Arthritis Supplements, Your JRT, and You

When a lot of people think about canine arthritis supplements, they think about aging dogs. And if your elder Jack is experiencing arthritis pain, they may well be able to benefit from supplements.

But younger dogs can develop arthritis, too, especially if they’ve suffered an injury. My pup, for example, suffered an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear at age four. This injury often leads to arthritis, and in the case of my doggo, it certainly did.

Considering that Jacks are an athletic and energetic breed that enjoy running and jumping, joint, tendon, and ligament injuries are not uncommon.

The great thing is, the arthritis supplements we’re going to talk about are widely available, and if you shop around, they’re not too expensive, either. Most importantly, they are scientifically proven to reduce arthritis pain and improve your pup's quality of life.

Some Common Supplements

What should you look for? Your vet will probably recommend some of these. Depending on the severity of your buddy's pain, your vet may also prescribe specific pain medication. Let's have a look at some of the most widely available supplements on the market.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine most commonly comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans. You can also, less commonly, find it sourced from fermented grain.

Glucosamine works by helping the body to produce cartilage and synovial fluid. Synovial fluid helps to cushion joints, which helps with arthritis pain. It also helps to prevent the breakdown of cartilage.

Studies have shown that glucosamine is effective for protecting joints, slowing arthritis, and reducing arthritis pain.

Chondroitin

Your vet may also prescribe chondroitin, and many glucosamine supplements come combined with chondroitin. Chondroitin comes from pig and cow cartilage.

Chondroitin slows the progression of arthritis and reduces arthritis pain.

MSM

Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM is found in plants and animals alike. It is also commonly combined with Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

MSM reduces inflammation, which eases pain in arthritic joints. It can also ease the stiffness that comes with arthritis.

Salmon oil

Fish oil has an astounding number of health benefits. As far as arthritis goes, the main benefit is reducing inflammation.

Arthritis inflammation occurs when the cartilage that sits between bones, cushioning them, begins to wear away. Bone rubs against bone, and the area becomes inflamed. It's terribly painful.

Salmon oil reduces this inflammation, which, in turn, reduces not only pain but also stiffness.

How do they work together?

My dog takes a prescribed pain reliever, but my vet also prescribed a combination of the above supplements. Here's how they work together:

  • Glucosamine helps his body to produce more synovial fluid to cushion his arthritic knee joint.
  • Chondroitin helps to slow the progress of his arthritis and to reduce pain.
  • MSM eases pain and stiffness.
  • Salmon oil reduces inflammation.

How Much Do You Give Your Dog?

As with any medicine, it's important to get the dosage right. And dosages will depend on your dog's size, age, weight, and the severity of their condition.

Before giving your dog any supplement or medication, you must discuss it with your vet. Your vet will look at all of the above factors, and give you a dosage that is both safe and effective.

Are These Supplements Safe?

The excellent thing is that all of these arthritis supplements are safe for long-term use. 

However, overdoses can occur with any medication. In the case of these supplements, the most common sign your dog is getting too much is diarrhea.

Where Can You Find Them?

Specific arthritis supplements for dogs exist. However, they can be quite expensive.

My vet recommended that I buy human-grade supplements, which are the same quality, but often cheaper. You can also buy them in bulk.

A few words of advice, though:

First, always read the labels. How many of each pill do you need to follow your vet's prescribed dosage? How long will a bottle last? Use this information to find the best deal.

Next, try to get as simple a formulation as possible. Some manufacturers put other ingredients into their formulation. These ingredients may be helpful, but they may also be useless add-ins that just jack up the price.

Worse yet, some of these added ingredients may be harmful for your dog.

Some good places I've found effective arthritis supplements include Target, Walgreens, CVS, and Amazon.

Happy Jack, Happy You

Arthritis pain isn't fun for anyone. But with the right mix of supplements, medication, and TLC, you can improve your buddy's quality of life — and your own as well.

Featured Image CC0 by Stevepb, via Pixabay