You know joint supplements can help your dog, but at what age do they need to start taking them? Here’s the short answer: probably now.
Yes, this means that even if your dog isn’t old, isn’t limping around the house, or struggling to hop up on the couch, they probably still need a joint supplement.
The reason? Prevention is key and supplements provide the most benefits before symptoms appear.
Taking care of your dog’s joints now means that they can run, play, hop in the car for an adventure, and enjoy their beloved daily walks as long as possible. Quality joint supplements that contain ingredients like glucosamine, MSM, or chondroitin are an essential component of canine joint care, providing nutrients to bring natural pain relief as well as improved flexibility, reduced inflammation, and strengthened cartilage and joints.
So let’s get into the details of when you really need to start giving your dog a joint supplement.
The age your dog should start a joint supplement routine depends a lot on their breed. Take a look at the list below – these breeds are known to experience more joint issues in general, including early and severe symptoms of arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, and overall joint inflammation.
If your dog’s breed is on the list, consider providing a joint supplement as soon as they turn 1 year old. This may seem early, but 12 months is when their bodies stop growing and it becomes beneficial to take preventative measures.
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Basset Hounds
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Catahoula Hounds
- Chow Chows
- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
- French Bulldogs
- German Shepherds
- Great Danes
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Neapolitan Mastiffs
- Norwegian Elkhounds
- Old English Sheepdogs
- Pit Bulls
- Saint Bernards
- Shih Tzus
Prevention Is Essential
So what if your dog’s not on the list?
Being proactive about joint health is still important, and it’s essential to start supplementing your dog before they reach their senior years.
Here’s why: As your dog grows older, their body’s ability to produce the essential proteins that build and strengthen joints decreases significantly. This leaves them at risk for a host of joint issues including arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, and more.
But if your dog is consistently producing enough of these proteins (with the help of a quality joint supplement), their chance of experiencing harmful joint issues drops dramatically.
This means they have the best possible chance of staying happy and healthy to a ripe old age.
Dogs Don’t Always Show Their Pain
Here’s the thing: dogs don’t cry.
In fact, they’ve evolved to hide their pain.
In their pack mentality, pain is a sign of weakness – it means you could be left behind by the group, not be able to pull your weight or become a liability to the pack as a whole. This means that even if your dog is experiencing joint discomfort, they may not exactly be forthcoming about showing it.
Factor in that it’s been estimated over 90% of senior dogs have arthritis in at least one joint, and you can see why the best medicine in this scenario is prevention. Make sure you’re giving your pup a quality joint supplement before they enter their golden years.
Obesity Is Unacceptable
This may sound harsh, but it’s true.
The number one root cause of joint issues is canine obesity.
When dogs are overweight, it dramatically decreases their quality of life – and no one wants that for their beloved companion. When your dog’s joints are forced to carry extra weight, it causes pain, which creates a vicious cycle: pain leads to inactivity, which results in even more weight gain.
Getting your dog to a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise is, in fact, more important and will provide more relief than any joint supplement. While supplements are important, they are not miracle workers – if your dog is overweight, no pill will be able to provide relief.
Quality Is Key
Now that you know when your dog needs a supplement, how do you know which one to choose? Since there are literally thousands of canine joint supplements on the market, we’ll help you narrow it down.
How to Choose a Quality Joint Supplement for Your Dog
Compare Active Ingredients – Pay close attention to the amount of the active ingredients (such as glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin) on the labels when comparing brands. Beware the cheaper options – they often contain significantly fewer quantities of the active ingredients.
Choose Made-in-the-USA – Only buy from manufacturers that make their product in the USA, which helps guarantee quality.
Manufacturing Method Matters – Heat destroys nutrients, and many tablet forms of glucosamine are made with high heat manufacturing methods. Cold-pressed methods can be more expensive (leading to a higher-priced product), but it means the nutrients are more potent and more bioavailable to your dog. In our opinion, better to spend more money on a quality supplement that actually works than some money on one that does nothing.
Pick a Well-Rounded Supplement – Supplements that include a mixture of beneficial ingredients (such as glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin) rather than just one are going to be more effective. Our GlycanAid joint supplement includes all three, plus other essential active ingredients to help your dog absorb these beneficial nutrients as efficiently as possible.