What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the body, made from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan, a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. As we age, though, the production of glucosamine is slowed down.
Why should I supplement with Glucosamine? What are the Benefits?
Supplementing with glucosamine helps the body make collagen and proteoglycans which are important in making a rebuilding the joints as well as supporting the synovial fluids which is what lubricates their joints. Glucosamine is a great product to use on older pets that have joint or muscle pains, any pets with an injury, or to reduce inflammation in joints and muscles.
What type of Glucosamine is best?
Glucosamine is available in two forms; a powder form and a pill form. Depending on your preference and what is easy for you to feed to your four legged friend, it usually doesn’t make a huge difference what way you buy it. Powder form normally the best way as you can sprinkle it onto their food and it will virtually taste no difference to the animal. There are different types of Glucosamine to be aware of though. Finding pure glucosamine is nearly impossible as it breaks down rapidly when it is exposed to moisture or air. To avoid this, glucosamine needs to be bound with a stabilizer in order for it to be sold commercially. The sulfate and the HCL forms are the most common way of doing this. Unfortunately, companies have started replacing 30% of the glucosamine with table salt in order to keep costs down (so that they can sell it to us at a cheaper rate). But this isn’t making it any cheaper for the consumer nor is it solving the problem. Always look into a product BEFORE purchasing, read the ingredients and compare! If a product seems “too good to be true for THAT price” then it usually is.
How much do I feed?
When feeding glucosamine there are a lot of factors to consider when trying to figure out how much exactly you should feed – much like our raw diet! Every pet is so different and has very different needs. You will never find an identical animal! A good rule of thumb for feeding glucosamine is to always go by the body weight. For every 25lbs the pet will need 500mg. Usually once you have started using glucosamine that is a sign that body has either stopped producing it or is unable to produce and store it. Pets generally need to be on glucosamine for the rest of their lives, because cartilage degeneration can recur within months of stopping the supplement. Glucosamine is known to be a supplement you cannot overdose with so do not be alarmed if you find you have been feeding too much (or not enough). Finding the right balance may take a bit of time. Take to your Vet to discuss how much you should be feeding and how often.
Do I need to supplement with Glucosamine if I feed a raw diet?
The simple and short answer is no. IF you are feeding a raw balanced diet with bone-in meat, organs and some veggies tossed in then generally speaking you will not have to supplement with glucosamine. There are many naturally occurring and reliable sources of glucosamine in the connective tissue and bone marrow of animals – and in shellfish exoskeletons. Although there are still things that happen in life that we have no control over (such as injuries or aging or genetics) that will pay a toll on your pets body where glucosamine may be needed to supplement with. Feeding raw will still help with the recovery of the body and be adding glucosamine as it is but please check with your vet to make sure it is sufficient enough for your pet.