Glucosamine Supplements: Protecting Your Pet's Mobility
Ah yes, the aches and pains of aging. It happens to the best of us. It also happens to our pets.
Fortunately, there are things you can do as a loving pet parent to help protect your pets’ mobility, and keep them healthy and active well into their golden years.
Today we’re going to talk about your pets’ joints and cartilage. Keep reading to learn:
- How do joints and cartilage work?
- What causes joint degeneration in pets?
- What is glucosamine?
- Are glucosamine supplements important?
- Practices for your pets’ life maintenance plan
How do Joints and Cartilage Work?
Cartilage is a spongy soft tissue that forms a protective cushion between bones where they meet at the joint – shoulders, hips, knees, elbows, wrists, and so on.
Much like the shocks on your car, cartilage between the bones absorbs impact during movement.
Cartilage does not have a blood supply. It relies on the motion of the joint to pump nutritive liquid needed to nourish the tissue.
With age, cartilage can become drier, thinner, and less protective. This can cause discomfort, stiffness, and even severe pain.
What Causes Joint Degeneration in Pets?
Joint degeneration begins when cartilage breaks down. As your pet ages, his natural ability to replenish and repair cartilage slows.
Eventually, cartilage wears down so much that there is no longer enough cushion to protect the joint. When this happens, bone rubs on bone as the joint moves. That causes inflammation of the bone and surrounding nerves, which causes pain and lack of mobility.
When cartilage is damaged and the joint area becomes inflamed, enzymes are released into the joint. These enzymes further break down the cartilage and thin out the joint’s lubricating fluid.
The absence of healthy cartilage and the thinning of protective fluids make joints more susceptible to injury. More injuries add to the cycle of joint deterioration.
And so the vicious cycle begins.
Cartilage is a very dynamic substance, continually renewing itself. But, as your dog ages, replenishment slows and long-term damage can occur. Damage that’s irreversible.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure proper nourishment of the cartilage tissue at all stages of an active dog’s life. Don’t wait for visible signs of joint degeneration. Prevention is the best way to maintain your pet’s mobility and comfort.
What is Glucosamine?
One of the most important building blocks of healthy cartilage is an element called glucosamine.
A naturally occurring compound in many mammals’ bodies, glucosamine is composed of sugar (glucose) and an amino acid (glutamine). It’s used to repair and rebuild cartilage.
Glucosamine molecules have low compression rates, which makes them excellent shock absorbents. These molecules also attract and hold water, which makes them great lubricants.
There are three primary forms of glucosamine:
- Glucosamine sulfate: the most researched, most commonly used form of glucosamine in supplements. Often extracted from shellfish shells, glucosamine sulfate contains sulfur – the component that helps build and repair damaged cartilage.
- Glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL): also found in the shells of shellfish, glucosamine HCL yields higher levels of glucosamine, but does not contain sulfate.
- N-Acetyl-Glucosamine (NAG): often sourced from the outer shell of crustaceans, NAG is a derivative of glucose. While it has been used to aid in joint repair, it is more commonly used to treat gastrointestinal issues (gut health).
Are Glucosamine Supplements Important?
Because glucosamine exists naturally in healthy joint cartilage of animals, your dog’s ancestors were able to get their daily dose by consuming other animals who also had healthy levels of glucosamine.
But, unless your dog is out hunting down his dinner every night, chances are his commercial diet isn’t delivering high enough levels of glucosamine to keep his joints and cartilage healthy.
So, yes, glucosamine supplements are important.
GAGs are supplements – reproductions of chemicals naturally found in the body. They’re the most popular form of joint treatment for both dogs and people.
When given as a supplement, glucosamine supports cell formation and the thickening of joint fluids.
GAGs are best known and most commonly used for the prevention of lameness due to osteoarthritis (aka: degenerative joint disease) – a disorder of the joints characterized by progressive deterioration of the articular cartilage.
Your Role as a Pet Parent
So, we’ve already established that your pets aren’t sneaking out at night to hunt their prey.
We did establish that, right?
It stands to reason, then, that he’s probably not getting enough joint nourishment from his food alone. That means he needs a glucosamine supplement.
The thing about joint damage is that once it gets to a certain point, it can be fixed.
Think about when you have a cavity … you can’t brush it away. The damage is done. The same is true about joint disease -– once it’s damaged, it’s damaged.
Prevention is critical.
Supplementing glucosamine aids in the replenishment of cartilage and fluid, which minimizes irritation, inflammation, and (most importantly) pain.
To fight the onset of joint degradation, continue to supplement even when you see positive changes. Here’s how to put your pets on a life maintenance program:
- Give a daily glucosamine source beginning at 1-2 years old
- Provide regular chiropractic adjustments to maintain structural integrity
- Exercise your pet regularly to maintain range of motion
- Feed a healthy diet filled with high-quality nutrients (we recommend raw diets)
- Practice regular and holistic supplementing to keep them healthy from the inside out
At PureForm Pet Health, we manufacture pure supplements to help your pets live a longer, healthier life.
Our supplements contain only active required ingredients, such as glucosamine hydrochloride, MSM, amino-acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
With no added sugars, flavours, fillers, known allergens or preservatives, we only include the essentials.
We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so you can trust our supplements are the best bet for your pet.