What You Should Know About Joint Supplements for Dogs

Woman walking with her dog on walkway in park

Certain things happen as dogs age.

We try to keep their teeth clean from the time they’re a young pup with pearly whites.

To help keep their coat clean, healthy, and shiny for years to come, we give them baths with only the best dog shampoos.

We leave them in veterinary offices. Even though we know they’re being cared for and loved by the vets and vet techs — who love them like their own — it hurts to leave them, even for the night.

But one of the sneaky issues of aging, especially in large dogs, is their joint health. Much like people, dogs’ joints develop arthritis, get stiff and achy, and stop allowing as much mobility as when they were younger.

It’s hard to see your once youthful pup struggling to stand, run around outside, or even jump up on the furniture like they used to. But thankfully, some supplements can help treat the symptoms of joint diseases, and even help delay their onset.

Person petting a dog
Source: Pexels

But not all supplements are created equal. Here are the basics you need to know before finding a joint supplement for your dog.

How Do Joint Supplements for Dogs Work?

As dogs age, the cartilage that cushions their joints starts to wear out. It’s similar to how your favorite pair of shoes have a perfect impression of your feet — constant use and repetitive pressure in the same places wear the material thin.

Just like that same pair of shoes gets worn down and leads to back pain, joint discomfort, and serious foot pain after a long day of standing — the thinning cartilage between your dog’s joints can lead to discomfort, pain, and even arthritis.

Since your dog can’t talk, and wouldn’t complain even if they could, some of the symptoms that indicate deteriorating joint health are: 

  • Difficulty standing up
  • Refuses to jump onto furniture or take the stairs
  • Stiffness when moving around
  • Excessively napping or lethargy

If you notice your dog seems uncomfortable when moving around, and is less active than he used to be, stiff joints, achy hips, and worn-out cartilage might be to blame.

Active dogs, at a healthy weight, and with a healthy, well-balanced diet (including appropriate supplements) usually have the least amount of joint pain. These daily joint supplements can either be a way to help ease your dog’s pain or as a preventative measure.

They’ll be moving like a young pup again! So how do these supplements work?

There are common ingredients known to be beneficial for joint health in dogs. They all work slightly differently and are useful at different stages in your dog’s life. 

Supplement What It Does What You Should Look Out For
Glucosamine Hydrochloride Protect your dog's cartilage in their joints, and help stimulate more cartilage growth Glucosamine Sulfate -- hasn't been shown to have the same effects as Hydrochloride
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help reduce swelling and inflammation, eases pain, and helps lubricate joints for ease of movement The best sources are krill or fish oil, as they provide the essential omega-3s
Chondroitin Sulfate Stops enzymes that destroy cartilage. Works together with Glucosamine Hydrochloride Can be tough on your dog's digestion, so look for one that will be easy to absorb with a low molecular weight
Cannabidiol (CBD) Suggested it can decrease pain and help arthritic dogs become more active This will be more helpful for older dogs already suffering from joint pain, rather than in young dogs as a preventative measure.
Perna Canaliculus (Green Lipped Mussels) Can relieve stiffness in your dog's joints with anti-inflammatory properties. Shouldn't be given to dogs with shellfish allergies
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) Acts as an anti-inflammatory, as well as an antioxidant Should be used with caution in conjunction with anticoagulants or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories)

If you have any questions about joint supplements for your dog, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian. Each pup has a unique medical history, and it’s best to get a professional opinion on joint supplements for your dog.

But when should you start giving your dog one of these supplements?

What Is the Best Age to Give Your Dog a Joint Supplement?

While some of these supplements are meant for treating the pain, others can be used as a preventative measure. Some dogs will need supplementation at an early age, if they develop traumatic arthritis or hip dysplasia, while others will only need the pain relief later in life.

Chondroitin and glucosamine can be highly beneficial in dogs that have higher risk factors for joint and hip disease. Large breed dogs, or breeds genetically predisposed to diseases like hip dysplasia, can safely take these supplements as young as 8 weeks old.

The larger breeds that studies have shown to have the highest risk of osteoarthritis are:

  • Border Collie
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • German Pointer
  • German Shepherd Dog (also at higher risk of hip dysplasia)
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever (has a higher risk of hip dysplasia)
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Rottweiler
  • Scottish Collie
  • Springer Spaniel

This is partially explained by the size of these breeds: the same studies show a positive relationship between dogs that are medium to large with higher body weights and dogs that will develop joint problems in life.

They can benefit from early joint supplementation.

Some small breeds that have very low body weights and extremely low risk of joint problems will not need as much preventative supplementation. They won’t need extra joint supplements until later in life, as they won’t need the extra concern.

Always check with your vet when considering any supplement routine for your dog.

These supplements won’t prevent joint disease completely, but they can help sustain your dog’s health and vitality until even later in life. They can help prevent some of the discomfort and pain that comes with the joint disease — or at least delay the onset.

