!

Glucosamine Supplements vs Food Sources

Dog Arthritis Glucosamine You may wonder, "Can I just give food items rich in glucosamine to my dog, without bothering with getting a glucosamine supplement?"

It largely depends on your dog's age and condition.

If your dog is still young (under 5) and shows no signs of arthritis or joint pain, and you just want to prevent or delay the onset of arthritis, then it may be a good idea to just give him glucosamine from food sources as a preventive measure. (Not to mention they can be given as treats and your dog will be happy!)

But if you have an older dog who is starting to show signs of arthritis, it's best to give him a supplement, as it is difficult to gauge how much glucosamine there is in a snack. You may need to give a lot of snacks to get the desirable effect!

Of course, you can also give some food items to your older dog as a secondary source of glucosamine in addition to the regular supplement.

R.H. Pitcairn, The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (Rodale, 2005).
K. Schulz, DVM, The Pet Lover's Guide to Canine Arthritis & Joint Problems (Saunders Elsevier, 2006).
W.J. Dodds, D.R. Laverdue, Canine Nutrigenomics - The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health (Dogwise Publishing, 2015).

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