Does your dog suffer from joint pain?
Well, you aren’t the only concerned owner with this issue.
By most estimates, 20% of all dogs are affected by osteoarthritis, regardless of age. That means 1 in 5 dogs are afflicted by this, making it the most common chronic disease they face.
Even if your dog isn’t experiencing joint problems or arthritis, having knowledge about this condition and what you can do about it as a loving dog owner is important. You can take steps to provide your dog with a healthy diet and proper care to aid in preventing this condition.
Dog Joint Pain - what it is and its consequences
Osteoarthritis, also referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is a progressively worsening inflammation of the joint caused by the deterioration of cartilage. This is a common problem in dogs, particularly in seniors and large breeds. If you find your dog experiencing stiffness, limping, or difficulty getting up, especially if he/she is getting on in dog years, he is most likely suffering from this condition. Unfortunately, this limits your dog’s mobility, and ultimately leads to lethargy, reluctance to run, jump, or play, weight gain, and irritability or changes in behavior.
Nobody likes this, and of course dogs are in pain in this condition. However, dogs love their owners, and stoically do their dog job as long as possible before they begin to show it. This means that the wear and tear of your dogs cartilage may be occurring if you see any of the above indications.
We love our dogs. They are naturally cheerful, and of course are man’s best friend. We hate to see them in this debilitated condition. So what can we do about it?
Chondroitin and glucosamine: the most common pet supplement aimed at cartilage repair
While seeing a professional veterinarian who can prescribe the appropriate drug or treatment, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), most concerned dog owners would prefer not to subject their dog to drugs and chemicals, if natural solutions exist. Nor would they like to spend a hefty vet bill if it can be avoided.
If you have searched for solutions for your dog, chances are you’ve heard of Chondroitin, or of Glucosamine. For good reason. They are a natural supplement, with virtually no side effects, and various studies have found them in varying degrees assisting joints and cartilage, both in humans and animals. But what are they?
Chondroitin is a chemical found primarily in joint cartilage. A form of chondroitin, known as chondroitin sulfate, is manufactured from animal connective tissues and sold as a dietary supplement to aid in the treatment of osteoarthritis. It promotes elasticity in the cartilage, as well as water retention, which helps to ensure sufficient shock absorption and sufficient nourishment of the tissues lining the joint. (If you want to get technical, chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan found in cartilage).
Sounds pretty good, right? You bet! Plus, it doesn’t have side effects, as it’s basically just animal cartilage.
Actually, animal cartilage is the only dietary source of chondroitin, although it can be synthesized in man-made batches… boring, right? Let’s get the natural stuff! Mother nature does it right.
Now, what about Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the body, made from fructose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan, a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues.
Glucosamine is another naturally occurring compound found in cartilage, and again is one of the more popular arthritis remedies. It is one of several natural substances used in the treatment of arthritis in humans, dogs, horses, and other animals. In dogs specifically, glucosamine is also often used to:
- Alleviate pain and joint wear.
- Aid in the treatment of spinal injury.
- Ease recovery from joint surgery or injury.
- Try to keep performance dogs in peak condition.
Glucosamine as a supplement is said to alleviate the symptoms of joint damage by boosting the repair of damaged cartilage, specifically articular cartilage, or the moist, spongy material that forms a cushion between joints. Healthy cartilage is required for joints to move smoothly and without pain. Glucosamine for dogs helps to stimulate the growth of cartilage and protect cartilage in the joint.
Glucosamine occurs naturally in most animal cartilage, or can be man-made in a lab or processed from animal products. If you were offered a burger from a grass fed cow, or burger from a lab vat grown, which would be more appealing? The natural one of course! Again, another point for mother nature for providing a solution!
Important takeaways for your dog’s joint health:
Chondroitin and Glucosamine are most often taken together or recommended by veterinarians to be given together. They often do their job in tandem because, well, obviously, they both come from the same source, cartilage. If they worked for the pig or other animal in their cartilage, it stands to reason it works for your pet the same.
Giving your dog natural Chondroitin and Glucosamine is a great way to keep your dog healthy in the long run.
Like all dog joint supplements, glucosamine will take a while to build up in your dog’s system. Once it does reach therapeutics levels in the body tissues, glucosamine has been shown to improve pain relief and strength in arthritic dogs.
Pets with arthritis may experience significant pain reduction, allowing improved mobility in arthritic limbs. Increased mobility leads to more ability to exercise, thereby improving strength.
Pets who do not have arthritis or joint issues, when given these supplements regularly, will build up a buffer to help in the long run with maintaining optimum joint health.
When coupled with adequate exercise, a proper diet, and love and care, you will be going a long way to providing your dog with a long and happy pain-free life!
Where to get Chondroitin and Glucosamine?
Chondroitin and Glucosamine are found in just about all animal products containing cartilage. So if you feed your dog those animal parts, there is a good chance you are providing your dog with these healthy supplements naturally.
To give you some ideas of what are great sources of Chondroitin and Glucosamine, check out these common animal products, and what they contain:
Beef, gullet & trachea:
Beef gullet/trachea is made of mostly cartilage. With 5% glucosamine, a 30-gram chunk of beef gullet could have about 1,400mg or more of glucosamine. A medium-sized arthritic dog is often recommended about 1,000mg for the easing discomfort and pain of osteoarthritis and joint pain. Likewise, with beef cartilage being heavy in chondroitin, beef gullet is a common source of extracting chondroitin for over the counter supplements. Beef gullet/trachea is a common pet treat available at most pet stores or online pet stores.
Chicken feet contain roughly 30% cartilage. This cartilage is about 5% glucosamine. Researchers estimate approximately 450mg of glucosamine and similar amounts of chondroitin per chicken foot. This makes them an excellent source of glucosamine. Chicken feet also are good for naturally brushing your dog's teeth, since as your dog chews and gnaws on the chicken feet, they will get the glucosamine from cartilage while having cleaning their teeth as well. They are not as easy to get, but if you search you can find them at Asian markets, some butcher shops, and some grocery stores.
Pig Ears are primarily cartilage and skin making them a great source of natural chondroitin and glucosamine. Averaging 25-60grams each, and being mostly cartilage, you can get a healthy serving of these nutritional benefits. Plus they provide a significant amount of other vitamins, packed with protein, and are a great treat for your dog. Being affordable and readily available, they are one of the more common dog treat items you can buy off the shelf or online.
Pig, Cow, or Ox Tails and more
These are a little more specialty items, but if you search around you can find them. Some pet stores, or online shops or butcher shops can supply them. Being rich in cartilage, you are sure to give your dog a good source of natural cartilage. Tail has tons of cartilage and is a meaty chew for your dog he/she will enjoy. You can also find cartilage containing extra glucosamine and chondroitin in such animal sources such as beef knuckle bones, ducks feet, and the necks of ducks, turkeys, and lambs, and other animal bones with chunks of cartilage attached. Be sure to watch your dog for signs of an upset stomach in giving these treats, and limit them to once a day. They can contain high-fat, high protein content which could lead to GI distress if your dog is sensitive.
Brutus and Barnaby is here for your dog
We love to see your dog healthy and happy, which is why at Brutus and Barnaby we take pride in our healthy dog treats being all-natural and sourced from the best farms. We hand sort each one, ensuring the highest quality, so there is nothing but the best for your dog. You can trust that what we provide is the highest quality.
We have many naturally healthy dog treats available providing great sources of chondroitin and glucosamine. You can check out our products here, including pig ears, pig ear chunks, cow hooves, and more!