Glucosamine for dogs may seem like an odd idea but more and more vets are beginning to recommend it as a viable treatment for joint issues such as osteoarthritis. Just as in humans, this natural substance has been shown to help improve the condition of the joints, relieve pain and restore normal movement. If your dog is suffering from joint inflammation and pain, it may be worth your while to consider this increasingly popular form of treatment.
So what exactly is glucosamine and why would you consider using it for dogs? Glucosamine is a natural substance extracted from the shells of crab, oysters or shrimp. It has also been synthesized in laboratories from plant sources. It works by boosting the repair of damaged cartilage, the spongy substance that forms a cushion between the bones of joints. It is often combined with another substance, chondroitin, taken from the cartilage of sharks or cows, which can help cartilage to retain moisture.
The reason this treatment is so important is because of the nature of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders. The joints are the points where two bones meet. As mentioned above, there is a layer of cartilage between the bones that acts as a shock absorber. Once that cartilage begins to wear away the bones start to rub against each other, often causing chronic pain and loss of mobility. This can be especially debilitating for active breeds like the Australian Shepherd, which is why glucosamine for dogs has started to garner so much interest.
Because dogs are almost constantly active, their joints can endure a lot of wear and tear over the years. This is particularly true among working breeds and dogs that regularly participate in agility competitions, where the same motions are repeated over and over. It is almost impossible for these dogs to avoid joint damage entirely and the more advanced the damage becomes, the worse the pain.
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Glucosamine might help your Aussie be more active and in less pain as they get older.
Older dogs are even more susceptible to joint damage as the bones and cartilage naturally degenerate over time. Larger breeds in particular can have issues with the hip joints, which become strained from regularly carrying the bulk of the dog's weight. All of these potential causes of joint pain can lead responsible dog owners to consider glucosamine for dogs.
Though there has been little formal research on the use of glucosamine in veterinary medicine, there have been a few studies conducted on the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs. These studies have shown that glucosamine can provide a moderate level of relief from joint pain, with fewer side effects than standard prescription drugs.
Glucosamine for dogs is generally given orally, in pill, powdered, or liquid form and usually administered daily. It is important to note that the formulations of glucosamine intended for humans are not the same as those for dogs, so you should never give your dog the human form of the medicine. If you do want to try glucosamine for your dog, consult your vet first and he can advise you on the exact formulation and dosage. There are also some specially formulated dog foods, designed for older dogs and performance dogs such as Aussies, which contain glucosamine.
Nobody likes to see his or her furry best friend in pain and if your dog is suffering from joint discomfort it may be worth your while to consider using glucosamine. Talk to your vet today and find out if this is a viable solution for relieving your dog's pain and getting him back to his old self again.