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Joint problems in dogs and cats—what you may not know

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Does my dog need joint supplements?” and “Does my cat have pain from joint cartilage?” These are questions we see a lot in the pet parent world.

The truth is most dogs and cats will face joint pain at some point in their lives. That’s because the cartilage that cushions their joints erodes over time. Many factors cause wear and tear on joint cartilage. These factors range from serious conditions such as degenerative joint disease to one-time injuries to simply aging, among others. Whatever the catalyst is for your pet losing that necessary cartilage cushion, the effects are irreversible. Just like receding gums around your teeth, joint cartilage does not regenerate.

Luckily, your pet doesn’t have to run the gambit of joint problems caused by cartilage erosion. If you practice Proactive Pet Parenting your pet will be much better off in the long run. Proactive Pet Parenting means taking preventative measures today to avoid health problems further down the road.

Being informed about the common health risks your pet faces over her lifespan helps you prepare and prevent, rather than treat and relieve the pain caused by cartilage erosion. You can help your furry friend live a long and comfortable life just by being deliberate about their diet and watching for early signs of joint problems.

Preserve that precious cartilage and joint fluid by adding supplements to your dog’s or cat’s diet. As you look for joint supplements, it’s helpful to know which ingredients do the heavy lifting. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the main ingredients in both human and pet joint supplements.[1] They help by reducing joint inflammation and increasing water retention in the cartilage. That water helps cushion and protect the joints which, in turn, promotes quicker healing after injuries and greater longevity.

Joint Support Plus for Dogs and Joint Support Plus for Cats are options for all-in-one daily supplements for joint health. The formula is veterinarian-developed and glucosamine-based. Ingredients include glucosamine, green-lipped mussel, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid to promote thick, viscous joint fluid that absorbs concussion within the body or joints.

The formula also contains the herbs yucca, turmeric, corydalis and boswellia to maintain joint, bone and soft tissue health. Herbs help manage discomfort caused by normal, everyday activities.

Mobility is about more than just comfort. Being able to run, jump, and play will help maintain your pet’s heart health and buffer against depression and other health risks caused by inactivity. By preserving joint fluid for as long as possible, you will also avoid unnecessary surgeries later in your pet’s life.

To stay ahead of the game, look out for symptoms of trauma or joint disease that can accelerate cartilage erosion in your pet such as:

  • Limping

  • Decreased range of motion (or a stiff gate)

  • Crackling noises coming from the joints

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fever[2]


  1. Staff, AKC. “Osteoarthritis in Dogs - Signs and Treatment.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 26 May 2022

  2. Wag. “Metabolic Muscle Disease without Inflammation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost.” Metabolic Muscle Disease Without Inflammation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost, Wag!, 3 Feb. 2016


About the Author

Kristi Diaz MD

Kristi is a retired anesthesiologist who loves helping people take good care of their pets.


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