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Best Joint Supplement for Dogs in 2021

Two large dogs play in a green field

Whether you're out for a long walk, boating, or swimming with your furry best friend, you'll need to tailor your activities to your dog's health issues. If your senior dog has issues with rough terrain or hanging back, you may need to consider a consult with your veterinarian. At the same time, you can discuss the pros of giving your dog supplements for his osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a common orthopedic problem in older dogs but can affect cats as well. Although associated mainly with senior dogs, it can also come about due to obesity or excessive use like in working or agility dogs.

What happens in osteoarthritis is that the joint is not lubricated, and the cartilage doesn't get enough nutrients, which then damages the cartilage. This triggers inflammation, which leads to more joint damage.

There are plenty of good dietary supplements that have been used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Some of these are called nutraceuticals. The take on nutraceuticals is that they are extracted in a purified form.

Vet Advantage explains in a 2020 article that there is a better understanding among pet parents about dogs and pain and the importance of addressing regular preventative care for their pets to address important issues like mobility, activity, and comfort as the quality of life as they age.

Vet Advantage adds that age, genetics, injury, and joint abnormalities can cause OA, with the most common cause being weight and fat. Vet Advantage explains that over the past 10 years, Banfield veterinarians have seen a 66% increase in dogs and a stunning 150% increase in cats. If you think that your dog is suffering from a joint issue, reach out to your veterinarian. Here's the take on signs that your dog may have joint issues.

 Osteoarthritis Signs

  • Lameness
  • Muscle wasting
  • Joint swelling
  • Heat and inflammation in the joint
  • Stiffness after lying down
  • Inability or difficulty climbing stairs or jumping onto the bed.
  • Reduced walking pace during walks
  • Thickening and scarring of joint membrane
  • Less grooming
  • Sleeping more
  • Less activity with possible depression

What Your Veterinarian Will Do?

With numerous techniques for diagnosing and healing musculoskeletal disorders your veterinarian will do x-rays to diagnose lameness with the use of ultrasonography. Sometimes a CT scan is used, as well as an MRI. In this case, your dog will be sedated to reduce stress and pain. 

Although there is no cure for this degenerative disease in dogs, weight management, cold laser treatments, acupuncture, physical therapy, and surgery will help your dog with pain and mobility.

Prescription medications such as NSAIDs, supplements with glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate will also help control pain and inflammation.

Osteoarthritis studies in dogs demonstrate that some ingredients work together to decrease the articular cartilage's degeneration and inflammation and help maintain cartilage in younger dogs to protect against joint damage. 

How to Choose the Best Dog Joint Supplement?

The most important thing you can do when purchasing pet supplements is to research the ingredients. Today with so many choices and as many claims, it's easy to become confused. You may also think that because it's selling at a pet store, it's great! Not so, and not all supplements are equal. 

Before we go on to discuss joint supplements, let's explore general pet supplements and what you should look for to ensure that your dog gets a balanced and complete supplement. If you purchase individual ingredient supplements, for example, glucosamine, you may think that that's enough for joint health protection for the future! 

But it's not! Purchasing a complete supplement can help bring your dog's quality of life from nutrition gaps to complete whole nutrition. Research has shown how much commercially grown foods have been stripped of their nutrient value, resulting in them not featuring as many vitamins and minerals.

Thus, a balanced and complete supplement for optimal health and well-being is needed to balance out the many toxins and empty processed foods. Here's the take on what to look for when choosing hip and joint supplements for dogs.

  • The supplement should be formulated with the biochemical needs of the dog first.
  • The flavorings and formula should be crafted with care to avoid common pet allergies.
  • Sources need to be bioavailable, and both the ingredient and the quality of the ingredient need to be in a form that your dog can assimilate and absorb.
  • The vitamins in the supplement need to show the most recent research in their formulation.
  • Vitamins that help to decrease toxic load help optimize well-being and optimal health.
  • Vitamins must be correctly balanced to work together. If not, they won't work 100%.
  • Vitamins need to be complete. Look out for inexpensive ingredients added to the flavored mix, meaning your dog is only getting a flavored mix, not a balanced supplement.
  • Check out the milligrams (mg) and the international units (IU) of all the vitamins listed on the label. This allows you to check and compare ingredients.

