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Supplements for Dogs with Arthritis | Alpha Dog Nutrition

Posted by Becky Bruce on

Supplements for Dogs with Arthritis | Alpha Dog Nutrition

There are many different dog arthritis supplements that can help delay the degeneration of the disease, giving your dog more quality years. The best supplements contain chondroitin and glucosamine, among other ingredients.

If you or anyone you know has arthritis you understand the pain and complexity of issues it brings upon that person.  The inflammation can make the pain unbearable to do the most trivial of things. Pouring yourself a glass of water, changing the television channel, and even petting your dog make you have second thoughts because of the pain you may experience.

Speaking of dogs, did you know that dogs are also subject to arthritis?  While we associate arthritis as a human disease it also impacts our canine friends and can have the same detrimental effects on them as it does us.  The only difference is our dogs are not able to come right out and tell us what is hurting and where. As a result, it can be more difficult to plan the best course of action to get them help and relief. Thankfully, there are several supplements for dog arthritis that can help a lot.

What causes arthritis in dogs?

dog arthritis supplements

Before we get into dog arthritis supplements, we are going to discuss the different causes of arthritis. If you are already up to speed on all of this information, keep scrolling.

As with humans, arthritis is most commonly associated with older dogs.  There is not a specific age range to be provided as each breed has their own life expectancy.  For instance, an eight-year-old dog may be considered “elderly” for one breed but just “upper middle-age” for another.  However, arthritis in dogs can start to develop from an early age especially following problems they have had with either bone and/or joint development.

Arthritis in dogs may impact only one or many of their joints throughout their body.  The most common cause of arthritis in dogs will result from some type of abnormal rubbing within the joint caused by instability, damage to development in the cartilage, or other trauma such as fractures, or even overuse.

  • Ligament damage

The potential for arthritis to occur in a dog significantly increases if your dog has had any type of ligament damage in the past.  The most usual type of ligament damage dogs suffer from is the cranial cruciate ligament in the knee. Unfortunately, these tears are quite common with dogs.  Think about how hard and fast your dog plays! It’s very likely you have witnessed your dog take a “leap of faith” which you hold your breath that nothing bad happens to them.  Animals are much more resilient than humans and the majority of the time when your dog lands it won’t miss a step and just keeps on at the pace they were going. However, there is always the possibility that the dog will misjudge their landing distance, which happens more frequently in older dogs, or if the type of flooring doesn’t fully support their landing.  The important thing to remember about any type of ligament tear is that it must be identified and treated early, which will likely only be through corrective surgery. Early detection and correction will significantly decrease the probability of arthritis from occurring later in their life. As will finding the right supplements for dog arthritis.

  • Joint Instability

Joint instability is also a common cause of arthritis in dogs.  The majority of people with dogs are familiar that each breed of dog is more or less subject to certain health issues and diseases.  This is often a factor which people take into consideration when choosing a dog as they must be aware of the potential for certain types of medical issues and/or medications they may have to need.  

  • Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is simply a malformation of the hips which will more than likely lead to joint instability.  This will ultimately lead to excessive wear and tear of the cartilage in the hip area and could eventually turn into arthritis.  As with most conditions relating to dogs, early detection and corrective surgery produce the best results. Additionally, as relating to hip dysplasia, the earlier it is detected in a dog’s life the more treatment options you’ll have to choose from.  A simple x-ray or orthopedic exam can determine if hip dysplasia is present.

  • Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia consists of a number of developmental disorders a dog may have in their elbow.  This condition is most likely to be found in large, fast-growing breeds. A dog owner will likely start to notice their elbows “giving way” or otherwise looking funny while walking or running around. This may appear as early as six to nine months of age.  Only special types of x-rays may be used to diagnose elbow dysplasia. Surgery for this condition may help and minimize the pain but, unfortunately, if arthritis develops it will likely only continue to get worse.

  • Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is more likely to be found in small or “toy” breeds.  This occurs when the patella, or knee cap, moves up and down in a group which pops in and out of place.  When the knee cap pops to the side is out of its groove; this is when wear and tear begins. Look for your dog to hop or skip on a leg which should be an automatic indication that something is wrong, even if it is not patellar luxation.  If this condition is not detected early and treated it is more than likely result in your dog having arthritis in this area.

  • Cartilage Issues

Cartilage issues such as osteochondrosis dissecans is a thickening of the joint cartilage which will lead to an injury.  Dogs with this condition will tear this cartilage in these joints which causes a variety of current and future issues, such as arthritis.  Osteochondrosis is likely to occur in large and giant breed dogs. Additionally, there is an equal chance of either the front or back legs being impacted by this condition.  Symptoms may show up as early as four to eight months of age and is closely correlated to excessive food intake and weight gain. Early detection and surgery to remove the excessive cartilage may decrease the potential for the dog in developing arthritis later in life.

  • Joint Infections

Joint infections may cause significant and permanent damage which will gradually develop into arthritis.  Be cautious of any injury or wound to your dog’s joint areas as an infection may develop. If identified quickly, a simple treatment of antibiotics should be sufficient and prevent potential development of arthritis.

  • Autoimmune Disorder

Finally, an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus, can cause pain and other inflammatory symptoms in your dog.  These types of diseases will usually affect more than one joint, but not always, and will eventually destroy the cartilage and bone around that joint.  There are some drugs which may combat autoimmune disorders but will depend on the specific disorder and how early the disorder was detected.

Natural Dog Arthritis Supplements

There are a variety of products designed to help your dog to either prevent or treat arthritis.  These products, which will be covered later, have been specifically formulated to do such things.  However, some people may first want to try natural remedies as supplements to treat dogs with arthritis.

Before we cover natural supplements for dog arthritis, be aware that your vet may first prescribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) to your dog to help treat arthritis.  You should listen to the advice of your vet and, if you’re worried, express any concerns relating to NSAIDs which will be covered below. Again, this article is not meant to persuade you by any means from disagreeing or not taking the advice from your vet. Rather, its purpose is to provide you with the knowledge and information needed to ask relevant and important questions.  Once your questions have been answered by your vet you can decide the best course of action needed for your canine companion.

NSAIDs, which may be Rimadyl, Metacam, Dermaxx, or Previcox, work by inhibiting the inflammatory process.  While NSAIDs do provide pain relief from the arthritis there are other health-related risks associated with providing your dog NSAIDs.  These potential harmful side effects may include issues with the stomach/gut, kidney, and/or liver. Another worrisome feature of these drugs is that they can cause aforementioned damage without any warning signs whatsoever.  So, in theory, you could be providing your dog NSAIDs and they are working wonders to treat the arthritis and the dog is walking fine; however, the continuous use of the drug over a period of time could lead to liver failure.

Astaxanthin 

Is a natural supplement for dog arthritis.  Astaxanthin, also known as red algae, is a very popular dog arthritis supplement because it not only alleviates pain and inflammation but also cleans various cells in the dog’s body.  Additionally, it can block and reduce pain associated with a number of chemicals in a dog’s body which cause pain. An added bonus is that astaxanthin helps promote a healthy heart, as well as prevent certain types of cancers, immune system issues, and may even slow aging.

Turmeric

Is an extremely popular and readily accessible herb in our society.  Fortunately, turmeric has been extensively researched throughout the medical and health communities to identify potential health benefits.  And, fortunately, turmeric has been found to treat joint pain associated with arthritis. Some studies have found that turmeric actually works better to treat arthritis than commonly prescribed drugs such as anti-inflammatory drugs, pain killers, arthritis medication, and steroids.  You can add turmeric to your dog’s food or buy a turmeric supplement and mix it in with their food. A word of caution when using turmeric as a supplement for dog arthritis is that you should be weary of using it if your dog is hot or if your dog’s breed is naturally known to be hot. Turmeric will “warm” the body which may cause additional and unwanted side effects.

