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When a dog suddenly stops running like they used to, is hesitant to play their favorite games, or limps around the house, pet parents are understandably concerned. These scenarios can point toward joint issues – especially for senior dogs – which can cause significant pain and make once-simple movements more difficult. Joint supplements for dogs can help.
Dogs can develop joint issues resulting from a progressive, degenerative condition known as osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis in dogs. With this condition, the cartilage in a dog’s joints — the flexible connective tissue that coats the ends of the bones, cushioning them against impact and allowing the joint to move fluidly — gradually breaks down. That leads to irritation, inflammation, and pain. Dogs with osteoarthritis have a harder time moving around or enjoying many of their favorite activities.
Osteoarthritis and other joint issues can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. However, it’s most common in senior dogs. Other factors that may increase a dog’s risk include:
Breed (large and giant breeds have a greater risk than smaller ones)
Being overweight or obese
Poor nutrition (lacking a balance of essential nutrients)
Joint disorders like hip or elbow dysplasia
Previous joint injuries or fractures (these may cause faster wear and tear)
Higher activity levels (active dogs may wear down cartilage faster)
Infections such as Lyme disease or Cushing’s disease (these can cause osteoarthritis)
While dogs often try to hide their pain, some warning signs may indicate they’re developing issues with their joints. These include:
Stiffness, lameness, or limping — especially after sitting or laying down
Difficulty getting to their feet
Difficulty going up or down stairs
Reluctance to use stairs, go for walks, run, or play
Changes in appetite
Trouble urinating or eliminating their bowels (the dog may have accidents inside)
Irritability when petted or groomed near the sore joint
There are no cures for osteoarthritis, but pet parents can help manage their dog’s pain. One option is supplements that support joint and bone health for dogs. They can:
Help dogs recover from joint-related injuries and surgeries
Alleviate joint aches and pains associated with daily exercise
Support normal cartilage flexibility and synovial fluid (thick fluid between the cartilage) viscosity
Protect against cell-damaging free radicals that can contribute to osteoarthritis
Joint supplements aim to reduce inflammation and pain and improve joint mobility. They may also slow the progression of joint damage and osteoarthritis and help improve a dog’s overall quality of life.
Joint supplements contain one or more ingredients that studies show may aid joint health and functionality in dogs, including:
Glucosamine suppresses inflammation in an arthritic joint and prevents cartilage degradation. It can also help repair damaged cartilage.
Chondroitin sulfate (or chondroitin) helps reduce pain, improve joint mobility, and can slow arthritis progression. Many supplements that contain glucosamine also contain chondroitin.
Green-lipped mussel extract contains various beneficial compounds, including omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, and antioxidants that aid in reducing inflammation and supporting joint health.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements promote healthy joint lubrication and help reduce inflammation. They also help support heart, skin, and kidney health.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally-occurring sulfur compound that supports connective tissue health. It also offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although a dog’s body produces it naturally, that decreases with age. Many supplements that contain MSM also contain glucosamine and chondroitin, like Nutramax Dasuqin with MSM.
Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs) can protect cartilage by reducing inflammation and promoting healing after injury.
Joint supplements aren’t the only way pet parents can support their dog’s joint health. Some additional methods include:
A high-quality, well-balanced diet
Encouraging gentle exercises
Alternative therapies such as hydrotherapy or cold laser therapy
In-home modifications, such as non-skid throw rugs, ramps, plush bedding, and paw pad traction coating
Osteoarthritis and other joint issues can cause dogs a lot of pain. Joint supplements offer one solution for easing joint inflammation and discomfort, improving a dog’s comfort, mobility, and quality of life.
If pet parents aren’t sure which joint supplements might be best for their dogs, there’s help available. In addition to their primary vet, they can consult with a professional online vet via Fuzzy’s Live Vet Chat at any time.