Dog joint supplements; do they prevent pain or just make expensive pee?

dog joint supplements

Joint supplements for dogs

Dog joint supplements; seems like, as we learn more stuff to do for us, they find a way to apply the same thing to our pets.  Joint supplements are no different.  I guess it makes sense.  

Dogs get arthritis just like we humans do.  Old injuries, aging or other physical problems can all lead to achy joints, especially as they age. As a loving pet parent, you probably want to help.

Treating pain

When your dog slows down or doesn’t want to the stuff that they usually enjoy, it may be time to help them out a bit.  You might take an Advil for your pain.  They have their own versions of pain relief medicine;  Previcox or Rimadyl for dogs, for example.  But these medicines have side effects. NSAIDs have a tendency to cause stomach issues and some of them can effect other organs too. They might do the job for a little while, but for the long term, something else might be better.

Dog joint supplements

Your vet is most likely to talk to you about adding a joint supplement.  Oral supplements for dogs are pretty easy to find.  However, some are better than others and in this case you usually get what  you pay for. 

Since they aren’t regulated, not all supplements are the same, even if they say they have the same ingredients. Some joint supplements aren’t absorbed as effectively as others, so they flush out through the kidneys, making expensive pee. You’ll want to go with your vet’s recommendation or do some research so you can get the best bang for your buck.  

The best ones seem to contain MSM, chondroitin, and/or glucosamine, as well as some other ingredients.  

– MSM is an anti-inflammatory

– Chondroitin helps repair and lubricate the joints

– Glucosamine has some anti-inflammatory properties and helps rebuild joints

These substances seem to work better in combination than by themselves, so you’ll often find them in one supplement. 

Other management options

In addition to standard oral joint supplements, you have some other things to try.  Managing arthritis or other pain can take a blended approach to get your dog feeling their best. Trial and error play a big part.  If one thing doesn’t help, or only helps a little, you might want to switch to another approach or add it to what you’re already doing. You might consider

– CBD oil

– Herbs 

– Homeopathic remedies

– Injections, either systemic or localized to the problem joint

– Cold laser

– Energy work

– Magnets

– Chiropractic adjustment

– Acupressure or acupuncture

– Massage

There are TONS of ideas out there.  Many of them are not absolutely scientifically proven so your vet may or may not know about them.  But check to see what their recommendations are.  At the very least, you can find out what might cause more harm than good.

Our pets get joint supplements

We have older dogs, as well as young dogs with pain issues, so we’ve been giving MSM/chondroitin/glucosamine products as directed by the vet to our dogs. Many of our dogs do fine with just the supplement.  Others get the supplement, plus other approaches. It takes some time to figure out the approach for each animal.  

I believe the supplements we use are making the lives of our pets better.  If they can live happy, active lives, I figure it’s worth it. What kinds of things are you doing to help keep your dogs sound and healthy?

For other posts about helping dogs with pain issues, read Pain! How can we help our rescue dog? or Your pet can benefit from a chiropractor or you can Google to find articles like this one from Canine Journal.

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