Glucosamine is a natural building block of cartilage. Cartilage is supportive tissue that helps dog joints move smoothly. As the dog ages, its body uses glucosamine faster than it can be produced. The cartilage breaks down and arthritis occurs in the joints, especially in legs and hips. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, glucosamine helps replenish glucosamine and relieve symptoms of canine arthritis. Glucosamine dosage is based on your dog's weight.
Look for signs of arthritis such as difficulty standing up, stiffness or pain in joints and decreased activity. Your dog is less active and gains weight. He may be more irritable and snap or growl when touched because the arthritis is painful. Wet spots or puddles at the door indicate your dog could not get up and outside in time to urinate.
Take your dog to the veterinarian. Arthritis is similar to other signs of dog aging. Your vet may run tests to rule out diseases or infections. When she inspects the dog, she looks for hot or warm joints, a sign of infection or arthritic inflammation. When the dog's limbs are gently flexed, they show signs of stiffness or swelling. A gritty or grinding sound at the joint usually confirms osteoarthritis.
Ask about glucosamine. It is often a preferred treatment for early arthritis or when a dog is unable to take to pain-relieving drugs. It is a natural product typically made from shellfish. Glucosamine is available over the counter without a prescription. The nutraceutical is sold as tablets, capsules, powder, liquid and as an ingredient in canine treats and food.
Follow veterinarian orders or product label directions. Dosage guidelines are based on dog weight. A typical dose is roughly 10 mg per pound daily. For example, a dog 24 to 50 lbs. takes about 500 mg daily. The dose is adjusted up or down for dog weight. It may be split into two doses given 12 hours apart.
Check with your vet or follow product directions for an initial or loading dose. The first four to six weeks, the regular dose is often doubled to boost the glucosamine level. When your dog is moving more easily with fewer symptoms, glucosamine is reduced to the regular dose. If symptoms return, your vet may suggest increasing the level.
Watch your dog for improvement. If you see no positive change within a month, the dosage might be too low. When your dog will not take tablets or capsules, change to more palatable liquid or powder mixed in the dog food. If your dog shows no improvement in another month, your vet may stop the glucosamine or add anti-inflammatory medication to the treatment.