It isn’t recommended to give CBD oil to dogs that don’t seem to be suffering from joint pain. This is a supplement that remedies the pain the dog is in and is unnecessary in otherwise healthy younger dogs.

The best way to know when to start your dog on joint supplements is to ask your veterinarian. They’ll also be able to guide you through proper dosages.

What Are the Recommended Dosages of Joint Supplements for Dogs?

Most supplements will have a guide for feeding instructions. It will list the number of pills, scoops of powder, or amount of liquid to add to your dog’s food based on their body weight.

For example, our Pure Green Lipped Mussel Powder advises one-half of a teaspoon per 22 pounds of your dog’s body weight, with a daily maximum of 2 teaspoons.

Nutrani pure Green Lipped Mussel Powder
Nutrani pure Green Lipped Mussel Powder

Dosages will vary based on a variety of factors. If you’re giving glucosamine and chondroitin at the same time (which is great, because they work better together), the dosage you should give of each is lower.

If your dog is taking any NSAIDs or anti-coagulants, they could potentially suffer side effects if given MSM.

Absolutely consult with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s dosage.

While these supplements can be a lifeline for your achy older dog, you want to ensure that you administer them most safely. Your vet can also help you understand what to expect from these supplements.

For example, after you begin giving your dog these supplements, how long until you’ll see them start working?

How Long Does It Take for Joint Supplements to Work in Dogs?

If you’re using joint supplements for your dog as a preventative measure, you don’t need to worry about when they’ll have an effect. The purpose of administering the supplement at that time is to help your dog in the long term.

There won’t be a dramatic improvement in mobility with the supplements, but instead, there will be a delay in the onset of joint and hip disease symptoms. Choose quality supplements, and you can rest easy knowing that your dog’s joint discomfort is years away.

If, however, you’re giving your dog supplements to battle current joint pain and difficulty moving, you’ll want to know when to expect results.

The effects of these supplements are determined by the strength of the dose you’re giving your dog, as well as any potential interactions with other supplements and medications your dog is on. Your veterinarian can walk you through when you can expect to see results.

For example, if your vet prescribes glucosamine and chondroitin for your arthritic dog, it can take at least 8 weeks for your dog to experience increased mobility and decreased discomfort.

They might prescribe additional pain medication in the meantime, to help your dog feel better.

When studied over 4 weeks, twice-daily administration of cannabidiol (CBD) showed increased activity and decreased pain in dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis. It can be a quicker way to ease the aches and pains your dog is feeling.

How can you tell your dog is feeling better, and the joint supplements are actually working?

How Can You Tell if a Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs Is Working?

In a younger dog that isn’t exhibiting any symptoms, there truly might not be much of a difference. The challenging thing about treating health issues in animals is they won’t tell us what’s wrong.

Because they just want us to be happy, even if they’re in pain, they tend to mask it and continue on as if nothing is wrong.

So if you’re giving them a well-made, trustworthy joint supplement, you can rest assured that even if you don’t see an effect, it is probably helping, and will help keep them comfortable for years to come.

If you have an older dog, diagnosed with hip dysplasia, arthritis, or some other joint disease, you will see overall easier movement and more energy and vigor. You might even notice them acting like their younger selves.

older dog, diagnosed
Source: Pixabay

While joint supplements for dogs aren’t able to undo the progression of the disease, they can help ease the discomfort your furry pal might be living with. The earlier you begin supplementing their diet, the longer they will stay comfortable.

Where do you find the highest quality supplements for your dog?

What Are the Best Joint Supplements for Dogs?

Here at DoggySupps, we created a hip and joint supplement line manufactured with only the highest quality ingredients. Our supplements are sourced in Germany, where standards are more rigorous than in the United States.

“We make it our mission to include only vet recommended, active and all-natural ingredients in our dog joint supplements.”

You can trust that our Salmon Oil Fish Chews are packed with quality Omegas (3, 6, and 9), as well as DHA and EPA. They’re a safe and healthy supplement to add to your dog’s daily meals — and will even help maintain their shiny coat!

Our MSM powder is ultra-pure, with a very high degree of purity. You can be confident that your dog’s joints will be feeling better and there are no unnecessary filler ingredients

For the best joint supplement, take a look at our Hemp Joint Health soft chews. Formulated by a veterinarian, it is designed to help lubricate joints, maintain healthy cartilage, and support overall joint health and movement. 

Help Your Pup Strut Their Stuff

Whether you want to ease your senior dog’s silver years or begin fighting against joint disease in your younger furry friend, joint supplements can have powerful effects on your dog’s happiness and comfort as they age.

We don’t like to think about them getting older, but as their bodies age, we want to do everything we can to help them stay happy and mobile as long as possible. With early and effective supplementation, they’ll be active and playful for a very long time.

Keep your dog healthy with our entire line of supplements, designed to help your pup look and feel their best.

Featured Image: Freepik by Freepik

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