The number of nutraceutical products available for your arthritic pet can be confusing. Choosing the correct one for your pet and his particular arthritis problems can be overwhelming.
Because arthritis and most other joint problems are chronic conditions, daily supplementation for the remainder of your pet's life may be necessary.
Which nutraceutical to give is typically based on the stage of the arthritic condition and/or the level of the symptoms. Within each category you will find different types of products. Some, such as SynoviCre, contain Creatine, which can be beneficial for dogs who are losing muscle mass, while others, such as
Gluco-C, are simple blends. In addition, what is effective for one dog may not work as well for another. Remember, always give a nutraceutical adequate time to work - it generally takes at least 6 to 8 weeks before you may see a difference.
Keep in mind that all of the following signs will vary with your particular dog's breed and personality. If in doubt, ask your veterinarian.
Many older dogs or middle-aged dogs with hip dysplasia have what we term severe cases of degenerative arthritis. This means that the arthritis will not get better on its own. Some symptoms you may see include:
- Obvious limping or shortened steps
- Difficulty getting up - sometimes needing help
- Difficulty going up or down stairs
- Difficulty jumping up into the car or onto the couch
- Reduction in the size of the muscle in the affected limb because of less usage
- "Bunny hopping" when running (except for puppies)
- Changes in appetite and/or behavior as arthritis progresses.
Providing accessibility with ramps, comfort in eating with elevated feeders, and orthopedic bedding to keep aching joints up and off the ground are just some measures you can take for your severely arthritic pet. Oral medications recommended by your veterinarian, such as
, and the prescription medications
are some more.
Many veterinarians recommend the use of nutraceuticals that contain a high level of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and Vitamin C along with other nutraceuticals, that are thought to help with arthritis. We recommend these products to our customers and have heard outstanding results:
Moderate arthritis symptoms may show up after a few months or years of mild symptoms. Your dog may or may not remain at this stage. Moderate arthritic symptoms include:
- Reluctance to romp in situations which were previously exciting
- Lagging behind on walks
- Altered gait, since your dog will try to put more of his weight on unaffected limbs
- Occasional difficulty getting up after lying down and stiffness that goes away after your dog is up and about
- Some difficulty jumping up into the car or onto the couch
- Occasional difficulty going up or down stairs.
Some products we recommend for the moderately arthritic pet include:
Supplements can always be enhanced by providing "boosters," that is, treats that may not be effective if used alone, but can enhance the effectiveness of other nutraceuticals that you use. We recommend offering once- or twice-weekly treats such as
You may not even be aware if your pet is feeling only mild arthritis symptoms. Chances are that your pet will not vocalize if he is experiencing the dull pain that is the hallmark of the beginnings of arthritis. This means that you have to be on the lookout for subtle
signals your pet may give you, such as mild stiffness after rising.
If your pet is experiencing symptoms of mild arthritis, or if you know your pet will be experiencing arthritis later in his life; for instance, if he has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia or has had knee
or other joint surgery, we recommend a daily course of one of the
Learn what every owner needs to know as their pet grows older:
visit our Special Senior Pet Care Section!