CBD oil

Is another option for supplements for dogs with arthritis.  When most people hear that CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant they automatically think it’s marijuana, a controlled drug, and will get them, or their dog “high”.  However, they are two separate things. CBD is legal and includes only traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the drug which provides the “high effect”. Pure CBD oil, less than 0.3% TCH, will not get you or your dog high.

Why would people take or want to give their dog CBD oil?  Well, there is evidence that the chemicals found in CBD oil provide an array of medical benefits, which include chronic pain relief from arthritis.  CBD oil can decrease inflammation, reduce pain, and stop premature aging due to oxidative stress.

The good news is that with the acceptance and popularity of CBD oil it is fairly simple to find places which carry the oil to buy.  Some stores even have dog treats which have the CBD oil already mixed into them! Other than providing relief from arthritis, CBD oil may benefit your dog in other ways if needed such as managing seizures, lowering stress and/or anxiety, and preventing certain types of cancers.

Crominex 3+

Is a natural blend of three joint support ingredients such as:

  • Chromium, which slows the loss of calcium and protects bones.
  • Phyllanthus emblica, which is an antioxidant that decreases inflammation.
  • Shilajit is another good anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.

This dog arthritis supplement can reduce both the arthritis itself and surrounding joint pain.  An added benefit of Crominex 3+ is that also helps the circulatory system. Plus, it aids with weight management. Both of which directly contribute to the cause of or management of arthritis.

Chondroitin -

is also a good natural supplement for dog arthritis.  Chondroitin has been found to assist the body in repairing cartilage which has been damaged. It can also restore joint integrity, increase shock absorption, decrease the likelihood of early onset cartilage deterioration, and keeps cartilage tissues hydrated.

Chondroitin is naturally found in the cartilage of animals; thus, the best way to get Chondroitin is through bone broth!  Bone broth has become extremely popular in the mainstream health community as its benefits are becoming more well-known. Plus, a lot of people thoroughly enjoy making it and, if made correctly, it’s delicious. Plus, you can buy it pre-made to help save you the trouble of making it from scratch.

Bone broth is available in many forms such as a powder, frozen, or ready-to-serve which you can pick up at your local grocery store.  If you would like to make your own there are many, many recipes which you may find online. However, if you’re looking for a quick and easy one, here is a recipe for bone broth to make as a supplement for dog arthritis.

Bone broth recipe for dogs:

  1. Take chicken feet or oxtails and fill your pot or slow cooker with the bones.  The good thing about chicken feet and oxtails is that those types of bones contain cartilage within them.
  2. Fill your pot with water to the point where the bones are completely submerged.
  3. Add approximately 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  This will help extract nutrition from the bones.
  4. Cook on low for a minimum of 24 hours.  Take note that if you leave them on for more than 24 hours you may need to add more water due to evaporation.
  5. Once you are done cooking you need to strain the bones and let them chill in the refrigerator.  It’s normal for a layer of fat to form at the top but it can easily be removed. Freeze any unused portions for a later date.
  6. Take the ready-to-use broth and pour it in with your dog’s food.  

Glucosamine

Is the combination of glutamine and glucose.  This is another supplement for dogs with arthritis.  A dog’s body naturally produces glucosamine. Glucosamine in turn creates molecules which form the cartilage around a dog’s joints.  Unfortunately, as a dog becomes older it produces less of it leaving potential for health conditions to occur, including arthritis. By adding a glucosamine supplement to your dog’s diet, it can repair damaged cartilage and tissue.  Also, it can boost joint fluid which helps them glide without substantial pain; thus, easing conditions of arthritis.

Glucosamine supplements may be found at most health food stores.  Make sure if you purchase supplements that they are from natural ingredients, not those which were produced in a laboratory.  There are also foods available which you may give to your dog which are rich in glucosamine such as raw bones (trachea, chicken feet, oxtails, pigtails, or beef knuckles), shrimp shells, and green lipped mussels.

