Natural Joint Health for Dogs and Cats

Written by: Dr. Jean Hofve, Holistic Veterinarian, DVM

Joint discomfort is on the rise in both dogs and cats, especially as obesity grows in pets as well. However, many pets afflicted with joint issues don't receive appropriate care, reducing their quality of life.

Stress, excess weight, poor diet, and genetic predisposition can all contribute to unsupported joints. Thankfully, there are effective options available, but there can be significant differences among them. This article will help you determine what options available and which ones are best for your pet.

When the Supported Joint Becomes Unsupported

In healthy conditions, the natural joint building blocks, cartilage and synovial fluid, reduce friction and act as a shock absorber. The body makes these joint building blocks normally by producing glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs.

These GAGs consist of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. In the unsupported joint, natural production of these joint building blocks is no longer maintained. Your pet's body is unable to keep up with the demand for these building blocks, resulting in joint discomfort and decreased mobility.

Common Signs of Unsupported Joints

Pet guardians can easily recognize signs of unsupported joints in their dog or cat. For dogs, one might notice decreased endurance, stiffness following activities, inability to jump into the car or onto furniture, hesitation getting up, difficulty with stairs, and stumbles or "bunny hops".

Cats tend to show signs of joint discomfort by reducing grooming, due to discomfort when twisting or turning. Cat parents may also notice long and overgrown toenails, since scratching hurts the toes and feet. Also, joints may be swollen and seem uncomfortable when touched.

Joint Support for Dogs & Cats

Natural joint support for dogs and cats, used alone or in tandem with your vet's medical recommendations, can help support your pet's joint health. Natural options support the body's ability to maintain joint building blocks, like glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.

This is what the pet’s body would provide in a healthy situation. Complete natural alternatives also provide select ingredients such as herbs to support circulation, maintain a healthy inflammation response, and support immune health. This allows the body to maintain healthy joints.

Natural Support Alternatives

Joint Building Blocks

Glucosamine and Mucopolysaccharides (Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Hyaluronic Acid)

Healthy Inflammation Response

Yucca, Black Cohosh, Cayenne, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)


Turmeric, Ginger, Devil’s Claw, Alfalfa, Vitamin C

Circulatory Support

Nettle, Celery Seed

Non-complete vs. Complete Supplements

If a dog or cat receives an incomplete formula, containing only glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate, maintenance of the joint is enabled but the support of the pet is not optimized because these ingredients alone do not address your pet's healthy inflammation response.

That is why it is better to give your pet a complete formula supplement that combines the joint building blocks with ingredients to support a healthy inflammation response, support circulation, and maintain cellular health.

Additional Resources