Running. Jumping. Fetching. Rough housing it at the dog park. Your dog gives his body quite a work out most days. And all that movement takes a toll on his hips and joints over time.
But that doesn't mean he has to suffer with stiff, achy joints when he's older.
Joint supplements for dogs can alleviate many of the aches and pains normally associated with aging.
But which supplement for dog joints should you be considering? And how do you know they're actually worthwhile?
The proof is in the pudding so they say, so we dug into some of the scientific evidence to see what's what.
What we found has us feeling good about the future of joint care for dogs.
The five supplements listed below (in alphabetical order) are the best dog hip and joint supplements available.
Studies on the effectiveness of Calcium Fructoborate (CaFB) to help humans with osteoarthritis are numerous and have repeatedly demonstrated improved flexibility and reduction in knee discomfort.
But how does it work as a joint supplement for dogs? Inquiring minds wanted to know!
We uncovered a 2015 thesis research project done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that indicates the supplement may be as good for dogs as it is people.
In the study, 59 dogs were given one of four treatments: placebo, low dose, high dose, and CaFB plus glucosamine.
By the end of 28 days, results suggested that the dogs given either a low or high dosage had greater flexibility. Specifically, these dogs showed an improved ability to get up from a lying position when compared to dogs on the placebo or the CaFB + Glucosamine combo.
Large dogs, in particular, also showed a decrease in pain severity scores.
Probably the most well-known joint supplement for dogs (and people), glucosamine has been used in veterinary practices for about 20 years. You can buy it on its own or as an ingredient in most over-the-counter arthritis remedies.
Research into the effectiveness of glucosamine for joint health began in the 1980s. In 2012, an audit of human studies determined that glucosamine sulfate likely offers pain relief better than or equal to over-the-counter pain relief options.
As for studies on dogs, a 2006 study at the School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine at the College of Life Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, found that dogs given a mix of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate showed statistically significant lower scores for pain, weight-bearing, and severity of their osteoarthritis after 70 days on the supplement.
And in 2016, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, published a review of 16 examples of clinical treatments of osteoarthritis in dogs. Their findings: supplements containing glucosamine provided a "moderate" level of comfort and were equal or better than some prescription drugs.
(The study found similar results for green-lipped muscles.)
Shellfish supplements are another long-used remedy for arthritis and joint pain in humans that is being incorporated into joint care for dogs.
A 2002 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that adding green lipped mussel to a dog's diet can reduce the effects of osteoarthritis.
When given green lipped mussel-infused semi-moist chews, 53% of dogs showed a 30% improvement in joint pain, swelling, and crepitus, with 41% of those showing a 40% or greater improvement and 12% showing a 50% or greater improvement.
By far one of the best dog hip and joint supplements, hyaluronic acid is good for both the prevention of joint problems, as well as the treatment of dogs who have already been diagnosed.
This proved to be the case in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Science, which showed that a group of Labrador dogs given an oral supplement that included hyaluronic acid were statistically less likely to develop elbow dysplasia. (Only 18.5% of treated dogs developed the disease vs. 33.3% of dogs in the control group.)
Furthermore, dogs that did develop the disease got a much milder version when compared to dogs in a control group. Specifically, dogs who had been taking the supplement experience less lameness and swelling of the elbows.
(The supplement also contained glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate.)
Thank goodness for dog-loving university students. One of the more comprehensive studies we found was a 2016 dissertation research study at Southern Illinois University that looked into the benefits of giving dogs turmeric curcumin, another well-known anti-inflammatory long used by people.
In her findings, the researcher reported that giving dogs a supplement of 95% turmeric curcumin at a dose of 500 mg effectively reduced arthritic pain, thereby enhancing the daily activities of the participating dogs.
The dogs displayed noticeable reductions in overall pain, pain after limb manipulation, and pain after physical exertion.
You'll find all five of these natural dog joint supplements in Veterinary Formula Clinical Care's Ultimate Joint Health once-a-day chew.
And while we can't share our scientific data (that's proprietary), we can tell you what our customers say.
Like Mike Williams, who said he noticed a "better range of motion" when he started giving them to his 10-year-old Pyrenees.
Or Shanny G, who noticed a difference in her 14-year-old Pitbull's ability to go up and down the stairs within a week of starting the supplement.
You'll also find three of these supplements (glucosamine, green lipped mussel, and turmeric) in Veterinary Formula Clinical Care's Senior Support daily chew.