Best Dog Joint Supplements

A good hip and joint wellness and repair supplement uses the purest and most bioavailable glucosamine to guarantee optimal strength. For example, green-lipped mussels are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids with EPA and DHA to help reduce inflammation with osteoarthritis and other joint-related issues.

Research shows that glucosamine and chondroitin are highly effective as oral chondroprotective agents and that both of these aid in the repair of damaged cartilage in both cats and dogs. The same applies to methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is a compound found in the body.

This supplement is often used in the same way as both chondroitin and glucosamine, and is also beneficial after joint injury or trauma, but is not needed for dogs in long term recovery. As for hyaluronic acid, it can also be injected, but when ingested may be beneficial in supplementing joint fluid and protecting joint health and cartilage.

It may be combined with other compounds that may be beneficial in combating inflammation and pain. For example, green-lipped mussels contain glycosaminoglycan that may optimize joint health in dogs. NEM may help in repairing cartilage and may also support joint elasticity. Here's what to look for in hip and joint supplements:

  • Glucosamine, chondroitin & MSM may relieve joint discomfort and stiffness.
  • MSM may help chronic joint pain and may fight joint health deterioration.
  • Green lipped mussel may promote healthy joints and cartilage.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids with EPA & DHA may reduce inflammation from osteoarthritis.
  • NEM may promote cartilage repair and supports joint elasticity.
  • Full-spectrum hemp oil is good for optimal well-being and to combat aches and pains.

Thebest dog joint supplements should be crafted to support a healthyinflammatory response and the normal repair of connective tissue in dogs using glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and green-lipped mussel, to name a few ingredients.

Pet supplement companies need to be committed to complete transparency regarding their entire product line and health benefits. Look for dog joint supplements that are naturally formulated. It's also good not to give too many supplements to your dog every day.

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Broaden Spectrum of Treatment

If you're going to use supplements, opt for the best joint supplements crafted with multiple high-quality ingredients. In this way, you'll broaden the spectrum of treatment while working on the initial issue.

Although you can use injectable products that are highly effective and popular for inflammation and joint issues like chondroprotective agents, adequan, and hyaluronic acid, oral joint supplements for dogs can support cartilage.

When treating degenerative joint disorders, whole food supplementation can also be beneficial. You would have to consider foods that yield the nutritional components to help with joint tissue repair and inflammation reduction.

Combination supplements for dogs should utilize whole food items to offer optimal support for dogs and cats that suffer from DJD. If you look at omega fatty acids that are found in marine oils, you'll see that with the right doses, you can combat inflammation linked to DJD. Finally, antioxidants are just as important since body tissue is damaged from inflammation or oxidative damage.  

So if you add supplements to combat inflammation with the addition of antioxidants, that can also be helpful. In this case, you should look for antioxidants like glutathione, resveratrol, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and vitamins A, C, E, and D.

Natural anti-inflammatories work in the same way as NSAIDs but without the side effects. These would include anti-inflammatory herbs like Boswellia, curcumin, yucca, ginger, and bromelain. Finally, the use of cannabidiol may be beneficial for general aches and pain and anti-inflammatory purposes.

The key to finding thebest CBD hip and joint pet supplement for degenerative joint disorders is using the right cannabidiol product. Research has demonstrated that CBD may be effective in pets with moderate to severe chronic pain with the right ratio and concentration of CBD, allowing for optimal efficacy.

All in all, if you're looking for the best joint supplement for your furry best friend, consider combining treatment options while working with your veterinarian. By using supplements that contain cannabidiol, glucosamine, and chondroitin together with PSGAG injections like Adequan, and pulsed signal therapy, or perhaps stem cell therapy/and /or platelet-rich therapy and hyaluronic acid via oral supplementation or joint injections, you'll be using a combined approach.

Ask yourveterinarian about natural therapies with optimal efficacy and minimal side effects. Look at options like chiropractic, supplementation, antioxidants, and physical rehabilitation therapies to get the best chance of success. Keep in mind that pharmaceuticals may also be needed for short-term use to maintain your furry best friend's well-being.

Meet The Author 

Claudia Bensimoun

Canine Specialist & Writer

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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