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Dogs - are supplements really worth it?

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  • Dogs - are supplements really worth it?

    So from reading some of the horse supplements threads, it seems like there is evidence that canines actually can get some benefit from the standard joint supplements. However, they are not exactly cheap.

    Do they seem to really make a difference? Any idea about the non-joint specific stuff? I have a dog with some kind of seasonal allergies and I'm wondering about trying one of the allergy supplement forumlas that SmartPak carries for her, and the Senior/joint stuff for Pirate since he has arthritis.

    (I posted a thread about him before - taking some of the advice from that thread, I've been working on getting him slimmed down a bit, and tried to figure out the 'sweet spot' for activity level, and started generously supplementing with wild salmon oil, and it does seem to be helping. We went camping recently and there was a beach but to get to it you have to go down stairs or a fairly steep slope. I knew he'd have trouble so I only took him once and gave him one of his rimadyl pills beforehand, and he had no problems and was running around happily later that evening and the next couple of days with only the one pill. Which I admit, he may have been fine without but it seemed like a reasonable situation in which to go with preventative medication rather than waiting until he was sore and uncomfortable.)

    Anyway, I just don't want to be paying to have my dogs have expensive pee.

  • #2
    I had a dog where a joint supplement made a HUGE difference in her comfort level. She had some arthritis issues in her neck, and a simple feed through with glucosamine and chondroitin was the difference in her ability to rise after lying flat out. We did eventually have to put her down because she progressed and we couldn't keep her comfortable, but the supplement probably prolonged her life by about a year.

    Since then, I have not had a dog with any sort of arthritis issues, but I do usually put my oldsters on something like Dasuquin just to cover my bases. It makes me feel better, and it doesn't hurt anything other than my wallet

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    • #3
      I think that they can help. My mutt is on Cosequin due to some bad joints he's got. It's cheaper to buy the horse stuff and then just measure out for the dog's weight versus buying the dog stuff at a pet store.

      My guy tore his cruciate (similar to ACL in people) ligament when he was around a year and a half old and the vets attributed it to bad joints (he's a mutt beyond belief, we did DNA tests to find out what he was and they couldn't tell us much of anything, plus he was a bait dog prior to us getting him). I do think it helps him, we did surgery and repaired it but we keep him on the Cosequin for peace of mind and because we do think it helps.

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      • #4
        I have a 6yr old chow mix, who was diagnosed w/ hip dysplasia, (both sides, one worse than the other) just after i got him at 7 months old. My vet recommended Glycoflex and he has been on one/day ever since. Now I dont know if that helped, as over the years he has also had regular walks, generally under a mile, trips to dog park to play in the cool months and almost daily swimming during the hot months. He had a funny hitch in his left hip that is essentially gone, he jumps onto certain furniture, no problem and he is able to stand on those back legs to countersurf

        So we will continue w/ our Glycoflex.

        Edited to add: OP, try a benydryl for the seasonal allergies. Above dog has those too, and it helps a ton. I buy the generic benydryl 12 hour kind at Target, get 100 for about $4. Check w/ your vet for appropriate dosage.
        We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

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        • #5
          My one vet put my border collie on joint supplements, which were pretty pricey - like a dollar a pill or so. I thought they helped, actually.

          But then my other vet told me there's no reliable evidence that the joint supplements do anything for dogs. So I quit using them. Dog was fine for a few more years. Now she's on 100 mg of previcox a day, but she's old.

          I can't imagine what a supplement could possibly do for an allergy. I give benadryl too for seasonal itchies. Got the dosage from google.
          I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
            Edited to add: OP, try a benydryl for the seasonal allergies. Above dog has those too, and it helps a ton. I buy the generic benydryl 12 hour kind at Target, get 100 for about $4. Check w/ your vet for appropriate dosage.
            Yeah, that's what she gets now, as needed. Sometimes they get really bad and she needs steroids, though, which is not so much fun since she already tends to be overweight and steroids turn her into an EATING MONSTER. (She is the dog who would never DREAM of doing something like trying to get into the trash - except when she's on steroids. That kind of thing. Is not fun for anyone, really, since she's obviously pretty unhappy when she can't eat as much as she wants, but she has to be restricted so she doesn't get HUGE.) So if there's a reason to think supplements might help, I'm willing to try. I'm just skeptical because there's so much stuff in the supplement market that's got great ad copy and is useless.

            She's going to be 10, also, so if joint supplements do help it might be time to start her on a bit of something also even though she doesn't show problems the way Pirate does. (Pirate is larger and since I got him at 5, had who knows what kind of diet/adventures, so I'm not surprised he's showing signs of arthritis first.)

