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Author Topic : When to start joint supplements?
 Canis Lupis Kennels
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12/25/2013 12:39:28 PM reply with quote send message to Canis Lupis Kennels Object to Post   

So next month I'll be getting my new border pup as my next agility prospect. Both parents are OFA tested and clear. I have my current agility dog (a golden) on supplements, but only when we're trialing as supplements can be very pricy. I won't be starting on contacts or weaves until he is of age, but was wondering if for any reason I should put him on supplements early to prevent future problems. If so, what kind of supplements? Can puppies have the same supplements as adult dogs, just in smaller amounts? I've talked some with other members of the agility club I'm in, but would like to hear as many opinions as possible. Thanks!
 Lilliput
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12/25/2013 1:45:43 PM reply with quote send message to Lilliput Object to Post

I start all my dogs on supplements early in life. My previous reading suggests that joint supplements work best as a PREVENTATIVE to lessen or prevent joint damage BEFORE it happens rather than waiting until the dog has joint issues- where the joint can never be fully repaired, and you're looking at management and preventing further deterioration. Plus, they take awhile to kick in so waiting until there is a problem is less than ideal.

Supplements do not work like pain meds, rather they work to keep joints healthy, so it's best to start giving them while the joints actually ARE healthy to help protect them from damage.

That said, I've never had a puppy, so I'm unsure about puppies and supplements. I'm pretty sure some large breeds use them, but don't know about the science behind it. I do know I think starting young is the better option- if not as a pup then probably by 1 or 2 years of age.

A low dose supplement would be fine at that stage. I found the Zukes Hip Treats to be high quality and cost effective and dose controlled for many years. (This is NOT the case with most "joint treats" on the market)

I started my dog on them when i got her, and it is only now at age 12 that I've had to start her on something stronger.

I would recommend giving joint supplements all the time for your dogs, not just when training, particularly since it takes them awhile to work, you may not be getting the effect you want by starting and stopping them like that. There are cheaper options available if you look around some- talk to your vet about giving a human grade supplement for instance, which may be cheaper for you than the canine version, or if perhaps one designed for horses might be ok (Since you get a lot more for the price in both of those formulations)
 Canis Lupis Kennels
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12/25/2013 2:29:21 PM reply with quote send message to Canis Lupis Kennels Object to Post

Thanks for the advice! Luckily none of my dogs have developed any joint issues thus far and I really do hope to keep it that way. I'll definitely be looking into finding something more cost effective so I can keep them on year round.
 Purrs_Port
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12/25/2013 4:34:16 PM reply with quote send message to Purrs_Port Object to Post

That's something I wondered as well, Sophie's terrier mix of some type, no issues at all, some point want to try her on agility low level just for fun.
 griffin
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12/26/2013 9:27:56 AM reply with quote send message to griffin Object to Post

this post has been edited 3 time(s)

The evidence for supplements having any effect (positive or negative) is pretty scarce. This is generally because supplements are just purified/concentrated versions of chemicals found in food so a healthy diet will provide enough of them already.

That said, w.r.t cost the 'active ingredients' in joint supplements are glucosamine and chondroitin all other ingredients are just fillers. Generally the more expensive supplements just have more expensive fillers in them so you may as well go for the cheap ones. Human grade ones should be fine too (just check the ingredients for anything that is toxic to dogs - eg. grape extracts). Puppies should be able to have the same as adults just dose according to weight - again supplements are generally just specific extracts from food. I suspect that supplements would probably be more efficacious (if supplements do anything at all) in fast-growing puppies as growth using up nutrients much more than maintenance so it is more likely that a normal diet will not supply enough.

grif,

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Last edited by griffin on 12/26/2013 9:47:55 AM
 gaylanstudio
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12/26/2013 11:34:31 AM reply with quote send message to gaylanstudio Object to Post

I'm gonna add my 2-cents worth here. I tend to agree with much of what Lilliput said.

I've little actual experience with dogs and joint supplements. I do however add glucosomine to my dog’s dinner (I cook my own) using my own human glucosomine. He is almost 15 and has been getting this for perhaps 10 years now although I'm not sure. One vet recommended the kind with MSM. I try to vary and mix up the brands and formulations. At 15, while he is slowing down he does not appear to have any issues with joint pain.

Now speaking personally, my mother's father, my mother, and my older sister (2.5 years) all had one or more joints replaced due to osteoarthritis - there's a genetic link. I have yet to have any. I do have issues but for the most part I function fairly normally. The only difference, Mum didn't start the glucos until she was quite advanced and didn't get a lot of benefit. My sister likewise has not been a diligent user. I on the other hand have been using them for about 20+ years perhaps starting when I was about 35-40.

