We have a lot of “adopted children” in our family. The furry kind that is. Currently we have 3 dogs and 7 cats. All of them rescues, all of them spayed and neutered. Our two Border Collies (brother and sister) will be 14 this year, so they are knocking on a bit. Being Border Collies, or a mix there of, they were very active dogs. They love to “work” and herd things. If we didn’t keep them busy they used to get cranky and even fought with each other, for a while. My husband found that playing ball with them for about 15 – 20 minutes, twice a day, they had their “job” and they stopped fighting. When they would chase after that ball it was like a shell being shot from a cannon! Unfortunately, about 6 years ago, our boy blew out his knee. ‘Couldn’t use his right leg at all. After 2 very expensive surgeries, from a not-so-great vet, his knee never really healed. Of course this put a heavy strain on his left leg, as he tended to favor it more. When his left knee started to go, we knew something had to be done. After changing to a wonderful vet and having yet another surgery, to repair the botched 2 previous ones, we have him back on all four legs again. While he was healing, “ball time” was discontinued. This meant that his sister wasn’t getting any exercise and she started putting on weight, which made for a strain on her joints as well. (We later found that there was a medical anomaly behind the weight gain, but that’s a different story.) Knowing that glucosamine and chondroitin was good for human joints, I asked the vet if I could give it to my dogs. Little did I know just how often it was used for dogs and how many brands there were available!
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage. That spongy tissue that cushions our joints. If a joint does not stay well lubricated or if it becomes damaged from over use or traumatic impact, the cartilage will degrade. As we age the cartilage naturally deteriorates. Often times this causes inflammation and pain in a joint, commonly known as osteoarthritis. By supplementing the diet with glucosamine we can help to feed the cartilage. In turn this can reduce the inflammation, and in some instances, relieve the joint pain. Dogs are no different to humans, in that respect. They run hard and play hard, often times damaging themselves just like we do. Glucosamine feeds their cartilage too.
What is Chondroitin?
Chondroitin is also a natural compound found in cartilage. It’s what gives our cartilage elasticity and helps it to retain fluid. Chondroitin is there to prevent the substances that cause the cartilage to break down, as well as having anti-inflamatory properties. This also helps to relieve some pain. It’s the inflammation that causes the pain. Chondroitin sulfate is made up of animal byproducts and sold as a dietary supplement, so when we start losing our naturally occurring supply, we can get extra from outside sources.
Methylsulfonylmethane – Now that’s a 75 cent word! That’s why it’s easier to say MSM. It is a sulfur containing compound found in animals, that includes us humans, and in many plants. It enhances the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin when combined. It can also help reduce inflammation and prevent cartilage from breaking down around your joints, therefore increasing mobility. Small amounts of MSM can be found in corn, tomatoes, tea, coffee, fruit and milk. According to an article in Healthline, one of the newest areas of research involving MSM is studying its effectiveness in fighting cancer cells. Much more research will need to be done.
So Many Brands to Choose From
I decided to do some research after talking to my sister recently. She told me that she had just started giving her dog Yumove supplements and had seen a marked improvement in her little gal. I told her that my guys have been taking Cosequin DS for years and it helped them a lot. I decided to do some comparison shopping to see if I needed to change. The key ingredients in Lintbell’s Yumove are Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Hyaluronic Acid and the Green-lipped Mussel (for Omega 3 fatty acids). It is also enriched with Vitamins C and E which are beneficial for aging dogs. It is highly recommended by veterinarians and clinically tested for best results. Cosequin DS from Nutrimax also has Glucosamine and Chondroitin but adds MSM and Manganese. It is also highly recommended by vets and was the top pick in 3 separate surveys that I read. Both are similar in price and quantity.
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What I gleaned from reading through the reviews of SO many supplements was, that our furry family members are no different than us. They have wants and needs that must be tailored for a custom fit. My husband prefers to take aspirin for pain relief but I use Tylenol. Some people have allergies to certain ingredients and so do dogs. A particular brand might work well for your pet but not for your neighbor. I believe anything that you want to give your pet as a supplement must be monitored diligently. Make sure that it is, indeed, helping them. If you see that it is causing skin irritation or stomach upset or any other detrimental effect, then that is not the one you want. No matter how highly recommended it was. Although my dogs are chugging along fine with the Cosequin DS, I think I will try one course of the Yumove just to see if it works better for them. If not, I will just go back to the Cosequin. As long as one or the other keeps me from returning to vet for the obligatory pain pills and all their nasty side effects, I will be happy. In the end I just want to make sure that my guys are not in pain and they still get to mosey around outside when they feel like it. They don’t run after the ball anymore but they do walk fast now and again.
Do you have a favorite joint supplement that you use for your four legged family? I would love to hear your questions or comments in the section below. Thank you. – Dolly –
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