Best Joint Supplement for Early Joint Discomfort in Dogs


Which joint supplement would be best for a middle-aged dog that weighs around 50 pounds? He’s not lame or anything, but I’m worried that his joints are starting to get uncomfortable because I notice he’s getting slower to get up from a nap, jump in the car, climb stairs, things like that. – BB, Rhode Island

Dear BB,
I agree that now would be an excellent time to start your dog on a joint supplement! I also agree that he is beginning to show some of the early signs of joint discomfort. In addition to what you’ve noticed (slower getting up, jumping up, climbing stairs), here are some other indications that dogs might be experiencing joint soreness or stiffness:

  • Altered gait
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Unwilling to go or stay outside
  • Urinating in the house or not lifting a leg to urinate
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Joint heat or swelling

First, have your veterinarian examine your dog to make sure what you’re seeing is due to joint discomfort and not some other disease or condition. He or she can also explain all the treatment options available, and how a combination of managing weight, controlling exercise, and including both prescription medications and oral joint supplements may help address soreness and stiffness.

When it comes time to select an oral joint supplement, look for products with these ingredients:

Glucosamine – stimulates production of Chondroitin Sulfate, inhibits free radicals and enzymes that break down cartilage

Chondroitin Sulfate – stimulates production of Hyaluronic Acid and proteoglycans, also inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage

Hyaluronic Acid – integral component of joint fluid and articular cartilage, provides lubrication and shock absorption

MSM – source of sulfur for building and repairing cartilage, protects joints and other tissues from the damaging effects of exercise and stress

Devil’s Claw, Yucca, Boswellia – herbs commonly used to help alleviate discomfort

Other ingredients that may be included in joint supplements include Omega 3 Fatty Acids, cetylated fatty acids (such as cetyl myristoleate), collagen and antioxidants.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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3 comments on “Best Joint Supplement for Early Joint Discomfort in Dogs
  1. Ben says:

    Thanks for the tips, was researching and now you gave me some leads in the matter.

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      You’re most welcome Ben! Please let us know if we can be of any assistance helping you choose a joint supplement for your dog.

  2. Joseph Watson says:

    Awareness about the symptoms is really great and useful. This will make every dog owner realize about pain and suffering due to any joint disease at early stages. Using a good proper joint supplement in early stages will cure disease more rapidly. We should consult a Veterinarian before purchasing any joint supplement for our dog.

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