FAQ: Solutions for Dog Joint Pain and Overall Well-being
Find answers to your questions about the “Power of Two” joint supplements for dogs: the VetSmart System combining Green-Lipped Mussel and dog probiotics.
Q: When will I start to see results?
A: It really depends on how severe your dog’s issues are, and the weight, age and health of your dog. Typically it takes about 30 days to start to see improvements in your dog. You’ll want to look for signs of a happier, peppier attitude. You will likely see increased mobility and joint flexibility. Look for things you may not have seen in a while, such as an increase in running, jumping, hopping and stretching. Some of these changes are subtle, so be sure to be more observant than usual. We suggest writing down your observations so you remember them.
Q: What is the main active ingredient in VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip & Joint Complex with MSM?
A: The main active ingredient in VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip & Joint Complex with MSM is the “sea miracle” of natural pain relief: Green-Lipped Mussel from New Zealand.
This groundbreaking ingredient from the clean waters of New Zealand reduces inflammation that can help prevent joint problems leading to arthritis in your dog.
• New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels (perna canaliculus) naturally contain glucosamine and ETAs (a type of Omega-3 fatty acids) — the key ingredients that support anti-inflammatory activity and thereby relieve joint pain.
• Scientists have analyzed these mussels to determine why they’re so effective, and it’s mainly due to the single-cell sea plankton they eat in that isolated part of the world. It’s extremely interesting to note that because of the hole in the ozone layer in the stratosphere, the animal life found in New Zealand have very elevated levels of natural anti-oxidants. The green-lipped mussel collects these elevated levels of anti-oxidants from the sea plankton and provides one of the most potent sources of anti-oxidant rich omega 3 oils on earth. Researchers have found that the green-lipped mussel oil extract, which contains healthy omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, is one of the best anti-inflammatory agents available.
• The New Zealand green lipped mussel industry reports that it operates within some of the strictest quality standards in the world. “Both the mussels and seawater around the farms are tested for bio-toxins, bacteria, and heavy metals. The water quality is constantly monitored with tests carried out to the standards set by the U.S Food and Drug Administration, European Union, and NZ Food Safety Authority. The standards are in place to meet the increasing global demand for safe and healthy seafood products.” The International Conservation Organization Blue Ocean Institute has ranked New Zealand green-lipped mussels as one of the top two eco-friendly sea foods in the world.
• Studies compared green-lipped mussel to other oils and found that GLM is the most effective agent for reducing arthritis symptoms and inflammation:
o 350 times more potent than evening primrose oil and salmon oil
o 400 times more potent than flaxseed oil
Other reported benefits of GLM include healthier skin, an improved circulatory system, stronger bones and teeth, and support overall healthy immune system.
Here are the ingredients in the Advanced Hip + Joint Complex:
Q: What are the other active ingredients in VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip & Joint Complex with MSM?
A: VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip & Joint Complex with MSM is a proprietary, broad-spectrum formula with several ingredients that complement the properties of Green-Lipped Mussel. All the ingredients help maintain joint lubrication, mobility and flexibility as well as healthy cartilage function, and provide antioxidants that reduce free radical formation and support overall well-being. Let’s look at each one.
Our formula includes the nutrient MSM, a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in animals, because it’s a popular aid for reducing inflammation and easing dog arthritis and pain. MSM is actually a metabolite of DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide, an organosulfur compound), which is approved for use in veterinary medicine. It has been reported to help dogs with chronic pain and it’s also a strong antioxidant. Each tablet of VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip & Joint Complex with MSM contains 210 mg. of MSM.
Glucosamine is an essential element in a dog’s body for maintaining joint fluid (synovial fluid), which provides lubrication and nutrients to joint tissues. Diet alone is often not enough to maintain joint fluid, especially with certain brands of commercial dog food. That’s why it’s important to augment your dog’s daily diet with the benefits of our Glucosamine-enhanced supplement. Our Glucosamine is shellfish-sourced, and it’s important to note that its ingredients come from the shell of shrimp, crab and others shellfish; not the protein. Therefore, shellfish allergies should not be an issue.
Chondroitin sulfate, an agent that helps maintain healthy cartilage and connective tissue, is known to work best when combined with Glucosamine for amplified benefits. We’ve made sure that our joint formula includes the right balance of both for optimal results as an adjunct combination that supports GLM benefits.
Q: What does “designed for veterinarians” mean?
A: VetSmart Formulas were originally designed for veterinarians, with veterinarians, and have only been available THROUGH veterinarians. This means they deliver the clinical-strength quality and efficacy veterinarians demand in products they prescribe and recommend.
