Glucosamine Chondroitin for Dogs

Glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs are often recommended when your dog starts to get older and suffer from joint problems. These are good options in place of pain medication because there are fewer health risks for long-term use and they can be obtained relatively inexpensively from any grocery store.

Using Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are supplements used for dogs when they start to suffer from joint pain, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis. Usually, this occurs in older dogs, but hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that can be acquired as young as puppyhood.

Signs that your dog may be suffering from joint pain are if he has difficulty walking or running, especially up stairs, shows general lethargy or decreased energy level, is limping, has difficulty getting up from lying down, is aversive to touch or shows a change in gait such as the bunny hop run.

There are many types of pain medication available to help with these symptoms, such as Rimadyl, but they often have long-term ill effects such as liver or kidney damage. Supplements don't have such health concern.

Because there are no adverse side effects, some large-breed dog owners even begin using glucosamine and chondroitin when their pets are young and show no symptoms in hopes of postponing the effects of joint disease.

Glucosamine in Dogs

Glucosamine is found naturally in your dog's cartilage, connective tissue and joint fluid; thus it is already a natural means for dogs to rehabilitate and soothe joints. Recent studies have shown that glucosamine from supplements can be reabsorbed into the connective tissue and distributed to the joints for anti-inflammatory and regenerating purposes.

Choosing high quality glucosamine is important, though many dog owners have reported seeing improvement from pills bought at the grocery store. Glucosamine HCl and glucosamine sulfate are higher quality than glucosamine KCL and NaCl.

Many veterinarians recommend doubling the recommended dosage of glucosamine for the first two weeks to see results more rapidly.

Chondroitin in Dogs

Chondroitin is often recommended in conjunction with glucosamine to strengthen the effectiveness of the supplements. Less research has been done on the effects of chondroitin, but it is also found in cartilage.

Its primary focus is preventing the breakdown of joint tissue by destructive enzymes and preventing clumping of arteries to allow easier flow of molecules to the muscle tissue. Since cartilage has no blood supply, chondroitin plays an important role in providing structure and allowing molecule flow.

In joint diseases such as hip dysplasia, there are lower natural levels of chondroitin in your dog's cartilage as they start to erode. If chondroitin can be reabsorbed in the tissues as glucosamine can, it will help restore protective cartilage in the joints. Early studies have shown that it can slow cartilage breakdown and even spur regeneration.

Interviews with veterinarians suggest that not every dog sees improvement in joint diseases with glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, but since there are no adverse effects, there is no harm in trying. Your dog may be one of the success stories whose mobility and activity level are dramatically improved.