You may have heard of glucosamine. It’s a naturally occurring substance, primarily used in the body for cartilage. Because of its relationship to joint health, and new research emerging suggesting that glucosamine may help reduce the pain or stiffness of osteoarthritis in humans, pet owners and vets have started using glucosamine for dogs.
But what is glucosamine, and what can it do for your dog’s joint health?
Here’s a quick summary of the deets.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine naturally occurs in bones, bone marrow, shellfish and fungus. In the body, glucosamine is used to protect cartilage. Cartilage is the strong, smooth tissue around joints connecting bones. It’s essentially connective tissue.
Since limited blood flow goes to bones and connective tissue, people have started supplementing with additional glucosamine.
Supplements in the United States are not regulated in the same way as medications. That means that the same level of research that might go into a medication hasn’t been done about supplements, like glucosamine. Still, some research has been done and so far that research indicates that glucosamine may:
- Act as a natural anti-inflammatory, thereby also reducing pain.
- Protect joints from wear, tear and damage.
- Provide nutrients that may help damaged joints heal.
Since glucosamine supplementation does not have known side effects, it seems like a safe thing to try for the prevention of joint pain or damage, or to assist with pain reduction from an injury or arthritis.
Is Glucosamine Safe for Dogs?
Just like humans, dogs have glucosamine in their bones already. However, it’s never a good idea to give a dog a supplement that was made for humans, unless directed to do so by a qualified veterinary professional.
It’s not that the glucosamine itself is likely dangerous, but rather that a supplement made for humans may have other added ingredients which are harmful to our four-legged friends. Also, a human supplement will not be dosed correctly for doggies.
Just like with humans, there are no known side effects of glucosamine for dogs.
Sometimes glucosamine gets combined with potassium, so dogs on a low-potassium diet should not take such a supplement. Dogs with asthma or bronchial problems should consult a vet before taking it (or any other supplement). Dogs that are pregnant or nursing have special nutritional needs, so that’s another situation where it is best to check with a vet before administering glucosamine.
Supplements can also have potential interactions with medications, so if your pup already takes medications, you should check with your vet before adding this supplement.
It’s also important to get your glucosamine from a reliable resource. Remember when we said glucosamine occurs in shellfish and fungus? If derived from such ingredients, a product could trigger an allergic reaction or be dangerous.
Overall, this supplement appears to be safe for our furry family members, and may even help improve joint health.
How Can You Protect Dog Joint Health?
Lots of dog breeds have histories of bone and joint problems. From spinal problems to knee or hip problems, to arthritic conditions, dogs suffer from many of the same ailments that humans can acquire.
Even if your dog’s particular mix or family tree doesn’t have a history of joint problems, there are things you can do to help protect your dog’s joint health, thereby enhancing the comfort and mobility of your furry loved one throughout their entire lifespan.
Another way in which our furballs are like us, is that they need regular exercise for healthy joints. While they shouldn’t run too hard when they’re still puppies, exercise (even really hard exercise) can boost their cardiovascular health, muscle strength, even their mood!
Keeping that bounce in their step, and doing everything we can to protect our dog’s health, gives them more years of their lives and more life in their years.
For this reason, we’ve formulated our natural hip and joint dog treats with the best ingredients for your dog’s total well-being.
We all love our dogs! So we do right by them with our products.