Seeing your dog suffer is the worst experience one can endure as a pet owner. Dogs with joint pain will go through intense suffering and it will most certainly be difficult to watch. Joint pain is no doubt a complicated issue but it is, fortunately, a solvable one.
If you start your dog on treatment for her joint disease as soon as possible, you may be able to reduce the amount of pain she has to go through. If you are lucky, your dog may even be able to live a relatively pain-free life.
There are several treatments that can aid a dog’s joint pain for example pain killers, supplements, exercise, therapy, diet, and so on. Today we shall focus on herbal supplements that can help your dog’s joints and why they may be a suitable option for your dog.
What Causes Joint Problems in Dogs?
The causes for joint issues are both genetic and environmental.
Some dogs are born with a predisposition to joint deterioration. Dogs of certain breeds are more likely to develop arthritis and joint pain than others. Breed size is usually the determining factor in dog joint illnesses.
Large breed dogs are more likely to develop conditions like hip dysplasia while small breeds are more prone to a luxating patella.
Not much can be done about genetics except for choosing a responsible breeder that only breeds dogs with healthy joints. Dogs bred from parents with joint issues are much more likely to get joint disease regardless of breed.
Environmental causes have to do with how a dog is raised or treated. Environmental factors that influence joint health in dogs include:
- A dog’s weight. A dog’s body weight can increase her chances of getting hip and joint problems if it is in excess. Ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight to protect her joints from damage.
- Quality of dog food. Feed your dog on high-quality pet food. Limit the amount of processed food in your dog’s diet and opt for more natural alternatives.
- Lack of Exercise. Encourage your dog to get adequate exercise regularly to increase the strength of her bones and other skeletal tissues. Do not over-exercise your dog as too much physical activity can also make hip joint issues worse.
Why Use Herbal Supplements for Joint Pain
When you go to the vet, he/she will inform you on how best to treat your dog’s joint issues. It is very likely that your dog’s veterinarian will recommend medication for her. So you must wonder, “why are others so against medication?”
It is not that medication is bad and herbal remedies are better. In fact, in the short term, medication is a much better alternative for your dog. However, there are some reasons why you might want to consider using herbal supplements for your dog:
- Side effects of pain medications like nausea and vomiting
- Some medications may worsen your dog’s joints over time by promoting inflammation
- Some dogs are highly sensitive to medication even that made specifically for canines
Herbal Supplements for Your Dog’s Joint Pain
Green Lipped Mussels
Green-lipped mussels are a type of mollusk native to the waters of New Zealand. The seafood is loved in New Zealand for its great taste and various health benefits.
Green-lipped mussels are very nutritious containing a high content of essential omega 3 fatty acids EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). Omega 3 fatty acids have been extensively studied for their anti-inflammatory effects and ability to fight diseases including joint illnesses.
Green-lipped mussels have been used by many pet owners to provide relief for dogs with joint illnesses. Some of the effects seen after treatment include increased cartilage synthesis, maintenance of synovial fluid, and reduced degradation of cartilage.
Green-lipped mussels are available as packaged supplements but can also be given whole if available. Always check the fatty acid content of the product you give your dog as some may be lost during processing.
Fish oil has long been praised for its ability to prevent chronic diseases in humans. It is actually recommended to take a fish oil supplement even for people whose diet is rich in fish. That’s how important fish oil is for body health.
Fish oil gets its disease-fighting ability from its rich omega-3 fatty acid content. Fish oil contains both EPA and DHA two very strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
You can add fish oil to your dog’s food. It rarely has a taste or flavor so your dog will barely notice it. You can also give it in its pure form.
Natural Eggshell Membrane
You know that thin paper-like film that gives you a headache while peeling your boiled eggs? Well, that nightmare is known as natural eggshell membrane and can be your dog’s savior if she has joint pain.
Natural eggshell membrane is mainly made of collagen which is essential in dogs with joint issues. The membrane also contains trace amounts of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and calcium.
You can give your dog the eggshell membrane from eggs boiled at home but this method has two challenges. First, it is very tiresome to boil an egg only to extract the eggshell membrane. Secondly, you would need very many eggshells to get enough membrane to supply a significant amount of nutrients.
For these reasons, you should opt for the packaged Natural Eggshell Membrane. The supplement should have the trademarked logo of Natural Eggshell Membrane.
This should not stop you from giving leftover eggshell membrane to your dog whenever available. It is however not sustainable as the sole source.
Curcumin, the compound responsible for turmeric‘s vibrant yellow color gives turmeric its disease-fighting and prevention properties. Curcumin is a very strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, one of the strongest on planet earth.
In dogs with joint pain, curcumin can be useful in reducing inflammation levels at the joints. This can help provide some pain relief to your dog. Turmeric or curcumin can be given raw or as a supplement.
When giving your dog raw turmeric, you should give it alongside fatty foods as curcumin is fat-soluble. A dash of black pepper can also improve the absorption of curcumin in the gut. Do not use too much black pepper as it may irritate your dog.
