The increasing number of supplements for dogs is a sign of the growing demand for pet health products. Thus, dog owners should arm themselves with essential information relating to the many different products that are currently flooding the market. With the right knowledge, you can save yourself some money by investing in products that truly work and more importantly, an informed decision on choosing the right health products ensures that your beloved furry, four-legged friend's health is safe.
What are supplements?
Supplements, specifically dietary supplements, are preparations designed to supply the body with additional nutrients, minerals, or other substances that contribute to the body's well-being. Dietary supplements can also be called food or nutritional supplements or in some cases, nutraceuticals.
Supplements should be made from natural or organic ingredients and are categorized by most countries as foods. As a result, supplements are usually barred by law to have any therapeutic claims. It is due to this aspect that supplements run in to some controversy. Although they are not allowed to have therapeutic claims, it is not illegal for them to have general claims. Hence, it is unlawful for supplements to claim, "This product is an anti-inflammatory," but they are not breaking any laws if they claim, "This product helps in the maintenance of healthy joints." It is the use of general claims that can often mislead consumers. In addition, the FDA does not test a supplement's efficacy because it is not classed as a drug, rather it only checks for its "identity, purity, and composition" based on what is indicated in the supplement's label or package.
What is most important for dog owners to understand is that some supplements may overstate their benefits. For this reason, we recommend you do some product research and always consult your vet. He or she will gladly recommend tried and tested supplements for your dog.
What dog owners should look for in a supplement for dog arthritis?
There are many supplements in the market that claim they can help provide natural arthritis pain relief for dogs. Be very careful when choosing a supplement for your arthritic dog.
If you are a bit financially constrained, then you need to find a balance between price and quality. You don't want to buy a very expensive supplement when there's a cheaper alternative, but at the same time you definitely want to avoid cheap knockoffs that won't deliver. The secret, therefore, in choosing the right supplement is the ingredients. When looking for a good dog arthritis supplement, check for these ingredients:
- MSM. The acronym stands for methyl-sulfonyl-methane. MSM is a natural sulfur compound found in fruits, nuts, vegetables, seafood, meat, and milk. It has been used for more than thirty years in the treatment of pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and hip dysplasia in animals. MSM is believed to make cells more permeable. Hence, they can absorb more nutrients and expel more toxins. MSM is different from sulfa-based drugs since MSM is not synthetic.
- Glucosamine. This substance is an amino sugar that is a component of cartilage. That is why it is believed to aid in the production of new cartilage. Glucosamine is sold in two forms: glucosamine HCL and glucosamine sulfate. There is a debate as to which of the two is better, but studies have shown that the two are equally effective. The only difference is that glucosamine HCL provides more available glucosamine per gram that glucosamine sulfate. The suggested daily dosage is 1,500 mg of glucosamine. For glucosamine HCL to provide that amount of glucosamine, it would need 1,500 mg while for glucosamine sulfate, it would need 1,995 mg. Furthermore, glucosamine sulfate is manufactured from glucosamine HCL. The additional process makes glucsamine sulfate more expensive than its HCL counterpart.
- Chondroitin. The substance is an important structural component of cartilage as it provides resistance against compression. Moreover, chondroitin is believed to suppress inflammation, inhibit cartilage-destroying agents, and promote the growth of new cartilage and the production of synovial fluid. There are two forms of chondroitin. One has a high molecular weight while the other has a low molecular weight. Between the two, studies have shown that the body is able to better absorb low molecular weight chondroitin.
- Green-lipped mussel. A study performed in New Zealand revealed that arthritic dogs fed with dog food that contained powdered green-lipped mussel extract regained mobility within six weeks. Although scientists have yet fully to understand why green-lipped mussel is able to help in the treatment of dog arthritis, it is believed that the unique combination of fatty acids that are not found in other marine organisms is what it makes effective against this debilitating disease . It was also revealed that green-lipped mussels contain glycosaminoglycan, an essential component of cartilage. Furthermore, green-lipped mussel extract inhibits fatty molecules that are pro-inflammatory.
- ASU. The acronym stands for Avocado and Soybean unsopifiables. ASU is derived from avocadoes and soybeans and is an ingredient which helps protect cartilage from further damage. ASU is believed to complement the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin.
- Others. Vitamins A, C, and E; the mineral selenium; and omega-3 fatty acids are strong anti-oxidants which help protect cartilage in the cellular level.
What are the best products available in the market which contain these ingredients?
There are many supplements that claim to contain the mentioned potent ingredients. However, the following products have been tried and tested by many dog owners and have earned the recommendation of many vets: Dasuquin, Cosequin, Glycoflex, and Flexerna.
by Chris Durin