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            • #7
              OP - re the allergies, is your dog long-haired? Mine is a furry bugger and the vet suggested clipping as he is an "allergen magnet". That has helped also.
              We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

              Comment


              • #8
                I think the oral joint supplements help dogs a lot more than horses- horses have great difficulty absorbing these chemicals through the gut, but dogs are able to absorb much higher percentages of them from the diet.
                If you have a symptomatic dog, I would definitely try them out. The ones with "cocktails" of multiple ingredients seem to work the best.
                One clinically proven supplement is fish oil- omega-3 fatty acids. Dogs fed a diet supplemented with high levels of fish oil (3 grams of fish oil per 97 grams of dry kibble) exhibit dramatic improvements in arthritis symptoms.
                MSM, HA, and cetyl-M should all start to relieve symptoms within a few days of of starting them; duralactin is a new one that is supposed to work similarly to MSM, but I haven't seen any info about its actual effectiveness.
                Glucosamine/chondroitin/ green mussel all take longer to kick in, possibly longer than 30 days, but also may have a "protective" effect in preventing symptoms if fed throughout life to asymptomatic dogs.
                Note that most of the dog foods and treats that claim to have "joint supplements" in them have so little it won't do your dog any good.
                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  My 4 year old boxer gets 500mg of Glucosamine with Chondrotin a day in pill form, I tried to switch her to a power supplement with those plus a few other vitamins and it did nothing, in fact it made her worse.

                  My vet told me I could pay a ton of money and get a gluc. pill from them or go the drug store and grab one that's made for people, it's the same stuff just way cheaper.

                  If she doesn't get her gluc. pill every morning, she's 3 legged lame (she was hit by a car at a year and a half, has a bone chip in her shoulder and has some funky stuff going on in her lower spine)

                  She gets a few other things (apple cider vinegar and probiotic yogurt) And she has seasonal allergies that Benedryl takes care of. She's on 50mg of those twice a day when her allergies are bad (1mg per lb ) Although, when her paws get really red and itchy, using a zinc cream (baby butt cream works best) gets rid of the bacteria left from her licking them constantly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The only supplement I really believe in is Platinum Performance. I have thought about putting the corgis on it, as one of them is getting arthritis and the other has allergies.

                    Right now, I am giving her 25mg of benadryl/daily until the allergy season passes. My vet also gave me a lotion with 1% hydracortisone in it for her itchy/sore spots.
                    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                    "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
                    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
                      OP - re the allergies, is your dog long-haired? Mine is a furry bugger and the vet suggested clipping as he is an "allergen magnet". That has helped also.
                      Oh, that's interesting. She's not a long haired breed as such but she's kind of like a sheep in that she just grows and grows. I thought maybe I'd noticed that she seems better when she's shorter but since the allergies come and go it's hard to tell if you're actually seeing improvement or if it's coincidental.

                      I know one other person and a vet report do not a scientific study make, but I'll try to keep her shorter for longer and see if it helps. (Usually she gets to grow out quite a bit for winter. But she will put up with a coat if she has to.)

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by wendy View Post
                        I think the oral joint supplements help dogs a lot more than horses- horses have great difficulty absorbing these chemicals through the gut, but dogs are able to absorb much higher percentages of them from the diet.
                        If you have a symptomatic dog, I would definitely try them out. The ones with "cocktails" of multiple ingredients seem to work the best.
                        One clinically proven supplement is fish oil- omega-3 fatty acids. Dogs fed a diet supplemented with high levels of fish oil (3 grams of fish oil per 97 grams of dry kibble) exhibit dramatic improvements in arthritis symptoms.
                        .
                        That's what I thought I saw somewhere in one of the horse supplement threads, that due to the differences in digestion dogs can get different things out of supplements than horses or even people.

                        I have been adding salmon oil to his kibble lately (not weighed out, but pretty generously) and that does seem to have helped. Obviously you can have observer bias. But it looks like it is worth figuring out more carefully how much he's getting and trying some of the other supplement options, I think.

                        Particularly with it starting to shift season - I know my arthritis gets worse around this time of year and into winter, so I imagine dogs have the same sort of problem.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          if you're worried about cost- try buying a big bucket of the stuff intended for horses, and feed that at a dog dose. For example, Cetyl-M for a big dog purchased from smartpak will cost you $36 per month; but buy a bucket of the same stuff for horses at $100 for 60 days, and feed it at at dog dose- 1/10th or so of the horse dose- and you get the cost per month down to $5.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Finish Line liquid joint stuff, the higher ingredient one, helped a friend of mine's lab tremendously.
                            It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Stupid supplement question - anyone have any idea if I can safely handle joint supplements that include glucosamine if I have a shellfish allergy? This just occurred to me as a possible issue. Oops.

                              Google is failing me and I can't ask my doctor at midnight. But shellfish allergies aren't that uncommon so I figured I might as well ask here in the meantime.

                              Man Pirate is going to be spoiled if I have to go buy the vegetarian stuff just so I can safely give him supplements, they're always more expensive.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                                I can't imagine what a supplement could possibly do for an allergy.
                                My dog's allergist prescribed fish oil supplements for her skin, the idea being not so much that it prevents the allergic reaction as that is helps keep the skin healthy if the dog has environmental allergies, and it's used with medication to prevent/reduce the allergic reaction itself.

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