Dog guardians understand that it’s easier to dodge a bullet than expect their dogs to sit still for more than two mins. This constant running around, jumping up and down the furniture, and doing zoomies around the house puts a lot of pressure on the joints of the dog. The constant hyperactivity puts a lot of pressure on the joints. Common joint problems like hip dysplasia, ligament issues, arthritis, etc can lead to joint stiffness, pain, and severely reduced mobility. To protect the joints of their beloved fur babies, dog guardians use glucosamine for dogs.
In this article, I will discuss glucosamine for dogs. Why your dog needs it, is this the right time to start them on this supplement and do you need a veterinary consultation before you get started? Find out about all this information and much more in this detailed guide. Thus, do not skip any paragraphs and continue to read to the end.
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Topics covered in this blog post
Glucosamine for dogs:
Glucosamine is a compound that has a very important role in maintaining the integrity and health of the dog’s cartilage. It is made up of amino sugar and acts as a primary building block for the synthesis of glycosaminoglycan. Glycosaminoglycans are crucial components of connective tissues and cartilage. The primary role of glucosamine is to promote the repair and production of cartilage, thus maintaining proper joint functioning and mobility.
Glucosamine for dogs in case of arthritis
In case of conditions like joint issues, arthritis, or ligament problems, the levels of glucosamine may reduce in the joint. This reduces the chances of the cartilage carrying out any maintenance and repair tasks. Under such conditions, dog guardians can provide glucosamine supplements to provide the dog’s body with the building blocks needed to repair the cartilage, thus promoting mobility and the health of the joints.
Role of glucosamine in dogs in joint health promotion
Glucosamine is a naturally found compound that has a very important role in the maintenance of integrity and joint cartilage health. If your dog’s body is not producing enough glucosamine you can always supply it separately as a supplement to your dog’s diet.
If your dog suffers from joint issues, it can lead to inflammation. The constant inflammation can lead to further joint damage and pain. Glucosamine can alleviate inflammation, provide relief and boost the mobility of your dog by leaps and bounds.
Glucosamine has a very important role in managing the pain that your dog may feel because of joint issues. Studies have shown that glucosamine can reduce arthritic pain in dogs. The reduction in pain can boost the overall quality of the dog’s life.
Protection of cartilage
The primary role of cartilage is to act as a cushion between bones and keep the bones from grinding into each other. The cartilage is primarily responsible for providing smooth movement to the limbs and absorbing any shock to the bones. The constant movement puts pressure on the cartilage leading to its breakdown of the same. Glucosamine protects the cartilage and reduces the degradation.
Well-tolerated and natural
Since glucosamine occurs naturally, it is available in some food items. If your dog is not getting enough glucosamine in diet, you can easily add it as a supplement to the diet.
Glucosamine can also be used along with other substances like chondroitin sulfate which also helps in cartilage repair function. Chondroitin is generally made of pig or cow cartilage and is derived from the shells of oysters, shrimp, and crabs. In laboratories, chondroitin sulfate is made from plant sources.
Is glucosamine for dogs a good option?
The research on glucosamine began in the 1980s when scientists tried to figure out if chondroitin and glucosamine are good options for dogs. In the year 2012, research showed that the use of glucosamine hydrochloride did not have much effect on those with joint issues. However, glucosamine sulfate provided a pain relief that was higher than that- provided by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Studies have shown that glucosamine supplements show lower adverse effects. They are a good option to use in the case of dogs suffering from arthritis. It can also be used with other drugs and natural supplements.
The different types of glucosamine for dogs available:
This is one of the most studied glucosamine forms for joint issues. Glucosamine sulfate is a combination of glucosamine and sulfur.
This is another form of glucosamine, most commonly found in supplements. Even though glucosamine hydrochloride does not contain sulfur, it can still provide a good level of joint support to your pup.
N -acetyl glucosamine or NAG
N-acetyl glucosamine or NAG is a derivative of glucosamine. In this case, an acetyl group is attached to the glucosamine molecule. This product is not as commonly used for joint health as glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulfate.
How to choose glucosamine for dogs?
If you decide to purchase a glucosamine supplement for your dog, you must know which form of glucosamine you should buy. In most cases, your vet will either recommend glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride. However, the efficacy of both may differ depending on the dog and his needs. Thus, your first step should be to consult your veterinarian to determine the best form of glucosamine for dogs.
Natural sources of glucosamine for dogs.
If you do not wish to give your dog a dietary supplement of glucosamine, you can always add some extra items to his diet that are glucosamine-rich. Some of the most common natural sources of glucosamine include:
Crustaceans like crabs, shrimp, and lobsters are generally known to have a high level of glucosamine in them. Most often the shells of such shellfish are used for the extraction of supplement-grade glucosamine.
