Glucosamine chondroitin for dogs is one of the trending, most popular supplements for canines against arthritis.
Glucosamine chondroitin is also often added to dog foods, dog treats and other edibles for our pets.
Manufacturers add this ingredient for health purposes, claiming that it can either help with canine arthritis and joint issues, or prevent them if given long enough and early enough.
How true are these claims on glucosamine chondroiting for dogs, and is there any science supporting this? Let’s take a quick look.
What is glucosamine chondroitin for dogs?
Glucosamine chondroitin is the most popular glucosamine’s combination of ingredients, and they are very often found together in dog supplements designed to help improve pain in arthritic dogs.
We have a special page dedicated to scientific breakdown – glucosamine for dogs – side effects and benefits – which is focused specifically on glucosamine rather than a combination of ingredients.
The following page below discusses uses, structure and efficacy of specifically glucosamine chondroitin for dogs.
Glucosamine, also sometimes known as chitosamine, is an amino sugar which occurs naturally in your dog’s body, primarily in his cartilage and some types of joints known as synovial joints.
Glucosamine is also found in claws, tendons, eyes, skin, bones, heart valves and ligaments.
Supplemental glucosamine is derived from the shells of shellfish such as lobsters, crabs and oysters.
There are no major food sources of glucosamine, so your dog must get it from supplements.
Chondroitin is also a naturally occurring molecule found in animal cartilage.
It is one of the substances known as glycosaminoglycan (GAG). These attract water and are therefore used by the body as a lubricant or shock absorber.
Supplemental chondroitin is derived primarily from the cartilage tracheal rings of cattle.
It is also derived from the cartilage of whales and sharks and therefore for conservation reasons, many consumers prefer cattle sources.
If you are a vegetarian, or you do not wish to give your dog meat products, look for a supplement made from algae instead.
How does it work?
Cartilage is a supportive tissue that helps your dog’s joints move smoothly. But, as your dog ages, his body uses glucosamine faster than it can be produced.
The cartilage then starts to break down and arthritis occurs, particularly in the legs and hips.
Glucosamine is one of the building-blocks necessary for the production of substances which become one of the main structures of cartilage. So, supplementing with glucosamine may keep your dog mobile because it is helping the body create new cartilage and repairing damaged cartilage.
Chondroitin is believed to work synergistically with glucosamine.
Chondroitin helps keep cartilage healthy by absorbing fluid (particularly water) into the connective tissue and it provides the building blocks for the body to produce new cartilage. It may also block enzymes that break down cartilage,
Uses of glucosamin chondroitin for dogs
Glucosamine and chondroitin products have been studied and used for a range of purposes including the healing of skin wounds and stomach ailments.
Currently, their most popular use is for the relief and healing of diseased joints.
Glucosamine and chondroitin have been successfully used in humans and several species of their pets, including dogs, cats and horses.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of arthritis characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage.
This can be caused by injury or normal wear-and-tear. Dogs can be affected by osteoarthritis in many different joints but the most common by far are the hip joints.
Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hips) is particularly common in larger breeds of dogs.
This condition greatly exacerbates wear on the cartilage that protect the bone surface of the joint. As this cartilage is worn away, there is bone-to-bone contact. This creates the pain associated with arthritis.
Dogs that do not suffer from hip dysplasia are also likely to experience age-related decrease in this cartilage, and therefore will show arthritic symptoms.
Aging dogs may also develop arthritis in other joints such as the shoulders, knees and elbows. The cartilage loss or injury may respond to glucosamine and chondroitin.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are also often used post-operatively in dogs that have undergone joint surgery, or, in treating spinal disc injuries.
It is believed these ingredients increase the rate of wound healing and reduce scar formation.
Side effects of glucosamine chondroitin
Supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin may cause side effects, which if they occur, are usually gastrointestinal.
Mild side effects include vomiting or abnormal feces production (either diarrhea or constipation).
The symptoms are often alleviated if the dose of the supplement is reduced, or alternatively, given with food.
Once you begin to treat your dog with glucosamine and chondroitin, you will have to continue with this for the remainder of his life or the symptoms of the cartilage degeneration will return.
When starting glucosamine treatment, your dog may initially require high doses of the supplement for there to be a positive effect. When such dogs experience symptoms of reduced appetite or gastrointestinal complications, these may lessen as the dosage is reduced.
Your dog may be allergic to shellfish. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction may be your dog chewing at his feet.
In a severe allergic reaction, your dog may enter into anaphylactic shock – this requires immediate treatment by a veterinarian.
If your dog suffers from a shellfish allergy, there are glucosamine products made from corn or other plants. However, these may be considerably more difficult to find than shellfish-based products.
Legal classifications in the United States
In the U.S., glucosamine and chondroitin are classified as nutraceuticals. Therefore, they are not strictly controlled by the FDA.
They are naturally occurring and are found in many food products. As a consequence, they fall into the same class as vitamins.
There has been a relatively large number of studies reporting positive effects produced by European countries, however, North American researchers are still reluctant to perform controlled studies.
Literature searches indicate there is an extremely small number of North American studies published on these ingredients.
In healthy, living animals you will be able to find both chondroitin and glucosamine stored in their cartilage. A dog’s body has the ability to manufacture both glucosamine and chondroitin in order to keep their joints healthy and functioning properly.
However, just like humans, a dog’s power to naturally produce glucosamine is drastically reduced as they begin get older. This has the potential to result in discomfort as well as various arthritic symptoms.
The good news is that supplementing with a glucosamine chondroitin combination can help maintain the overall health of your dogs joints, facilitate easier movement and appease any discomfort that they may be feeling.
Signs your dog needs glucosamine chondroitin
Glucosamine chondroitin supplements for dogs are most commonly used as an effective treatment for canine arthritis.
Some signs that your dog may be suffering from hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis include: trouble when going upstairs, constant liming, difficult getting up or lying down, disinterest in play, pain when touch, falling behind you while on a walk, lethargy or suddenly lying in shady area or cool floors as this is often a sign that they are trying to soothe joint inflammation.
Benefits of glucosamine chondroitin for dogs
Glucosamine chondroitin offers a plethora of benefits for dogs.
Believe it or not, more than 30 percent of dogs in the United States have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
If your dog is at risk for developing this serious condition or are already suffering from the condition, it may be an excellent idea to consider supplementation before opting for prescription medications, which often cause numerous unwanted side effects.
As an all-natural supplement, glucosamine chondroitin has an extremely positive track record when it comes to regenerating and restoring the damage in the joints in order to soothe most of the symptoms caused by arthritis and hip dysplasia.
It has also proven to be useful in preventing the condition in at-risk or elderly dogs.
A study performed at the University of Illinois indicated that this supplement reduces the enzymes that destroy cartilage while encouraging the activity of cells that rebuild cartilage and reduce inflammation.
The study also yielded that the results of glucosamine chondroitin are usually effective within 15 to 30 days.
Glucosamine chondroitin dosage information
Glucosamine chondroitin dosage all depends on the severity of the dog’s symptoms as well as their body weight.
The most common starting dosage is about 750 mg for every 50 pounds of their body weight. This dosage may be raised to help treat more severe conditions.
If your dog is against chewing tablets or swallowing pills, there are also liquid forms available that can be mixed into their water.
There are many different glucosamine chondroitin products available on the market.
Before making a final decision on a supplement, you should always consult with your veterinarian for a proper recommendation according to your dog’s needs.
Additionally, dog owners should also consider the quality of the product’s ingredients, the amount that they need per day, method of delivery (liquid or pills) and daily cost.