Dogs experience joint pain, stiffness, and aches just like people do, and owners search for solutions to help alleviate their dogs’ pain. This discomfort can limit their mobility, prevent them from enjoying their favorite activities, and ultimately impact their quality of life. Even simple actions like jumping on the couch or walking up the stairs can become difficult for dogs with joint disease, which is often upsetting for pet owners. While any dog can experience joint pain, large- and giant-breed dogs are particularly prone to developing orthopedic disease.
Most joint diseases cannot be cured, but there are several options available for management. These include surgery, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and supplements. Treatment will depend on what is causing your dog’s joint pain. One joint supplement that your veterinarian may suggest is YuMOVE, the official joint supplement of the American Kennel Club, but what is YuMOVE and what does it do?
Common Joint Diseases in Dogs
Dogs can suffer from various orthopedic diseases, with a few of them being more common than others.
Also sometimes called “degenerative joint disease,” osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to deteriorate. This can happen due to repetitive stress, injury, infection, genetics, or the normal aging processes. The loss of this protective cushion results in progressively worsening pain and inflammation of the joint.
Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia of the hip or elbow joint occurs most commonly in large and giant breed dogs, though other breeds can be affected. Dysplasia is a conformation abnormality of the affected joint, resulting in decreased range of motion, lameness, and deterioration of the joint. While hip and elbow dysplasia are typically hereditary, factors such as obesity and improper nutrition can speed the progression of the disease.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is a disease of young, rapidly growing large-breed dogs. OCD occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joint becomes abnormally thickened. The abnormal cartilage is weak and easily damaged by normal activity, and can form flaps or even detach from the underlying bone entirely. This causes pain, inflammation, and lameness.
Patellar luxation is the medical term for dislocation of the kneecap. This is a common condition in small-breed dogs, but can occur in large breeds as well. In mild cases, the dog may skip or hop on three legs for a few steps until the kneecap returns to its normal position. In severe cases, the dog may carry the leg permanently flexed, and this abnormal gait can also predispose them to other orthopedic problems.
Treating Joint Pain in Dogs
Treating orthopedic disease in dogs typically requires a multimodal approach. Depending on the type of joint disease, your veterinarian may recommend options such as:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Changes in diet and exercise regimen
- Physical therapy
- Joint supplements
- A combination of all of the above
What Is YuMOVE?
YuMOVE is a supplement that promotes joint health in dogs and cats. According to the manufacturer, its formula is designed to support the natural inflammatory response, ease stiffness, and promote mobility.
YuMOVE is composed of five key ingredients:
- ActivEase® green-lipped mussel (containing natural chondroitin)
- Vitamins C and E
- Hyaluronic acid
YuMOVE joint supplements come in both tablet and soft chew form, as well as senior, young, and active formulations. Your veterinarian can help you determine which formula is best for your dog.
Why Should My Dog Take Joint Supplements?
Nutritional joint supplements can help manage pain, reduce inflammation, and promote joint health. Research suggests that these supplements may be as effective as NSAIDs in the management of chronic osteoarthritis. They are safe to give in conjunction with other medications such as NSAIDs, providing an excellent option for additional treatment of canine orthopedic diseases.
Unlike other commonly used pain relief medications, joint supplements can also useful for the prevention of joint disease. Senior dogs can benefit from glucosamine supplementation in the same way humans do. In senior dogs, the protective layer of cartilage between bones begins to wear away, which can lead to osteoarthritis. Similarly, highly active young dogs — such as canine athletes or sporting dogs — can also benefit from supplements that promote joint health. These dogs put a great deal of strain on their joints, causing damage to the cartilage and predisposing them to joint disease. Nutritional supplementation with glucosamine helps prevent cartilage breakdown and stimulate healthy joint function.
Side Effects of Joint Supplements
Joint supplements like YuMOVE are safe for most dogs. According to the manufacturer, all YuMOVE products are natural, and therefore can be used in conjunction with most prescription-only medicines in consult with your veterinarian. While joint supplements are generally considered very safe for dogs, it is important to contact your veterinarian prior to starting any new medications or supplements for your dog. If you notice any changes in your pet after taking these kinds of products, such as vomiting, diarrhea, different behavior, or allergic reaction, stop giving the supplement and contact your veterinarian immediately.
How Does YuMOVE Compare to Other Joint Supplements?
Green-lipped mussel contains ultra-high levels of joint-soothing ingredients—most importantly, omega-3s. These compounds quickly start working to support the natural inflammatory response, as well as begin to multiply the omega-3 fatty acids naturally found within a dog’s joints. The ActivEase® green-lipped mussel used in YuMOVE’s products is sustainably sourced from select bays in New Zealand, vacuum-extracted without the use of heat processing, and rigorously tested for sufficient levels of over 40 different fatty acids. The brand uses only the top 2% of the world’s green-lipped mussel for its joint supplements. YuMOVE combines their proprietary ActivEase green-lipped mussel with other joint health support ingredients including glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and manganese. Any of these ingredients on their own in a dog joint supplement can provide certain levels of benefit, but together they create a powerhouse of mobility support.
There are many different canine joint supplements available on the market. Because every dog is different, it is best to contact your veterinarian prior to choosing a joint supplement for your dog. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best option based on your dog’s unique needs. This is also an excellent opportunity to discuss any other measures you can take to improve your dog’s joint health over the course of their life.
How to Buy YuMOVE for Dogs
YuMOVE canine joint supplements are available online directly from the YuMOVE website or through pet supply retailers like Chewy and Amazon. Consult your veterinarian about the proper YuMOVE formulation and dosage for your dog before you buy YuMOVE online. You can also visit YuMOVE.com for a trial pack. Remember that YuMOVE or any joint supplement is not a replacement for appropriate veterinary care. Dogs with joint disease often need multimodal therapy and frequent follow-up to ensure they remain comfortable and active. Your veterinarian will help you determine the best treatment plan for your dog’s individual needs.
Preventing Joint Disease
Preventive health care is important for all dogs, and it is especially important for large are giant breeds that are predisposed to joint disease. Regular checkups with your veterinarian will ensure that potential problems — such as obesity or an improper diet — are caught early before they contribute to the development of joint disease. Annual physical examinations also detect subtle signs of pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the joints, which are often early indicators of orthopedic problems.
The best way to prevent and manage joint disease at home is to ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight. According to the Tufts Clinical Nutrition Service, earlier onset of osteoarthritis is just one of several ways obesity can harm your pet’s health. If your dog is overweight, your veterinarian can help you develop a diet and exercise plan that will allow your dog to lose the excess weight safely.