Dogs and humans share many biological qualities, including disease processes and remedies. Among these are joint problems, arthritis and immobility. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have become popular and effective in combating joint disease in both humans and canines. Many of the products manufactured primarily for human use can also be given to dogs, but it's best to let a veterinarian recommend a dosage level for your pup.
Glucosamine is considered a nutraceutical, a substance that's consumed orally to supplement a normal diet. Generally, nutraceuticals are safe, and toxicity levels are rarely reached. In addition to glucosamine and chrondroitin, other nutriceuticals are commonly given to dogs, including omega fatty acids, vitamin E and selenium, which reduce inflammation and aid in the body's ability to repair. Your veterinarian may suggest specific supplements to improve your dog's quality of life, or she might refer you to a holistic specialist.
Pet owners are responsible for making decisions about their pets' health. If your dog suffers from joint pain, discuss the options with your veterinarian, including benefits and side effects of each. Traditional drugs are available by prescription, and most provide immediate pain relief; however, side effects can include damage to organs over time. Nutriceuticals, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, may take several weeks to provide any noticeable change in a dog's pain responses, but they have the benefit of long-term use without side effects.
Use of glucosamine has shown fabulous results, and dogs often appear to have had their youth restored. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring mix of sugar and amino acid. This substance is thought to help lubricate the joints and cut down on friction. The process helps maintain healthy cartilage, working somewhat like a shock absorber. Other benefits may be seen in the tendons, skin, eyes, ligaments and various organs. Glucosamine is extracted from shellfish, and purchasing this product from an established company is highly recommended.
Most glucosamine products come in pill form, which can be difficult to give to dogs. Experienced pet owners may be able to get their dogs to swallow pills, and some crush the pills and immerse them in food or treats. Liquid forms of glucosamine are also available, and pouring them into dog food may be the easiest way to get the supplement into your dog. Although this supplement can provide your dog with a relief from joint ailments, it is not a miracle drug. Some conditions, such as calcium deposits, scar tissue and bone deformities, are unlikely to respond to glucosamine treatment. Discuss this option with your veterinarian, or seek the opinion of a veterinary orthopedic specialist if problems are severe or long-term.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images