MSM: Is it Important For My Pet?
You’re human, right? Thought so. Then you’ve probably experienced some aches and pains along the way. You know how it feels when your joints and muscles get sore.
It happens to pets, too.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects one in every five dogs in the United States. This makes it one of the leading causes of chronic pain conditions that veterinarians handle.
The good news is that MSM for dogs and cats can help ease joint pain and connective tissue complications.
Today, we will explore the benefits of MSM when given as a pet nutrition supplement. We will talk about its impact on your pets' health, why it should be given in addition to your pets' food, and how it functions with other supplements to prevent degenerative diseases and increase their longevity.
Continue reading for answers to these questions about MSM:
- What is MSM?
- What are the natural sources of MSM?
- How can MSM improve my pets’ health?
- What’s the right dosage of MSM?
- Should I mix MSM with anything else?
What is MSM?
MSM is short for methylsulfonylmethane. According to WebMD:
“MSM is a chemical in animals, humans, and many plants. People use it most often to try to treat arthritis. MSM can be produced in a lab, where it is sometimes combined with other supplements such as glucosamine or chondroitin.”
MSM encompasses organic sulfur compounds essential to your pet’s health. Though it is often used by humans to treat arthritis and joint related problems, it is also very beneficial in promoting strong joints in pets.
MSM is also a mild detoxification agent, helping to detoxify the organs as it's introduced to the diet. This can sometimes be seen as loose stool, if the pet receives more MSM than the body can handle, but it as simple as minimizing the dose for a few days and slowly working up again so the dog has time to adjust.
What are the natural sources of MSM?
MSM and its precursors return to the earth in rainwater. And because fruits and vegetables absorb rainwater, about 1 - 4mg/kg of MSM is found in most plants. Animals consume MSM when they eat those plants.
For example, raw cow’s milk (from pastured animals) contains a considerable amount of MSM--about 2 - 5 mg/kg. However, due to the volatile nature of MSM, it is rapidly lost when heated. Just like many other foods, many important nutrients are destroyed when cooked or pasteurized.
Pasteurized milk, therefore, contains less than 0.25 mg/kg of MSM, roughly the same amount found in milk from cows that are fed from dried, artificial food. Milk from goats and other animals also contain less MSM.
Cooking and heating destroy most MSM in plants and meats, but it’s also lost when fruits and veggies are frozen for a long time, or when they are irradiated.
No wonder pets (and pet parents) suffer from a chronic shortage of MSM. The modern pet food industry makes it near impossible to feed pets without heating, irradiating or freezing their food.
If you prefer to rely on food rich in MSM, make sure your pet’s diet is raw and organic to keep as much of the nutrient preserved and intact. It’s the best way for your pet to consume adequate amounts of MSM naturally.
MSM is an organic sulfur, so adding sulfur-rich foods to Fido’s diet is also a good idea. Sulfur is known to play an important role in the production of glutathione--another important antioxidant.
MSM can also be produced in a lab, where it’s sometimes combined with other nutrients, such as organic chondroitin.
How can MSM improve my pet’s health?
We cannot overemphasize the importance of MSM to promote optimal pet wellness. Along with other beneficial supplements, such as glucosamine, adding an MSM supplement to pet food helps in several ways:
- It reduces chronic pain in dogs. MSM serves as a natural analgesic that blocks the diffusion of pain impulses through the nerve fibers.
- MSM serves as a synergist, increasing the power of other vitamins and nutrients, such as magnesium, calcium, and glucosamine. MSM improves the cellular uptake of these nutrients for improved longevity.
- MSM helps the body form keratin--a protein that constitutes the major components in the outermost layers or hair and fur. It also decreases pressure inside cells, allowing nutrients and water to flow and nourish the body from the inside out. This improves skin’s elasticity, building a stronger coat that is more resistant to shedding.
- MSM can also help to detoxify the organs.
What’s the right dosage of MSM?
MSM products usually come in the form of powder, although you may come across capsules and tablets.
The rule of thumb is to give your pet a dose of 50 - 100 mg for every 10 lbs of body weight. Just mix it right in with his food. If your pet consumes more MSM than his body can handle, he may get diarrhea. Simply lower the dose for a few days and gradually increase the dose so your dog has time to adjust.
Your vet may prescribe a higher dose if he or she discovers that your pet has an extreme MSM deficiency. However, irregular dosage only lasts for about one to two weeks. After this compensatory period, you can revert to giving your dog the regular dose.
NOTE: the daily dosage also depends on your pet’s overall health. For example, gastrointestinal tolerance may affect the amount of methylsulfonylmethane that your dog can take.
Plus, giving your pet MSM for a single day will likely not produce any noticeable results. To see improvement in your pet’s health, supplement for at least a week. Better still, supplement for one month.
Should I mix MSM with anything else?
MSM yields the best results when given together with vitamins B, C, and sometimes E.
Other supplements will depend on your vet’s recommendations. He or she may advise you to give your dog plenty of water to help flush toxins while supplementing.
Another complementary supplement with anti-inflammatory properties is omega 3. It also helps promote healthy growth of skin, fur, and muscles. These additional supplements may or may not be necessary. Check with your vet to be sure.
Always talk to your veterinarian if your pet develops any type of unusual symptoms or behaviour while taking an MSM supplement.
Have a pet health question? Ask us in the comments below! We’re here to help.