So, while many medical types don’t feel there is anything to them, others say it works for some people but not all, I am a believer. It is NOT a cure! It can slow down natural deterioration and prevent some injuries – my non-medical opinion only. I do think if it’s going to help, it needs to be given all year, and started at a young age. I’m not sure it needs to be given to puppies but certainly I’d consider it for fully grown active or competitive dogs.

It's sort of a "can't hurt" thing - I've not heard of any significant side effects.
 Canis Lupis Kennels
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12/26/2013 12:36:37 PM reply with quote send message to Canis Lupis Kennels Object to Post

Thanks so much for all the advice you guys! In my own experience (though I've only had one dog on joint supplements, most of the people in my agility club use them) I have seen positive effects from supplements and do want to use it as a sort of preventative medicine as I have seen dogs (all of them not on supplements or really a good diet in general) broken down from not just agility but other sports as well and would NEVER want to compromise my dog's health for a sport. I'll definitely look into human grade supplements and horse supplements (I've had quite a few people recommend horse supplements, does anyone know how to break them down into a dosage for a dog?).
 Purrs_Port
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12/26/2013 10:40:11 PM reply with quote send message to Purrs_Port Object to Post

quote
posted by Lilliput
A low dose supplement would be fine at that stage. I found the Zukes Hip Treats to be high quality and cost effective and dose controlled for many years. (This is NOT the case with most "joint treats" on the market)


Lilliputian just got Zukes chewables, dose for 'small dogs 45 lb's and under' was 1 piece daily, so I split one piece for half. I couldnt find the calories. Ingredients look good.

Going to give Sophie her sardine with her Stella and chewy raw patty tomorrow happy :)
 Lilliput
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12/26/2013 11:09:21 PM reply with quote send message to Lilliput Object to Post

I've kept my 20lb dog on 1/day. At 1/day a large bag last 2 months And half a treat, you'll get 4 months. You may want to write the company and ask about splitting them, as like pills, something do not split well (ie, the supplement is not necessarily evenly distributed- so half might contain a mega dose, or a very small dose). although, over time, since she's getting each half, it would likely even out, just wouldn't necessarily be a uniform dose each day.
 griffin
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12/27/2013 3:40:05 AM reply with quote send message to griffin Object to Post

As long as they are homogeneous (all made of the same stuff not a shell with different filling) then the difference between two halves of the same treat will be the same as the difference between two treats because almost certainly they just make a huge vat of the dough and pour into huge baking trays to cook then cut it up into squares afterwards.

grif,
 Lilliput
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12/27/2013 3:41:02 PM reply with quote send message to Lilliput Object to Post

quote
posted by griffin
As long as they are homogeneous (all made of the same stuff not a shell with different filling) then the difference between two halves of the same treat will be the same as the difference between two treats because almost certainly they just make a huge vat of the dough and pour into huge baking trays to cook then cut it up into squares afterwards.

grif,

This is not necessarily true. You can not split HeartGuard chewable Treats because the company cannot guarantee the dose is consistent throughout. And to me, they look pretty much as you describe- that they made a big thing of dough, and cut it in chunks.
 
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12/28/2013 6:20:58 AM reply with quote send message to Object to Post edit post

quote
posted by Lilliput
This is not necessarily true. You can not split HeartGuard chewable Treats because the company cannot guarantee the dose is consistent throughout. And to me, they look pretty much as you describe- that they made a big thing of dough, and cut it in chunks.
That is technically true - they can't guarantee it. But guarantees are tricky things and because HeartGuard is an actual medicine there are specific legal requirements they have to pass for them to be able to officially say something. So even if mathematically/statistically 95% of the time splitting the treat would split the dose within a particular range if they haven't proven this to the regulatory they cannot say that.

Essentially when you make a big vat of dough to make the treats all the molecules of the ingredients are randomly distributed through them. Each treat is a random sample of this mixture with the sample size equal to the size of the treat. Cutting a treat in half is exactly the same as making a treat half the size of the original treat. Because of how random sampling works halving the sample size (halving size of the treat) will increase the variance of the dose by 40% -> Note: the original variance is really small if the dough is well mixed, so even with a 40% increase it is still really small.

Coming back to HeartGuard mathematically the small-dog treats (half the size of the medium-dog treats) would be equivalent to cutting a medium-dog treat exactly in half. But because the company has not passed the regulatory quality control tests for "cutting the medium-dog treats in half" they legally cannot say that "cutting the medium-dog treats in half" has the same dose as the small-dog treats.

For similar reasons I will say that you should always follow the directions on the pack for administering medicines because it is possible they do not use a big vat of stuff poured into multiple moulds or cut up into multiple treats, or they may use different manufacturing processes in the creation of different sized dog treats resulting in different variances between them.

But for supplements the regulations are much much looser since they are considered closer to 'food' rather than to 'medicine'. Nobody really knows what the appropriate dose is to get an effect anyway - since no effect has been conclusively proven, so it doesn't really matter how consistent the dose is within each treat.

grif,

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