Dogs, among other things, are known for their high level of activity. Running around, catching balls, chasing cars and pulling you along by the lead with their eyes wide with excitement, these are some of the defining behavioural features of a happy and healthy dog. However, all of this activity and commotion can have some drawbacks. As your four-legged friend grows older and more vulnerable, they can develop issues to do with their bone and joint health, such as dog joint pain.
However, luckily there are some choices that you as a loving dog owner can turn to in order to help get your pooch back on their feet. Joint care for dogs can come in multiple forms, be that expensive therapy, swimming, or surgery. However, an affordable and manageable solution can come in the form of simply taking the necessary steps with your dog’s routine to prevent dog joint pain altogether, and tackle it head on when stiff joints in dogs develop. Such routines often involve supplementation with a natural ingredient known as Glucosamine to provide joint pain relief for dogs. But what is Glucosamine? What does it do? And why should your dog be taking it?
What Is Glucosamine?
The name Glucosamine probably harkens back to time spent in chemistry class, but it is actually more easy to decipher than it initially seems. Glucosamine simply comes from two words. Gluco is from glucose (the most common simple carbohydrate) and Amine even more simply comes from the amine group common in Amino Acids. This means that Glucosamine is a beneficial amino sugar! It is naturally produced in bone marrow and is, therefore, one of the many key components in bones. It’s natural composition and place of origin means that it has been extensively tested for the purpose of aiding joint and bone pain in humans. Dog joint pain and stiff joints in dogs are often caused by the same problems that cause human joint problems, which is why Glucosamine is seen as a similarly beneficial substance to supplement with for good joint care for dogs.
What Does Glucosamine Do?
In recent history, Glucosamine has been used extensively as a home supplement for human beings and has become the most popular natural agent to help maintain joint care in active humans. As a result, it can also be hugely beneficial for dogs, and there are two distinct ways in which glucosamine can be seen to help aid joint pain relief in dogs, and form part of a great joint care routine. These are:
A bit of a biology lesson here! Have you ever rubbed your hands together when they are dry compared with when they are covered in soap? You would find that when soapy, they slip and glide over each other with ease compared to the rub you experience when dry. Your dog’s joints work in exactly the same way. Joints aren't just there to connect one part of your body to another like a suspension bridge, they are also the focal points that allow for you to easily move your individual body parts. Often what causes the wear and tear of joints in your dog is when these joints are worn by the movement and the bones rub together. This causes stiff joints and dog joint pain.
The natural way that your dog’s body prevents this is by providing a special solution called synovial fluid. This fluid surrounds your dog’s joints, lubricates the bones and essentially allows them to move over one another easier and with less friction. Where Glucosamine comes into this is that Acetyl Glucosamine is one of the key ingredients in creating synovial fluid. By supplementing your dog’s diet with Glucosamine, you may be providing their body excess Glucosamine with which it can form more synovial fluid to lubricate and therefore protect your dog’s joints from damage.
Having lubricated joints is a great way to prevent stiff joints in dogs, but what is lubrication if there is nothing to lubricate? Joints also consist of mighty internal structures that require constant maintenance to allow for the amount of day to day movement that your dog’s joints provide.
Firstly, there are the tendons, which are incredibly important as they work by anchoring muscle to the bone so that when the muscle moves, the bone comes with it, creating the foundation of all movement. Ever seen horror films where skeletons come alive and attack? Well, you never have to worry about that because bones simply cannot move on their own without a muscle contracting around them! This process relies heavily on the tendons, as they are the all-important bridges that join those bones to the muscle. They are key in all joints because they help manage their movement and also help to keep them stable.
Secondly, there is cartilage, which you may know as the stuff that makes up your ears, and what sharks bones are made of. Cartilage plays a vital role in delivering joint care for dogs. Lubrication stops the bones rubbing together in your dog’s joints and tendons keep the joints stable, but what about high impact pressure? That is where cartilage comes in as it essentially works as a cushion for your dog’s joints.
This helps prevent rubbing but it also alleviates the pressure that bones can impose on one another. For example, when your dog leaps high in the air and lands on its knees, without a cushion to soften the impact, your dog’s bones would bash together and that would cause your dog joint pain and damage. A special cartilage called white fibrocartilage is designed to absorb heavy impacts like this.
For more involuntary pressure, like the pressure ligaments in your dog’s spine lay on each other when posture changes or when a bone moves inside a socket joint, there is hyaline cartilage which cushions and prevents friction that could cause stiff joints in dogs. Glucosamine, much like with synovial fluid, is a component in its construction meaning that supplementation with Glucosamine can allow for the synthesis and maintenance of tendons and cartilage for joint support and joint care for dogs.
Should I Be Giving Glucosamine To My Dog?
When wanting to consider joint care for dogs and the prevention of dog joint pain, the supplementation of glucosamine can certainly lend itself as a great way to help achieve those goals for your canine companion. The best joint pain relief for any dog is the preventative measures that you can take to ensure the best joint health for your dog from when they are a puppy. Feeding your dog a balanced protein and mineral rich diet is the foundation of good joint health, along with frequent exercise.
However, to really defend your dog from stiff joint in dogs and dog joint pain, the supplementation of Glucosamine is a perfectly natural way to complement a balanced diet and exercise. Whether your pooch is suffering from joint problems or not, it can work as an invaluable tool to fight and prevent joint problems in dogs. One thing to always consider however, is where the Glucosamine should be sourced from if you are giving it to your dog. It can be very beneficial to the overall well being of your dog to ensure that the supplements that you give them are being taken from natural origins. Naturally sourced Glucosamine supplements carry a lower risk of being filled with unwanted chemicals and additives, plus they also contain a higher concentration of beneficial active agents.