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Chondroitin for dogs

Chondroitin for dogs

Age is a fickle beast and dogs often begin showing mobility problems as they get older. Dogs are busy creatures and just like us, they experience joint degeneration as they age. As a result, they can experience prolonged pain and immobility. Did you know that joint pain due to arthritis affects 1 in every 5 dogs? These statistics have many dog owners searching for a natural remedy to help get their dog comfortably moving and grooving again.

a bored french bulldog lying down and resting on sofa looking outside a bored french bulldog lying down and resting on sofa looking outside dog limp stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

What is chondroitin?

Chondroitin is a natural, holistic supplement that you can include in your dog’s diet to help repair and build cartilage. It is a supplement that is recommended by both veterinarians and canine nutritionists as a non-surgical option to help relieve joint pain.

Chondroitin is a naturally occurring sugar found as a component of cartilage and provides resistance to compression. In joint supplements, chondroitin sulfate is included to replenish the chondroitin lost over time. The supplement source is usually derived from cow or pig cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate prevents the breakdown of cartilage and can also stimulate repair mechanisms. Additionally, it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent to alleviate joint pain, swelling and cartilage degradation biomarkers.

Joint pain icon Icon of joint pain. Bone, injury, illness. Arthritis concept. Can be used for topics like symptom, healthcare, anatomy dog joints stock illustrations

Does my dog need chondroitin?

Progressive joint disease

It’s no secret to any of us that as we age, our bodies start to slow down and joints become stiff. This is true of senior animals as well. Throughout the aging process, cartilage and connective tissue begins to wear and break down, causing inflammation, pain and swelling in the joints. You may start noticing that your dog isn’t quite as active as they once were. Something that might get fido up and motoring around more are joint supplements

The main reasons that pet owners seek out chondroitin is because their dog is showing symptoms of pain associated with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). When paired with glucosamine, chondroitin has shown to be effective at ​​lubricating joints and repairing tissue lining in dogs suffering from degenerative joint diseases.

A few symptoms of dogs who may be experiencing joint pain are:

  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • Swelling and redness in joints
  • Difficulty getting up and lying down
  • Inability or reluctance to climb stairs and jump up on the couch or bed
  • Vocalization (whining, whimpering, etc.)
Sterilized stray dog without paws on a background of green grass. Sterilized funny stray dog without paws on a background of green grass. dog limp stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

General joint maintenance

It’s not just mobility pain and joint diseases that chondroitin is used for however. It is also a great supplement to feed your dog for day-to-day joint maintenance. This is particularly true for dogs that are predisposed to developing hip and joint problems later on in life.

There is a major correlation between certain breeds and joint problems. Check the list of breeds below to see if your dog could benefit from a chondroitin supplement to help with general hip and joint maintenance:

  • Giant breeds (great danes, newfoundlanders, mastiffs, etc.)
  • Retrievers (labradors, goldens, chesapeake bay, etc.)
  • Short, long breeds (dachshunds, corgis, basset hounds, etc.)
  • Bully breeds (pitbulls, bulldogs, etc.) 
  • Springer spaniels 
  • German shepherds 
  • Rottweilers
  • Bernese mountain dogs
  • Old english sheep dogs
  • Shetland sheepdog
  • Standard poodle
  • Greyhound
  • Pug
  • Bloodhound
  • Samoyed
  • Chow chow
  • Boxer

Are there any side effects associated with taking chondroitin?

Since chondroitin is a natural supplement, your dog should experience minimal to no side effects when taking chondroitin at the correct dosage. Chondroitin concentration may vary between joint supplements so it is important to follow the feeding instructions provided on the label.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, they may experience a turbulent tummy with the addition of chondroitin to their diet. In extreme cases they may experience vomiting or diarrhea. If this is the case for your dog, simply start by adding a smaller amount to your dog’s food and gradually increase to the recommended dose.

Where can I buy chondroitin for my dog?

Unlike prescription medications, chondroitin is widely available in most pet stores and can also be purchased for your veterinarians. It is rare that you will find chondroitin as an independent product as it’s most effective when included in a joint supplement. If you find a supplement that you think might work for your dog, simply check the ingredient list on the label to check if chondroitin is used.

Duck tolling retriever laying in the grass
Duck tolling retriever laying in the grass

View Sources

Watson, A. G., H. E. Evans, and A. De Lahunta. "Gross morphology of the composite occipito‐atlas‐axis joint cavity in the dog." Anatomia, histologia, embryologia 15, no. 2 (1986): 139-146.

Morgan, Joe P., Alida Wind, Autumn P. Davidson, and Lars Audell. Hereditary bone and joint diseases in the dog: osteochondroses, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia. Schlütersche, 2000.

Packer, R. M. A., I. J. Seath, D. G. O’Neill, S. De Decker, and H. A. Volk. "DachsLife 2015: an investigation of lifestyle associations with the risk of intervertebral disc disease in Dachshunds." Canine genetics and epidemiology 3, no. 1 (2016): 8.

Setnikar, I., C. Giacchetti, and G. Zanolo. "Pharmacokinetics of glucosamine in the dog and in man." Arzneimittel-Forschung 36, no. 4 (1986): 729-735.

Adebowale, Abi, Jianpin Du, Zhonming Liang, James L. Leslie, and Natalie D. Eddington. "The bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of glucosamine hydrochloride and low molecular weight chondroitin sulfate after single and multiple doses to beagle dogs." Biopharmaceutics & drug disposition 23, no. 6 (2002): 217-225.

Canapp Jr, S. O., R. M. McLaughlin Jr, J. J. Hoskinson, J. K. Roush, and M. D. Butine. "Scintigraphic evaluation of dogs with acute synovitis after treatment with glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate." American journal of veterinary research 60, no. 12 (1999): 1552-1557.

US Department of Veteran Affairs. “Supplements that help pain” 

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February 20, 2024
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