This is article written by Jeff Coltenback, canine nutritionist.

Keeping pets healthy and happy is what I try to do on a daily basis. Every day I am afforded opportunities to help or educate pet owners and their pets on natural pet care. It’s my calling in life so to speak. It’s my passion. I always first promote proactive prevention for our pets. If a pet is healthy, is fed well, has adequate exercise, proper leadership, is not exposed to unnecessary toxins and lives in a healthy environment, offering natural supplements KEEPS that animal healthy.

Unfortunately, many of our pets will get sick or injured, as only “children” can. It happens. So, reacting to their body’s needs is important. Natural supplements available to us today are abundant. There are animal parts (organs, glands, tissue, etc) that play a role in immune support. There are natural herbs that help fight infection. And, there are plenty of whole food supplements that aid in reactive and proactive health. And, of course, there are plenty of supplements out there that support the skeletal and connective tissue components of a dog’s body. You may even take them yourself. So, let’s take a brief look.

One of the most common types of supplements I often recommend is related to joint health. Dogs, like us, benefit from dietary supplements that contain ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and/or Vitamin C. A joint supplement containing glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM is, in my opinion, most effective. Glucosamine is a precursor to a major component of joint cartilage and connective tissue and can help degenerative conditions both reactively and proactively. Chondroitin is also a major component of cartilage. MSM, or Methylsulfonylmethane, is widely used for its reported efficacy as an anti-inflammatory agent. Aiding the dog’s body in controlling inflammation is crucial to recovery. There are also more and more joint supplements nowadays available in herbal form. The decision of which type and how much to use is best discussed with your Veterinarian or pet professional. This short article is not conducive to in-depth analysis. I will, however, offer that I prefer liquid forms of glucosamine/joint supplements. Many health professionals have cited the fact that liquid is more easily absorbed by the body. But, I have seen similar effectiveness from pills and joint chew treats. As for dosage of joint supplements, most commercial products have recommended servings listed on the packaging. I often recommend higher doses; of course you should always consult a professional if you are going to increase dosage.

For example, a recommended dose for my nine year old, 50lb Pit Bull is 750mg a day. Yet, I often give her up to 5200mgs a day depending on what her body is telling me. If she has an unusual period of activity, I may load her on this dose for a week or so (proactively). Then I drop down to a maintenance dose of 3000mg (spilt between morning and night). On normal, maintenance servings, she gets about 1500mg a day (twice the recommended dose). As pets age, they may need more or less for their specific situation and health status – just like humans. Depending on the breed and size of a dog, I will recommend starting them on a joint supplement at a certain age. For the purpose of this article, I will be general. For healthy dogs, I recommend starting them on a joint support regimen once they reach 5 years of age. If they are large breeds or have a history of joint problems, I may start them sooner. One of the most important aspects of a supplement regimen is that each owner trusts their own intuition as to what their pet needs. But, proper diet along with a natural supplement protocol is a great alternative to reactive or conventional methods of pet care.

Jeff Coltenback, founder Paradise Pet
specializing in nutrition and behavior
48 West Passaic ave, Bloomfield, nj 07003

A picture from the photo shoot for our upcoming performance. Jeff’s the one in the middle with a mouth-full of wood.

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