As dogs age, they get many of the same conditions as their human companions, including stiff, painful joints known as arthritis. There is no known cure for arthritis. However, there are many supplements and medicines that can help to alleviate the effects of arthritis on your canine companion’s quality of life. One of the more popular options is glucosamine, a building block of cartilage that helps replenish deteriorating joint cushions. We’ll take you through some of the ins and outs of glucosamine supplements, and give a few recommendations for the best glucosamine options for dogs.
All about glucosamine:
Glucosamine can be found in special joint-healthy dog foods, as capsules, tablets, or liquids. No one form is inherently better than another, but if you choose a capsule or pill, make sure you are prepared to give it to your dog daily, and if you choose a special dog food, keep in mind that some dogs may refuse to eat a different brand of food to what they’re used to.
Glucosamine is not considered a medication by the FDA, but is rather classified as a supplement and is therefore not strictly controlled in the retail market. Because of this, glucosamine supplements can contain widely varying levels of the active ingredient, so it is very important to check the label, and to buy supplements only from reputable companies. Remember that the most expensive product is not always the best product! If in any doubt, ask your vet to recommend a supplement for your dog.
A few popular glucosamine products:
One of the most popular companies producing glucosamine supplements is Nutramax Labs. Their two products, Cosequin and Dasuquin, are chewable tablets that come in different dosages for large and small dogs. Dasuquin is a more expensive product containing extra supplements that improve the effectiveness of the original Cosequin formula. If your dog has mild arthritis, or if you are on a budget, Cosequin is probably your best bet. You can try upgrading to Dasuquin if your dog is still stiff after several weeks of Cosequin, or if your dog has hip dysplasia or other serious conditions affecting their joints.
Terramax Pro’s Hip and Joint Supplement comes in a liquid form and can be added to food or water. It claims to be made with human grade glucosamine and achieves faster results due to its liquid form. Liquid Health K-9 Glucosamine Hip and Joint Formula is a similar product that’s cheaper and contains the same active ingredients in the same ratios.
Vetri-Science Laboratories’ Glyco-Flex III comes in chewable tablet form and contains a variety of ingredients, including ascorbic acid to aid the absorption of the glucosamine.
It is also safe to give your dog human glucosamine products, but then it is important that you calculate the correct dosages carefully, as the supplement will not be pre-packaged with canines in mind.
In the end, it’s important to pick a product that works for your dog. Signs of improvement include more perky behavior, jumping, running, and an increase in activity. Finally, if your dog’s condition fails to improve, be sure to take it to the vet for a checkup.