My dogs turned 3 this year which means they are OFFICIALLY adults and out of the puppy stage (Phew, we made it).
I’m very blessed to have two happy, healthy Corgis, and my goal is to keep it that way for many years to come.
Now that they are adults, it’s time for me to start implementing supplements into their diet, specifically hip and joint supplements (since Corgis are so prone to mobility problems later in life).
When I first started researching supplement brands, I was shocked by the amount of dog-based joint supplements on the market.
The more I learned about the prevalence of joint issues in dogs, the more I realized how lucrative the market is for joint supplement manufacturers.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of pet-oriented supplement brands out there.
Unfortunately, they are not all created equal — which is why it’s extremely important to do your research and find the right supplement brand for your dog’s individual needs.
Are Dog Joint Supplement Necessary?
Every breed of dog has natural weaknesses.
For corgis, it is their joints and backs.
Due to their dwarf structure and long backs, they are highly susceptible to skeletal injury and developing chronic mobility problems later in life.
However, corgis are not the only breed with joint problems.
It is estimated that 20% of all dogs suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), making it the most common chronic disorder dogs face.
Osteoarthritis is a complex condition involving inflammation and degeneration of one or more joints.
What Causes Arthritis In Dogs?
Some factors that lead to OA are:
- Body conformation– Your dog’s physical structure is directly related to their risk of developing OA. Dogs with short legs and long backs tend to be at a higher risk when compared to others.
- Body condition/weight- Obesity can cause OA to develop because excess weight causes additional strain on joints, ligaments, and muscles.
How to score your dog’s body condition at home — click here.
- Abnormal joint development– Some dogs are affected by an abnormal joint development that increases their susceptibility to OA. These conditions are observed as canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or luxating patellas.
- Activity history– High-impact activities put additional wear and tear on your dog’s joints. Activities such as agility, fetch, and frequently running up and downstairs are linked with OA.
- Injury history– Injured joints and muscles tend to be prone to re-injury. Because of this, dogs with a history of joint and soft tissue injuries are more likely to develop OA.
In fact, dogs that are diagnosed with OA have a combination of factors that contribute to their condition.
It’s also important to note that “getting old” is NOT a cause of OA.
Needless to say, there is definitely a need for hip and joint supplements for dogs.
What Ingredients Should Be In Supplements for Dog Joints?
There are a lot of products on the market, so it can be very hard to determine what product is right for your dog.
The best place to start is by reading the active ingredient list.
A well-rounded hip and joint supplement should have the following 5 active ingredients:
Collagen makes up 70-90% of a dog’s ligaments, muscles, and tendons. When collagen levels in the body become depleted, injuries like hip dysplasia and torn cruciate ligaments are more likely to occur. Adding collagen to a dog’s diet can help improve and maintain the integrity of their joint health even before it starts to deteriorate.
Glucosamine helps the cartilage found in joints stay in good condition and can also repair damaged cartilage. This is very beneficial for active dogs that wear down their cartilage with sports or high-impact activities.
Chondroitin protects your dog’s joints from enzymes that can break down cartilage. Chondroitin is commonly found in supplements that also contain glucosamine since the two work the best together.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a proven pain reliever and anti-inflammatory for joints. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps regulate the normal inflammatory response in the body.
Curcumin (Turmeric) is a powerful natural herb that supports a healthy inflammatory response and further helps the body repair damaged ligaments, muscles, tendons, and joints.
Additional active ingredients found in quality joint supplements are green-lipped mussels (a great source of glucosamine) and hyaluronic acid.
What Is The Best Supplement For Dog Joints?
Now that you know what key active ingredients your supplement should have, it is time to dig a little deeper.
In general, the active ingredient list should keep you clear of the ‘less-than-stellar’ products out there.
However, you should always strive to provide your dogs with the BEST product possible.
When you are narrowing down your final selections you should consider where the ingredients are sourced.
A reputable supplement company should have an unambiguous ingredient list that explains where their product’s ingredients are produced.
At the very least, you should be able to identify the country of origin and the manufacturer of each ingredient.
Along with a clear ingredient list, inactive ingredients should be kept to a minimum.
Inactive ingredients act as preservatives or allow the supplement to be shaped into chews.
To minimize unnecessary inactive ingredients I prefer supplements in powdered form.
Dogs naturally put a lot of wear and tear on their bodies. Oftentimes, their favorite activities like running or playing fetch can stress their muscles and joints.
This can eventually result in joint pain, osteoarthritis, and even mobility issues.
It is important to set your dog up for success early on by providing them with all of the resources their bodies need to stay healthy and happy.
Supplements are packed full of these vital resources, but it is extremely important that you know what you are feeding your dog.
Do not trust a supplement solely based on its cute packaging or clever marketing.
Take the time to thoroughly research all of the active and inactive ingredients in the product you are considering and make the most informed decision you can.
Your dog will thank you!