If your dog is experiencing joint problems such as arthritis and you have no idea what to do, then you should definitely learn about the popular supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin. These are generally safer to use than conventional drugs and, combined with anti-inflammatory drugs and a healthy lifestyle they can help your dog improve its condition and mood.
What is dog arthritis?
The simple definition for arthritis is joint inflammation, which can be caused by a number of factors including improper bone and joint development, abnormal cartilages and joint friction, etc. It is more common for older or overweight dogs to develop arthritis, although this problem can affect any age bracket.
But how can you know if your dog has arthritis? Common signs are usually stiffness in the legs, especially after long periods of rest, signs of pain and discomfort when walking or running, and excessive licking of the joints. If you notice that your dog has difficulties walking or becomes grumpier and less mobile, then you might want to have it checked by a vet to see if it’s not arthritis.
A bit about glucosamine and chondroitin
While there are many kinds of treatments for dog arthritis, dietary supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin have become extremely popular nowadays. These are approved by the FDA for use on dogs and other pets, although you should know that these products are sold as supplements and not medical drugs.
Glucosamine is sugar which contains an amine functional group with nitrogen. It is widely present in nature, playing a structural role in the chitin exoskeleton of insects and crustaceans, as well as in other organisms.
Chondroitin, or its common supplement form chondroitin sulfate, is a complex sugar which plays an important part in the structure and development of cartilages. Together with glucosamine, chondroitin is a beneficial compound which can help improve the symptoms of your dog’s arthritis by reducing swelling or providing essential building blocks for repair.
Commercial glucosamine supplements and how to administer them to your dog
Despite the fact that there are lots of dietary supplements on the market, you should only buy good glucosamine for dogs from reputable brands you can trust. Administering these depends on the supplement. Some come in the form of chewable tablets which are usually enhanced with natural flavors so your dog will happily munch on them without a problem.
Glucosamine also comes in liquid form, and you can either mix it with water or administer it as it is. Finally, there are also special dog foods with dry kibble containing significant quantities of glucosamine and chondroitin. You can feed them to your dog as you’d normally do with regular food.
One important thing to note about these products is that they are dietary supplements and they are not intended to replace medical treatment. These cannot cure damage to the joints, so if there is structural damage to bones or cartilages, your dog will need to see a vet.
You may also need to combine these supplements with pain relief medication such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In case of overweight dogs, less food and moderate exercise might also be recommended.