Leading Supplement for Dog Arthritis

Alpha Dog Nutrition is a company dedicated to improving canine nutrition and overall well-being.  While their primary target population is hunting and working dogs, who are often at an increased risk of developing arthritis, their products are designed to be used by all dogs.

Alpha Dog welcomes you to think of your dog as an athlete. How can a coach expect one of their players to make it through an entire season if they don’t have both proper nutrition and other supplements needed to prevent injuries and maximize performance?  They can’t! This same concept translates over to our canine friends. How can a dog owner expect their dog to never get injured if they aren’t providing the right nutrition and supplements?

This is where Alpha Dog Nutrition comes into play.  Alpha Dog Nutrition’s Free Range supplement is specifically designed to address a number of joint-related problems.  Stiff joints are usually the first sign of a dog getting older and their livelihood starting to decrease. This can be identified a number of ways such as something subtle like them not following you around like they used to or something more serious such as them limping or favoring a leg.

While there are a certain number of “lazy breeds”, most breeds are very active and constantly on the move.  Unfortunately, a dog being on the move constantly is giving their joints a serious pounding which is bound to catch up to them at some point in their life.  This is why a lot of dogs, and up to 70% of dogs in some breeds, will at some point in their life experience joint stiffness, hip dysplasia, and/or arthritis.

One of the biggest problems a dog owner makes is they wait until their dog actually starts limping or showing other signs of weakness before they start to address the problem.  While products are available to treat a condition, the optimum method is to actually prevent the condition from progressing quickly in the first place. Think of it like a vehicle.  Regular maintenance and upkeep are important. It’s much preferred to pay $50 for a regular oil change than have to pay a few thousand dollars after the vehicle breaks down.

Free Range is the perfect maintenance supplement for joint support and paw health. Plus, it contains many anti-inflammatory properties.  Once you get the product you should start your dog on a stronger regiment for about a month and then switch to a maintenance dosage. If you read the ingredients on the back of the packaging, you’ll find that Free Range has many of the ingredients that are ideal for dogs with arthritis, and which were covered earlier in this article, such as glucosamine and chondroitin.

Alpha Dog Nutrition provides exceptional customer service and top of the line products which are always designed in the best interest of you and your dog.  The company uses national fulfillment centers to ship all orders and has partnered with Amazon’s fulfillment centers where they are strategically placed throughout the United States.  All of Alpha Dog Nutrition’s products are made in the United States. They offer free standard shipping for all orders to be delivered in the country and most orders will arrive within 7 to 10 business days.  If you, or your dog, are not 100% satisfied the company will offer your money back.

Risk factors associated with canine arthritis

dog arthritis supplements

Just as with humans, certain factors put some people at more risk of developing certain types of disorders than others.  This bodes true for dogs as well. Just as some genders and races/ethnicities are more likely to develop specific conditions so are certain breeds of dogs.  Additionally, other risk factors are at play. Below are noted risk factors associated with dogs developing canine arthritis. If your dog is at an increased risk of developing arthritis, supplements for dog arthritis are even more important.

  1. The breed- It is estimated that approximately 70% of dogs in specific breeds will at some point in their life develop arthritis.  These breeds include, but are not limited to, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German shepherds. It is strongly recommended that before bringing a new dog into your family that you conduct extensive research on how to care for that specific breed, as well as what are the common medical conditions they develop.
  2. Obesity- Sure, larger than average dogs may be cute and fun to look at but, as with most mammals, being obese increases health risks, including canine arthritis.  It is estimated that dogs which are significantly overweight are likely to develop arthritis on average three years sooner than dogs of the same breed which are not overweight.  Three years may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of our lives but for most dog breeds that’s at least a quarter of their life span! Think of it this way, would you rather put off having arthritis for another 15 years if you could?
  3. Joint abnormalities, infection, and stress/trauma- These have already been covered in the previous section.  Again, a dog who has any of these conditions is immediately put at a higher risk of developing arthritis.  Even if the condition is detected early and treated immediately there is still a chance of arthritis to develop at some point. Early detection is so important.

