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Glucosamine and Dogs: What Owners Should Know

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Dogs are our loyal companions, and as pet owners, we want to ensure they stay healthy and comfortable for as long as possible. One way to do this is by exploring supplement options such as a glucosamine supplement that may be helpful in improving joint health, pain relief, and more.

There is no way that we can say for certain that glucosamine can treat a dog's injuries or diseases, but we can certainly examine its role within the body. While there are many supplements out there that can help promote our pet's health in numerous ways, glucosamine has been specifically attached to improved joint and cartilage health. 

In this article, we’ll explore those claims and take a look at glucosamine's role in your dog's health.

What is Glucosamine and How Does It Work?

Due to its powerful active ingredients and few side effects, glucosamine, also known as "glucosamine sulfate" or "glucosamine hydrochloride" has become a popular choice among joint supplements. But first, let's jump into what glucosamine is…

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the body's cartilage, made of a combination of sugar and amino acids (an amino sugar). When dog glucosamine levels are low, pet parents can witness a decrease in their dog's joint health and healthy cartilage.

When taken a joint supplement, glucosamine is believed to help support healthy joint function, reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and other joint issues. Glucosamine is also often combined with chondroitin sulfate, which is another natural substance that helps manage joint pain.

Do Senior Dogs Have Less Naturally Occurring Glucosamine?

Arthritis affects 20% of adult dogs and 80% of geriatric dogs. With that being said senior dogs and those with joint issues, may benefit from taking glucosamine as a dietary supplement because of its ability to help reduce inflammation and improve joint health

As dogs age, the body's production of glucosamine decreases. Poor joint and cartilage repair can cause joint damage, pain, and inflammation from daily activities.

But it's not just senior dogs–dogs that are more active or have other joint issues. In one study, 74% of adult dogs were found to have cartilage lesions.


Exploring Glucosamine

Glucosamine For Dogs And Joints

Glucosamine has been shown to help reduce joint inflammation and discomfort, which can keep your pup more active and comfortable. 

This is because glucosamine helps with the production of proteoglycans, which are molecules that bind to collagen and elastin fibers in the dog's joints. These proteins provide flexibility and cushioning for our pup's bones and joints.

What Role Do Proteoglycans Play In the Body?

Proteoglycans are important for joint health because they help to lubricate and cushion joints, helping keep them healthy. In addition, these proteins also have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce pain and swelling of the joints.

Glucosamine For Dogs And Skin

The stimulation of hyaluronic acid synthesis by glucosamine speeds wound healing and improves overall skin hydration. Hyaluronic acid helps to keep skin hydrated and reduce inflammation, both of which are essential for a healthy, vibrant coat.

This results in reduced dryness, flaking and oiliness of your dog's coat while promoting a healthier appearance overall. With that all being said, Glucosamine can also play a role in the maintenance of healthy skin and coat in your pup.

Glucosamine And Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection. But when inflammation is chronic, it can lead to many other health issues such as joint pain and arthritis.

Glucosamine can help reduce inflammation in your pup due to its anti-inflammatory effects. This can potentially ease the discomfort associated with chronic conditions like arthritis and joint pain.

Why Is It Important to Reduce Inflammation In My Dog?

Inflammation can lead to a whole host of other health issues, such as joint pain, arthritis, and more. By reducing inflammation in your pup, you can help to improve their overall health and comfort.

What Does Anti-inflammation Help With?

 Anti-inflammation can help reduce the pain associated with arthritis and other chronic conditions, as well as improve:

  • Urinary Health: Anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce irritation and inflammation in the bladder walls, which can make urinating easier for your pup. In fact, studies have shown a positive correlation between glucosamine intake in animals, with the reduction of UTIs.
  • Heart Health: Anti-inflammatory properties can also benefit your pup's heart health by helping reduce inflammation in the arteries. This can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, reducing the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Digestive Health: Reducing inflammation in the intestines can help lead to better digestion and gut health. When inflammation is reduced, the intestines can absorb nutrients from food more efficiently. This ensures that your pup gets all the nutrition and energy they need for a long and healthy life.

Glucosamine For Dogs And Tendons

Glucosamine helps promote the production of collagen in connective tissue, which is an important part of muscle and tendon health. This means glucosamine may be able to help to strengthen the connective tissues that hold muscle fibers together, allowing your pup to be more active and less likely to suffer from sore or stiff muscles after exercise.

Glucosamine For Dogs And Mobility

It's thought that glucosamine helps to stimulate the production of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).

When taking a closer look, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are a group of complex sugar molecules that play a crucial role in maintaining joint health. These molecules possess exceptional lubricating properties, ensuring smooth and frictionless movement for your furry companion.

By providing your pup with an external source of glucosamine, their body may be better able to produce enough GAGs to keep the joints lubricated and more mobile.

Overall glucosamine helps to keep the joints lubricated, thus reducing stiffness and making movement easier.


Glucosamine For Dogs And the Immune System

Glucosamine helps regulate immune system activity, particularly with its immunosuppressive effects

This means that your immune system cannot attack healthy cells and tissues by mistake. In a healthy immune system, white blood cells are produced in a healthy amount, allowing your dog’s body to fight infection.

Why Are White Blood Cells Important?

As mentioned, white blood cells are a key component of the immune system and play a significant role in helping the body fight off infections. They help detect, respond to, and destroy foreign microorganisms that can cause illness.

In addition to this primary function, white blood cells also help clean up cellular debris and damaged or dead tissue caused by injury or disease.

For this reason, your dog needs to have healthy levels of white blood cells for their immune system to remain strong and function optimally. By increasing the production of white blood cells, a glucosamine supplement can help to strengthen your pup's immune system, making them less likely to suffer from illnesses or infections.

Glucosamine For Dogs And Osteoarthritis

Canine osteoarthritis affects approximately 25% of the dog population, and it can be caused by several different factors such as age or acute trauma. Because of the link between osteoarthritis and glucosamine - supplementing your pup’s diet with glucosamine supplements may help reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis by strengthening the cartilage and joint tissue.

Glucosamine For Dogs And Pain

It goes without saying that no pet parents want to imagine their pup in pain, and that’s why many have started looking into the effects of glucosamine and pain management within dogs.

Glucosamine has been shown to help reduce pain associated with canine arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other joint-related issues. It does this by helping to restore the protective joint fluid, known as synovial fluid, which reduces inflammation and pain in the joints when your dog moves.

Glucosamine For Dogs And Injury

About 23.3% of dogs were injured in 2021, with common injury sites being paws/digits, back, shoulder, and iliopsoas muscle/groin.

Studies have shown that when glucosamine is used regularly it can help to further joint repair and protect against future injuries by strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints. 

So, if your pup already has an existing injury or is simply getting older and becoming more prone to injuries due to age-related wear and tear, then glucosamine could be a great preventative measure for them.

This means your pup can happily get back to running around, going on long walks, playing with their favorite toys, or going swimming without any disruption. And you don’t have to worry about them hurting themselves while they are having fun!


Glucosamine For Dogs Overall...

Glucosamine has the potential to help your pup live a healthier, happier life through its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to bind to collagen and elastin fibers in joints.

It’s also important to note that as dogs age, their bodies don’t produce as much glucosamine naturally. So it’s essential to supplement senior dogs’ diet to help contribute to optimal health.  

Supplements are an important part of your dog's health. According to vet-reviewed and approved SprucePETS, the average dog owner spends $100 to $500 per year on supplements such as glucosamine for their pup, depending on the size of the dog and their specific needs.

Whether it’s glucosamine or omega-3’s- Pet Honesty has a range of supplements that can be used to enrich your pup's diet!