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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 F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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Posted in Ask the Vet, Canine Ask the Vet

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4 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.

    • Top says:

      Those wrist braces saved my satiny and my hands when I was pregnant! I had pregnancy induced carpal tunnel and would wake up with my hands stuck in a stiff ball until I started wearing those wrist braces to bed. My swelling and stiffness were completely resolved just by not letting my wrists fall forward while I slept!

  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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