How to Naturally Help Prevent Canine Arthritis

There are methods to attempt which may prevent your dog from developing arthritis or, if your dog already has it, to improve their condition.  In addition to bringing your dog a better quality of life you’ll also save money on vet bills. All of these recommendations are simple lifestyle changes which may improve your dog’s joint health.

Managing obesity- as covered in the previous section, dogs who are obese are also at an increased risk of not only developing arthritis but a whole spectrum of other diseases and conditions.  In addition to arthritis, an overweight dog is more subject to develop diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and respiratory diseases. What’s really sad is that an obese dog’s life expectancy is significantly shorter than those who are not obese.  That alone should be all the motivation you need to control and manage your dog’s weight and eating habits.

Talk to your vet to determine how much food your dog should be eating at a “sitting”.  Once you figure that out, you’ll need to buy a dog food bowl which holds that amount or very similar.  For instance, if your vet recommends your dog should eat two cups of food for each meal and you have a four-cup bowl which you fill up each time, it’s very likely they are going to become obese and have a host of medical conditions.  

If you are not sure if your dog is overweight a quick trip to the vet will let you know.  It’s highly recommended to go to the vet to get the recommended feeding amount to prevent or reduce obesity. This is preferable to dealing with the pain to both your dog and checkbook later due to the health conditions caused by obesity.

Regular exercise- what goes along with a healthy diet?  Proper exercise! While a healthy diet is the biggest factor in controlling obesity, exercise also plays an important role.  Exercise improves a dog’s cardiovascular and muscular health. Additionally, it will improve a dog’s digestive system, relieve constipation, and increase agility.  

There really is no wrong way to exercise as long as you get your dog moving.  Getting outside for a walk, jog, run, or playing fetch are all great choices. Unless your dog is morbidly obese or otherwise unhealthy, they shouldn’t view exercise in a negative way. Rather, they will just see it as having fun together.  An added benefit to getting your dog to exercise is that your body will also reap the benefits.

Before you walk out the door to run a half marathon with your dog, take a few minutes to examine your dog’s physical activity level and ability.  Do not engage your dog in extreme physical activities. Your dog will exhaust themselves in order to keep up with you as they know it’s pleasing you.  Think of training your dog as humans train. It takes time, practice, and effort to build up endurance to accomplish certain activity levels. A dog’s physical capacity is no different.

A good bed- A dog owner who allows their dog to sleep on a floor is essentially allowing their dog’s own weight to continuously apply pressure to their body. This continuous pressure is ever-increasing the potential for arthritis to occur.  A good, comfortable, and supportive bed will help combat arthritis as it will keep them warm and dry, protecting against cold and damp conditions which may cause arthritis. If your dog already has arthritis, then it’s strongly recommended to purchase an orthopedic bed with therapeutic mattresses to alleviate pain and protect against future deterioration.  

Traction mats- a dog who loses their footing is putting pressure on their joints and muscles as well as risking tearing a ligament.  All of these things can eventually lead to your dog developing arthritis. If your dog has a high place they like to jump to, such as a bed, a good practice would be to put down slip-proof gripper mats in front of those spots.  Not only will these mats allow them to jump higher to successfully get to where they’re going, but also when they jump down they won’t slide. It is common for dogs jumping off beds and couches to become injured and require a trip to the vet.

Research Studies on Dog Arthritis Supplements

It is estimated that up to a third of households in the United States who have a dog provide their dog some type of supplement.  However, dog owners need to understand that nutritional supplements do not have the same oversight by the Food and Drug Administration as they do with medication.  All supplements for humans must include the following statement, “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” However, the FDA does not require this statement to be put on packaging designed for animals.

There are many, many supplements available for purchase that you can research and purchase online.  As a best practice and recommendation, you should consult with your vet about whether or not supplements for dog arthritis are both safe and effective.  They have expertise in this area and are less likely to be fooled by clever marketing gimmicks.

