by Audrey Harvey, DVM
One of the most common reasons that dogs visit their veterinarian, particularly as they approach their senior years, is for stiff and sore joints. This can make it hard for them to move around, and they won’t enjoy their daily walk nearly as much.
If you find yourself in this position with your four legged best friend, then you need to investigate all options for keeping his joints healthy. There are many ways that you can manage your dog’s joint problems.
The first way to manage sore joints in your dog is to reach for anti-inflammatory medication. These drugs are very effective at reducing pain and inflammation, and they work quickly. On the other hand, there is the chance that they will cause side effects in your dog, such as stomach ulceration and kidney damage.
The use of anti-inflammatory medication is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. They have their effect after inflammation has already occurred. How much better would it be if you could stop that pain and inflammation before it starts?
Nutritional Joint Supplements
There are three main advantages to using nutritional supplements to look after your dog’s joints. Firstly, they work. A recent study in the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics showed that collagen definitely improved the mobility and comfort level of dogs with arthritis.
Secondly, using a nutritional product to support your dog’s joints is proactive. If you give him the right supplement, you can help to slow the deterioration of his cartilage and improve the consistency and cushioning effect of the fluid in his joints. This can prevent joint degeneration before it occurs, rather than treating the damage after the event.
Lastly, nutritional supplements are safe. There is virtually no risk that your treatment will do more harm than good. If you can manage your dog’s joint health using supplements, it’s a better long term option for him.
You may find that your dog doesn’t respond to supplements as quickly as he would if you used medication. That is to be expected. Supplements have a cumulative effect; this means that their effects add up over time.
Choosing a Nutritional Supplement for Your Dog’s Joints
Whether you shop online or at the pet store, you’ll find quite a range of nutritional joint supplements to choose from. How do you know which one to buy? You need to read the label to check the ingredient list, and make sure it includes ingredients that have been shown to be effective.
Some of the more common ingredients you’ll see are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These have both been proven safe and effective. However, these days there are so many other, even more effective all natural ingredients available. One that I like is Bio Cell Collagen Type II. It encourages the development of new cartilage in your dog’s joints and helps to reduce any further damage. Check out Joint Resolultion. It not only has the collagen but also contains two other extremely effective ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid and chondroitin which which both promote tissue healing and improve the lubricant effect of his joint fluid as well as herbs like boswellia serrata and devils claw to help with inflammation.
If your dog is a bit stiff, or is very active, supplements are an important part of managing joint wellness. Supplements can treat existing symptoms as well as helping to prevent them before they occur.