November 17, 2019
Shellfish supplements have traditionally been used as a remedy for arthritis in humans, but only more recently have they been used for dogs. The New Zealand green-lipped mussel, also known as Perna canaliculus contains many anti-inflammatory compounds & nutrients that benefit joint health. In studies on canine joint health adding powdered green lipped mussel to a dogs diet resulted in a significant decrease in pain and joint swelling over a 6-week period.
Native to the coasts of New Zealand, wild green lipped mussels spend their lives clinging to rocky outcrops below the waves. Ocean currents supply these mollusks with a constant supply of marine nutrients that they then filter and retain.
The anti-inflammatory properties of green lipped mussels have been attributed to a variety of components, including a unique omega-3 fatty acid called eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) that is much harder to find in other sources where omega-3's are available, like fish oil. You may already know the importance of omega-3's; these acids play a vital role in decreasing joint inflammation, and work similarly to NSAID painkillers without the harmful side effects. In fact, supplementing a dogs diet with green lipped mussels was shown to reduce a reliance on prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like carprofen.
Green lipped mussels come in many forms, all of which can be beneficial to dogs suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint-pain brought on by injuries or seasonal changes. You can add powdered green lipped mussel to your dogs main meal(s), or give it in the form of chewable treats. Both forms are digested with food, making absorbtion of the supplement's nutrients much easier.
There are no hard rules for feeding supplements like green lipped mussel. Every dog is different and will need to be treated as an individual. However, a general chart is as follows:
When you're just getting started with green lipped mussels, work up to a full serving by adding a little at a time over a 2-week period. Although it may be tempting to dump supplements onto your dogs food, (especially if they're suffering from arthritis) over-supplementing can do more harm than good by making the body work extra hard to process the overload of nutrients. Start with half of what your dog needs and observe how he does before adding more.
Most people feed supplements daily or seasonally, for a few months continuously for best efficacy. You do not have to feed supplements year round, and you can rotate what you feed your dog according to what works best for them.
Yes, but take care not to overdo it. Green lipped mussels can help protect your puppy's growing joints because they are packed with chondroitin & glucosamine, in addition to omega fatty acids, but it is more important to provide a puppy with a healthy diet and exercise than to worry about daily supplements. Supplement only if your puppy really needs it, for example, if they are going through a phase of growing pains known as pano, or if training or rigorous exercise requires it.
Usually, no, but every dog is different. Reductions of more than 40% joint swelling have been observed by feeding green lipped mussel, and for some dogs in the early stages of arthritis, or those experiencing injury-related joint pain, green lipped mussels may provide relief. You should consult your veterinarian before discontinuing any painkillers, and observe your dog over a period of at least a month to look for any adverse reactions to shellfish.
Overfeeding supplements can cause strain on organs, so you should take care not to exceed the recommended guidelines for your dog. Some dogs can get an upset stomach when they are introduced to new supplements, so it is important to observe your dog for any change in behavior. Itching may be the sign of an allergy or other sensitivity to shellfish, and if it seems your dog has started itching after adding green lipped mussel to their diet, you should stop feeding it.
In studies to observe green lipped mussel's benefits, dogs were fed daily for a 6 week period. As with every part of nutrition, supplements are only one small part of the entire picture. Nothing happens overnight, but the long-term benefits of giving your dog green lipped mussels are often evident much sooner than 6 weeks, with some owners seeing results in as little as half that time.