Another rich source of glucosamine for dogs is bone broth. Animal bones are used for making bone broth. If you are planning to make bone broth at home, make sure to cook the bones at a low flame for at least 24 hours so that the booth can retain all of its essential nutrients. The slow-cooking process is perfect for the extraction of essential nutrients like glucosamine from the bone.
The connective tissues present in meat like beef trachea, pig ears, and chicken feet contain glucosamine. Many dog treats or diets also contain these parts as part of their constitution.
Different forms of glucosamine for dogs
The supplement glucosamine for dogs is available in various forms. Thus, you can easily opt for an option that works best for your pup. Some of the common supplemental options available in the case of glucosamine for dogs are:-
Capsules or tablets
Glucosamine supplements are available as tablets and capsules. These tablets often contain other ingredients like rasa (methylsulfonylmethane or chondroitin sulfate). You can also crush the tablet and add it to their food,
Another option available in the case of a glucosamine supplement is soft chew. These soft chews are favored more by the dog guardians since these are usually flavored and are thus, favored by dogs. This is a good option for those dogs who do not like capsules or tablets.
The best option for administering glucosamine to reluctant dogs is liquid glucosamine. You can easily add the liquid to your dog’s food. Alternatively, you can pour the supplement directly into the mouth of your dog via the dropper. This option is excellent for dogs who find it hard to swallow pills.
Your vet will inform you of the dosage and form of glucosamine for your dog. Therefore, do not take this decision all by yourself. The dosage may vary depending on the health issue that your dog is facing.
Considerations to bear in mind before choosing glucosamine for dogs
If you wish to give your dog glucosamine, you have to ensure that you opt for the correct glucosamine. Some factors must be borne in mind while choosing a glucosamine supplement for your dog.
Size & Age
Depending on the size and age of your dog, the requirement for glucosamine may vary. Puppies will have a different glucosamine requirement than adult dogs.
The quantity needed will also vary depending on the health issue your dog is facing and the condition of the joints as well. In case your dog has an allergy to any of the components that are a part of the supplement, your vet may choose to opt for another option. The choice of the supplement will also depend on any pre-existing medical condition that your dog might be facing. Thus, before deciding which glucosamine supplement to give your dog, contact your veterinarian.
Allergies & other sensitivity issue
As I mentioned above, if your dog suffers from any allergy issues, your vet may opt for a supplement option that comes without the allergen. If you are already aware of the allergy situation, review the supplement completely before you decide to add it to your dog’s diet.
In what quantity is glucosamine safe for dogs?
Mostly, veterinarians opt for a 20mg dose of glucosamine for dogs per pound of the pup’s body weight. If you are not aware of how much your dog’s weight is, first check that before you add the supplement to your dog’s diet.
The following is the quantity of glucosamine that your dog will need depending on the body weight:-
- If your dog weighs between 5–20 lbs: 250- 500 mg
- If your dog weighs between 20-45 lbs: 500 mg
- If your dog weighs between 45-90 Ibs: 1000mg
- Above 90 lbs: 9500 mg
If the joint problem is severe, your vet may start your dog at a higher dose of glucosamine for dogs. This helps with quick improvement. The vet will taper down the dose eventually. As I mentioned above, the correct dose of the supplement- will depend on the age, weight, and severity of the joint condition.
Guidelines for administration of glucosamine for dogs:
Always follow the dosage instructions
The best dose is usually present on the supplement bottle. Alternatively, your veterinarian may also prescribe how much dose to give your dog depending on the body weight. Never waiver from the instructions. The dose of the supplement depends on many factors. Thus, stick to it.
Supplements do not show improvement in one day. They will slowly heal your dog’s body from the inside. Thus, you must keep administering it every day without fail, as per the given instructions. Make sure that you are sticking to the routine when administering supplements to your dog, whether it is the time of the day or a specific meal.
Add to the diet
The easiest way to ensure that your dog consumes the supplement is to make the supplement a part of your dog’s diet. Furthermore, when you add glucosamine for dogs to the food of your pup, the food helps with the absorption of the supplement. This also reduces the chances of gastrointestinal issues from occurring.
Check the water intake
You must make sure that your dog is consuming proper quantities of water. Always check that there is water in your dog’s bowl. Change the water and wash the bowl every day to prevent the build-up of microbes. Proper consumption of water also promotes better absorption-
Side effects of administering glucosamine for dogs
Even though glucosamine is well-tolerated by dogs, and shows minimal side effects, you must be aware that individual dogs may react differently towards the supplement. Here are some possible side effects that you should know
In certain cases, your dog may display signs of gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, etc. In case you notice these symptoms, immediately take your dog to the vet.
