arthritis in dogs

Helping the arthritic dog – The power of Glucosamine

1. Bioavailability
2. Glucosamine combinations
3. Safe dosages
4. Shark Cartilage

1. Glucosamine is one of the major building blocks utilized in the body’s synthesis of the lubricants and shock absorbing mechanisms necessary to maintain and restore healthy joint performance. Glucosamine supplementation enhances the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and proteoglycans, which are essential for rebuilding joints and supporting synovial fluid which lubricates your joints.
Glucosamine supplementation is especially important in vaccinated dogs as they develop antibodies to their own collagen. Collagen is a protein found in fibrous tissues such as tendon, ligament and skin, and is also abundant in the cornea, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, the gut, and intervertebral discs.

If you are feeding anything but raw, then your dog may be deficient in glucosamine. Kibble and other prepared foods may have bone and cartilage added in – or glucosamine added – but just because it goes into the food does not mean that it is bioavailable to your dog. Cooking and extruding can do much to destroy the health benefits.

2. When considering glucosamine supplementation, it is important to consider bioavailability: just how much of the supplement is useable by the dog?

There are many naturally occurring and reliable sources of glucosamine in the connective tissue and bone marrow of animals – and in shellfish exoskeletons.

The best glucosamine arthritis treatment for dogs is usually glucosamine combined with another herb or natural ingredient that targets specific arthritis symptoms.

The best chondroitin sulphate is made with shark cartilage. It aids in slowing and/or stopping the bone degeneration commonly seen in arthritis. It helps the body rebuild cartilage destroyed by arthritis.

Concerned dog owners should only consider glucosamine that is combined with natural or holistic ingredients to enhance the pain relief, reduce inflammation of joints and help rebuild cartilage. (New HERBAL Runaround contains green lipped mussel extract, apium seed, wild celery, turmeric, valerian root – NO Shark Cartilage)

Dog owners who want to supplement with glucosamine will need to find a quality supplement but there is some confusion between which is better: glucosamine HCL or Sulphate?
“Pure glucosamine is very “hygroscopic” and degrades (breaks down) rapidly when exposed to moisture or air. To avoid this, glucosamine needs to be bound to a stabilizer to be sold commercially. The sulphate and the HCL forms are two of the most common “agents” that glucosamine is bound to, to ensure its stability.

After glucosamine is bound, it is stable and will not degrade before it can get to the store shelf. This is why you never find “just” glucosamine and instead find Glucosamine Sulphate or Glucosamine HCL. However some manufacturers play a trick on you. They replace up to 30% of a “1500 mg” mixture and replace it with plain table salt. This means you are only taking 1050 mg of “actual” glucosamine! What’s worse is that this is entirely legal because they put the ingredients on the label and the product DOES contain 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulphate (NaCl or 2KCL). It’s just that the NaCl and 2KCL that is added on is just filler.

Manufacturers take glucosamine sulphate and add potassium (KCl) or ordinary table salt (NaCl). They then co-crystallize the resulting mixture and wind up with the same weight of “total” glucosamine, as usual, you get what you pay for as these are commonly found in “no frills” glucosamine brands, in a low priced pill form with no other synergistic ingredients. In our opinion, they are simply a waste of money.
Some Glucosamine Sulphate preparations even claim to be salt free when in fact they are actually just sodium free. They still contain up to 30% potassium chloride (KCl). Finally, an mg-to-mg comparison shows that the hydrochloride may provide more Glucosamine than the Sulphate salt, and this may be the reason why some people prefer to choose Glucosamine HCL. The jury is still out however as to which benefits you more and an easy fix is to just take both HCL and Sulphate forms.
Vitamins A, C and E are all antioxidants and they work both as anti-inflammatory agents as well as offering pain relief for the arthritic dog, and are most useful in complimenting glucosamine.

3. Glucosamine is generally considered safe, there should be little concern of overdose if you’re trying to get close to the dose for your dog’s weight by splitting pills. For acute injuries, glucosamine can be given at a triple dose for one week. For dogs who have been diagnosed with arthritis, many vets advocate a double dose for life.
Dogs generally need to be on glucosamine for the rest of their lives, because cartilage degeneration can recur within months of stopping the supplement.

4. A note on Shark cartilage
We share the concerns of many that exploitation of sharks to harvest cartilage is not sustainable and have completed trials to remove it from our bestselling mobility supplement, RUNAROUND. This is very challenging as all user experience has consistently given RUNAROUND an 85% success rate at helping to maintain mobility. We have small amounts available of the original formulation, which contains shark cartilage, green lipped mussel extract and vitamins C and E. The first batches of new HERBAL Runaround are now available on our website.