German Shepherds are surely one of the most energetic, intelligent and loyal breeds you can own. Unfortunately, some breeds are often affected by joint problems and hip or elbow dysplasia, where the bones do not fit properly in the socket and allow a much greater range of movement than is appropriate.
However, there are a number of joint supplements for German Shepherds that can help limit and slow the pain or problems they face as a result. Along with good vet advice and treatments such as medication, supplements can also help to build up supporting muscles, improve cell growth, and reduce inflammation that can often cause pain, allowing sore dogs to move more, building up the muscles around their joints. Supplements can also slow the degeneration of joints. With a little understanding of what supplements are available, you can help your German Shepherd enjoy their exercise long into their senior years!
When it comes to joint health, every smart owner of German Shepherds will have Glucosamine at the top of their list. It’s made up of glucose (sugar) and glutamine (an amino acid) and it’s needed to support healthy joint function. Glucosamine contributes to the synovial fluid in joints, which helps to keep them lubricated and running smoothly. Glucosamine supplements for dogs are also used to build and repair cartilage. The cartilage found at the end of bones and within joints – articular cartilage – allows the joint to move smoothly and effectively.
The power of Glucosamine together with Chondroitin
For the best possible dog joint health support, Glucosamine works best in conjunction with Chondroitin Sulphate, with both supplements having greater effect on joint health when used together.
Not only does Hyaluronic Acid help ease inflammation and pain caused by joint issues in dogs, but it is well known to aid the growth and development of cartilage between joints. It can grow new cells and tissues, so whilst even degenerative, hereditary forms of joint problems can continue to develop, a supplement containing Hyaluronic Acid is working all the time to help replace what has been lost. Also, there are supplements that combine Hyaluronic Acid with other important ingredients like Chondroitin Sulphate and Glucosamine, which offers your German Shepherd the best possible support against joint problems. In fact, this combination is one of the best joint supplements for German Shepherds available.
MSM is an antioxidant and cell rejuvenator which can help build and preserve cartilage, reduce inflammation and support joint function. This is especially important for any good hip and joint supplements for German Shepherds.
You will hopefully be giving your dog a diet that has plenty of Vitamin C already. Found in plenty of vegetables, this vitamin is an important antioxidant and can help reduce joint inflammation. Dogs have already got plenty of Vitamin C in their own livers, but if they suffer from joint issues, there are plenty of hip & joint supplements for German Shepherds that contain it.
As with Vitamin C, all good quality dog foods should contain plenty of Vitamin E. This vitamin plays an important role in the limitation of cellular injury, which is a key feature of hereditary joint conditions. Found in fish oil, leafy greens and vegetables, Vitamin E can slow the progress of joint issues, provided it is taken in the right quantities. For this reason, it’s worth talking to your vet before adding it to your German Shepherd's diet.
There have been plenty of studies that demonstrate how Omega-3 fatty acids can benefit brain function and skin health, as well as limit the symptoms of many diseases and conditions, such as joint stiffness and discomfort. These fatty acids increase blood flow and are very important anti-inflammatories, crucial to controlling joint pain in German Shepherds. Unlike Vitamin C, it is not a naturally occurring acid in mammals and is often derived from fish oils. Hopefully, your dog's diet will already contain either artificially added or naturally occurring Omega-3, but there are plenty of dog supplements available which contain them, as well.
*Beale, Brian S; Use of nutraceuticals & chondroprotectants in osteoarthritic dogs &cats; Vet Clin Small Anim 34 (2004) 271–289
The information in this article was checked by ZamiPet Veterinarian and General Manager Dr Andrew McKay, BVSc, University of Melbourne, 2000. Vet Registration No: V3985
Disclaimer: This information is general advice only. Before starting any treatment or supplement with your pet, please consult your vet first for the best approach to getting your pet back to their best health.