As mentioned earlier in this section, the lack of oversight and control in the animal health supplement field may result in products which do not hold to their promised effects. Or worse, may even be dangerous to your dog.  Even the product’s dosage recommendation could be wrong which may result in harm.

Another important reason to consult with your vet when considering supplements for dog arthritis is to make sure it is actually needed.  The vet may examine your dog’s diet, food intake, and any medications to determine if a particular supplement for arthritis is needed or not.  For instance, they may already be on medication that causes the vet to conclude the supplement provides no additional benefit.

Assessing Your Dog’s Potential for Arthritis

A number of vets use the University of Liverpool’s Liverpool Osteoarthritis in Dogs (LOAD) questionnaire to assess probability of either your dog already having arthritis or the potential to develop it.  There are three areas of concern which you will be asked questions about: background, lifestyle, and mobility are. Below are the questions you will be asked to answer on a range-point scale of “yes/no”. Take a few minutes to answer these questions to yourself.  This may give you an idea of the likelihood of the need to give supplements for dog arthritis.

Background:

  • How long has you dog been suffering with their mobility problem?
  • Has your dog ever been diagnosed as suffering from any other problems other than the orthopedic one?
  • List all medications they are currently receiving and the date/time of the last dose.

Lifestyle:

  • In the last week, how far has your dog exercised (walked or jogged) each day?
  • In the last week, how many walks has your dog had each day?
  • What type of exercise is it? (on lead, off lead, working, etc.)
  • Are there days of the week your dog tends to exercise more than regular?
  • On what type of terrain does your dog exercise most often? (concrete, dirt, grass, etc.)
  • When exercising, how is your dog handled?
  • Do you or your dog limit the extent of your daily exercises?

Mobility:

  • How would you, personally, rate your dog’s mobility in general?
  • How disabled is your dog by their current issue(s)?
  • How active is your dog?
  • What impact does cold, damp weather have on their issue(s)?
  • To what degree does your dog show stiffness, if applicable, in the affected leg(s) after they lie down?
  • When exercising, how active is your dog?
  • How much does your dog like to exercise?
  • How would you rate your dog’s ability to effectively exercise?
  • What effect does any form of exercise have on their issue(s)?
  • How often does your dog need to rest or completely stop during exercise?

When thinking about these questions, take note of your answers. Is your dog not that mobile or struggling to exercise? Your answers may be an indication that supplements for dog arthritis may help.

Conclusion on Supplements for Dogs with Arthritis

dog arthritis supplementsYes.  Supplements for dogs do work when they are of high quality and actually needed.  However, supplements should be used alongside proper diet and exercise as well as other recommendations mentioned in this article.  Essentially, you cannot just provide your dog with a supplement for arthritis and still let them eat low-quality food and lie around all day.  

This is just like supplements that humans use for a variety of reasons.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of diet pills on the market today. Per their name, they are supplements, they cannot make you lose weight if you do not adhere to a proper diet and exercise program.  Same thing applies to anyone wanting to build muscles. No matter the amount of protein shakes a person takes, they still must find their way to a gym to lift to see results. Pairing your dog’s arthritis supplements with other key factors mentioned earlier in this article will likely increase the impact of the supplements.

The advice contained in this article is purely for informational purposes only.  It is still recommended that before starting any exercise or supplements for dogs with arthritis that you consult with your vet.  Additionally, it is best to take preventative measures while your dog is young before they develop joint and/or cartilage problems which could eventually result in arthritis.  Make sure to look for symptoms in your dog which are tell-tale signs that something is wrong with them such as them not following you around like they used to or limping. It’s never safe to assume that they just “tweaked” something and will be alright.  Your dog is your family and your responsibility. They don’t have control over the food, exercise, and supplements needed to prevent or treat arthritis. However, you do. Make the right choices to benefit your dog.

 


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1 comment


  • I have a ten year old golden retriever that has arthritis and I hunt a six yr old chocolate lab . My ? Is resurgence or vitality. My lab is worked every day except hunting season . Which one do I need Thk you

    Joepat Young on

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