Odds are your young pup doesn’t have any joint pain right now. But if he’s a certain breed or just a larger pup in general, he may be more prone to hip and joint problems later on in life. Getting him started on glucosamine supplements early on could help prevent the onset of problems and help maintain his bone and joint health. You’ll just want to get clearance from your vet before giving your fur ball any new over-the-counter medication.
What Is It?
Glucosamine is a natural chemical in the fluid surrounding joints. It lubricates the joint so the parts don't against each other and cause severe pain from the breakdown of cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Glucosamine absorbs some of the shock on joints during your canine’s heavy-duty play sessions and even reduces inflammation. While glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance in your pup’s body, you can also give him some as an oral supplement to potentially prevent any issues later on in life. Typically supplemental glucosamine comes from crushed crab, lobster or shrimp shells, although some types are artificially made in a lab.
Why He Might Need It
With the rapid growth that occurs during puppyhood—typically with large or giant breeds—your four-legged pal could run into joint problems well before his senior years. Giving him a daily dose of glucosamine can keep his joints as strong as possible as he grows into his larger frame. Glucosamine can also be helpful for puppies with hip dysplasia or who are predisposed to developing the disorder. Hip dysplasia is a disorder that leads to an improper development of the ball and socket joint in the hips. The genetic form is more common in certain breeds, like Labrador retrievers, Great Danes and German shepherds. But hip dysplasia can also be caused by environmental factors, such as an injury at a very young age.
Glucosamine comes in many forms, so you don’t have to worry about trying to tie down and force-feed your pint-size pal a pill. You can opt for chewable wafers, liquid drops or glucosamine powders that you mix into his food. These forms of glucosamine actually seem tasty to your barking buddy and he may look forward to his supplement “treat.” You’ll need to give him his supplement once or twice a day, depending on the brand and the advice of your veterinarian. Usually the correct dosage depends on his weight as well as his age.
The Chondroitin Additive
The majority of glucosamine supplements are paired with chondroitin. This substance is actually a component of cartilage, and supplements are often made with cow or shark tissues, although some forms are artificial. Chondroitin can help repair any damaged connective tissue when you give it to your puppy as a supplement. Pairing chondroitin and glucosamine together may also help each substance work better, giving your pup the ultimate joint-protection supplement, PetMD reports.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.