First things first: we get it. It can seem hard to justify spending money on preventative joint supplements for your dog when your dog doesn’t have joint problems (yet!). But we’re here to convince you: it’s more than worth it, for both of you.
First, take into consideration the fact that it’s been estimated that over 90% of dogs develop arthritis in their senior years. And if they’re a larger breed, highly active, or overweight, this percentage goes up even more. This means that if they don’t already, your dog is very likely to have joint issues at some point in their life.
Not only do joint issues mean pain, discomfort, and loss of quality of life for your beloved pet, they can also mean lots of money coming out of your pocket. And we mean lots.
The cost of long-term prescription pain management medications adds up over time, and dog joint surgeries can cost literally thousands of dollars. And when you see your sweet dog suffering, unable to run and jump and play, you know you’ll pay whatever it costs to make them feel better.
Luckily, preventative joint supplements are here to help.
How Preventative Joint Supplements Work
The #1 thing you need to know about canine joint supplements is they provide the most benefits before symptoms appear.
Quality joint supplements are an essential component of canine joint care, providing nutrients to keep cartilage and joints strong and flexible, and keep inflammation down. In short, by giving your pup a supplement before they’re in desperate need of one, you’ll greatly reduce the probability that your dog will develop an issue that requires you to fork out large sums of money for pain meds and/or surgery.
How Quality Joint Supplements Save You Money
Notice a key word above: quality. The vast ocean of canine joint supplement on the market can be tough to navigate, but the truth is that most of the cheaper options simply don’t work.
Quality preventative supplements provide active ingredients that make sure your dog’s body is consistently producing enough of the essential proteins that build and strengthen joints – something it’s able to do less and less on its own as your dog ages, which is what leads to joint issues like arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, etc. In addition, anti-inflammatory ingredients help keep chronic inflammation at bay, which is the #1 enemy of healthy joints.
When comparing canine joint supplements, if you pay attention to the amount of the active ingredients (such as glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin), you’ll notice the cheaper options often contain significantly less quantities of the active ingredients. Less active ingredients equal less results.
Also, how the supplement is processed matters, as heat destroys nutrients. Cold-pressed methods in inflammation-fighting supplements like omega-3s can be more expensive (leading to a higher-priced product), but it means the nutrients are more potent and more bioavailable to your dog. Again, your dog’s body won’t be able to use the nutrients if it can’t absorb them.
The reason we’re telling you this is to make it clear that it’s worth it to pay a bit more money for a quality joint supplement that actually works. The only way you’ll save money in the long run (by avoiding pain meds and/or joint surgery) is to choose a supplement that does what it says it’s going to.
The Real Price of Canine Pain Meds
When your dog develops a chronic joint disease like arthritis, one of the first things your veterinarian will probably do is prescribe a prescription pain management medication. These medications are effective at helping to relieve pain, and your veterinarian, of course, would do this with your beloved dog’s best interests at heart, but let’s explore why it would be so beneficial (for both you and your pup) if these meds could be avoided in the first place.
Take, for example, one of the common pain management medications prescribed for canine arthritis, called Tramadol. Tramadol is an opioid that acts similarly to morphine, blocking the specific parts of the brain that sense pain and increasing serotonin levels, providing some relief. The usual dose in dogs is 0.45-1.8 mg/lb of pet’s weight given by mouth every 8-12 hours.
The dosage would vary (your veterinarian would take into account several factors to provide your unique dog with a specific dosage), but to give you an idea of how much Tramadol would cost you, let’s say you had a 50lb dog that was prescribed .75mg of Tramadol every 12 hours, which would be about one and half 50mg tablets every 24 hours. At around $1 per pill, this would cost you about $550 per year. If you keep this up for even as little as 2 years, you’ve already spent over $1,000.
Keep in mind that these pain medications only treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause. Imagine if you could put this money towards natural supplements that would help prevent the symptoms in the first place and could save your dog unnecessary pain and suffering. Plus, prescription pain meds are passed through your dog’s liver and kidneys, which puts strain on these organs and can cause damage over time.
They also come with a list of nasty potential side effects. While most dogs handle Tramadol, for example, quite well, side effects can include anxiety, tremors, constipation, loss of appetite, upset stomach, vomiting and/or diarrhea, and more – something you wouldn’t have to worry about with preventative supplements.
Joint Surgery: What It Really Costs
Another step that’s often necessary with severe joint disease in dogs is surgery, and that’s definitely going to cost you. To drive this point home even more, we’ve rounded up 3 of the most common joint surgeries. Let’s take a look at what they are, what they cost, and how you can avoid them using preventative supplements.
Total Joint Replacement
The surgery: Total Joint Replacement. Elbow and hip replacements for dogs are intensive surgeries which require a long recovery time (approximately 1-2 months).
The cost: $5,000-$6,500
The preventative solution: Flexerna. This omega supplement contains powerful inflammation-fighting ingredients to help prevent and slow inflammation that contributes to arthritis and dysplasia. Flexerna is cold-processed in a way that the nutrients remain intact and bioavailable to your dog.
TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy)
The surgery: A popular surgery that changes the dynamics of your dog’s knee after a torn ACL.
Why your dog would need it: Torn ACL. Because of the way your dog’s knee is formed, the ACL inside the knee joint is always load-bearing, meaning it always has tension on it. This makes this ligament the most susceptible to injury. In fact, injury to this ligament is hands-down the most common orthopedic injury in dogs.
The cost: $3,500-$5,500
The preventative solution: GlycanAid. This maintenance formula contains essential active ingredients to maintain normal healthy cartilage and joint function, strong bones, and joint mobility – helping joints handle stress and tension to prevent injury.
FHO (Femural Head Osteotomy)
The surgery: This is the surgical removal of the head and neck of the femur. In simpler terms, it is the removal of the “ball” part of the ball-and-socket that makes up the hip joint.
The cost: $1,200-$2,500
The preventative solution: GlycanAid HA. Formulated for dogs needing the maximum degree of joint support, GlycanAid HA contains the highest-quality ingredients to help maintain normal healthy cartilage and joint function. This includes hyaluronic acid, which has been proven to serve as a lubricant and shock absorber in the synovial fluid – meaning it helps ball-and-socket joints continue to function effectively.
Here’s the bottom line: Joint problems are so common in dogs, being proactive about joint health is essential, and the time to start supplementing is now. Not only will you save yourself money in the long run, you’ll also save your furry best friend a world of pain and ensure they live their best life for as long as possible.