More and more, we are realising just how important strong, healthy joints are for our dogs. Arthritis and stiff joints aren’t only very painful, they can be the precursor to further health complications for your beloved pet.
Inhibiting natural movements and limiting the enjoyment of daily life, a degeneration in joint health can even lead to excessive weight gain and subsequently conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Healthy joints create a strong and flexible foundation to your dog’s vitality and wellbeing, allowing your pet to enjoy every day to its fullest — free from pain and at less risk of injury.
But, what contributes to strong, healthy joints? And what can we do as pet parents to best nurture and improve this fundamental need?
One answer lies in a surprising marine animal… Shrimp!
Before we look at the amazing natural properties of shrimp, we must first understand the role of one particular amino sugar found in them: glucosamine.
Glucosamine is extremely important for the healthy functioning of our pet’s bodies, as well as our own. This natural compound is one of the building blocks of healthy joints. It aids in the growth, repair, and maintenance of cartilage and synovial fluid.
Acting as a shock absorber in the joints, healthy cartilage is naturally spongy and flexible, ensuring optimal function in day to day life. Glucosamine, combined with collagen, is essential to producing and repairing cartilage. Glucosamine also can help maintain the viscous consistency of synovial fluid — the natural lubrication that fills the joint cavities between bones.
Whilst glucosamine occurs naturally in the body, dogs produce less and less as they age. So, a lack of glucosamine means that damaged cartilage cannot repair — meaning less cushioning within the joints, and reduced lubrication from synovial fluid.
All this results in stiff, creaky, painful joints, or worse… the development of canine arthritis. This means that increasing our pooch’s glucosamine levels in their body is a great place to start when treating or even preventing poorly joints in our pets.
Whilst some dog foods claim to be a source of glucosamine, they often fail to deliver the full RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) amount that is required for a dog to maintain healthy joints and to live an active, pain-free life.
Many veterinarians recommend approximately 500mg of glucosamine per 11kg of your dog’s weight per day. For some leading brands of kibble, for example, you would have to feed your pup over 20 cups a day, just to get the recommended daily dose of glucosamine!
As much as our furry friends may love the idea of feasting on mountains of kibble, we all know that’s neither healthy nor affordable. Therefore, it is important to supplement their diet with an additional, natural source of glucosamine…
You can do this by trying dog supplements that contain glucosamine! These can be a fantastic, natural source of glucosamine, and are often packed into a tasty and convenient daily treat style chews. Make sure you source from a reputable, ethical pet brand! Supplements containing glucosamine can improve your pooch’s range of motion, flexibility, and mobility in their joints, helping slow the ageing process down and may even prevent chronic ailments from developing further down the line.
As well as contributing to the rebuilding and repair of damaged joints, glucosamine also has natural anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent supplement for dogs with pre-existing joint pain, stiffness, and arthritis.
So where does all the glucosamine in our joint health chews come from? You guessed it; shrimp!
As well as robust cartilage and thick synovial fluid, glucosamine is also a key component of chitin, the material that makes up the tough shells of shellfish and crustaceans. This makes marine creatures such as shrimp a fantastic natural source of glucosamine to supplement your pet’s diet, and to ensure they are getting their full healthy dose of glucosamine, every single day!
Unlike many other supplement brands on the market, we believe it is particularly important to source our glucosamine naturally. Synthetic forms of the compound have been found to be less effective, often demonstrating positive effects for only a short period of time before the original ailments return in full force.
Research suggests that the cells in your dog’s body may not recognise synthetic nutrients as they would those from natural sources, and therefore reject them. Because synthetic nutrients function poorly compared to natural nutrients, they are therefore not as easily absorbed by the body.
We strongly believe that when it comes to supplementing your dog’s diet and health, naturally sourced active ingredients are always best. That’s why we love shrimp for all their natural properties!
So, consider boosting your dog's intake of glucosamine: it's what they need to maintain healthy joints and get the absolute most out of life!