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Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

Arthritis is a common condition in pets, but it can be managed and prevented to minimize pain and discomfort. As a pet owner, it's important to recognize the subtle signs of this degenerative disease so you can provide early intervention and reduce further damage.

What Causes Arthritis in Dogs and Cats?

Arthritis in dogs and cats can result from stress or trauma to joints, congenital defects like hip dysplasia, and infections that affect joint tissues. The cartilage in these joints can wear away faster than it can regenerate, exposing the bone beneath and causing swelling and inflammation. As the elastic tissues of the joint become stiffer and calcium deposits form, movement becomes painful.

How to Tell if My Dog Has Arthritis

Pets often hide pain and discomfort, so by the time they are visibly limping or whining, joint degeneration may be quite advanced. Look for subtle changes such as increased weight gain, more sleeping, less interest in playing, and changes in attitude or alertness. If you notice these signs, consult your veterinarian for the best course of action.

Cat and Dog Arthritis Treatment

There are several ways to help manage your pet’s arthritis:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Keeping your pet at a healthy weight reduces stress and friction on the joints, improving mobility.

  • Provide Comfortable Bedding: Let your pet sleep on a soft, warm surface to alleviate arthritis pain.

  • Nutraceutical Supplements: Certain supplements contain ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) that can help manage arthritis. While benefits may take a few weeks to months to appear, they can significantly improve mobility and attitude without the side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Glucosamine for Dogs and Cats

Glucosamine is a natural compound involved in the production of joint lubricants and shock absorption, essential for maintaining healthy cartilage and joint function. It helps stimulate the building blocks of cartilage and inhibits the production of enzymes that break it down. Additionally, glucosamine plays a role in the formation of nails, tendons, skin, eyes, synovial fluid, bone, ligaments, heart valves, and proteins associated with cellular growth and structure.

Chondroitin Sulfate for Dogs and Cats

Chondroitin sulfate is commonly used in combination with glucosamine for arthritic joints. It aids in the repair of damaged connective tissues, keeps cartilage from dehydrating, and protects existing cartilage from premature breakdown. While pets produce chondroitin sulfate naturally, providing supplements that include methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can help the body produce its own chondroitin.

MSM for Dogs and Cats

MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a dietary source of sulfur derived from DMSO. Studies have shown that osteoarthritic joints have lower sulfur content than normal joints, so supplementing with sulfur can help slow joint deterioration. MSM is rapidly absorbed by the body and can be an effective part of arthritis management.

For more information and resources on managing arthritis in your pets, visit

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