a dog running agility

What Are the Best Agility Dog Supplements for Joints?

Agility can be an amazing activity for you and your dog, but you also need to protect them from possible injury. Agility dog supplements that are bioavailable, contain safe and effective ingredients, and are manufactured under the strictest quality standards will support your dog’s joints and help prevent injury. 6 minute read

I started doing agility with my Australian Kelpie Django about a year ago, and we both absolutely love it. It’s a lot of fun to observe dog agility, but it’s even more fun to participate with your dog.

labrador in agility course

Agility is a great exercise for your dog! It reduces boredom, reinforces good behavior, and strengthens the bond between the handler and the dog. After countless hours of training, you become a team!

So, are there any downsides to agility? Unfortunately, yes: injuries.

What Causes Agility-Related Dog Injuries?

To better understand how the mentally and physically demanding sport of dog agility can affect your dog, let’s look at the average challenges each dog faces in the sport. Most courses have fifteen to twenty physical tasks (jumps, weaves, seesaws, etc.) that require the following actions:
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Climbing
  • Weaving
  • Balancing
  • Quick turns
  • Rapid descents
  • Abrupt stops/starts
The judges give the dog and the handler points for both accuracy and time. Since the goal is to get it all done as fast as possible, it’s no surprise that agility-related injuries are common.
a border collie is running agility course

A survey in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association listed the different types of agility-associated injuries and how often they occurred. A second report within the same journal also identified the various risk factors for those injuries.

They surveyed 1,669 handlers of 3,801 agility dogs around the world and asked them about the cause and nature of their dogs’ injuries.

Here’s what they found:

  • Around one-third (31.8%) of the dogs experienced agility-related injuries.
  • Just over a quarter of the injured dogs (27.6%) suffered more than one agility-related injury.
  • Soft tissue strains, sprains, and bruising were the most frequently reported injuries.
  • The toes, neck, back, and shoulders were the most affected areas.
  • 50.5% of the injuries were mild (recovery required less than one month).
  • 44.6% were severe injuries (recovery required two months or longer).
  • Problems navigating bar jumps, A-frames, and dog walk obstacles were common causes of injuries.
  • Dogs were at an increased risk of injury if they had a prior history of injuries or related issues.
If your dog gets injured, it is crucial to find a veterinary professional that has had experience treating dogs with agility-related conditions.
a small dog running agility

How to Avoid Agility Injuries in Your Dog

Of course, the best thing for your dog is to avoid the injuries in the first place. Agility handlers look towards science to support their dogs (both competing and retired) and do so regularly.

As we can see in the survey mentioned above, performance dogs tend to have more “wear and tear” since the sport places intense and recurring strain on their joints.

That’s why high-quality joint supplements may not only help in the prevention of injuries and osteoarthritis but also slow and minimize the progression once osteoarthritis has developed.

dog running through agility tunnel

If you search for “sport dog supplements” or “dog joint supplements,” you’ll find dozens of options to choose from. So how’s a pet parent to know what’s the best choice for their pup?

How to Choose the Best Sport Dog Supplement

First off, it’s important to know that agility dog supplements are considered nutraceuticals, not pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals are medicines you might get prescribed by a doctor or purchase over the counter. A nutraceutical is “any substance that is a food or part of a food and provides medical or health benefits.”
Best agility dog joint supplements pin

That difference makes a pet parents’ supplement decision even harder since it means there is no federal regulation on the production and manufacturing of nutraceuticals. Without federal regulation, it’s vitally important for pet parents to make sure their agility dog supplement meets the highest standards of purity and quality.

Once you feel comfortable with the quality of a supplement, it’s time to look at the ingredients more closely.

a dog giving a paw

Which Ingredients Should Be in Agility Dog Supplements?

Knowing which ingredients make up your sport dog supplement is critical for choosing the best supplement for your pup. Your agility dog’s supplement should contain naturally-sourced, bioavailable, and effective ingredients to give your dog the joint support they need.

The most common and well-known ingredients are:

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • MSM

You need all 3 of these ingredients in your agility dog supplement since they work best together. They help with joint flexibility, strength, lubrication, and comfort.

Green Lipped Mussel is sometimes called a “miracle from the sea”. This mollusk is harvested from the waters surrounding New Zealand. The native people of New Zealand, Maoris, have known the health benefits of these mussels since the early 1900s, but they have only recently been introduced to the Western world.

Green Lipped Mussel contains high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin. They are also a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial in fighting inflammation.

We see more and more dog supplements that contain Green Lipped Mussel. The only problem is that their concentration is usually tiny: 30-50mg. The concentration of ingredients matters, since if the concentration is too low it won’t be enough to make a therapeutic difference. We, at Pawsomely Healthy, recommend at least 200-250mg.Another gem among the ingredients for active dog supplements is Indian Frankincense, an herbal extract from Boswellia Serrata. People have known about its antiseptic, antiarthritic, and anti-inflammatory effects since ancient times. It helps to reduce pain and discomfort in your pup’s joints, which is crucial for injury recovery. Altogether, these all-natural and highly bioavailable ingredients work as an efficient and highly effective team of nutritional support to keep your active dog doing what they love the most.

happy dog

The Final Woof

Your agility dog deserves the highest quality dog joint supplements. At the end of the day, your dog is an athlete and needs to be treated like one. Good nutrition combined with high-quality sport dog supplements will ensure your pup performs at their peak and gets the support they need for a long, happy, and healthy life.
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