Even though there is a fairly rare chance of this happening, some dogs may develop an allergic reaction when you administer glucosamine for dogs. Thus, you should keep an eye out for allergic responses like:
- difficulty breathing.
If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, take your dog to an emergency vet. Do not wait for symptoms to worsen.
Interaction of glucosamine for dogs with other meds
If your dog is already on medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, or any others, provide this information to your veterinarian so that the vet prescribes supplements that can interact favorably with the other drugs that your dog is on.
Sensitivity to shellfish:
Glucosamine is mostly made from shellfish. In case your dog has a shellfish allergy, the doc may recommend an alternative to glucosamine- Alternatively, the vet may opt for synthetic glucosamine.
Other aspects to monitor when administering glucosamine to dogs
Pay attention to mobility
Keep an eye on your dog’s mobility. In case you notice a positive change in his movement, reduction in stiffness, or increased activity levels, it is an indication that the supplement is working.
Check behavioral changes
Along with physical changes, your dog may also exhibit changes in behavior. You must understand and focus on the personality changes. Your dog may behave more energetic, or engaged and show heightened enthusiasm for activities he was not interested in before. This indicates that your dog is feeling better and the supplement is working.
Every dog is different with thin own needs. Therefore the response toward glucosamine may vary as well. Some dogs may show quicker results with no side effects. However, others may land up being allergic to the components. Therefore always consult- a veterinarian before starting your dog on any supplement.
What to do if administering glucosamine to dogs is not an option?
If giving glucosamine to your dog is not an option, you can opt for other strategies to promote joint health. Some of the methods are:-
Regular exercise is crucial for proper joint health maintenance in dogs. Exercise prevents joint degradation, maintains a healthy weight, and strengthens the muscles around the joint. You can opt for low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, and gentle playtime. However, you must avoid carrying out any high-intensity exercises that may put excess pressure on the dog’s joints. Regular and light exercise depending on the weight, age, and needs of the dog can boost joint mobility.
Another crucial aspect of joint care is weight management. Joints control the weight of the body. If your dog is overweight, the excess weight puts added pressure on the joints, boosting the risk of injury. As a dog guardian, you must focus on maintaining a healthy weight via portion control, a balanced diet, and everyday exercise.
Many different physical therapy techniques can be employed to boost joint mobility. Some of these are hydrotherapy. therapeutic exercises, massages, etc. These can allow for strengthening of muscles, improve the range of motion and reduce joint pain.
Even though acupuncture is not a modern therapeutic technique, many dog guardians swear that it helped their pooch. In acupuncture therapy, needles are inserted in specific sections of the dog’s body. These are supposed to enhance pain relief and healing and can be used as a complementary therapy along with the current therapy your dog is on.
Cold Laser Therapy:
In cold laser therapy, low-level laser light is used to reduce inflammation, stimulate the repair of tissue and alleviate the pain in the joints. This is a drug-free method for the management of joint conditions.
Adding joint-supporting nutrients
Go for supplements that are rich in joint-supportive nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidants. These can promote joint health and reduce inflammation.
Fats are needed for proper mobility of the joint. Go for fat sources like flaxseed oil or fish which can help reduce the inflammation and boost the joint health of your dog.
Ensure that the weight of your dog is the right bracket for his age size & level of activity. If you maintain a proper diet, it will boost joint health by keeping the weight at a normal level.
You cannot expect your dog to slow down and take it easy. Therefore, as a dog guardian, you must ensure that your dog’s joint is well taken care of. You can add glucosamine for dogs to his diet. If your dog is allergic to shellfish (from which glucosamine is derived), you should look into other sources for joint management.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Glucosamine is a great option for your dog since it promotes joint and cartilage health. Fortunately, most dogs can tolerate glucosamine well. However, try to not go for the ones with manganese.
Check the joints of your dog thoroughly. If you notice any form of bulginess, or swelling or if they appear larger in size, you should consult your vet and get your dog started on glucosamine supplements.
Yes! Glucosamine can be administered to dogs every day. However, talk to your veterinarian about the dosage. Your dog’s glucosamine dosage will be determined depending on his age and weight.
In case you are giving your dog glucosamine for a joint problem, you should continue giving him the supplement for 2-6 weeks to know if it is working on your pup.
Mostly glucosamine does not cause any side effects. However, in some cases, glucosamine has may cause allergy. Therefore, talk to your veterinarian before starting your dog on this supplement.