VetSmart Formulas products were carefully developed in consultation with Dr. Tiffany Margolin, a licensed veterinarian practicing for more than 24 years. Dr. Margolin said, “I use these high-quality VetSmart Formulas on my own dog and I recommend them to my own clients.”
Until recently, VetSmart Formulas were only available through veterinarians. Now, Pet Wellness Direct is making them available directly to consumers. Click here to learn more!
Q: Who is Dr. Margolin — and what is her knowledge of natural joint supplements for dogs?
A: Dr. Tiffany Margolin is a licensed veterinarian who practices throughout Southern California, bringing her expertise to a specialty practice in Pasadena, a multi-doctor facility in West L.A., and a mobile concierge practice that sees patients all the way through Santa Barbara. Her vision is to heal as many pets as possible with natural integrative medicine.
She graduated from UC Davis, the number one veterinary school in the country. She told us, “After about the first 10 years (of her 24 years in practice), I started to realize how important nutrition and supplements are for dogs and cats and for pretty much all of us. I also found that I was getting frustrated with the limitations that Western medicine placed and every animal would finally get to a place where they were either on a non-steroidal pain medication, a steroid, or an antibiotic, and the end-of-life quality was just so poor.”
Because of this, she became interested in holistic and integrative medicine, chiropractic medicine and then Chinese medicine. Now she’s an acupuncturist, a functional nutrition veterinarian, an integrative nutritionist in humans and a licensed veterinarian in dogs and cats.
She said, “Many animals have situations or problems that need to be addressed with strong medications, but the integrative approach includes natural supplements that can eventually replace these medications. It includes preventative wellness where we can get ahead of those problems, and in your puppies and your kittens, we can often even prevent those from ever developing in the first place. I like to provide them with maximum information from all areas of my expertise in order to devise comprehensive treatment approaches that really help animals with natural, healing ingredients rather than just throwing steroids, antibiotics, and other things at them.”
Q: What makes the VetSmart System/Green-Lipped Mussel and Probiotic combination more effective than other joint supplements for dogs?
A: First, Green-Lipped Mussel (GLM) — the foundational active ingredient of the revolutionary VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip & Joint Complex with MSM — is an especially effective anti-inflammatory agent.
In addition, the VetSmart Formulas Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer quickly and efficiently absorbs the hip & joint complex while restoring your pet’s wellbeing.
Dr. Tiffany Margolin explained why she recommends VetSmart Formulas and the VetSmart System for all dogs, especially those with joint or arthritis pain:
“Unfortunately, pet-specific non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have long-term effects including irritation of the gut, problems with the liver and problems with the kidneys. Nobody really recommends you stay on these for long periods of time, which is why we want to look for other natural ways to replace them.
In addition, if your dog has hip or knee joint problems, you would be recommended to stay away from steroids as they cause degeneration of the joints, which leads to the concept of those side effects. Steroid side effects are varied and many, and the most important thing to remember is you really never want your dog to be on steroids for any length of time.
Because of the known and undesirable side effects of pain medications and steroids, many of my clients ask me how do I get my dog off of these medications.
First, I start looking at the supplements that can be used in conjunction with these pain meds or steroids because you never just want to take them off of it immediately. I like the high dose, high potency anti-inflammatory Omegas.
I really like the VetSmart Formulas’ green lipped mussel product because it includes essential fatty acids, phospholipids, and other compounds that are very anti-inflammatory. It’s natural, it comes from New Zealand, it’s very clean, and it’s safe to use in conjunction with your medications. That is so important. You need products that are safe to use with your medications.
In addition, to make sure the Hip & Joint Complex is fully absorbed as quickly as possible, I tell my clients to please make sure you use the VetSmart Formulas Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer.
Once a dog is on the VetSmart System, we have been able to track improvements and eventually get them to either much lower dose, or entirely off of their pain medications.”
Q: What does the VetSmart Formulas Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer do specifically?
A: Probiotics are a population of good bacteria that belong in your pet’s gut, working together with the cells of your pet’s gut in order to keep those cells happy and healthy.
When there’s a deficiency or an imbalance, the gut becomes permeable (holes form in it), or it becomes inflamed and allows abnormal proteins to get through to the bloodstream, and then your dog, cat, or your animal becomes sensitive and develops allergies to foods and substances. This is really the basis and the foundation for health of the entire body. That is why probiotics are so important.
The benefit of a probiotic designed specifically for dogs is to keep the gut really healthy and absorbing nutrients that pets take in — including joint supplements.
Probiotics are also anti-inflammatory. In healing the gut, they prevent inflammatory bowel disease. They prevent allergies to food, and they prevent other kinds of bacteria from creating problems like overgrowths of salmonella or yeast organisms.
