You may be thinking inflammation is only a problem for dogs with joint disease … but chronic, hidden inflammation is everywhere in the body. It’s the root of most diseases. Cancer, arthritis, allergies, kidney disease, dental disease, gastrointestinal disease … can all be caused by inflammation. Not all inflammation in the body is a bad thing. If your dog is exposed to viruses or bacteria, acute inflammation will release white blood cells to the body tissues and start the healing process. But chronic inflammation – the kind of low-grade inflammation that stays for weeks, months and even years – is the real culprit behind most degenerative and inflammatory health issues in your dog. And they’re finding that chronic low-grade inflammation is a major driver of joint disease.
What should I look for in a joint supplement?
The three major ingredients you should look for are Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM. Some effective natural anti-inflammatory ingredients include turmeric, green lipped mussel and yucca root.
WHAT IS GLUCOSAMINE?
Glucosamine, derived from shellfish, is a natural compound made of an amino acid (glutamine) and a sugar (glucose), and is an essential building block of joint cartilage. Ordinarily, the body produces its own glucosamine, but during periods of extensive or prolonged cartilage repair, results in a decreased production of glucosamine. Pets with lameness can show significant improvement when treated with glucosamine. Other potential indications for glucosamine include the treatment of intervertebral disk disease, recurrent cystitis, and severe inflammatory bowel disease.
What is CHONDROITIN?
Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan (GAG) found in cartilage. It promotes water retention and elasticity in the cartilage, helping to ensure adequate shock absorption and adequate nourishment of the tissues that line the joint. Chondroitin decreases inflammation that can be destructive to joints. Animal cartilage is the only dietary source of chondroitin, although it can be synthesized from its glucosamine precursor. Commercially available forms of chondroitin sulphate include bovine cartilage and shark cartilage. Shark cartilage supplements are not recommended because they possess no distinct advantage over bovine cartilage, and pose a significant threat to the integrity of the world's oceans.
WHAT IS MSM?
MSM, (methylsulfonylmethane,) is a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) product. It is also used in humans to treat pain, inflammation, allergies, arthritis, and the maintenance of normal keratin levels in hair, skin and nails.
WHAT IS TURMERIC?
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin – its active ingredient. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing and anticancer activities. It can help fight diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and gastrointestinal issues. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that slows down aging, degeneration and even increase lifespan. Adding turmeric to your dog's diet is incredibly beneficial and can revolutionize his body from head to paw.
WHAT IS GREEN LIPPED MUSSEL?
Perna canaliculus, or green-lipped mussel, is an edible shellfish found off the shores of New Zealand. Perna mussel contains glucosamine, a GAG precursor and one of the building blocks of cartilage. It contains natural anti-inflammatory agents and many essential building blocks needed to rebuild the necessary components in joints.
WHAT IS YUCCA ROOT?
Yucca is an all-natural steroidal supplement. It reduces pain with minimal digestive side effects and is used for arthritis, joint problems, soft tissue swelling, and digestive problems. Yucca also is said to promote circulation through damaged tissue, reducing waste build-up while also helping in the removal of waste from the liver and kidneys. The increased circulation also provides more tissue-repairing nutrients.
WHAT IS FISH OIL?
Fish oil supplementation may be helpful for pets with inflammatory diseases including allergies, arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and many types of cancer. It also benefits your dog's skin and coat to alleviate itchiness and shedding.
Author: Michelle Dulake, DVM