Your dog means everything to you. A cuddle buddy. A shoulder to cry on. Your best friend. We get it. Here at Simple Wag, we are all dog owners and would go to the ends of the earth for our fur babies. For that reason, many pet owners wonder if they are truly doing all they can to ensure their pup’s health and well-being. Is Fido getting all of the necessary nutrients in their diet or is there an additional supplement worth considering? Furthermore, if your dog is aging there are even more precautions to take, some of which many pet owners may not realize. These additional supplements can make a world of difference for your furry companion and are likely easier to implement than you might think.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you should know about MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), one of our favorite supplements for ensuring your dog’s overall health. While you might be familiar with the supplement for human consumption, more and more studies are proving that it is equally beneficial for dogs and something that you may want to add to your medicine cabinet. Let’s get to it!
What is MSM | Methylsulfonylmethane
MSM is the abbreviation for the supplement methylsulfonylmethane (you can see why it’s a mouthful). MSM is an organic, naturally-occurring compound that contains sulfur. Naturally, it is produced by ocean planktons. MSM is also found in foods such as cow’s milk, vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, and seafood. However, with its rise in popularity, many forms of MSM should not be considered “natural” as they are often manufactured from petroleum waste and methane gas. (More on that soon!) In terms of Fido, MSM is widely known for its ability to support joint health and countless pet parents are finding huge improvements when implementing it into their dog’s diet.
How Does MSM Work
In order to understand why your dog may benefit from MSM, it is important to have a general knowledge about how exactly it works. We mentioned that MSM is a sulfur-containing compound, but why is sulfur so essential to one’s health and well-being? Let us explain.
The body stores sulfur in nearly every cell. It is largely found in areas like the joints, skin, hair, and nails and is an essential part of the formation of amino acids, blood proteins, healthy skin, and connective tissues. However, as dogs (and people) get older, natural MSM in the body begins to decrease. In many cases, that’s why we see a deterioration of joint function and the development of both physical and psychological stressors on the body. In dogs, the gradual decrease in MSM levels also results in poor skin condition, brittle nails, and hair loss. The decrease can also lead to gastrointestinal issues and inflammation of the intestinal tract. It’s remarkable (and worrisome) how greatly a compound
So, what can you do to help reverse the decrease in MSM levels and therefore prevent the development of a slew of health conditions? Many experts agree that it could be as simple as implementing a supplement such as MSM. MSM allows pet owners to fuel their dog’s cells and maintain levels of sulfur in the body, ultimately promoting joint health and the body’s overall ability to properly function all through the simple addition of a dietary supplement. Sounds pretty great, don’t you think? But that’s not all!
MSM Supplement Benefits
First and foremost, we’ll discuss the most well-known benefit of MSM: its effects on joint health. However, this is only the beginning in terms of how MSM can help your fur baby. Take a look!
One of the worst parts of being a doting pet parent is recognizing that (wo)man’s best friend is getting older. We wish that our fur babies could live forever and it’s incredibly difficult witnessing the aging process take its toll. The first thing that you must realize is that not all joint deterioration is entirely preventable. With that said, there are ways to reduce joint pain, promote the regrowth of cartilage, and ultimately slow the aging process. A great way to do this is by implementing a supplement like MSM.
MSM also serves as a powerful way to rejuvenate cells in the body. As we previously mentioned, the body naturally stores sulfur in nearly every living cell and MSM is an essential part of maintaining overall cellular health. An MSM supplement can prove to not only rejuvenate cells inside the body but also support skin cells and hair cells.
A Powerful Antioxidant
Additionally, MSM is an incredibly potent antioxidant. An easy way to explain its effects on the body is by thinking of it as a cleaner. It has the ability to clean the bloodstream by eliminating toxins. MSM also fights off free radicals and prevents cellular damage. Free radicals develop due to mental and physical stress, poor diet, malnutrition, environmental toxicity, and other contaminants. They can ultimately lead to the development of a slew of diseases. By implementing MSM, its antioxidant properties can work to promote overall wellness throughout the entire body.
Another great quality of MSM is its all natural anti-inflammatory properties. If you follow along with our articles, you know that we constantly bring up the worrisome issues associated with inflammation. To reiterate, inflammation is a serious problem that many pet owners may overlook, but shouldn’t. You see, when experts trace the vast majority of diseases and ailments back to their root cause, they often find that they all have one major thing in common: inflammation. Inflammation is the prominent culprit of everything from allergies to cancer. Therefore, reducing and preventing inflammation is incredibly important.
