As your dog ages, you will notice them slowing.
They are less likely to energetically chase around and show their excitement by jumping. Instead, their enthusiasm is expressed in the subtle tail wag and a head pressed against your leg.
But when they start refusing to get out of bed, or they are hesitant when climbing stairs, or when they stop following you and stand in one place looking hurt and confused… these are all signs that they may be experiencing pain.
Joint pain, especially in large breeds, is a serious concern in aging dogs.
Just as with humans who experience osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage cushioning of the joints will wear over time. As the joints begin rubbing on each other through this thinned or spotty cartilage protection, it causes intense pain.
What’s The Big Difference?
Both are joint supplements for dogs created by Nutramax labs. They are meant to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis as well as hip or elbow dysplasia.
Both products contain glucosamine, chondroiton and MSM
The key difference from Cosequin is that Dasuquin also contains ASU or avocado/soybean unsaponifiables. These directly target the Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) synthesis which is a major inflammation marker that encourages cartilage destruction. Where Cosequin has the basic components necessary to rebuild joint cartilage, Dasuquin is a better choice for dogs in active pain.
With the addition of that third ingredient, Dasuquin is much more effective in improving sore, stiff or degenerating joints. It also helps reduce inflammation markers, possibly helping to reduce pain similar to when we take aspirin.
The original formula Cosequin is still available, and is still an excellent choice for all large breeds as a preventative to help increase their overall joint health.
As they age and begin experiencing symptoms, you will likely transition them to Dasuquin.
Which One is better?
There is a lot of debate among pet parents on which one of these two products truly does more for their pet. Some dog owners have mention a noticeable difference in their dog’s ease of movement only a week after making the switch to Dasuquin (see our discussion below on the time delay in healing).
Dasuquin is better suited for dogs with advanced arthritis, hip dysplasia or other conditions that impair your dog’s ease of movement.
If your dog only seems to have a minor irritation or pain then Cosequin is probably enough to help out. Or, if they are a large breed that you want to provide some additional joint protection to.
Talking to your vet will help you make a decision on what is best for your dog. You want to help them return to their normal activities as soon as possible and these are two supplements that might be just what your dog needs to feel right again!
The Dog Treat That Makes Them Feel Better
The core of these supplements revolve around three ingredients:
These supplements have been examined in a double-blind study for canine effectiveness. In this study, there was significant improvement in the pet’s pain markers by day 70.
The one thing worth noting is that it took longer for the pet to begin realizing relief compared to the more commonly prescribed Carprofen. You must allow time for this to take effect. If your pooch is in serious pain, you may choose to supplement with a Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory (prescribed by your vet) for the first 30-40 days of treatment.
The advantage is that there are fewer side effects with a Glucosamine/Chondroiton treatment method. Especially important for long-term pain management.
Because these ingredients are, basically, food products, either supplement can be given for any length of time to pets of any age.
There are several variations available. I prefer to choose the “soft chew” liver-flavored version that so you can hand them out as “treats” (follow dosing instructions). Some of tablets might need to be disquised in cheese, pill pockets or lunchmeat. Most dogs are happy to eat these up just like any other treat you give them saving mom and dad the hassle of “medicating” the pooch.
Don’t Overlook The Entire Nutritional Picture
Nutritional supplements can slow joint damage, especially when incorporated in their middle age.
But don’t just take the “medicated” approach to solving your dog’s pain.
Most dog foods are not nutritionally complete. We review many on this site, and often they are created with the goal of maximizing taste and profit over incorporating all of the fatty acids your dog will need. A poor diet can lead to many health problems – including obesity, which puts more weight on your dog’s joints.
The foundation of good joint health begins with a high grade food choice. From there, these supplements can target the joint pain directly by rebuilding the cartilage.
If your dog is starting to show the early signs of arthritis or other degenerative joint issues then you should talk to your vet about adding joint supplements to their daily routine.
Are NutraMax’s Products Better?
Now that you are educated on the how these products work, you are probably getting ready to hit google and find a cheaper alternative.
I don’t blame you!
My only concern is that there is little to no regulation in the industry. The quality, concentration and bio-availability of the ingredients may vary widely from brand to brand.
Additionally, the Placebo effect is strong. (The placebo effect is a scientifically proven phenomenon that occurs when you know your pet is receiving medication so you look for ways it is taking effect and accidentally overlook symptoms indicating that they haven’t improved.) This means that all reviews by other owners have to be taken with a grain of salt. The could be excited for their pet and might not be providing a totally accurate review.
NutraMax is one of the only brands paying for scientific studies to test their products. This demonstrates that they believe in their products enough to send them out for testing by third parties.
The trust they have in their product, helps me trust it more.
In my opinion, Nutramax is the Gold Standard.