5 Supplements to Support Your Dog’s Golden Years
The gray muzzle; the slower pace; it happens to us all, but it can be hard to admit that a dear friend is approaching the end of their life. However, there are a number of supplements on the market that can go a long way towards ensuring that your dog enjoys many more active, pain free years as a senior pet!
Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. The benefits of omega-3s are continuing to be researched, but include: anti-inflammatory properties that improve joint and mobility problems like osteoarthritis, improved skin and hair coat, improved heart health, improved cognitive function, and even protection against some cancers. Omega-3 is not produced naturally by dogs, so they need to receive it in their diet, and choosing a good fish oil supplement is a great way to ensure your dog is getting enough of this important nutrient.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that helps joints build and maintain cartilage. It is naturally produced by your dog’s body, but as dogs age, their body can start producing less and less glucosamine, which causes your dog’s cartilage to begin to degrade. As the cartilage starts to fail, your dog’s bones start rubbing together at the joints, causing pain and inflammation. The glucosamine supplement is generally created from the shells of crustaceans, which are rich in this amino sugar. Supplementing your dog with glucosamine can help make up for the decreased production that comes with advancing age, supporting healthy cartilage, increasing mobility and reducing pain.
This is an herbal remedy that has been used for at least two thousand years for treatment of a variety of health concerns in humans. Studies show that the active ingredient found in the seeds of milk thistle, silymarin, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and promotes cellular repair and regeneration. It is particularly effective for supporting liver health, and some studies suggest it may also promote kidney function and could have anti-cancer properties. The liver and kidneys are both common areas of concern for aging dogs, and a milk thistle supplement can be a great way to support the health of these critical organs.
Duralactin consists of a milk protein concentrate, called MicroLactin. This protein has an anti-inflammatory effect which reduces swelling in the joints of pets affected by osteoarthritis, thereby reducing pain and improving mobility. It may also prevent further damage of tissues in your pet’s body, which could slow the progress of degenerative joint diseases.
Unlike the rest of the products on this list, Adequan is only available from your veterinarian. That is because this medication needs to be injected directly into your pet’s muscle. It is a drug that acts as an anti-inflammatory and protects joint cartilage, which helps with pain and encourages joint health. It is not yet well understood why it has these properties – it is thought that Adequan inhibits enzymes that break down in the cartilage within joints and increases the thickness of joint fluid, but that does not fully explain its anti-inflammatory properties. Even so, many veterinarians are turning to this medication to help support joint health and reduce pain and inflammation for dogs suffering from arthritis and other joint injuries and issues.
Most of these supplements have few side effects, the most common being mild gastrointestinal discomfort. That said, all supplements should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan you form with your trusted veterinarian, and closely monitored to ensure your dog continues to live life to the fullest, even at the twilight of his or her life!