Glucosamine is an amino sugar and a chief building block in cartilage. It is the most common non-mineral or vitamin dietary supplement taken by adults in the United States. Additionally, it is often used by dog and cat owners for the relief of arthritic pain. Glucosamine occurs naturally in both humans and animals, but the quantity decreases over time.
Another natural product found in the bodies of cats and dogs is hyaluronic acid, which acts as a joint lubricator. Production of this joint ingredient also decreases as an animal gets older. Both hyaluronic acid and glucosamine are available for supplemental use for dogs and cats.
Dog Arthritis is a Common Issue
Because most all dogs have some degree of arthritis in their lifetime, it is important to be observant of their movements, especially when they get up after reclining for some time. Dogs seldom make any whimpering noises about pain until it becomes almost unbearable.
By the time most dogs reach four years of age, they have joint problems that typically appear as arthritis. Most owners do not recognize the problem until their animals are well advanced into the condition and have difficulty in their mobility.
It is a good idea to ask your veterinarian about your dog’s joints when you take your pet for a visit. Some animals may be as much as seven to ten years old and not have indications or arthritis, but they are the exception and not the rule.
Importance of Weight Control and Exercise
If a dog’s weight is maintained by exercise and diet, this can help prolong the period before arthritis becomes a painful problem. Some dog food manufacturers offer specialized joint diet products specifically intended for dogs with arthritis and other joint problems. Joint supplements may be included in these dog foods to address the need for glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. Your vet can recommend dog food brands best suited for good joint health.
Supplements Combined with Nutritional Food
The problem with dog foods that contain supplements is that they may not address other health issues such as skin, coat, and teeth. Some dog owners feel it is a better situation to feed dogs nutritional foods that address overall pet health and handle their dog arthritis needs by giving supplements to their pets. This method also assures that the dog is getting the supplements in the proper amounts.