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Natural sources of chondroitin for dogs

Published: January 2021 | Updated: July 2023

In the world of joint supplements, chondroitin sulfate is a common ingredient utilized in supplements to promote dog joint health. But is this ingredient really beneficial for Fido?  

Let’s back up a bit first. 

What is Chondroitin Sulfate?

Chondroitin sulfate is a naturally occurring substance found in the body, mainly in the cartilage that cushions the joints. In addition to being found in the joints, it serves as a building block of connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, bone, cartilage, and skin. This means that chondroitin sulfate is a natural part of the dog’s body and these supportive structures.

Chondroitin is a complex carbohydrate that helps cartilage retain water, promoting elasticity and resistance to pressure, and is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to slow the breakdown of cartilage. 

As part of the body's connective tissues, chondroitin is vital for joint health. With age or due to certain conditions, the body's chondroitin production can decrease, leading to stiff and painful joints. As a result, chondroitin sulfate is often included as a key ingredient in dietary supplements to support joint health in our dogs.

Is Chondroitin Good for Dogs?

As dogs age, their body slows down the production of cartilage and its components, including chondroitin sulfate. You may notice that your older dog becomes stiffer, has a harder time getting up, walking up stairs, even getting into the car, and they may not be as willing to run and play as much as they did when they were puppies, and this is why. 

Additionally, some dogs may be genetically predisposed to degenerative joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis, which cause further damage to joints. Supplementing your dog with chondroitin sulfate can help provide the building blocks for cartilage production and help prevent further damage and reduce the risk of joint pain, so they can move easier and more comfortably. 

Is Chondroitin Sulfate Safe for Dogs?

Most commonly, chondroitin sulfate is provided as an oral supplement, either in tablet form or as a soft chew, in combination with glucosamine

As an oral supplement, chondroitin sulfate has been shown to be bioavailable to dogs which means their body is able to absorb the supplement well. Overall, chondroitin for dogs has no side effects and is considered to be very safe.

So, Does It Work?

According to veterinarians, clinical evidence supports the use of chondroitin sulfate in dogs.  Unfortunately, there haven’t been many good-quality research studies done regarding the use of chondroitin sulfate in dogs, likely due to the lack of consistency of forms and concentrations of chondroitin utilized in research. 

However, due to its safety and extensive clinical evidence, chondroitin sulfate is considered a beneficial joint supplement for dogs.

Natural Sources of Chondroitin

There are natural sources of chondroitin and other compounds beneficial to your dog’s overall health. Here are a few ways to supplement your dog’s diet, although you should still consider a high-quality supplement, designed specifically for joint health. 

Green-Lipped Mussels

Native to New Zealand, green-lipped mussels are one of the best natural sources of chondroitin. They also contain other beneficial compounds like omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine. Green-lipped mussel powder can be mixed into your dog's food; always follow the recommended dosage on the product packaging. Alternatively, if you would rather have a more natural form of green-lipped mussels, you can find them air-dried at natural pet treat companies. 

Poultry Feet

Chicken and turkey feet are excellent natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine. They are also packed with:

  • Protein: Poultry feet are a good source of protein, which is vital for muscle development and repair.
  • Collagen: Poultry feet are rich in collagen, a protein that supports skin, coat, and joint health.
  • Calcium and Phosphorus: These minerals are essential for strong bones and teeth.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This is another compound beneficial for joint health.
  • Trace Minerals: Poultry feet also contain trace minerals like zinc and magnesium.

They can be fed raw or dehydrated as part of a balanced diet. Always ensure that any raw food is fresh and handled properly to prevent bacterial contamination.

Trachea

Beef trachea isn't just a tasty treat for your dog; it's also packed with chondroitin. Like poultry feet, trachea contains high-quality protein, collagen, trace minerals, and hyaluronic acid. 

Trachea can be served raw or dried and is available in many pet stores and online. Again, when handling and serving raw foods, always observe proper food hygiene practices.

Bone Broth

Bone broth, made by slowly simmering bones and joint parts over a long period of time, is rich in chondroitin, glucosamine, and other beneficial compounds. Adding bone broth to your dog's diet can be as simple as pouring some over their regular food.

And, in addition to supporting joint health, bone broth has the following benefits:

  • Digestive Health: The gelatin in bone broth can help support a healthy gut lining, promoting better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Liver Detoxification: Bone broth contains the amino acid glycine, which supports the liver's detoxification process.
  • Immune System Boost: The rich nutrient profile of bone broth can help to strengthen your dog's immune system.
  • Hydration: Bone broth can be a good source of hydration, especially for dogs that aren't great water drinkers.
  • Appetite Stimulation: For picky eaters or dogs that are unwell, bone broth can make food more appealing and encourage them to eat.
  • Nutrient Absorption: The nutrients in bone broth are highly bioavailable, meaning they are easy for your dog's body to absorb and use.
  • Weight Management: Bone broth is a low-calorie yet nutrient-dense addition to your dog's diet, which can support weight management efforts.

A Veterinarian-Formulated Supplement

While natural sources of chondroitin are beneficial to your dog’s health, they are not as bioavailable as a supplement. RocketDog’s Canine Cush is veterinarian-formulated and provides a 100% natural and bioavailable source of chondroitin sulfate to add to your dog’s high quality diet. 

In combination with glucosamine and hyaluronic acid, the chondroitin sulfate in Canine Cush can help promote dog joint health and improve your pet’s quality of life, ensuring you can spend many years with them by your side. 

A Combined Effort for Optimal Health

By combining a high-quality supplement like Canine Cush with a healthy diet with natural sources of beneficial compounds, you can give your dog the best chance at optimal health, reduced joint pain, and improved mobility. These compounds will work together to reduce inflammation and prevent further degeneration of the joints. 

Read More:

Chondroitin Sulfate in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

The Bioavailability and Pharmacokinetics of Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin Sulfate After Single and Multiple Doses to Beagle Dogs

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Use in Canines for Osteoarthritis

Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis