These Are the 11 Best Supplements for Dogs With Joint and Hip Issues
If your dog is reluctant to get up in the morning, hesitates when using stairs, or has begun to limp, then you may be looking at joint issues in your pup. As adult dogs get older, the protective cartilage between their bones begins to wear away. As those bones rub against each other, it's possible for your dog to experience inflammation and pain in their joints.
Jerry Klein, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club, says that dog joint problems fall into two categories: developmental issues caused by the incorrect formation of joints (think elbow and hip dysplasia) or degenerative issues where a dog's ligaments simply wear down as they get older (think osteoarthritis and patella luxation).
Thankfully, there are a few naturally occurring substances that exist in healthy dog joints that can be replenished. That is where joint supplements can be a game-changer for your dog's comfort and mobility, according to Leslie Brooks, DVM, who practices in Lebanon, Ind. The right supplement can rebuild those natural substances to help relieve a dog's worn-down joints.
"Most joint supplements contain ingredients that are healthy for joints, such as omega-3 fish oils, glucosamine, or chondroitin sulfate," Brooks says. "These ingredients help decrease inflammation and swelling in joints while increasing the lubrication and health of the joints."
Of course, your dog may have specific needs based on their other health attributes or breeding background, so always talk to your dog's veterinarian before adding supplements to your dog's routine.
How To Shop for the Best Dog Joint Supplement
When shopping for the best joint supplement for your dog, Klein recommends only choosing products recommended by your veterinarian and approved by the National Animal Supplement Council. The supplement market can be saturated with products that look good but ultimately do not use top-notch ingredients or quality-control checks.
"Be wary of claims that sound too good to be true, such as promises to alleviate diseases like parvovirus, cancer, and hip dysplasia," Klein says. "Look for a brand that specializes in one area or that has commissioned clinical studies of their products. Look for certification from an organization that has independently verified the supplement's contents."
Can My Dog Take Human Vitamins?
Not quite. Even if you recognize an ingredient from your own vitamins—like omega-3 fish oil—that does not mean your dog should take the same supplement as you, Klein says. Some ingredients that are healthy for humans can be dangerous for dogs (like garlic), and human dosages can provide dogs with an unhealthy excess of the vitamin. Your pet will often need their own special formulation, which is why dog-specific joint supplements are important for ailing pups.