Being a pet parent to a dog can be filled with both joys and heartaches. Joys because of the unconditional love, affection, and loyalty our pooches give to us. Heartaches because when they get sick, we always get frazzled by our sheer inadequacy to meet their veterinary needs. That is why it is important to give our pooches the best kinds of high quality dog food plus regular visit to their vets so that any health problem can be managed more effectively. Thankfully, we now have plenty of nutritional supplements that allow us to provide better care for our dogs. And one of the most trusted canine health supplements today is Dasuquin.
What is Dasuquin?
Dasuquin is classified as a nutritional supplement that is presently indicated in the promotion and maintenance of healthier joints for our dogs. The clue is in its description. It is a supplement and just like any other product that has been classified as a supplement, it doesn’t have any therapeutic value or indication.
However, this is actually trickier than usual since many of the supplements advertised today seemingly point to their use in the management of a variety of treatments. Check the vitamin and mineral supplement that you may be taking and you will see advertisements saying these are good for helping you with some of the symptoms that you are experiencing.
The same can be said about Dasuquin. While it doesn’t have any therapeutic value owing to its classification as a supplement, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is already useless. Products that are classified as supplements are not rigorously tested by the FDA and, as such, are more readily available in the market. Why? Well, companies don’t have to prove the therapeutic effectiveness of their products for the simple fact that they are not claiming that it will ‘treat’ a particular disease or symptom.
That being said, Dasuquin is a supplement that helps promote and maintain healthier joints. If your pooch happens to have a joint problem already, such as hip dysplasia, then Dasuquin is NOT the cure. However, it may help ease the symptoms of hip dysplasia and other joint problems as we will explain in greater detail later on.
What are the Active Ingredients of Dasuquin?
Dasuquin has a sound to it that resembles another Nutramax Labs creation, Cosequin. Technically, they are almost the same except that Cosequin doesn’t have avocado and soybean unsaponifiables or ASU. To better understand the action of Dasuquin, let us look at its ingredients.
This is a substance that is essentially made up of the shells of various aquatic life forms including the bones as well as bone marrow of mammals and the cell walls of certain organisms like fungi. Glucosamine plays a very important role in the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, and glycolipids, which are all important in various functions but mostly related to anti-inflammatory processes, connective tissue growth, and maturation, and tissue repair and rebuilding.
Proteoglycans combine with collagen to form cartilage, that kind of tissue that is found in the joints. Glycolipids, on the other hand, help in the activation of an immunologic response, something that is needed to help reduce inflammation in the joints.
Glycosaminoglycans are substances that function as very efficient shock absorbers and as lubricant for the joints. Examples of glycosaminoglycans include heparin, keratan, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. Keratan helps keep tissues well hydrated. Chondroitin is involved in tissue repair. Hyaluronic acid is an important element for the production of synovial fluid, the lubricant for the joints. Heparin is important in the prevention of blood clots.
Chrondroitin sulfate is an important glycosaminoglycan that plays a role in tissue repair by promoting the faster growth of cells. What this essentially means is that if the joints are damaged, the cartilage tissue can be repaired and rebuilt at a much faster rate than without chondroitin. Additionally, chondroitin has been shown to stimulate the production of proteoglycans as well as hyaluronic acid while also exerting anti-inflammatory effects. It is this combination of effects that make chondroitin one of the most sought-after supplements in the management of osteoarthritic pain and inflammation.
- Avocado and soybean unsaponifiables or ASU
In France, ASU is actually a registered drug that is used in the management of pain especially among people with osteoarthritis. For the rest of the world, ASU is considered a supplement. Regardless, these studies only underscore the potential benefits of ASU in the reduction of pain in dogs. A high quality clinical trial comparing ASU with chondroitin shows that ASU has the same anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects with chondroitin.
Dasuquin originally includes only these 3 ingredients. However, Nutramax Labs also has a Dasuquin formulation that comes with emthylsulfonylmethane. Animal and human clinical trials indicate that MSM can be used in the reduction of oxidative stress, pain, and inflammation as well as in affording the liver with ample protection against certain toxins like paracetamol, carbon tetrachloride, and paraquat.
Animal studies also show a protective function of MSM on pulmonary hypertension and colitis. The downside is that there have been questions about the validity of such findings because of issues in research methods. Nevertheless, when it comes to pain and inflammation especially in osteoarthritis, MSM has been shown to reduce the severity and intensity of both pain and inflammation.
What are the Side Effects of Dasuquin?
When it comes to safety, you’d feel relieved to know that Dasuquin is generally safe. We have analyzed carefully its 4 main ingredients, including MSM for the Dasuquin with MSM formulation, and found no clinical study that will prove the existence of severe adverse reactions related to the administration of these individual ingredients.
However, there were clinical trials that showed glucosamine to cause some degree of stomach upset, diarrhea, and constipation. Additionally, there is a potential to cause allergies in susceptible dogs since glucosamine is primarily sourced from shellfishes. Now, we are not sure if the glucosamine used in the manufacture of Dasuquin is sourced from shellfish. As such, caution should be exercised whenever giving this to a pooch with known allergies to shellfishes.
Does My Dog Need Dasuquin?
We now come to the most often asked question of all. Does my dog need Dasuquin?
Well, given that this health supplement contains two ingredients that are known to promote optimum joint health and another active ingredient that is well-regarded for its anti-inflammatory effects, it would be safe to assume that your dog will benefit more from Dasuquin if it is already experiencing some form of joint problem, especially pain and inflammation. Otherwise, if there is no pain or inflammation yet, you might want to stick with Cosequin since Dasuquin can be quite expensive.
Another consideration will be the breed of your dog. Small breeds of canines respond well to Cosequin while larger breeds may require more tablets of Cosequin to achieve the desired effects. For that, if you have a larger canine breed, you might as well stick with Dasuquin.
Dasuquin is a health supplement that is primarily intended for the promotion of healthy joints in both dogs and cats. Its principal ingredients – glucosamine, chondroitin, and ASU – are all considered to be exceptional in promoting optimum cartilage and synovial fluid functioning in the joints as well as in the reduction of the symptoms associated with canine and feline arthritis. It is generally safe, too. However, if pain is not really your dog’s problem, Cosequin may be a more practical answer to healthier joints in pets.
- Elizabeth Racine, DVM, How to Treat Dog Joint Disease and Pain, The American Kennel Club