The pet supplement market is booming and there's an abundance of choice out there with supplements to soothe and maintain a dog's skin and coat, support gut health or improve mobility.
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of information – we know this from personal experience - so we'll explore each supplement one by one in the coming months. For now, let's start with joint supplements and how to tell the best from the rest.
Dogs of all ages can benefit from supplements. For example, young dogs that are super active, doing things like agility and putting additional pressure on their joints need extra protection. Large breeds or breeds that are more pre-disposed to joint stiffness will also benefit from taking a joint supplement.
So, how do you know what the best joint supplement for dogs looks like and if your dog might benefit now?
Does my dog need a joint supplement?
Here are some of the most important questions you should answer before choosing a supplement so that you know you're choosing the right strength of supplement for your dog's needs:
- Is your dog starting to lag behind on walks?
- Are they more reluctant to walk, jump and play?
- Is your dog sleeping more?
- Do they seem stiff or have trouble getting up after a rest?
- Are they looking uncomfortable?
And since joint and mobility concerns can affect dogs of all ages, owners of younger dogs should answer the following questions:
- Does your dog take a while to recover after exercise?
- Is fast growth and over-activity putting a strain on your young dog’s joints?
- Are they often injured?
- Or are they looking uncomfortable?
If the answer to at least two of these questions is yes, then it's time to look for a daily joint supplement for your dog.
Now let's explore some of the best ways to identify a high-quality supplement.
What is the best joint supplement for dogs?
Here are three of the most important signs of quality in some of the best joint supplements for dogs, according to a veterinary nurse.
1. The best supplements will have clinical proof of their results
“Using a product that is clinically proven is a way to ensure that its ingredients have been tested and proven to work – at the end of the day you want to see (and your dog wants to feel) the difference!”
2. They will include some of the best-known ingredients for stiff joints
“A comprehensive joint supplement with Glucosamine/Chondroitin will not only support the structure of the joint, but will also support mobility and provide comfort for a dog’s stiff joints as well.
"Another ingredient to look for is Green Lipped Mussel.”
3. They will highlight the purity of its ingredients
“The quality and purity of the ingredients is also important to ensure maximum efficacy (which will help your dog get the maximum response achievable from a supplement).”
How long do dog joint supplements take to work?
Generally, experts say it can take four-six weeks of daily usage to see changes, but in some cases, dog owners have reportedly seen positive changes within seven days. It completely depends on the individual, the strength of the joint supplement and their starting point (how stiff their joints were before taking the supplement, for example) beforehand.
Remembering what your dog’s initial signs of joint stiffness were, look for signs of mobility stresses changing.
For example, if your dog was having difficulty to get up or rollover from a lying down position, then monitor this one action and see if they’re able to move from the same position without the same struggles you first noticed.
Pet experts also believe there can be visible signs in how a dog responds to normal daily activities and their behaviour.
If your dog suffers from chronic or worsening arthritis or conditions, such as hip dysplasia, we recommend speaking with your vet to put a treatment plan in place. This may involve prescribed medication and monitored activities, such as hydrotherapy which can be hugely beneficial to a dog with stiff joints and muscles.