Why are Glucosamine Chews important for larger dogs?
Dogs and people are so much alike in some ways! For example, both dogs and people can experience joint pain that causes mobility issues. Both dogs and people tend to respond in similar ways to the discomfort of aching joints by limiting exercise and movement, which then can negatively impact overall health.
In some cases, both dogs and people can actually inherit joint issues that require special management and care.
In this post, learn more about a supplement called glucosamine. Glucosamine has some interesting research-backed properties that make it a popular choice for anyone with joint discomfort - pets or their people.
Glucosamine for Dogs: What Is It?
As WebMD explains, glucosamine is actually a substance that the canine body produces naturally.
It is found most abundantly in the cartilage. Cartilage is the tougher, denser tissue that surrounds the joints to protect and cushion them. Glucosamine is an important structural component of the cartilage itself.
Okay, so it is found naturally in your dog's body in the cartilage. But what does it do, exactly?
As VCA Animal Hospital highlights, for dogs, glucosamine is thought to have a mild anti-inflammatory impact. With inflammation reduction there can often be an improvement in overall mobility and improve comfort.
Glucosamine is also an important building block in making or repairing the cartilage. And there is some evidence it can have a protective impact on the urinary tract as well.
Glucosamine for large Dogs: Why Try It?
So now you know that glucosamine is a substance your dog's body makes naturally....or is supposed to make naturally, anyway.
So then why might your dog need more of it? Isn't there already plenty inside?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) points out that dogs can benefit from supplementation under certain conditions, including the following:
- Dogs that have inherited elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia
- Dogs that have other joint-related or structural health concerns
- Dogs that are experiencing arthritis due to aging or other reasons
- Dogs that need to stay in prime physical condition for performance
Joint related issues for larger dog breeds
In this section, we take a look at specific joint-related health issues that larger breed dogs are prone to developing.
It may not always be possible to "cure" these joint problems, since some are known hereditary diseases. But it may be possible to help reduce the likelihood of development.
Sometimes taking glucosamine supplements alone may be helpful. At other times, surgery, physical therapy and other approaches may also be recommended by your canine veterinarian.
It is always smart to talk with your dog's veterinarian first before deciding on the best course of action to ease any discomfort your dog is feeling.
As VCA Hospitals reports, one common health concern that larger dogs often have is called Osteochondrosis dissecans, or OCD. Researchers believe there is a genetic component to OCD.
Osteochondrosis dissecans typically affects medium to large dog breeds that tend to grow quickly. When a larger breed dog suddenly starts growing, what can happen is that the cartilage actually cracks. It pulls away from the bone and can even come loose inside the joint.
All of this together can create fluid buildup, cysts, swelling, lameness and joint discomfort.
OCD can happen for a number of reasons and veterinary researchers are still learning more about how and why it occurs in some larger dog breeds. But when it does happen, the joints can use all the help they can get. Glucosamine can sometimes be an important part of offering that help and support.
Elbow and hip dysplasia.
As Merck Veterinary Manual explains, elbow and hip dysplasia is known to be a genetic issue for larger breed dogs.
With these conditions, the hip and/or elbow sockets do not grow and form the way that they should. Some cases are mild. Severe cases can lead to osteoarthritis and crippling lameness and usually require surgical correction.
For mild cases, sometimes physical therapy and appropriate supplementation to ease inflammation may be recommended by your canine veterinarian.
Canine rheumatoid arthritis also has a genetic component and can be extremely agonizing and debilitating for your dog. This is particularly true for larger breed dogs that must endure increased pressure on the joints.
With canine rheumatoid arthritis, a combination approach is typically recommended to ease your dog's discomfort and mobility issues. Often, glucosamine can be thought of as a helpful addition.
Joint injuries or trauma.
Just as some small dogs don't seem to know they are small, some big dogs don't seem to realize they are big. Plus, no matter what size your pup is, dogs will be dogs after all. They can get into some serious trouble!
When joint injury or trauma occurs in a person, you can explain that they need to stay still and quiet so it will heal. But it is very hard to explain this to your dog!
This is why joint injuries and joint trauma such as osteoarthritis, anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL tear) and degenerative joint issues can be so hard to address with dogs.
Because it isn't always possible to keep your dog still and quiet for as long as it takes to heal the injury, sometimes the area keeps getting aggravated again and again.
This is a scenario where adding glucosamine supplements may give your dog's joints an extra fighting chance to repair themselves.
Helping to reduce potential Joint Problems
As a large dog owner, you know that your dog isn't always going to realize they shouldn't jump or run or try to climb your backyard tree to catch that squirrel. At some point in life, your dog may end up getting themselves in a compromising postion.
So there is no such thing as fully "preventing" joint problems in larger dogs.
But can you do anything to at least lessen the risk for your pup?
As Pet WebMD highlights, glucosamine can be an important addition to any comprehensive diet to help minimize the likelihood of joint issues throughout the dog's life.
Why Are Glucosamine Chews An Important Addition for Larger Dogs?
So this brings us full-circle back around to our original inquiry - why are glucosamine chews potentially important for the health and mobility of your larger dog?
Your dog has a larger frame and more weight to carry around on that frame. Your larger breed dog will also grow exponentially compared to a smaller breed dog, experiencing more strain on joints and tissues during these growth spurts.
Finally, many larger breed dogs have known genetic joint health issues related to their size. Here, while a cure may not be feasible, modern veterinary science has developed many approaches to provide your large breed pup with deep relief and improved quality of life
Glucosamine chews for larger dogs may be something your canine veterinarian recommends for any of the health issues covered in this article as well as others.
As your dog's owner/carer, you will always be the first one to notice signs that your dog is feeling pain, swelling, discomfort or limited mobility. Don't hesitate to talk with your dog's veterinarian about how glucosamine chews may provide relief.