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- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Joints are a vital part of our dogs’ skeletal systems—they allow our furry buddies to walk, run, and leap. Just like in humans, dog joints take a lot of wear and tear. But does your dog need a joint supplement in addition to their food? Read on to learn about joint supplements for dogs, and be sure to check with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplements to your dog’s diet.
Do You Need Joint Supplements for Dogs?
- Your dog needs vitamins and organic compounds for balanced nutrition and normal growth. Dogs (like other animals and people) cannot produce vitamins and minerals naturally, so they have to consume them, and these vitamins and minerals also help with proper bodily function, including joints and bones.
According to Dr. Gary Richter, award-winning vet and member of Rover’s Dog People Panel, “All dogs are of the species Canis familiaris and as such have very similar nutritional needs.” Commercial dog food is specifically formulated to meet those needs. If your dog’s food is labeled “complete and balanced,” it contains all the vitamins and minerals your dog requires.
So, generally speaking, a well-balanced diet that includes a good-quality dog food is going to cover your dog’s joint needs. But, a number of factors can affect joints and the development of osteoarthritis such as genetics, the aging process, and poor nutrition, so it’s best to consult a vet to determine the best course of action.
When to Give Your Dog Joint Supplements
If a commercial dog food is formulated to provide your dog with their musculoskeletal requirements, why would you need to give them a supplement?
Dogs experiencing osteoarthritis may benefit from joint supplements. Signs to watch out for include (but are not limited to): lameness, weight gain, pain while getting petted, and irritability. Though arthritis is degenerative, it can be managed, depending on the cause and other health factors. Some treatment ingredients can include glucosamine and chondroitin (often found in combination with MSM), omega-3s like fish oil, and green-lipped mussels (GLMs). Though more study is needed, turmeric, dried milk protein, and CBD can also be found in joint supplements. Since arthritis is a serious disease it’s best to consult a veterinarian for advice first and foremost.
Another consideration is whether your dog consumes a homemade, whole food diet (highly recommended by Richter). If so, you may not have access to the specific vitamins and minerals your pet needs. That’s where supplements, such as ones that support musculoskeletal health, for dogs can also come in handy.
“It is a good idea to consult with a veterinarian regarding any questions about nutrition,” Richter notes. This is especially important when feeding your dog a homemade diet. Your vet may even refer you to a veterinary nutritionist to determine the best course of vitamins for your dog.
How to Choose Joint Supplements for Dogs
- As noted, you should always talk to your veterinarian about what, if any, supplements your pet needs. In general, be aware that ingredients in some herbal supplements can interact with medication. Always keep careful tabs on your dog’s supplement dosage.
Richter has some general guidelines on choosing supplements for dogs:
- Look for brands that have commissioned clinical studies of their products.
- Read labels carefully to ensure quality and safety.
- Look for a lot number on the product. This is a sign that the company uses quality control checks.
- Choose brands with confirmed expertise.
- Be wary of claims that sound too good to be true. Vitamin supplements are just that—supplements. They are not cure-alls or medications.
- Do not give human supplements to dogs, as they may contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.
- In general, the best options will be available through your veterinarian.
The bottom line about joint supplements for dogs: Talk to your vet first before introducing any nutritional supplement into your pet’s diet.
Joint Supplements for Dogs
To address a health condition, see your veterinarian for prescription joint supplements that can help. The over-the-counter supplements below are primarily for maintenance or prevention.
Extend Joint Care Supplement
Made in the U.S., this powder supplement combines glucosamine, MSM, and collagen to support your dog’s joints and cartilage. Plus, it’s beef liver-flavored to appeal to your doggy’s palate.Shop on Chewy
Zesty Paws Mobility Bites
These duck-flavored soft chews support hip and joint health, plus a healthy heart and immune system. You won’t find corn, wheat, and soy here; what you will find to help your dog’s joints are MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin C.Shop on Chewy
Plano Paws ActivFlex
Find the triple threat of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM in these joint supplement chews for dogs. Bonus? It also contains turmeric and yucca schidigera to help with inflammation. The short ingredients list for these bites means no grain, soy, salt, sugar, wheat, or corn.Find on Amazon
NaturVet Senior Hip and Joint Soft Chews
Made with aging joints in mind, this soft chew supplement formula for senior dogs has all the usual joint supporting suspects—while adding a helping of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.Shop on Chewy
As always, check with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplements to your dog’s diet, and check out a few more stories below on tailoring your dog’s nutritional needs.
- How to Give Pills to Your Pet
- All About Vitamin Supplements for Dogs and When to Use Them
- 9 Surprisingly Dangerous Foods for Dogs (Starting with Popcorn)
- Your Complete Guide to Homemade Dog Food
- Decoding Dog Food: Your Guide to What You’re Really Feeding Your Pet
- Got Allergies? Exploring Hypoallergenic Dog Food
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