Dr. Tiffany Margolin recommends the VetSmart Formulas Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer.
She said, “One of the reasons I love VetSmart Formulas Probiotics is that it contains very potent high numbers of the right bacteria for your dog’s gut. It has 15 billion live active organisms in every one of those bottles. In addition, it’s quality tested to be free of contaminants, be effective and be active in your dog’s system. And lastly, it’s convenient. You can leave it out of the refrigerator, sprinkle it on your dog’s food, and it tastes great. When I’m looking for maximum product absorption and effectiveness, the Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer by VetSmart Formulas is one of my favorite products out there.”
Here are the ingredients in the Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer:
Q: What is inflammation in dogs, and why do we need to reduce it?
A: Inflammation is a word we hear a lot about nowadays and for good reason because it’s a precursor to all disease and a preview of disease to come, especially those of the joints such as dog arthritis and other dog joint pains.
So what is inflammation exactly? Inflammation in the body is when the blood supply, and pain chemicals and cells in a certain area, start to become enlarged and swollen. That’s when you may see swelling and redness.
A dog may feel pain with the inflammation, and it can be anywhere in the body. It’s the first signal that something is wrong.
There are different types of causes for inflammation including injury, toxin exposure, even stress. And the way it manifests itself is different for different systems. So if it’s in the gut, an animal might vomit or have some diarrhea; may not just eat well, or just be sluggish.
If inflammation is in the joints, your pet might limp or might lick at the joint. Any time you see these warning signals, you’ll want to get help for your pet before this goes on too long, so he or she doesn’t suffer and become disabled.
Q: How do I know if the VetSmart Formulas dog joint supplement and probiotic is working?
A: If you’re giving your dog joint and probiotic supplements, you want to know that the supplements are actually working.
One of the things to do is consider the issues or problems that may have been addressed by taking the medications and ask yourself:
• Do the supplements enhance the results?
• Are you finding that you have to use less of the medication?
• Does your animal just eat better, have brighter eyes or a brighter coat or move better after you’ve started the supplements?
Most effective supplements can take to three to four weeks to fully kick in, although you may start to see results sooner.
Q: Which dogs are likely to be helped by the VetSmart Formulas dog joint supplement and probiotic?
A: The short answer is — all dogs can benefit from the VetSmart Formulas dog joint supplement and probiotic “Power of Two.” But let’s look at some specifics.
If your dog is in pain, you’ll definitely want to try VetSmart!
So how do you tell when your dog is in pain? One of the most heart wrenching things is seeing your dog limping, unable to sit down easily, or unable to get up, and you can actually recognize these things far earlier than typically expected so you can help prevent them. A couple of things to watch for:
• Just simply slowing down, maybe wanting to walk instead of run. The dog is shortening his or her own walks instead of you shortening the walk. I’ve known people whose dogs start sitting down in the middle of a walk. That’s a sign of pain. You can’t always tell whether it’s hip or back pain, but it is pain.
• What about simple stiffness getting up, simple stiffness sitting down? Sitting to one side or the other is a definite sign of problems in the back end. Another thing that people often miss is very subtle hunching or rounding of the lower back. That can indicate a serious early back problem or even knee problems.
• If your dog isn’t making any noise, but is still limping, he or she is in pain. Your dog may not make a vocal noise, but they will limp and that equals pain. Just learn how to recognize these signs of pain because the earlier you find it, the more we can do for you.
In addition, all breeds — and in fact, all dogs — can benefit from VetSmart Formulas!
It’s not simply the German Shepherds or the Rottweilers, the ones that we know that have hip or back problems. All dogs should be on those supplements because they will help relieve the stressors from daily lives: injuries, play, even food allergies. Little dogs have unique problems: Chihuahuas get back and neck problems, Shih Tzus get back problems and knee problems. And, Golden Retrievers often get a lower back problem or a knee or hip problem.
There really are no breeds that you can exclude from the need for natural anti-inflammatory supplements.
Q: What else can I do at home to help relieve my dog’s joint pain?
A: In addition to providing a daily dose of VetSmart, massage is extremely beneficial.
By gently massaging your pet for a few minutes every day, you can help release tense joints. The most common areas that they need massage are the neck and shoulders, but it’s also beneficial to massage the back, especially the lower back.
It’s very easy to provide gentle and helpful massage. Dr. Margolin shows you how in our video demonstration.
Q: What if my dog is taking prescribed medicines, pain medications or steroidal anti-inflammatory medications? Is it safe to use VetSmart?
A: Yes! Many dogs take non-steroidal pain medications, steroid medications and antibiotics. The good news is VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip + Joint Complex and the Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer are designed to be safe and work with all of these product categories. In fact, our products are all natural and they can be safely and effectively used to wean your dog off these potentially harmful medications.
