What Are the Uses of Chondroitin for Dogs?

R. Soden

An herbal supplement, chondroitin alleviates joint problems caused by arthritis, osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia in dogs. Chondroitin for dogs works with glucosamine to lubricate the joints and improve the dog's joint health. Many dog foods for elderly canines contain chondroitin for joint health. Chondroitin for dogs is also available as an over-the-counter supplement at many pet stores.

Mastiffs are at risk for hip dysplasia, and often need chondroitin.
Mastiffs are at risk for hip dysplasia, and often need chondroitin.

A dog's joints contain fluid to help with movement and weight bearing. This fluid acts as a lubricant to help absorb the shock of movement. Joint diseases indicate a lessening of this fluid, which can result in painful movement for the dog.

Hip dysplasia is a common canine disease in dogs that have long backs, such as basset hounds.
Hip dysplasia is a common canine disease in dogs that have long backs, such as basset hounds.

Chondroitin works in conjunction with glucosamine to prevent the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. As a dog gets older, the padding in the joints breaks down. Chondroitin prevents enzymes from further degrading the cartilage, which would cause pain for the dog.

The effectiveness of chondroitin for dogs is debatable.
The effectiveness of chondroitin for dogs is debatable.

This drug alleviates symptoms for many joint diseases, including arthritis, osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a common canine disease in dogs that have long backs, such as dachshunds and basset hounds, because of the awkward shape of their backs and hips. Dysplasia also occurs in large breeds of dogs such as mastiffs and Saint Bernards because of the extreme weight that the hips and joints must bear.

Some dog foods marketed for older canines contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which may improve joint health.
Some dog foods marketed for older canines contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which may improve joint health.

Dogs that have joint problems typically display symptoms such as a hesitancy to jump, favoring a leg, decreased activity and weight gain. A more obvious symptom of joint pain is attitude and behavior changes. A dog might cry out in pain or might bite. The dog needs to go to the veterinarian if arthritis or joint problems are suspected. A veterinarian usually will perform X-rays or other medical imaging tests on the dog's hips and legs to inspect the joints.

Many pet stores sell over-the-counter chondroitin supplements. The typical dosage of chondroitin for dogs is 750 milligrams per 50 pounds (22.68 kg) of weight. There also are many dog foods that contain glucosamine and chondroitin and that are intended to promote joint health.

The effectiveness of chondroitin for dogs is debatable. Many veterinarians believe that it has a minimal effect, if any. Many dog owners have reported that a supplement of glucosamine and chondroitin has increased their dog's mobility and lessened the symptoms of the joint disease. The general consensus is that the popularity of chondroitin supplements indicates that it works for at least some dogs that are suffering from joint problems.

Chondroitin supplements may benefit dogs that suffer from arthritis.
Chondroitin supplements may benefit dogs that suffer from arthritis.

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