Some people think it’s weird or unnecessary to worry about something like your dog’s joint health. As a dog owner and lover, you know that’s ridiculous.
Your pooch has as much right to feel as good as you do! As they get older, their joints and bones get weaker, just like ours. Pet supplements are available to help.
The pet supplement market is filled with products of varying quality and effectiveness. Check out our guide on how to find the best joint supplements for dogs! Here are a few things to consider.
What Kind of Dog Do You Have?
Do you have an enormous Great Dane who thinks he’s a lap dog? What about a tiny Shih Tzu who thinks she’s alpha of the entire block?
From giant Mastiffs down to eight-pound Yorkies, any dog can develop joint disorders. You might have seen it in other dogs: turned out feet, bowed legs, swollen joints. None of it is fun or painless!
That being said, the kind of joint supplement that’s best for your dog depends a lot on their breed. Here are some aspects of their breed to consider:
- Size: Ingredients will have different amounts of impact on different sized dogs.
- Weight: Their weight determines how much of certain supplements or ingredients they should have at a time.
- Physical activeness: Joint issues due to age, weight, or diet might be treated differently than joint issues from rigorous physical activity.
- Predisposed health disorders: For example, Golden Retrievers are predisposed to hip problems like hip dysplasia.
- Pre-existing conditions: Their current state of health also affects which supplements will actually be helpful to them.
Talk to your vet about your dog’s overall health. Are they a “normal” size for their age and breed? Are they a healthy weight? (Most vets post helpful charts in their exam rooms that show what your dog’s body should or shouldn’t look like.)
Do you take them on enough walks, runs, hikes, or outings for their breed? For example, a Chihuahua might be fine being let out into the yard a few times a day. A German Shorthaired Pointer, on the other hand, requires vigorous exercise each day: a walk or two won’t cut it!
Carefully consider what kind of dog you have, their tendencies, and their needs. Look for supplements that cater to those characteristics. If you’ve been trying a supplement that other pet owners rave about but it’s not doing your dog any good, consider whether the supplement serves these parts of your pooch.
How Old Is Your Dog?
Your dog’s age definitely plays into joint health issues. If your canine is older than two years, it’s not a puppy anymore, it’s an “adult.”
Did you know that 20% of all adult dogs have arthritis? And all older dogs have a 65% chance of developing arthritis and other serious joint and bone issues. That’s a staggering statistic!
If your dog is an adult (or overweight), don’t be at all surprised if they display signs of joint problems or even arthritis. Keep an eye out for these common symptoms:
- Difficulty moving or hesitancy to move
- Licking, chewing, or biting themselves
- Tiredness and irritability
Joint supplements can greatly help with your old or young dog’s joint health. The supplements are meant to strengthen, reinforce, and even regrow important cartilage cells.
That means your dog can take them for help after their joints are already weak or for prevention while they’re still young. Some good supplements are made and marketed for joint health but are, actually, helpful for any aging dog.
What Are Their Health Needs?
No one knows your dog better than you. Not even your vet!
You know that just because your dog is big, that doesn’t mean he’s brave. You know that just because she’s a happy dog, that doesn’t mean she isn’t in pain. You know when your dog is acting out of the ordinary.
Some dogs are more prone to health issues than others. Labrador retrievers, German Shepherds, and Irish Setters are prone to hip dysplasia. Labs and boxers frequently experience elbow dysplasia. And long-bodied dogs like basset hounds are likely to develop intervertebral disc disease, a painful and limiting spine condition.
You may already be aware of your dog’s specific health needs, but it’s important to consider them when choosing a joint supplement.
The type and quality of ingredients in any supplement can make or break its effectiveness. Here are a few crucial joint health ingredients that are in the best joint supplements:
This compound is AKC-approved to help prevent joint wear and tear, alleviate pain, and maintain joint functionality and performance.
Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate
A naturally occurring chemical in animal (and human) bodies found in the cartilage around joints. Extracted and manufactured, it can help slow cartilage breakdown. Humans take it all the time for osteoarthritis.
A naturally occurring mineral that your dog needs in order to survive. It’s the second most common mineral in his body! Magnesium regenerates muscles (which helps alleviate the excess weight on joints) and strengthens bones.
MSM is a naturally occurring compound that is supposed to help rebuild connective tissue. That means it’s invaluable to joint health!
Ingredients like salmon oil and cod liver oil are high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These compounds are important for reducing joint stiffness.
The quality of ingredients in the supplement is also crucial. Maybe it contains some of the four ingredients listed above, but are they super diluted?
What’s the percentage of each? Are the compounds well-sourced? Are those distributors reliable?
It’s worth it to do your research about the places making and distributing these ingredients, and which supplement makers buy from who.
Imagine a world where you have no access to other people’s opinions on or experiences with products. Google reviews, product reviews, Amazon reviews, and internet articles don’t exist. You just have to trust a company’s marketing claims.
That would be awful! You’d probably waste ridiculous amounts of money on bad or mediocre products. The value of consumer feedback is off the charts, and that certainly applies to the pet industry!
If your dogs are your best friends, reviews from other pet owners are your second best. Go out of your way to read the consumer feedback on joint supplements for dogs.
You know dog owners: they’re very committed to their cute pups and want the best for them. Dog owners are a community! That’s why you can often trust something with more peace of mind when it’s largely pet-owner-approved.
That being said, it’s always important to keep your specific dog in mind. Because, again, you know your dog best—his health needs and responses might be unique.
But when you’re shopping for the most effective and trustworthy joint supplement, carefully considering consumer feedback is key. That’s because, unfortunately, supplements aren’t always trustworthy.
Did you know that supplements don’t have to contain what they say they contain? Did you know they’re not FDA-regulated? The ingredients listed don’t have to be truthful or high quality.
It’s a common problem in the supplement world: you can’t believe everything on the label. Until the FDA starts regulating and approving supplements, your only help is relying on other consumers’ reviews.
Many well-reviewed joint health supplements for dogs include at least some of the ingredients we listed above, but you’ll also need to keep an eye out for inactive ingredients that might not agree well with your pooch.
The last thing to watch out for in consumer reviews is whether or not their dog will take it. Many supplements come in pill form that you’ll have to hide in a slice of cheese or spoonful of peanut butter. But some come in meat-flavored, chewable forms that even the pickiest of puppies will scarf down.
Don’t Be Intimidated: You Can Know the Best Joint Supplements for Dogs!
Is your dog getting older? Is he getting a little slower? Or maybe he’s super active so his joints take a beating every day?
Whether you want to treat, help, or prevent joint pain and issues, joint supplements for dogs are here for you (and your cute pup). Don’t be fooled by over-hyped marketing, hefty promises, or brand names: you can be totally informed when it comes to what you’re feeding your canine best friend.
Now you know what to look for in pet supplements. Never be confused or unsure again!
Want to know other surprising things that can benefit your dog’s health? Check out this article about the perks of sleeping with your dog!