What are the Important Factor of Joint Supplements for Pets
Whether they’re chasing after the postman or running away from you, every movement your cat or dog makes involves a joint. Like any other part, cartilage undergoes wear and tear over time, providing less and less support in the joints. It’s around this time when joint pain or arthritis tends to set in. Sadly, there is no cure for arthritis. Symptoms can very well be treated, but arthritis is often progressive and only gets worse with time. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is a common progressive arthritis that affects both dogs and cats of all ages. Known to strike one in four dogs, this condition causes the cushioning between joints to wear out, leading to acute pain, inflammation, and restricted movement. Certain dogs are more at risk of developing this condition because of their breed, size, history of injury, etc. Although less common, some cats develop osteoarthritis as well. But arthritis in cats is usually degenerative, and is triggered by age, injury, infection, weight gain, or even genetics.
Signs and Symptoms of Joint Problems in Cats and Dogs
Cats and dogs have a hard time hiding symptoms of joint pain or arthritis. Any pet owner is bound to notice one of the many signs and symptoms of joint problems:
- Lameness or limping one side
- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump
- Swelling and inflammation
- Licking the affected area
- Changes in behaviour
- Lethargy or decreased level of activity
- Signs of pain, such as whimpering or flinching
- Weight loss
- Muscle loss
If your pet exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, get them thoroughly checked out by your vet. There could be other underlying reasons for something like lameness, from a torn ligament to acute muscle pain to even cancer, which is why it is vitally important to get your pet diagnosed at the earliest.
Joint Supplements for Cats and Dogs
Joint supplements are long-term, safe treatments recommended by vets to help manage existing symptoms and slow down the progression of joint damage and arthritis. In the name of preventive care, most of these nutriceuticals (nutrition + pharmaceuticals) can be incorporated into your pet’s wellness routine as soon as they turn 1. Joint pain is bound to set in with age, so it’s best to strengthen the cartilage ahead of time. To make things appealing for our furry friends, most cat joint supplements and dog joint supplements come in the form of flavoured chewable tablets, powders, and treats.
Once your veterinarian signs-off on the use of joint supplements for your pet, you’ll also want to know what active ingredients to look for in product labels. Here’s a list that would come in handy:
Key Ingredients in Pet Joint Supplements:
Healthy cartilage translates to smooth and painless movement. Glucosamine hydrochloride is an amino sugar that stimulates growth of cartilage cells. It can be administered to pets with arthritis as well as to healthy pets with healthy joints. It’s important that pet owners check with their veterinarian to understand the right dosing and schedule to follow.
This ingredient protects cartilage by stopping cartilage-affecting enzymes. Chondroitin requires a dose similar to glucosamine. When given with glucosamine, chondroitin has a more pronounced effect in bringing down any inflammation. Chondroitin sulphate is absorbed better by a dog’s body when paired with glucosamine hydrochloride and ASUs. However, when it comes to cats, chondroitin appears to have a positive effect only on a select few. Not all cats will benefit from this ingredient.
Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASUs)
ASUs help protect cartilage by bringing down any inflammation and also aid in the healing process after any damage. ASUs are very effective when taken along with hydrochloride and chondroitin sulphate. This powerhouse combo combines all the right nutrients to keep your cat acting like a kitten or your dog acting like a puppy.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids improve heart health, joints, kidneys, boost immunity, promote healthy joint lubrication and can reduce inflammation and pain. Fish oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids for pets. Supplements with fish oil have EPA and DHA, which are very essential to your pet’s diet. Overall, omega-3 fatty acids do wonders for our feline and canine friends of all ages.
Green-Lipped Mussels (GLMs)
Green-lipped mussels are an ingredient found in many joint supplements for dogs. It contains several nutrients that support joint health, including omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins & minerals, and antioxidants. GSMs help your pet’s body to regenerate cartilage and naturally repair itself.
Do be advised that the age and breed of your pet also plays a role in determining the right supplement. It’s also important to note that these nutriceuticals are not regulated by the FDA, therefore safety and efficacy can vary amongst brands. It is recommended that pet owners consult their veterinarians before making any purchase.