Canine joint health has always been an extremely important topic for me as I have owned only large breed dogs my entire life. Not to say that joint health is not as important to small and medium sized dogs or even cats, but I find it is the larger breeds that seem to age the quickest and are affected more severely by arthritis and other joint diseases.
What is Glucosamine & Chondroitin?
They both contain glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate which are components of natural joint cartilage and other types of structural tissue. Both are traditionally used to reduce pain and improve joint function in individuals with arthritis.
However, my use for it regarding Monty, my German Shepherd, is not for pain nor arthritis, as he is only 3 years old, very active and has absolutely no pain or signs that he is slowing down. So, why supplement him?
Consider it as an insurance policy and maintenance. Breeds such as German Shepherds who are prone to joint diseases can greatly benefit from G&Ch supplementation when they are younger adults because both ingredients help provide structural support for soft joint tissue. Chondroitin in particular provides resistance against compression forces, while glucosamine provides support for the building and repair of cartilage and synovial fluid, which surrounds the joints and helps cushion them. Let’s also not forget the sulphate portion of these compounds which is very important, since the body requires sulphate to produce cartilage.
Supplementing with G&Ch at a younger age does not give a guarantee that they will by pass arthritis and other joint issues all together, but it can reduce the chances, as most vets agree it is not a bad idea to supplement breeds who are younger adults that are prone to joint diseases down the line. In fact, some DVMs who specialize in athletes promote G&Ch supplementation as young as 3 years and younger for longevity, as supplementation can work on a deeper level for suspensory ligaments. Also note that G&Ch is not a one trick pony and does not work in isolation, it’s uses can go far beyond just joint health, it can be a catalyst for a symphony of things, such as promoting gut health.
Now if you feed kibble and the package claims to provide joint support because it already contains glucosamine, consider this; dogs need about 500 mg of glucosamine per day per 25 lbs of body weight, so a 100 lb dog would require 2000 mg a day, for some kibbles you would need to feed over 40 cups a day to get that amount! Not to mention that it’s most likely from an overly-processed low quality source, but that is a different article all together!
Now, along with supplementing Monty with G&Ch that actually is from a sustainable food source, there are foods I feed that naturally contain these components which are; natural bovine tendons, cartilage, trachea, chicken feet, beef knuckle bones or other bones with good cartilage, green or blue lipped muscles and bone broth. He loves it!
Fun fact: 1 oz piece of bovine trachea has about 1400 mg of glucosamine. A chicken foot has about 400 mg of glucosamine.
Remember to always feed raw and never cooked bones of any kind.
Lucy is an avid pet mom; with dogs, cats, goats and horses to keep her busy! All of her pet 'kids' are fed a species appropriate diet with proper supplementation so she can watch them thrive. Her expertise and experience lie in nutraceutical supplementation and is a health advocate for proper diet and nutrition. Her other passions in life are schutzhund and equestrian riding.