- NSAIDs are among the most common pain relievers in the world. And lately, they’re among the most controversial. NSAIDs include non-prescription products such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and also prescription pain products. Pet-specific NSAIDs work in a similar fashion to those taken by humans by blocking Cox-1and Cox-2 enzymes, which stop the body from making prostaglandins and thereby reducing swelling and pain. Unfortunately, NSAIDs have long-term negative effects that can include irritation of the gut, stomach ulcers, problems with the liver and kidneys, and toxicity. Medical professionals rarely recommend that these products be used over long periods of time.
- Steroids are often used in cases where your dog has inflammation in the neck or back, and are not as often used for joint pain. In fact, if your dog has hip or knee joint pain, you would be advised to stay away from steroids as they can cause degeneration of the joints, which leads to further pain and long-term challenges. Steroid side effects are varied and may include increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, general loss of energy, development or worsening of infections and vomiting or nausea. Some pre-diabetic dogs may become diabetic with steroid usage. The most important thing to remember is you never want your dog to be on steroids for any length of time.
Because of the known and undesirable side effects of pain medications and steroids, we recommend using VetSmart as a natural replacement over time. The high-potency anti-inflammatory Omegas found in Green-Lipped Mussels are one of the most effective nutrients available.
Also, we do not suggest you immediately stop giving your dog any existing medications, but rather use VetSmart in conjunction with the medications and eventually wean your dog off the medications. As with all ingestible products, if you have any concerns, we recommend consulting with your pet health professional first.
Dr. Tiffany Margolin noted, “You need to be aware of what kinds of supplements affect what types of medications. What I like is that the Green-Lipped Mussel formula does not have problematic effects with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Those are the most common combinations of supplements out there. Most people are looking to get their dog off of those non-steroidals, and fish oils can sometimes interact badly with them. But the Green-Lipped Mussel formula does not. That’s why they’re my favorite.
I highly recommend the VetSmart System for safely combatting inflammation and hopefully taking your dog off a pain medication (or reducing it). Studies have shown that green-lipped mussels do not interfere with blood function and clotting. I have not seen adverse interactions in my 10 years of recommending these natural ingredients.”
Q: Are the VetSmart Formulas products safe to use with some of the most popular prescription medicines for pain or inflammation?
A: Yes, they are! VetSmart Formulas products are safe to take with some of the most frequently prescribed medications including:
Our products are all-natural and deliver amazing benefits without the side effects associated with prescription pain medications and steroids. If you have any concerns, please consult with your pet health professional.
Q: If my dog’s food or diet already includes joint support or a probiotic, is it bad/too much to also give him VetSmart Formulas?
A: Since our products are 100% natural and support enzymes and probiotics that naturally occur in the body — and the body naturally sheds any not needed, your dog will not likely have any problems with a supplemental diet in combination with VetSmart Formulas products. If you see any signs of discomfort such as diarrhea or gas, consult your veterinarian for guidance.
Q: If my dog is pregnant, is it safe for her to take VetSmart Formulas dog joint supplement and probiotic?
A: Safe use of Green-Lipped Mussel and Probiotics has not been established for pregnant animals. If your dog is pregnant, please consult with your veterinarian before using VetSmart Formulas products.
Q: How long should I use VetSmart Formulas?
A: Dogs can benefit from this formula throughout their entire lives, starting when they reach 2 years of age.
After giving your dog an establishing dosage (6-8 weeks), you may find you can reduce the daily dose and still enjoy the maximum benefits.
Q: How many bottles of VetSmart Formulas Advanced Hip & Joint Complex and Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer do I need in a month?
A: The number of bottles each month is based on your dog’s weight. No different than the amount of dog food a small dog will consume versus a large dog, the amount of supplements they consume will follow the same rules. So smaller dogs will require fewer bottles than larger dogs.
Here is the dosage chart for each product:
Advanced Hip + Joint Complex
Directions For Use: Put tablets (whole or break apart) in food
• 1/2 tablet twice daily or one tablet daily for dogs weighing 1-10 lbs
• 1 tablet twice daily for dogs weighing 11-30 lbs
• 2 tablets twice daily for dogs weighing 31-80 lbs
• 3 tablets twice daily for dogs weighing 81-100 lbs
• 3-4 tablets twice daily for dogs weighing 100+ lbs
Probiotic Nutrient Enhancer
Directions For Use: Open capsule and sprinkle on food. Discard empty capsule.
• 1/2 capsule daily for dogs weighing 3-10 lbs
• 1 capsule daily for dogs weighing 11-80 lbs
• 2 capsules daily for dogs weighing 81+ lbs