What is Chondroitin for Dogs?
Chondroitin is a popular supplement for helping dogs cope with arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other degenerative conditions of the joints. A key component of cartilage, chondroitin is a flexible, naturally occurring substance that helps keeps joints cushioned during movement.
With age, chondroitin levels in the body decline as joint tissues deteriorate. Loss of chondroitin can also occur due to an injury, trauma, or illness. Chondroitin supplements support cartilage health, helping to slow the deterioration of joint tissue and reducing the inflammation that occurs due to degenerative joint diseases like arthritis and hip dysplasia. Therefore, many veterinarians recommend a chondroitin supplement to help ease the effects of these conditions, helping dogs stay mobile and improving quality of life in old age.
Chondroitin is rarely taken on its own. It is usually taken along with or included in the same supplemental formula as glucosamine, another natural component of joint tissue. When taken together, glucosamine and chondroitin give an aging dog the proper building blocks for healthy cartilage. These supplements cannot stop the advancement of degenerative joint conditions, however. They simply slow down the natural deterioration process and reduce inflammation, helping to keep dogs mobile and comfortable.
What Type of Chondroitin Should You Give Your Dog?
Chondroitin supplements are typically made from the cartilage of cows, sharks, and whales. Dietary supplements are not regulated, so choosing one can be a difficult decision. Owners want to make sure that the product they choose contains the type of and the amount of chondroitin that the package claims, and that the supplement meets their veterinarian’s guidelines.
Some pet owners purchase human chondroitin supplements, as they often contain higher concentrations of ingredients. Others purchase supplements formulated especially for dogs. The marketplace is saturated, and choosing a supplement can be overwhelming. The best course of action is to consult with your veterinarian on a brand that they recommend for quality and effectiveness.
There are some possible side effects that come with taking chondroitin supplements including:
- General stomach pain and discomfort
- Thinning of the blood
The GI-related side effects can often be eased by offering the supplement with a dog’s meal. As the body gets used to the chondroitin, those side effects typically wane after a few days. Because chondroitin thins the blood, however, it should not be given to a dog scheduled for dental procedures or surgery.
The side effects of this supplement are minor, and the benefits are quite real. As your dog ages, consult directly with your vet about the best time to begin a chondroitin supplement regimen, and be sure to follow all dosing instructions. Most owners report improved mobility and quality of life after two weeks of starting contrition supplements.