Glucosamine has grown into a popular means of treating arthritis and hip dysplasia in aging dogs. It has proven so effective at relieving arthritis pain in dogs that many humans have begun taking it to treat their own arthritis. Being informed about this apparent wonder-supplement will help you choose the right form of glucosamine to give your own aging pet.
Glucosamine is a compound of sugar and amino acid that helps the body maintain healthy cartilage, lubricate joints and absorb shocks. Although it occurs naturally in the body, age and other factors can slow its production, leading to arthritis and other joint problems. Glucosamine supplements can restore this function and improve joint health. A few types of glucosamine are on the marketplace, labeled as either sulfate, HCL or 2KCL. When choosing glucosamine supplements for your dog, look for glucosamine sulfate, which helps to rebuild damaged cartilage.
Glucosamine is often paired with chondroitin in nutritional supplements. Chondroitin is another naturally occurring substance that helps prevent damage to joints. As a supplement, chondroitin has been shown to reduce joint pain and aid in cartilage repair. Glucosamine and chondroitin are each widely believed to enhance the other's benefits, which is why you often find chondroitin included as an ingredient in glucosamine supplements.
Type and Dosage
Glucosamine comes in pill form and as a liquid supplement. Liquid glucosamine is generally recommended for dogs because it's easier to put it on your dog's food than to force or trick your dog into swallowing a pill. Whichever form you choose, a good rule of thumb for dosage is to administer 750mg per 50 pounds of body weight. Some veterinarians recommend doubling the dosage for the first two or three weeks to speed healing and relief. It's important to note that glucosamine must build up in the dog's system over a period of weeks before having a noticeable effect.
Glucosamine is generally preferred over NSAIDs and anti-inflammatory drugs because it carries a slight risk of side effects. Although no major side effects are associated with glucosamine, some dogs experience stomach discomfort while taking it. In many cases, simply giving the supplement to the dog along with food takes care of the problem, while in other cases it might be necessary to adjust the dosage. In most cases, any stomach upset the dog may experience is a small price to pay for the amount of pain relief glucosamine provides.