A handy guide to the most common nutrients to support your dog’s joint health.
Quality supplements for joint health are vital to maintaining your dog’s flexibility and mobility, especially as he ages. With so many products available, how do you choose the right one for your companion’s specific needs? Here are a few key ingredients to look for when shopping for the perfect supplement.
Glucosamine is perhaps the most widely known and one of the most important supplements. It consists of fairly small molecules and is absorbed well by the body. It is used to make thick, viscous joint fluid. This fluid cushions bone endings and allows them to glide smoothly over each other. The recommended quantity of glucosamine for a 50-pound dog is 1,000 milligrams per day. Less than this is simply not enough.
Chondroitin is another common ingredient found in supplements, and is an important component of cartilage. It has larger molecules than glucosamine so is not as readily absorbed into the body.
MSM is widely known to have an anti-inflammatory effect. This is important because inflammation causes the release of hydrolyzing enzymes. These enzymes cause a breakdown of the fluid that cushions joints.
Hylauronic acid is found in many supplements and is chemically the same as joint fluid. Like chondroitin, it has a large molecule so isn’t as easily absorbed as glucosamine.
Herbs are also helpful for joint health. A few to look for are boswelia, which helps stop the breakdown of joint fluid, as well as yucca, curcumin and corydalis. Cinnamon is also good because it has a slight warming quality helpful for dogs whose issues tend to get worse in cold weather.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory by nature. Adding them to your dog’s diet will help support his joint health.
It’s generally a good idea to take a preventive approach when it comes to joint care. Supporting your dog’s joint health throughout his life, rather than waiting until problems occur, will help ensure he ages gracefully and maintains his mobility.