Luckily, MSM can help. MSM is able to permeate cell walls and allows fluids to pass through tissues with ease. In turn, this helps to eliminate pressure and, therefore, reduce cellular inflammation. Furthermore, by enhancing the activity of cortisol, MSM works to effectively block the inflammation process. Even if your dog isn’t suffering from present inflammation, MSM can work as a way to prevent it from developing.
An All Natural Analgesic (Pain Relief)
Additionally, by blocking the transfer of pain impulses through the never fibers, MSM for dogs proves to reduce chronic pain. Because it is all natural, many dog owners choose to give it in conjunction with additional joint relief supplements like glucosamine for dogs. Together, these products can make a world of difference for your aging pup.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, many dog owners see positive changes in their pet’s gastrointestinal health after implementing MSM. In many cases, these gastrointestinal issues arise from chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. This makes MSM a wonderful, safe solution.
Hair & Skin Health
Additionally, as we previously mentioned, MSM promotes cellular rejuvenation and can promote overall hair quality and skin condition. As your dog gets older, it is common for their hair and skin to become dull and brittle due to the fact that a decreasing level of MSM results in the development of skin issues. If you notice that your dog’s hair is thinning or that they are showing signs of skin irritations, you may want to consider a supplement like MSM.
Remarkably, many pet owners report signs of allergy relief after implementing MSM into their dog’s diet. Just like people, dogs can suffer from allergies from food, environmental allergens, and contact allergies. These allergic reactions can lead to a slew of issues, including skin damage from persistent itching and irritation. MSM works to relieve allergies through its detoxification process. MSM is also able to create a natural block between allergens and their host (your dog). If your dog is suffering from allergies, we highly recommend trying a supplement like MSM.
Interestingly enough, MSM proves to be a powerful antiparasitic. It can protect against parasites such as Giardia, roundworms, Trichomonas, nematodes, Enterobius, and other intestinal worms. While MSM is not widely used to combat or prevent parasites in dogs, the results speak for themselves and more and more pet owners are giving it a try.
MSM is one of the few antioxidants that has the ability to cross through the blood-brain barrier. This ability allows it to not only repair damage caused by oxidative stress, but actually prevent it as well. In turn, MSM proves to support brain function and reduce the possibility of neurological disease.
Another wonderful quality of MSM is its ability to promote nutrient absorption. Implementing MSM allows for more complete absorption of vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamin C
- Coenzyme Q10
- B- vitamins
- Vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E
- Amino acids
Additionally, studies show that MSM improves cell permeability. In turn, this improves cellular glucose uptake. Therefore, MSM works to balance blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. Studies also show that MSM has the ability to promote the overall function of the pancreas.
Finally, testing on rats proves that MSM has the ability to prevent the onset of cancer. Of course, many more studies must be completed before we can confidently say that MSM is a potent cancer preventative. However, we cannot deny that as more research emerges, the more we are fascinated by the supplement and the multitude of ways it can help our beloved four-legged friends.
Joint Health Further Explained
Now, before we dive into more details regarding MSM, we want to first cover a bit more regarding why so many pet owners are purchasing the supplement: joint health.
One of the first signs of aging is a decline in joint function. Although we can’t rewind the clock or completely stop time, there are ways to prevent the rapid deterioration of your dog’s joints and cartilage. The first step in doing so is understanding the telltale signs of joint pain.
Signs of Joint Pain
Joint pain can occur due to a degenerative disease or due to trauma. Either way, it is essential for pet owners to be able to recognize the early signs.
- General stiffness
- Disinterest in walks and exercise
- Reluctancy to stand
- Moving slowly and cautiously
- Timidness when getting on the bed/couch or into the car
- Visible joint deformities
- Swollen joints
- Abnormal movements
- Increased sleep
- Depression and mood changes
- Intermittent lameness
- Weight gain
- Aggression or wincing when tender joints are touched
What is Arthritis in Dogs
Additionally, it is important for pet owners to understand one of the most common joint diseases: arthritis in dogs. In general terms, arthritis is simply irregular changes in one’s joint. Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of the disease affecting up to one in five dogs. Just like so many other ailments, inflammation is a leading culprit in the development of arthritis in our four-legged friends.
What is Hip Dysplasia
Another common disease associated with a decline in joint health is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an orthopedic disease that affects the dog’s hip or coxofemoral joint. Larger dog breeds, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, St. Bernards, and Great Danes, are at a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia. Understanding your dog’s individual risks of different diseases is an incredibly important part of prevention.
Does My Dog Need MSM
Now, let’s get back on track: MSM.
After reading about all of the incredible effects of MSM, many pet owners find themselves wondering if their dog could also benefit from the supplement. The answer varies on a case by case basis.
