Just like humans, older dogs often have bone issues like arthritis in their joints, which causes them pain and limits their ability to play and have fun.
There are many different types of products being marketed to the older dog, so it can be hard to decipher what, if anything, you really need when choosing the best joint supplements for them. The main supplement offered by both humans and dogs with joint issues, and that shows some promise in studies, is glucosamine.
The Benefits of Glucosamine for Dogs:
There are several benefits of adding glucosamine joint supplements to your older dog’s diet.
- Pain relief
- Lowers inflammation
- Rebuilds lost cartilage
- Improved joint function
- Easier joint movement
- Improved energy
In addition, glucosamine is inexpensive, has fewer risks than pain medication, and usually doesn’t react with other supplements, food, or medications other than blood thinners.
The Drawbacks of Glucosamine for Dogs:
Giving your dog glucosamine can have some drawbacks too.
- Allergic Reaction – If your dog has a shellfish allergy, it cannot take glucosamine if it’s not plant-based. Thankfully, there are plant-based forms.
- Blood Sugar Issues – Some dogs experience issues with blood sugar disturbances when taking glucosamine. Your vet will watch for signs of this.
- Gastrointestinal Problems – It can cause gas, diarrhea, and stomach pain for some dogs.
How to Choose the Best Joint Supplement:
If you want to try a joint supplement like glucosamine for your older dog, here’s how to choose:
- Read the Labels – You should know your dog’s allergies and issues by now, so read all labels. Most glucosamine comes along with other supplements like avocado oil or fish oils rather than single-ingredient glucosamine. Buy the purest supplement that you can afford.
- Know Your Dog – Some dogs are very difficult with you giving pills or even adding things to their food. If your dog is like that, you may have to spend more on getting a dog treat with glucosamine in it that your dog likes. There are treats, pills, chews, powders, and liquids you can choose from.
- Third-Party Verification – The supplement industry is very underregulated, due to the fact that there are few if any laws about them. Therefore, check for an independent third-party testing verification to ensure that the ingredients on the label are what’s in the supplement.
- Your Vet – Your vet will usually know the most expensive and least expensive choices for you. If they offer something you simply cannot afford, ask for less expensive alternatives and usually they can tell you about one.
There are plenty of options on the market, but it’s important that you always check with your vet to ensure that you don’t give your dog anything that will harm it. It’s best not to give pets anything made for humans unless your vet has confirmed that it is a good choice to make for your older dog.