Connecting our bones together are joints – specialised structures we all have and depend upon. When joints are healthy and functioning as they should, they facilitate free and easy movement, allowing us to manoeuvre our bodies without pain. For active dogs, joint health influences life quality and mechanical problems can have a huge impact on a dog’s physical and mental well-being, whether it is a young, old, active or sedentary animal.

Sometimes, the integrity of the joints is badly compromised, either due to degenerative or developmental disease. While not all joint problems are preventable, there are ways to minimise the risk to your dog, besides managing exercise and diet. Involving joint supplements is a sensible investment for the future, as these contain the key ingredients needed for joint tissue repair and renewal. In fact, many people now include joint supplements as a staple part of their dog's diet, whether or not there is an existing problem to treat.

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) emerges over time and involves everyday wear and tear; the kind of low-level stress damage that supplements are effective at targeting. DJD is often the result of injury, intense or excessive exercise or muscle weakness associated with ageing. Sometimes these problems are collectively referred to as ‘traumatic arthritis.’ Large-breed dogs are more prone to this as they are heavier, so naturally put more pressure on their joints. It is believed that 1 in 5 dogs could benefit from joint support in the form of dietary supplementation.

Hip dysplasia, on the other hand, is an example of a developmental issue, caused by abnormal bone growth. Although this condition often requires surgery to correct, hip dysplasia can progress to degenerative disease, which is when dietary supplementation can be beneficial.

While joint supplements won’t cure an existing problem, they can help soothe the associated pain and inflammation, lubricate and cushion the joint capsule and help to better absorb impacts. The ingredients contained in joint supplements are tailored to your dog's needs and work together to achieve joint structure, repair and maintenance, joint function and mobility and reduction of pain.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin appear in all quality joint supplements and are the most widely researched joint care ingredients. Glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are a major component of joint cartilage. The presence of Glucosamine in the joint capsule promotes healthy, functional joints that are well cushioned and supported. People tend to think of Glucosamine as a vital building block for, and constituent of, cartilage, synovial fluid, tendons and ligaments.

Similarly, Chondroitin (available as Green Lipped Mussel extract) is a key component in maintaining joint matrix structure and cartilage elasticity. It is also responsible for resisting compression in the joint capsule by supporting the integrity of cartilage. Additionally, Green Lipped Mussel provides a concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Other ingredients commonly found in joint supplements include MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) - a compound that provides a rich source of sulphur, which is especially important for the structure of tissues and proteins.

Not only is MSM professed to aid in the repair of worn or damaged joint tissues, but its anti-inflammatory qualities also have backing. Thought to work in combination with Glucosamine to inhibit joint degeneration, the compound makes its way into many commercial joint supplements, along with Manganese, a mineral that promotes collagen synthesis, essential for maintaining strong ligaments and tendons.

Hyaluronic acid is a vital component of synovial fluid and another ingredient found in most joint care supplements. Synovial fluid exists in the cavities of joints as lubrication for friction-free movement. By supplementing Hyaluronic acid, the synovial fluid is reinforced and inflammation associated with degenerated cartilage is reduced. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E are also included in supplements as they are particularly good at reversing harmful changes and reactions in joints.

Extending VioVet's service of care to pets everywhere, we have developed 'Joint Force,' our own branded joint care supplement. The product is high quality and affordable, and provides a daily source of 9 key nutrients involved in joint structure, function and health. If your dog is regularly worked or elderly, or, if you simply want to start early and invest in healthy joints for the future, why not give joint force a try? Designed by vets and SQP's at VioVet, you can be sure your dog is receiving the most tailored and effective care.

If you would like more information, please contact our E-SQP Danielle: [email protected]

Written by: Hannah