First, dog owners should consider the quality of their dog’s current food. If your dog is being fed a well-balanced, raw food diet, they should be already receiving all of the nutrients they need including natural forms of MSM. However, if your dog’s food is commercially manufactured, they are likely not getting the necessary vitamins and minerals that their body craves. In these cases, we highly recommend supplementing their diet with an MSM supplement. (Of course, we also recommend switching to a high-quality but we understand that’s not always possible.)
Additionally, if your dog is currently experiencing any of the aforementioned health issues, we also recommend implementing a supplement like MSM. As always, it’s best to consult with your holistic veterinarian when tackling a specific health concern.
How to Use MSM for Dogs
There are a few different ways that pet owners can begin adding MSM into their dog’s life.
MSM Powder | Liquid MSM
MSM can be purchased in powder form or liquid form and can be mixed directly into your dog’s food. The supplement is odorless and dogs shouldn’t be able to recognize a difference in taste.
MSM is also available as chewable tablets. For some pet owners, simply giving their dog 1 tablet a day (based on weight) is easier than mixing a liquid or powder into their food.
*TRUST THE MANUFACTURER*
We want to stress the importance of choosing a reputable MSM manufacturer prior to picking out a supplement. If you decide on a powder, liquid, or tablet form, make sure to purchase a product made in the US. If you choose to rely on food sources for your dog’s MSM intake, be sure to keep it as organic and raw as possible. This will help ensure quality and that your dog reaps all of the benefits that MSM has to offer.
The appropriate MSM dose will vary based on the dog’s weight. The recommended daily intake is about 50 to 100 mg MSM per 10 pounds of body weight. However, these recommendations will differ depending on the overall quality of your dog’s current food source as well as whether MSM is being implemented to provide pain relief. As always, we recommend talking to your holistic veterinarian regarding the appropriate dose of MSM for your dog’s individual needs.
Precautions & MSM Side Effects
There’s even more good news! Pet owners have been using MSM to treat their dogs’ ailments for years and there are still no known side effects when the supplement is administered appropriately.
With that said, not enough research has been completed regarding its effects on pregnant or lactating dogs. For this reason, we advise against using it until after the dog has given birth and stopped nursing.
Furthermore, all dogs are different. When it comes to MSM, there’s no need to rush the process. Some pet owners choose to gradually implement the supplement in order to monitor any noticeable changes.
Additional Supplements for Joint Health
Another wonderful quality of MSM is that it has even stronger effects when used in conjunction with other natural supplements and remedies. One of our favorite supplements is none other than CBD.
CBD for Dogs
If you know our articles, you know that we love CBD oil for dogs. When it comes to relieving joint pain, CBD is not only extremely effective but also entirely safe. Remarkably, CBD is so effective that experts are considering it to be a new drug class for the treatment of chronic pain. In large part, this is due to the powerful anti-inflammatory properties that reduce present inflammation as well as prevent it from developing and spreading. (Very much like MSM!
Even More Benefits of CBD
That’s not all that CBD oil can do. CBD oil also benefits hair and skin condition as well as treating both environmental and food allergies. As you may imagine, using CBD in conjunction with a supplement like MSM can prove to do wonders for Fido.
Glucosamine for Joint Health
Additionally, many pet owners have found incredible results by implementing a glucosamine supplement into their dog’s diet. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound made of a sugar (glucose) and an amino acid (glutamine). It promotes the growth and repair of cartilage and synovial fluid, both of which protect the joints. Even though dogs naturally produce glucosamine, sometimes their bodies don’t create enough to combat the effects of aging. In these cases, glucosamine, paired with MSM, can have powerful results.
Diet Diet Diet
Finally, we cannot stress enough the absolute importance of diet. Your dog’s diet truly affects everything in their life. For pet owners who wish to add additional MSM sources through food, it is essential to ensure the foods are organic and raw. Additionally, sulfur-rich foods such as collagen-rich meat, bones, trachea and connective tissue are all great ways to boost your dog’s natural levels of MSM.
Again, we encourage our readers to consult with their holistic veterinarian regarding specific dietary changes that may benefit their dog’s individual health.
MSM for Dogs: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, we know that you want the very best for your furry companion. We also know how difficult to be to watch your dog get older and we wish more than anything that we could pause the hands of time. While we can’t exactly stop the inevitable, we can certainly prevent rapid deterioration and even restore cellular function and mobility with a supplement like MSM.
From all of us here at Simple Wag, we hope this article provided a bit of hope. There are so many safe, all-natural ways to help our fur babies live their best lives, sometimes we just have to dig a bit deeper. By implementing supplements like MSM, CBD oil, and glucosamine, you are well on your way to providing your fur baby the relief and support that they deserve.