The use of joint supplements containing Chondroitin and/or Glucosamine along with other ingredients has become very common recently, both for humans and for pets. There are lots of products on the market, with different combinations of ingredients in different amounts and different doses. Part of the reason for this is that the products are food supplements not drugs and are unregulated with little conclusive research into the benefits and risks. Some people (and animals!) seem to do very well on them and for some they make no difference.
Chondroitin is part of normal cartilage and it also helps maintain normal synovial fluid (joint lubricating fluid). It can be natural (from shark, squid or cow cartilage) or be made artificially.
Glucosamine exists as the hydrochloride or sulphate. It is used to make cartilage and helps it act as a shock absorber. The hydrochloride is the higher quality, it is the more pure and stable source. It is naturally occurring, and can be harvested from farmed shellfish making it environmentally friendly. The sulphate is made in a laboratory and often has salt added to it to aid stability, not a good thing for any animal with high blood pressure or at risk of kidney disease. For any 1 gram of Glucosamine there will be 25% less of it in the sulphate rather than the hydrochloride.
In addition there may be other additives;
Vitamin C helps to produce cartilage,
Zinc helps with healing and synthesis of collagen,
Boswelia is an anti-inflammatory substance that also helps maintain smooth joint movement.
On top of all of this, you must also bear in mind whatever else is in the product such as gelatin in a capsule or flavouring in tablets etc.
Usually these products are very safe, some stomach upsets and allergy to the ingredients have been reported.
At Withy Grove we stock two products, both are very pure and specifically made for pets and both are at very competitive prices (a 22kg dog can be treated for only 22p a day!).