Glucosamine for Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives Just like with humans, arthritis is also a relatively common problem encountered with dogs. Arthritis is a condition where the cartilage in joints thin and wear out, causing bones to rub against each other. The joint damage can be so severe that it can be virtually impossible for them to move, and leave them in severe pain. Finding cures for arthritis is one of the considerations for elderly dogs as they advance in age. One of the emerging treatments for arthritis for dogs, as well as for humans and other animals, is the use of glucosamine. This article will show everything you need to know about glucosamine treatment for dogs.
What Is Glucosamine for Dogs?
There are multiple treatments being prescribed to treat arthritis in dogs. One treatment that is emerging in popularity is the use of glucosamine. It is considered as a form of nutraceuticals, a method in medicine wherein natural substances are being used to cure or prevent specific diseases. It is known as a chondroprotective agent, meaning it has protective properties for cartilage, the very element that gets damaged in arthritis.
So how does glucosamine work? Its presence boosts the repair and regeneration of cartilage. Glucosamine stimulates the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, a component of cartilage. With improved synthesis, regeneration of damaged cartilage is stimulated. It is most effective for healing articular cartilage, the cartilage found in the joints. One of the best things about using glucosamine is that it can be used by just about any dog, regardless of their breed, age, or stage of their disease.
Since it was first introduced as a nutraceutical treatment for arthritis in dogs, multiple studies have been made on the possible beneficial effects of glucosamine. While more studies could still be made to further explain its benefits, current available evidence suggests that glucosamine indeed helps in the regeneration of cartilage in arthritic dogs. Beyond the facilitation of healing, the use of glucosamine also has an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect, which is comparable to the effects of NSAIDs and other pain medications.
Dosage of Glucosamine for Dogs
Just like with any medication, determining the appropriate dosage for glucosamine is important for maximum benefits while reducing the potential of adverse effects. Glucosamine supplements are most commonly given orally and can be found in all kinds of forms; they are available in tablet, pill, powder, and liquid form.
These products have different concentrations, so you have to take that into consideration when planning doses. Most of these products have available instructions on how much can be given to your dog on a daily basis, and you can usually just follow the instructions to ensure proper dosing.
However, for maximum safety, it is recommended that you see your veterinarian first to determine the most ideal dose of glucosamine for your dog. This is especially so if your dog is at an advanced age or is dealing with other illnesses.
Giving your dog an inappropriate amount of glucosamine, just like with other drugs or supplements, can cause adverse effects that can occasionally be fatal. And while glucosamine in general is considered safe for daily consumption for dogs, you cannot take unnecessary risks with your dog’s health.
Side Effects of Glucosamine for Dogs
While it has been mentioned that glucosamine is generally safe for dogs, there are some side effects that you should watch out for. If you see any of these side effects, you should discontinue use and seek the help of your vet to see if the dose should be adjusted or if you should skip giving glucosamine altogether.
The most common adverse effect associated with glucosamine is allergies. One of the most common ingredients found in glucosamine supplements is shellfish, a common cause of allergies for dogs. Common signs of allergies include itching and development of skin lesions.
Another side effect to watch out for is excessive urination and subsequent thirst. This is especially apparent if the dose given is too high. Fatigue and insomnia are also side effects that you need to watch out for.
Cost of Glucosamine
The price of glucosamine supplements generally depends on factors such as the potency of the product and the brand of the distributor. However, one of the downsides of using glucosamine as a supplement for treating arthritis in dogs is the price.
Getting glucosamine supplements is not cheap, and it can easily cost dog owners hundreds or even thousands annually to use this product on a daily basis. Further adding to the cost is the fact that glucosamine is not considered as a cure in and by itself, so you’ll be using other treatments as well for managing your dog’s arthritis.
Interaction with Other Drugs
Just like with any form of medication or supplement, there are some drug interactions to watch out for if you are intending to give glucosamine for your dogs. It is recommended that you get a prior consultation before giving glucosamine if your dog is taking other medications.
While information is scarce when it comes to specific drug interactions, it is advised to monitor your dog if they are taking medications such as NSAIDs, anti-platelet drugs, blood thinners, diabetic medications, and chemotherapy.
If you observe any adverse interactions in your pet, discontinue immediately and consult your veterinarian right away.
Ingredients in Glucosamine
While the ingredients found in glucosamine supplements may vary from brand to brand, they are generally composed of the same main ingredients. The most common form of glucosamine present in the supplements is glucosamine sulfate.
However, there are other ingredients commonly included in these supplements. Chondroitin is commonly added to glucosamine, as their effects are considered complementary to each other.
Chondroitin is usually derived from cartilage of sharks or shellfish, so make sure to check the label to monitor for potential allergies. Preservatives and sugars may also be included to complete the product.
While glucosamine is considered as a great supplement for managing arthritis in dogs, its high cost and potential for side effects have led dog lovers to look for possible alternatives for treating their buddies. Here are some of the more popular glucosamine alternatives available on the market today.
Turmeric - This is one of the clinically proven natural products with anti-inflammatory properties. By controlling the inflammation, turmeric helps in reducing swelling and pain, which then subsequently facilitates healing and promotes comfort.
Red algae - Red algae contains astaxanthin, a compound that has a remarkable ability in controlling pain caused by arthritis. Not only does it reduce inflammation and pain, but it also helps in boosting immune system function, heart health, and prevents cancer.
Hemp - Hemp is becoming a popular natural option for treating arthritis, as well as a host of other health ailments that bother dogs of all ages. Beyond providing superior pain relief, hemp is also remarkable for its ability to reduce inflammation and promote healing of affected joints.