What Should I Look For in a Good Dog Joint Supplement?
The best joint supplements for dogs should provide adequate support for your dog's overall movement as well as the joints and will usually contain glucosamine for dogs as well as some natural anti-inflammatory support. A good range of nutrients is beneficial. These joint supplements can be a good way of supporting your dog’s joints alongside a healthy lifestyle and any medical care they may be receiving from your vet.
Here we look at when to start giving your dog a joint supplement and what the best dog joint supplements should provide.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Needs a Joint Supplement?
Unfortunately joint problems and joint stiffness are extremely common in dogs and can range from minor discomfort to severe pain and arthritis. Problems in your dog's joints can be so serious that they hinder exercising or even walking short distances and prevent your pet from leading a full life. With the most severe painful joint pain even getting up or standing can become difficult for your dog. Hips and elbows are amongst the most commonly affected areas thanks to conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia.
You’ll know as an owner whether your dog is not his or her usual self – but if you’re unsure here are some key signs to watch out for:
- Your dog limping or moving awkwardly
- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump
- Stiffness especially when your dog is getting up from its bed or the floor
- Are your dog's back legs giving way?
- Bad temper and a dislike of being touched
- Swelling in your dog's joints
- Licking the joints excessively
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to get your dog seen by the vet straightaway. Don’t forget that joint stiffness or pain can be a symptom of an underlying condition.
What Causes Joint Problems in Dogs?
Arthritis in Dogs
This is the most common cause of joint pain in dogs and can be as a result of a number of other conditions or simply because of old age.
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
These developmental disorders occur as a result of a misshapen joint structure or lax muscles. Certain dog breeds are more susceptible, particularly larger dogs like German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers and Saint Bernard’s.
Tendon & Ligament Injuries
The most common issue is the cruciate ligament or ACL. Congenital disorders like luxating patella, which can happen when the knee cap is misshapen and can therefore become dislodged. Small dog breeds like smaller Poodles and short legged breeds like Basset Hounds and Dachshunds can also be more susceptible.
Injuries can lead to arthritis in dogs down the line.
Hormonal Conditions in Dogs
Conditions like hyperparathyroidism can cause an imbalance in the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. This can result in your dog's bones deteriorating leading to joint pain and inflammation.
This can affect certain dog breeds more than others, with Basset Hounds, Beagles and Cocker Spaniels amongst those who are more susceptible. There are a number of other conditions which can result in joint inflammation and pain in dogs. Always talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.
When Should I Start Giving My Dog a Joint Supplement?
There are a number of things you can do to help your dog if they have joint issues:
- Speak to your vet to identify the cause – they may prescribe medication or advise surgery depending on the issue
- Keep your dog at a healthy weight and manage their diet
- Make sure they are exercising appropriately
- Rest and recuperation is also important
- Consider joint care therapies like hydrotherapy or acupuncture
- Look at their diet to ensure they are getting the right nutrients including Omega 3 fatty acids and foods rich in antioxidants.
However, prevention is better than cure as they say, and maintaining your dog's joints before problems arise is a good way to help protect them from joint issues in later life. Some breeds in particular are more prone to joint issues, especially larger breeds. There are also breed-specific problems to be aware of - for example Newfoundlands are the most likely to develop cruciate ligament disease whilst Rottweilers tend to have more knee and ankle problems.
What Do The Best Joint Supplements for Dogs Include?
When you are looking for a joint supplement for dogs, the best joint supplements on the market will include natural anti-inflammatory support, a blend of building blocks and actives and a formulation that encourages a high absorption rate in the digestive tract.
Glucosamine provides the building blocks to help maintain smooth and resilient cartilage in your dog’s joints.
- Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid provides the building blocks of chondroitin and works together with glucosamine in the structural formation of cartilage. It also helps to cushion and lubricate the joints.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Important for helping to maintain the natural anti-inflammatory actions of the metabolism. Hemp oil (used in Joint Aid for Dogs) is probably the best source found in the plant world and provides a unique combination that allows the animal’s body to make essential Omega-3 fats normally only found in fish.
Methylsulfonylmethane is a source of sulphur which is used by your dog’s body to produce and maintain connective tissues like tendons, ligaments and cartilage.
The active ingredient of this spice is curcumin, a potent antioxidant that mops up potentially damaging free radicals produced during exercise. In Joint Aid for Dogs you'll find extracted curcumin which contains 98% curcuminoids and so is far more potent than the traditional turmeric powder found in other supplements.
Piperine Black Pepper Extract
This helps with the retention of poorly accepted nutraceuticals like curcumin.
This is unique to GWF Nutrition and is a key part of Joint Aid for Dogs and many of our other supplements. It’s so important as it helps to maintain a high rate of absorption in the digestive tract giving your dog more of the benefits of the nutrients used. The effectiveness of Oatinol also means there is no need for a loading period with our supplements.
Other Things That May Support Your Dog's Joints
Muscle support can be really important when animals are suffering with joint problems. Conditions that affect mobility can also lead to muscle loss through inactivity. Look for a joint care supplement that also supports your dog's muscles for good overall freedom of movement. Joint Aid for Dogs is one of the only supplements available that also provides support for your dog's muscular structure and helps with muscle replenishment.
It’s worth also considering what form the joint supplement comes in and how easy it is to feed. Joint supplements for dogs are available in several different forms: as tiny pellets which you can easily sprinkle over food (such as Joint Aid for Dogs); others come in tablet form or as a chew. What works for you will depend on the blend of nutraceuticals as well as your dog's preference.