Signup for The Your Dog Flash

Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Features March 2018 Issue

Beyond Supplements

 

Fish oil, glucosamine/chondroitin combos, and green-lipped mussels are not the only ingredients added to food and dietary supplements to improve your dog’s joint pain. Some veterinarians also prescribe polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, a constituent of joint fluid. Like glucosamine/chondroitin combo tablets, it can take several weeks to a couple of months to take effect, so if you’re inclined to try it for your dog, don’t give up without really giving it a go.

Note that whatever supplement or food you administer to your dog for arthritis, he may not necessarily need it forever. Often, a dog will require a supplemental ingredient for just a finite period of time until he can return to the mobility he needs without pain. Some dogs go on and off the ingredients mentioned in this article every so often. That’s a perfectly reasonable route for dog owners to take: watch your dog feel better, discontinue the supplement, then bring it back into the dog’s daily life if you notice the return of symptoms.

Bear in mind, however, that whatever diets you might feed your dog or whatever supplements you might give him, nothing will work to quell arthritis pain and give him some of his youthful vigor back like getting him quite trim and having him engage in moderate exercise. Those are the mainstays of arthritis treatment for dogs, in fact, and are even more important than medicine.

Consider that when a dog walks downstairs, the pressure on his joints might nearly double. And when he jumps, he puts 150 percent of his weight on his front limbs. The less weight, the less pressure, and the less joint pain.

Those fat cells are doing more than adding extra pressure. Studies show extra fat cells in the body actually produce triggers that increase inflammation, so that extra weight is doubly hurting your pup.

Ditto for the benefit of keeping your dog engaged in moderate activities like walking and swimming rather than having him do no exercise at all. Keep in mind that the muscles surrounding all the joints act as shock absorbers, taking the brunt of the pressure that comes with each step. If you let the muscles atrophy, they leave more impact absorption to the joints, causing more pain and, once the dog is arthritic, making them degrade even further.

Comments (1)

There are so many joint medications on the market and the vet's offices. How does an owner know which dosage is correct and which one is best for the dog?

Posted by: Haystac | April 9, 2018 7:34 PM    Report this comment

New to Your Dog? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In