If you walk down the vitamin aisle at your local supermarket, you may notice that there are as many supplements for pets as there are for humans. The humanization of pets is a driving factor for the pet industry, and more than ever before, pet owners are investing in vitamins and other supplements to aid in their pet’s health and well-being, according to American Pet Products Association.
So, what does that mean for your best friend, you ask?
It means you have choices. Joint health-related supplements remain the top category of dog supplement sales, according to market research company Packaged Facts.
Dr. James St. Clair, DVM, says the commonality of dog arthritis symptoms may account for the high sales of joint supplements for dogs. In his Connecticut-based practice, Dr. St. Clair writes a large number of prescriptions for joint medicine for dogs.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about dogs and joint care,’’ he says. “With so many different brands of supplements being pumped into the market, it is difficult to know which ones will actually help your best friend.’’
How do you know which dog joint supplements are right for your dog? Here’s a short guide to help you decide which supplement is the best fit for your fur friend. Soon he will be on his way to stronger, healthier joints, giving you the peace of mind you deserve.
Read the Label
Check the label to find out what the active ingredients in the supplements are. There are a few ingredients that you will want to make sure are included in whichever joint care supplement you choose.
Chondroitin and Glucosamine
The big two are chondroitin and glucosamine. These two ingredients are considered to be the most effective when used together. Glucosamine helps to support joint repair, while chondroitin works to support the elasticity and thickness of joint cartilage. Dr. Lyon’s Hip & Joint Chews, for example, contain both ingredients as well as MSM (methyl sulphonyl methane). MSM is a sulfur compound that acts an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant to help the body repair cartilage.
Dr. St. Clair is a big believer in the green-lipped mussel, which he finds to be a very effective ingredient in joint care medicine for dogs. The green-lipped mussel contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA and eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), he says. EPA, DHA and ETA are omega-3 fatty acids that work to reduce inflammation; they also have the added benefit of supporting your pet’s skin and coat health.
“This complete combination means less inflammation, less pain and more mobility for your canine companion,’’ Dr. St. Clair says.
The green-lipped mussel is also a great source of chondroitin.
One example of a joint support supplement that enlists the green-lipped mussel is VetriScience GlycoFlex Stage III Joint Support Chew. These bite-size chews not only include the beneficial components of the green-lipped mussel, but also offer high levels of glucosamine to provide your pet with some serious joint care.
Make Sure It’s Palatable
To help make taking a vitamin or supplement more enticing to dogs, many brands offer them in the form of flavored chews. The Dr. Lyon’s chews come in a natural liver flavor while the VetriScience chews have a real chicken flavor, for example. This will help to make your pup feel like he is getting treat with every dose.
If you still have trouble getting your dog to eat his dog joint supplement, you can consider incorporating it into his food. You can either break up one of the dog hip and joint chews and mix it into your pup’s food, or grind up a tablet to create a powder that can be mixed in with your dog’s meal.
Keep in mind that joint supplements are not only for older dogs with arthritis symptoms; dogs across all stages of life may benefit from them.
Providing your dog with a quality supplement is the health equivalent of giving him a loving kiss on the snout! So, show your dog some love and keep his joint care top of mind.