Dogs – man’s best friend. Ever loyal and faithful. As a dog owner, apart from making sure your beloved pet stays out of trouble, your number one worry should be on how to make sure they stay healthy.
Like humans, dogs can get sick if proper care is not taken. The same ailments and problems (old age, joint issues, pain, depression etc.) that we humans face can also occur in them. If you start the process of preventing future problems early on, you have less to worry about in future.
In dogs, one of the significant problems they face is osteoarthritis or joint pain. Osteoarthritis is genetic while joint pain can occur as a result of old age or being overweight. When dealing with arthritis, most veterinarians recommend glucosamine powder for dogs.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a naturally produced compound consisting of glutamine (a form of amino acid) and glucose (sugar). A dog already delivers glucosamine to its cartilage. The job of glucosamine in a dog’s cartilage is to attract and hold water to both cushions and lubricate the joints.
However, due to arthritis and old age, the cartilage becomes weak and degraded. Tearing off of the cartilage leads to the release of fluids and enzymes in the joints that eventually cause inflammation. A vicious cycle of deterioration will occur if the swelling is not under control and this is where a joint powder for a dog such as glucosamine comes in.
The production of glucosamine is something dogs already do naturally, and that is why glucosamine tablets are tagged as nutraceuticals. The tag of nutraceutical means glucosamine powders can be sold at pharmacies with or without a prescription.
Forms of Glucosamine
There are three significant glucosamine forms to be found in supplements. They are:
- Glucosamine Hydrochloride: it is also commonly known as glucosamine HCL and located in the shells of shellfish. It is more concentrated than other forms of glucosamine but is less efficient in the repair of joints.
- N-Acetyl-Glucosamine (NAG): it is a form of glucosamine which is a preliminary form of glucose to the body’s hyaluronic acid. The hyaluronic acid in a dog is also part of the synovial fluid which helps lubricate the joints. NAG serves a dual purpose as it can be used for both gastrointestinal and joint issues.
- Glucosamine sulfate: it is not only the most common type of glucosamine found in supplements but also the most researched. It can be produced synthetically in a lab and also extracted from a shellfish shell. It helps in the repair and building of cartilage due to its richness in sulfur.
Most times, glucosamine is paired with Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and/or Chondroitin which also helps in maintaining the cartilage of a dog’s joints.
Signs That Show Your Dog is in Need of Glucosamine
Unless you are the type of owner who takes every abnormal behaviour of your dog as an opportunity to visit the vet, sometimes detecting a deficiency or need for glucosamine in your dog is not so easy. Even if you were to notice a symptom, it might bear similar traits to other ailments. Regardless, it does not hurt to know what to watch out for. Some of them are:
- Depression and Irritability
- Weight Gain, no interest in exercise and walks
- Abnormal gait and decreased mobility
- Apparent deformities of the joints and swollen joints
- Aggression when touched.
The symptoms of lack of glucosamine mentioned above are similar to other ailments a dog may have on a typical day. When you notice them, it would be best to get the opinion of a veterinarian before you start administering joint powder for dogs. Even if the symptoms are not visible or you fail to notice anything, regular checkups with the doctor will keep you up to date on the state of your pet.
Best Sources of Glucosamine
Either as glucosamine powder for dogs, injectable supplements, dog feed (kibble), oral supplements or raw meats (green lipped mussel, trachea etc.), glucosamine can be gotten in various forms. Research shows that the average dog needs about 24mg of glucosamine per pound of their body mass in a day. Fresh meats and kibble are not enough to provide this amount, oral supplements (powders, liquids, chewable tablets etc.) are the best form, but injectable supplements work faster.
Since glucosamine is a naturally produced substance, it can be gotten from raw meat. Although it can be an excellent way to supplement the glucosamine in your dog due to them being in pigtails, shellfish shells, and oxtails among others, it is not safe. These bones and feet where the glucosamine is in can be from infected or diseased animals that is why supplements are the best form.
Choosing a Glucosamine Source
When a dog is diagnosed with a joint problem or arthritis, glucosamine should always be a part of the treatment plan created by your vet and you. They are likely to recommend digestible, safe grade dose of glucosamine, but you should also have some knowledge as to where to buy dog joint powder and which of them are the best on the market.
The options available to you when choosing a source of glucosamine are:
- Natural source of glucosamine: Raw food
One of the best things you can do for your pet having joint problems is to place them on a raw food diet. When compared to dog feed like kibble, fresh food is rich in nutrients without the bulk of grains and chemicals like preservatives. A natural food diet will foster weight loss and at the same time reduce inflammation thereby reducing arthritis symptoms and inhibiting further damage.
- Synthetic source of glucosamine: Supplements
There are two options available when choosing the processed form of glucosamine, and they are over the counter supplements of the oral kind or the injectable kind. The injectable glucosamine is most effective but also expensive.
When going for the oral supplements, not only do you need to know where to buy dog joint powder but:
- Purchase oral supplements from reputable sellers and brands. Because supplements are not regulated, it is quite easy for counterfeit and low-quality products to be sold with originals. Be sure what you are buying is glucosamine.
- Out of all the forms of glucosamine, the most effective is glucosamine sulfate so always watch out for it.
- Decide as to whether your pet would prefer powder, liquid or chewable tablets.
There are different methods available for getting glucosamine but the most efficient and efficient process regarding cost, time and ease is the oral supplement.
It is one thing to know something, but it is a different case to understand it. Now, that you are aware of the importance of glucosamine to your dog and the best way of getting it, ensure that your dog receives the needed dosage to avoid future joint problems.