Why is Glucosamine Important for Joint Health in Dogs?
Glucosamine is a natural compound that is found in cartilage. Dogs produce a certain amount of glucosamine in their bodies, but this decreases with age. Eventually, most dogs get to a point where they can’t produce enough to stimulate the production of synovial fluid, glycosaminoglycans, and chondroitin sulfate, which are essential components of healthy cartilage.
The result is a slow degeneration of joint health that can lead to canine arthritis. Because glucosamine is available as a supplement, products have emerged that are designed to help replenish the supply of glucosamine and ward off the onset of arthritis.
What Causes Arthritis in Dogs?
Arthritis is commonly related to aging, and many dogs develop it to a certain degree as they become elderly. It can also be brought on by trauma or injury, and some breeds have a genetic predisposition to developing canine arthritis.
Arthritis results from the decline of joint fluid in the body, and can lead to a degenerative joint disease called osteoarthritis, where the cartilage becomes stiff, loses its elasticity, and eventually breaks down. Unfortunately, this condition can be asymptomatic in dogs until the cartilage completely wears away, leaving your dog with joint pain and stiffness that results in lameness, immobility, and muscular atrophy.
Glucosamine as a Natural Arthritis Treatment for Dogs
Generally, glucosamine is viewed as a holistic and natural treatment for arthritis, and the mainstream veterinary community has displayed caution in recommending it due to a lack of studies proving its effectiveness.
However, evidence is beginning to mount that glucosamine supplements work against arthritis in dogs, particularly as a preventative measure.
In fact, the Mayo Clinic states that there is good scientific evidence that glucosamine is helpful in treating osteoarthritis of various joints for both animals and people.
Other studies have found that glucosamine helps reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis in dogs. Further evidence shows that glucosamine not only inhibits enzymes that degrade animal cartilage, but also enhances the activity of cells that play a role in building cartilage.
Preventing Arthritis in Dogs
The cumulative data on glucosamine as a treatment for arthritis in dogs suggest that it is most effective as a preventative treatment.
Vets are increasingly recommending that dogs begin taking a glucosamine supplement in their middle years, particularly if they are a breed with a predisposition for joint problems and arthritis, or if they suffered from injury.
It is also true that glucosamine is not a quick cure. Most supplements recommend waiting about 4 weeks before trying to evaluate any visible differences in your dog’s mobility or apparent pain levels.
Glucosamine follows current medical trends that seek to increase preventative measure against disease. This holistic approach maintains optimal health rather than responding to diseases after they have already become debilitating. The goal is to lower overall medical costs and improve the quality of life for your dog.
Holistic Pet Info.com carries several high quality glucosamine supplements for dogs – liquid, capsules, chewable tablets; for dogs with moderate to advanced arthritis.