Published: December 2020 | Updated: July 2023
When considering dog joint supplements to promote joint health in your four-legged best friend, some ingredients on the label may sound intimidating and confusing.
If you attend a holistic veterinary seminar, you’ll be told to be wary of ingredients you don’t understand. But don’t fear this ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid (HA).
HA is a natural compound that is produced by the body itself and is commonly found in the skin, eyes, and synovial fluid in the joints. HA is often touted for skin health and used as a hip and joint supplement.
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Promote Overall Health?
Similar to other compounds in the body, as dogs age, they may become deficient in certain compounds. As your dog ages, their natural levels of hyaluronic acid can decrease, leading to joint disease such as osteoarthritis.
This is especially common in large breed dogs but can affect smaller breeds as well. Supplementing with hyaluronic acid can help replenish these levels, alleviating discomfort and improving mobility.
But the benefits of hyaluronic acid for dogs go beyond joint health. It's also excellent for their skin and coat. Just as it can help hydrate the joints, it also helps to hydrate the skin. This added hydration can lead to a shinier, healthier coat and can even alleviate skin issues caused by dryness or irritation.
Furthermore, some studies suggest that hyaluronic acid supplements can speed up wound healing. By promoting cell regeneration and providing a protective barrier against bacteria and infection, it can be a useful addition to your pet care toolkit.
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Promote Dog Joint Health?
HA plays a significant role in promoting joint health in dogs. It's a naturally occurring substance in the body and is a critical component of synovial fluid, the viscous liquid that cushions and lubricates joints. This lubrication reduces friction during movement, protecting the cartilage from wear and tear.
That being said, there are several different ways that hyaluronic acid can help improve joint health:
1) Attracting Water to the Synovial Fluid
HA, found naturally in the body, has a unique ability to retain and attract water, making it a vital component of synovial fluid, the substance that lubricates the joints. The hyaluronic acid molecules can bind and retain a large amount of water - up to a thousand times their own weight! This water-binding property is what gives synovial fluid its viscous, gel-like consistency.
In the joint cavity, the synovial fluid serves several functions. It reduces friction between the articular cartilage of synovial joints during movement, absorbs shock, and provides nutrients to the cartilage. The water-attracting property of hyaluronic acid is crucial in maintaining the lubrication and shock-absorbing characteristics of the synovial fluid.
This is the primary mode of action through which HA promotes joint health.
2) Stimulating the Growth and Development of New Cartilage
HA also plays a significant role in stimulating the growth and development of new cartilage and bone cells. HA is a crucial component of the extracellular matrix, a network of non-cellular components present within all tissues and organs, including cartilage and bone tissues.
It provides structural support for these cells and creates an optimal environment for cell growth. It helps cells proliferate and differentiate, which are crucial processes in the formation of new tissues. HA also contributes to the regulation of numerous cellular functions, including cell migration and adhesion, both of which are critical for tissue repair and regeneration.
3) Reducing Joint Pain and Inflammation
HA can help reduce joint pain and inflammation, which are common in dogs with arthritis. Beyond its lubricating properties, HA also plays a role in controlling inflammation. It does this by regulating the body's inflammatory response and aiding in the repair of damaged tissues.
When joints become inflamed due to injury, overuse, or conditions like osteoarthritis, the concentration of HA in the synovial fluid can decrease. This reduction can exacerbate the inflammation and associated pain. Supplementing with hyaluronic acid can bring your dog’s levels back to normal, reducing inflammation and thereby reducing your dog’s pain.
Does Hyaluronic Acid for Dogs Really Work?
HA is commonly used in humans and has been shown to improve joint health many times over, both when injected directly into the joint and when fed orally. Of course, if we can feed our dogs an oral version of hyaluronic acid, that would be the least invasive.
In dogs, research directly addressing this question is relatively new; however, the current research appears promising.
One study found that an oral supplement containing hyaluronic acid along with other joint-protective compounds decreased the clinical signs and symptoms of elbow dysplasia in young Labrador Retrievers. Intra-articular injection of HA has also been shown to decrease clinical signs associated with hip dysplasia. So, either way, there are benefits for your dog.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Safe for Dogs?
Because HA is an all-natural product that is already found in the animal’s body, it is considered extremely safe. Supplementing it just replenishes the levels already found within their bodies.
The study that provided an oral HA supplement to dogs reported no side effects.
The major adverse side effect sometimes associated with HA is related to joint injections, which always carry a certain amount of risk. However, the side effect in this case is not related to HA itself but rather to the administration procedure.
That’s why we said providing HA orally would be the least invasive. And, not only is it less invasive, but it’s safer.
To avoid unnecessary joint injections, oral supplementation with HA is both common and beneficial.
Overall, HA is a natural, safe, and effective ingredient in supplements for joint health in dogs.
Supplementing Hyaluronic Acid for Overall Well-Being
RocketDog’s Canine Cush contains HA derived from eggshell membrane, meaning it is all-natural and not produced in a lab. In addition to HA, Canine Cush provides other joint supportive ingredients such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, to name a few.
Canine Cush is a patented formula that is more bioavailable, meaning your dog is absorbing and using more of what you are paying to give them, and, in turn, you will have a healthier and happier pup!
Check out this potent anti-inflammatory canine joint supplement here. Your dog’s joint problems are bound to melt away!