Have you noticed your pup having a hard time getting up? Maybe they’re not running around like they used to and have slowed down a bit. Well, if that’s the case, there’s a good chance your furry friend has started to encounter some joint pain. This can be for a few reasons, but have no fear! There are ways to help your pup with this pain.
Today we’re going over everything you need to know about joint pain in pups and the best natural supplements to keep them feeling healthy and playful.
Joint Pain in Dogs
Canine joint pain is more common than you’d think. It happens for a few reasons, but before we outline those, it’s important to know how to identify joint pain in your four-legged friend.
Symptoms of Joint Pain
The symptoms of joint pain in dogs are varied, and some are more identifiable than others. You’ll find that the symptoms you’ll most readily notice have to do with your pup’s behavior, while others that are harder to see can be missed until they’re at a more critical point.
- Reluctance to Move - If your pup hasn’t been getting up as much and doesn’t seem to be interested in playing, they may be experiencing joint pain.
- Limping - Your dog may still be active, but you may notice that they’re limping and favoring one leg more than the others. This can be due to injury or due to chronic joint pain.
- Sensitivity to Touch - Does your four-legged friend whimper when you touch any of their limbs? Maybe even their spine? Joint pain can cause swelling, making some areas more sensitive to touch.
- Exhaustion - Being in pain can be a tiring thing to deal with. Your dog may be sleeping more than usual, which is a common side effect of joint pain in pups.
- Changes in Behavior - You know your pup better than anyone, and a sudden change in their behavior can indicate pain. If it’s not from a visible injury, they may have pain in their joints.
- Muscle Atrophy - This is perhaps the hardest symptom to identify because it happens gradually over time. Your dog may begin to favor one leg more than the others, causing the muscle to diminish over time. It is hard to recognize before the change has become drastic.
What Causes Joint Pain in Dogs
So now that you know how to identify joint pain, it’s time to take a look at the causes of joint pain. There are a few things that can give your dog a predisposition to joint pain, as well as outside causes of joint pain.
- Osteoarthritis - Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of joint pain in dogs. It’s also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). DJD is more common in larger breeds and tends to show up later in life. It’s important to remember that DJD can be caused by other factors, as well, like prior injuries or hip dysplasia.
- Injuries - Injuries incurred while running or playing can cause lasting joint pain in your pup, even after the injury has healed.
- Old Age - Even if your pup doesn’t have DJD, old age can cause joint pain in your pup. Just like in people, the joints of a dog go through wear and tear throughout their lives, and they can get achy in their old age just like people do.
Supplements For Joint Pain
More recently, supplements that help alleviate joint pain in dogs, as well as promote joint health. Much like supplements made for the consumption of people, joint supplements for your pup have active ingredients that deliver natural ingredients to the area affected.
The Best Ingredients for Joint Supplements
When looking for the best supplements for your pup’s joints, you’ll want to identify supplements that use clinically tested, proven-to-work ingredients.
There are a few of these that stand out are listed below:
This ingredient may seem more familiar than some of the others, as it’s commonly used in joint supplements made for people. Glucosamine is derived naturally from the shells of shellfish when used in supplements but is also one of the compounds actually in the cartilage in joints.
Giving your dog glucosamine takes time to build up in your dog’s system, but the effects are worth it. When given supplements with glucosamine, it actually promotes the growth of cartilage, helping to ease the joint pain of your pup.
It’s important to make sure that the form of glucosamine being administered is glucosamine hydrochloride, as it’s proven to work. Glucosamine sulfate, the alternative, has not been proven to increase joint health.
<h4>Omega-3 Fatty Acids</h4>
This is another very familiar ingredient when it comes to supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in plenty of supplements made for people and are now being utilized in dog supplements as well as dog foods.
Omega-3 fatty acids occur in many natural forms, most commonly found in fish oil and flaxseed. They’re able to be capsulized or added as a supplemental ingredient in foods. In addition to helping with joint-related issues, omega-3 fatty acids can aid in skin and kidney health as well.
While you can give your dog omega-3 fatty acids derived from flaxseed, it’s generally recommended that they be given the supplement derived from fish oil as it is considered more complex and complete.
While the other ingredients on our list help to aid in the promotion of joint health, chondroitin sulfate actually works a bit differently. It helps to stop the enzymes that occur in dogs that actually destroy cartilage.
Naturally, chondroitin sulfate can be found in shark and cow cartilage but occurs in other animal sources as well.
What To look For in Dog Joint Supplements
When you’re looking to buy dog joint supplements, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
- Natural Active Ingredients - You want to look for supplements that have natural active ingredients, like those listed above. These are proven to work for your dog.
- Minimal Ingredients - The fewer ingredients, the better. You want to give them a supplement that is simply created.
- Approved and Tested - Supplements should undergo clinical trials, and the label of the supplement should state that it’s been tested and certified by a reputable organization.
An excellent example of a natural joint supplement that encompasses all of these requirements is the Wild One FLEX Hip & Joint Supplement. They’re formulated using two of the ingredients listed above, and they are Board Certified Veterinarian reviewed, so you know that they’re good for your pup. They’re also very minimal in terms of ingredients, which are all-natural.
Joint Pain Explained
When you suspect that your pup may be experiencing joint pain, be sure to pay attention to how they’re behaving. Often, they’ll change the way that they’re acting when they aren’t feeling themselves. Once you’ve determined that you’re ready to add a supplement into the mix, look for one that utilizes natural ingredients and that has been tested and certified. Make sure to ask your veterinarian for help if you need it.
Keep your pup feeling young and spry!
Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment | American Kennel Club
A Vet Talks About the Best Ingredients for Joint Supplements for Dogs | Pet MD