Joint protection is important for sporting and older dogs. But it’s important to choose the right kind of nutritional supplement; what are its ingredients, and how are they sourced? After much reflection and experience, I’ve reached my own conclusion about the most important ingredients that all good joint supplements should contain. Of course, the more ingredients that are contained in a formulation, the more versatile the product will be. In my opinion, the following ingredients should be included in complex joint supplements for dogs:
Glucosamine sulphate contributes to the protection and maintenance of the function of the joints by binding water molecules into the structure of the articular cartilage that lines the joints. The improved hydration of its internal framework helps to enhance the supply of nutrients to cartilage tissue, strengthening the cartilage as well as having an anti-inflammatory effect.
Ideally, glucosamine sulphate should be obtained from green lipped mussel shells, from New Zealand.
MSM – Methylsulphonylmethane
MSM is primarily used for its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it has excellent muscle regeneration and circulation-stimulating effects, making it an ideal supplement for canine athletes by contributing to balanced training. As an organic sulphur compound, MSM has widespread beneficial effects throughout the body, including the immune system, the endocrine system and joint protection, as well as helping basic cellular metabolism.
MSM is naturally present in meat, eggs and milk, but the formulation used in nutritional supplements (which remain well preserved until consumed) is obtained from pine tree plantations from South Louisiana in USA.
Chondroitin sulphate also contributes to the stabilisation of articular cartilage by maintaining the metabolic balance of the cartilaginous tissue i.e. its effective water-binding ability. Chondroitin sulphate can prevent the cartilage from deterioration, protecting it from abrasions. As well as strengthening the cartilage, the supplement also increases the strength of connective tissue, and helps with regeneration of damaged areas.
Chondroitin sulphate is an ingredient of animal cartilage; supplements are mainly derived from cartilage-rich marine life, such as shark.
Hydrolysed collagen is an essential component of complex joint supplements, playing a role in maintaining optimal health of ligaments. As an important structural protein, as well as contributing to the formation of muscle, it has a role in the maintenance of skin and hair, as well as aiding the strength and elasticity of the bones and cartilage. The whole body needs hydrolysed collagen; there is an overall effect in improving the condition and moisture content of cells.
Hydrolysed collagen is found in animal connective tissue, and the usual source for supplements is cattle and pig derivatives that are obtained as by-products from meat processing plants.