Researchers estimate that at least one in five dogs suffers from poor joint health. Joint health affects all sizes and ages, large breeds, small breed, young and old. As dogs continue to live longer, eventually virtually all of them will experience limited mobility and other hip and/or joint health problems at some point in their lives. Fortunately, there are ways to help your dog remain active throughout his long life.
SIGNS OF POOR JOINT HEALTH IN DOGS
Perhaps you’ve noticed some changes in how your dog gets around. Common signs of diminishing joint health include lack of endurance on walks or dog-park visits, difficulty getting up on the furniture or going up stairs, and problems getting in and out of the car. Over time, your dog may walk with a hobble to avoid putting weight on a joint or even hold the limb up off the floor completely.
OPTIONS TO HELP DOGS WITH JOINT PROBLEMS
When you notice that your dog might be slowing down and perhaps not being as active, there are options to help you improve the quality of his life. There are prescription medications available from veterinarians. Those most commonly used are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids but these medications do not support your dog’s basic joint structure.
Alternative therapies are commonly used to support joint health in dogs. Nutritional supplements offer several important advantages over drugs. First, nutrition is better positioned to provide long-term rather than short-term joint support. Further, most joint supplements contain multiple active compounds to support all the underlying structural components of joint health, instead of only targeting the symptoms. Finally, regulatory laws require that supplements must not have adverse side-effects and joint supplement products as a whole have been shown to be very safe.
WHAT INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR
Today there are many different joint health supplements available for pets, so do some homework before purchasing one. There are specific components necessary to support the development, health and maintenance of bones, joints, and other connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Check for these ingredients:
Glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid: These natural substances are critical for the production of larger glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), the biologically-produced building blocks of cartilage, connective tissue and lubricating joint fluids. There is a relatively new source of all these joint building blocks in one ingredient.
NEM® is naturally-derived from eggs and contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, collagen, peptides and amino acids all in one source and in the appropriate biologic ratio.
Calicium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin D: These nutrients are required to produce new collagen and bone cells and are critical for normal bone growth and development.
Zinc, Copper, Manganese: These minerals promote the normal formation of bone and cartilage.
Methionine: This amino acid is essential in the formation of the biomolecules that make up bones and joints.
Selenium: This mineral helps protect bone and joint cells from oxidative damage.
For optimal joint support, make sure all of these ingredients are present in the joint supplement you select. This will help your dog remain active and enjoying life for many years to come.