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Dog Joint Supplements: Do They Really Work?
Glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs
Buddy the wonder dog was a mess. When he entered his tenth year on the planet, life began to get very limiting for this mixed breed rescue pooch who had previously been very active and happy. He was fond of chasing rabbits and squirrels (never catching them though) and just generally enjoying a dog's life until one day he could barely pick himself up to find a fire hydrant.
The vet said it wasn't hip dysplasia, a relatively common issue among older dogs like Buddy - she said it was just arthritis, but she really didn't offer much in the way of remedies other than pain medication/anti-inflammatories. I knew that Buddy wasn't going to have much quality of life if all we could do was medicate him through the pain. It was hard to watch him struggle to get up on his hind legs, and he would try to use his front legs to drag himself around to different positions. Each time he moved, he yelped in pain, and so did I.
I started to notice all those TV ads about joint supplements for pets, and it seemed too good to be true. But at that point, I would have tried doggy acupuncture if I thought it would work. I knew that humans can eventually benefit from long-term use of a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, supplements that promote cartilage health. They are also known as "nutraceuticals" and are not medications but rather are naturally occurring substances in the same class as vitamins. After reading about it, I realized that it was not a sure bet and that time and other measures would be needed to relieve the pain and immobility that arthritis is known to cause. I was right.
I chose a nationally advertised brand-name product, and I was not disappointed with the results. After about 6 months of daily dosing as well as a strict regimen of walks and hip massage, my dog responded better than I could have dreamed was possible. He stopped whining when he had to walk, and his ability to get up from a laying down position became faster and more fluid. Gradually, he was able to jog with me and even run for short stretches. The transformation was amazing!
After a year on this supplement combination product, Buddy was truly the wonder dog once again. He returned to his habit of chasing invading squirrels and armies of rabbits (still can't catch them) with reckless abandon. There is no longer the hint of a whine or a yelp, and he no longer takes pain/anti-inflammatory medication at all.
Based on Buddy's outcome, I have to conclude that this supplement combo, available literally everywhere in multiple different forms including dog chews, really is effective. As with just about any medical intervention, a tincture of time is needed as well as patience and ancillary measures such as exercise, massage and unconditional love, of course!