If you are using a supplement, choose one with piperine, the substance in black pepper that improves curcumin absorption.
CBD is one of the main cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant. Even though it is gotten from cannabis, CBD does not cause dogs or people to get high. The high effect of cannabis is caused by THC (Tetrahydrocannabidiol) a different type of cannabinol.
CBD has been studied for its role in health particularly for its anxiolytic effects (ability to fight anxiety) and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD is an anti-inflammatory and can be beneficial to a dog’s joint pain. CBD also has a direct effect on pain through a system known as the Endocannabinoid system (ECS).
For dogs whose illness gives them anxiety, CBD can be of help in improving their mood.
Choose a high-quality CBD supplement for your dog. Follow the dosing instructions on the packaging while giving your dog CBD.
Astaxanthin is a strong antioxidant released by red algae when under stress. Astaxanthin can be found in red algae or in fish that eat red algae. The most common fish sources of astaxanthin are shrimp and salmon.
In fact, astaxanthin gives salmon and shrimp their pinkish hue. Before eating astaxanthin containing algae, the flesh of salmon does not have its signature pinkish color.
Due to its anti-inflammatory action, astaxanthin can help alleviate joint pain in dogs. It also possesses anti-aging properties which can be helpful in dogs whose joint pain is caused by old age.
You can increase your dog’s astaxanthin intake by giving her salmon or using a supplement.
Glucosamine is a compound naturally occurring in cartilage and connective tissue. Glucosamine is essential for the production of cartilage in the body a process that is vital in dog joint pain. Most dogs will have degraded cartilage at the joints or all over the body in later stages of joint disease.
Glucosamine is also important for the synthesis of collagen a major component of connective tissue.
When choosing a glucosamine supplement, choose one that contains glucosamine hydrochloride over other types like glucosamine sulfate.
Chondroitin is a glycan that has very similar benefits to those of glucosamine. Chondroitin is also a major component of cartilage. As joint disease progresses, joint cartilage is worn down calling for increased production of the tissue.
Chondroitin has other benefits including:
- Improving lubrication at the joint
- Attracting water to the joint space due to its water-loving nature
- Increasing the size of the joint space to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other
You can increase your dog’s chondroitin intake by giving foods rich in chondroitin like bone broth. However, this can be challenging as it will be difficult to determine the right doses.
You can instead give your dog a chondroitin supplement made from natural sources like crushed bones. Chondroitin sulfate is the best form of chondroitin for a dog’s joints.
MSM is a sulfur-rich compound that is being investigated for its role in joint health and other chronic diseases. MSM has anti-inflammatory properties that may be helpful in reducing inflammation levels in dog joint pain.
The reduced inflammation may also provide pain relief to dogs with joint problems. Finally, MSM may also boost your dog’s immunity against other diseases and infections.
How to Give Your Herbal Joint Supplements
The best way to give your dog joint supplements depends on the particular supplement being given. For supplements that are easy to access in their natural form like turmeric, giving them as they are is a valid option. However, supplements may still be used for owners who are short of time or those that can not find them in their natural state.
Some supplements like natural eggshell membrane may be easy to get in their natural form but difficult to accumulate. In that case, a supplement is better.
Finally, supplements whose natural form is nearly impossible to access should be bought in their packaged versions. A typical example would be green-lipped mussels.
It is acceptable to give a combination of the natural and packaged versions of a supplement for example fish oil and salmon but always watch out for the risk of overdosing. Luckily, it is very unlikely to overdose on natural supplements.
Our Final Thoughts
Natural joint supplements are beneficial to dogs with joint health issues. Some of the joint supplements you can give your dog include CBD, fish oil, green-lipped mussels, glucosamine, chondroitin, and astaxanthin.
Using herbal remedies for canine joint problems is becoming more popular among dog owners because of the shortcomings of modern medicine. Medications like NSAIDs and other drugs for relieving pain have negative side effects which are rarely seen in natural options.
Choose the best dog joint supplement for your dog to increase her chances of getting better.
Herbal supplements should not be used in place of modern medication recommended by the vet. Always consult a qualified professional in veterinary medicine before starting your dog on any pet supplements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best natural supplement for a dog’s joints?
The best natural supplements for dogs with joint problems are green-lipped mussels, glucosamine, chondroitin, CBD, fish oil, natural eggshell membrane, and astaxanthin.
What supplements provide joint support for dogs?
For joint support, you can give your dog glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and green-lipped mussels.
What is the best natural remedy for arthritis in dogs?
The best natural remedies for arthritis in dogs include a healthy diet, exercise, physiotherapy, massage, natural joint supplements, and weight control.
What supplements reduce inflammation in dogs?
Supplements that help decrease inflammation in dogs include organic turmeric, MSM, CBD, astaxanthin, green-lipped mussels, and fish oil.