How Effective Are Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Canine Arthritis?

Although canine arthritis is a chronic and degenerative condition, supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin exist for the purpose of strengthening your pet's joints and slowing the deterioration process. Arthritis has no known cure, and a pet suffering from this condition will experience a gradual weakening of various bones and joints over a period of months and years.

Long term pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs are generally not possible, as these prescription medicines can lead to harmful side effects and may lose effectiveness altogether over an extended period of time. As a result, veterinarians typically recommend a combination of physical therapy treatments and natural supplements to help slow the progression of your pet's arthritis.

Glucosamine and chondroitin can be very effective at easing your dog's joint and bone pain.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Overview

Both glucosamine and chondroitin are classified as nutraceuticals, a form of nutritional supplement in the same category as vitamins. These drugs are naturally occurring substances that can be found in the cartilage of your pet's body, and they are not patentable or created through synthetic means. For this reason, glucosamine and chondroitin are not available as prescription drugs manufactured by major pharmaceutical companies. Rather, they are synthesized from organic matter developed in certain seashells and other cartilage.

Glucosamine and chondroitin, when produced naturally in your dog's body, help to ease the movement and generation of ligament and cartilage tissues. As your dog becomes arthritic, his body becomes unable to create enough glucosamine and chondroitin through normal means in order to counteract the degenerative effects of the condition. As a result, his joints become inflamed and stiff. At this point, supplemental glucosamine and/or chondroitin can be helpful at reducing his pain and swelling.

Effectiveness of Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Although each dog reacts differently, glucosamine and chondroitin are generally very effective at easing the symptoms of your dog's arthritis. While you should not expect it, some cases have been reported in which dogs taking one or both of these medications have seen a reversal in their symptoms. Generally, however, glucosamine and chondroitin can be relied upon to slow the progression of arthritis and to provide your dog many additional months or years of free activity and motion.

Glucosamine and chondroitin do not have any known side effects aside from mild indigestion in some animals. This reaction is typically moderated with the help of a reduction of overall dose of the medicine. Unfortunately, glucosamine and chondroitin will not permanently stop the degenerative effects of arthritis in dogs; if you take your pet off of the supplements, his bones and joints will continue to deteriorate. For this reason, most veterinarians recommend keeping your dog on a steady regimen of glucosamine and chondroitin for the remainder of his life.

Both glucosamine and chondroitin are available at pet stores and veterinary offices. Consult your vet with any further questions or concerns before giving your pet one or both of these supplements.