MSM For Dogs
MSM is a naturally occurring nutritional supplement that has a variety of uses. Veterinarians have been using it since the 1980s to treat several different health problems in dogs and other animals. MSM is particularly useful in dogs that cannot take certain types of medications for pain and other symptoms.
Knowing the uses of MSM can help you determine if it can be useful for your dog, but you should always consult your dog’s veterinarian before discontinuing any other medications your dog takes.
What is MSM?
MSM, or methylsulphonylmethane, is a chemical compound naturally found in animal and plant tissues, including the human body. Most foods contain some MSM, but foods that are particularly rich in MSM include:
• meats such as lean ground beef, poultry and fish
• dairy products
These foods are commonly given to dogs who have a home-cooked diet. Although it is found in most foods, your dog’s typical daily requirement for MSM may be more than what is found in his diet. This is especially true for dogs fed with commercial dog foods, which often do not have MSM added.
What Does MSM Do for Dogs?
MSM is a biological sulfur supplement that boosts sulfur levels in the body. Sufficient levels of sulfur are crucial for healing damaged tissues and preventing inflammation during the healing process.
MSM’s role in helping damaged tissues heal makes it a valuable tool in fighting arthritis and other joint conditions, as well as muscle pain from strains and other injuries.
Arthritis and other degenerative joint conditions cause joint pain because of the erosion of the cartilage that connects joints. When cartilage is healthy, it absorbs shock from everyday wear and tear, such as walking and running, and from falls and other high-impact events.
MSM helps heal connective tissue that is damaged as a result of arthritis. While prescription medications only treat pain, MSM helps to rebuild the tissue, which treats the symptom as well as the root cause. It also strengthens existing cartilage, which prevents further erosion as it helps to heal damaged tissue.
Prescription medications from veterinarians are usually safe to give to dogs for acute injuries, since these typically heal within a few weeks. However, some dogs are sensitive to these medications or have a chronic condition. In these cases, prescription medications are not safe, so it is important to find alternatives that will not harm your dog but will treat his pain.
MSM’s anti-inflammatory properties alleviate pain. Inflammation is one of the main causes of pain from chronic conditions such as arthritis and from acute injuries such as sprains and strains. Reducing and preventing inflammation reduces pain, which allows your dog to exercise and move more freely. Exercise is critical in maintaining flexibility and in long-term pain relief from arthritis.
MSM’s anti-inflammatory properties also help alleviate allergy symptoms in dogs. Allergens cause symptoms such as swelling and itching that result from inflammation. Giving your dog MSM can prevent this allergic response and make allergies to certain foods and other common environmental allergens more manageable.
How Do I Give My Dog MSM?
There are a variety of ways of giving MSM to your dog. Supplements are easy to find in pill, powder or treat form.
Giving dogs MSM supplements meant for humans is inadvisable. Supplements made for humans often contain ingredients such as artificial sweeteners and other flavorings that, although safe for humans, may be unsafe for your dog. MSM supplements for humans also tend to come in pill or powder form that may be difficult to convince your dog to take. Powdered MSM has a bitter flavor that cannot always be masked by cheese, peanut butter or other foods commonly used to convince dogs to take medicines.
Companies that make supplements specifically for dogs only include ingredients that are safe for dogs to eat, avoiding artificial ingredients and flavors that are often found in human MSM supplements. MSM supplements for dogs are often contained in treats or are flavored with safer products such as natural chicken, liver and other flavorings. This makes the MSM much easier to give to your dog without the artificial ingredients that may be unhealthy.
Is MSM Safe for Dogs?
MSM is completely safe for dogs. It rarely causes any side effects. When side effects do occur, they are mild and are limited to upset stomach and diarrhea. The potential health benefits of MSM to dogs far outweigh the risks of side effects. If side effects occur while treating your dog with MSM, call your vet to determine what to do. You can usually give your dog medication to settle his stomach, and symptoms will often go away on their own.
You should not give MSM to a pregnant or nursing dog, since it has not been tested for safety during pregnancy.
Although MSM is safe, you should always consult a veterinarian before using it to treat your dog, especially if you are making changes to an existing treatment plan such as pain killers or other medications. If your dog is on a prescription medication, your vet will help you phase the medication out gradually.
Your vet will discuss your dog’s condition and your options for treating him. For a dog with arthritis or another joint condition, this may include a diet and exercise program within your dog’s abilities that will improve his flexibility and muscle tone while helping him maintain a healthy weight.
As a natural supplement that is already present in your dog’s body, MSM helps you treat his arthritis, muscle pain and other conditions without the use of prescription medications that may be dangerous to his health. MSM is completely safe and dozens of studies indicate it is effective enough to help prevent and heal joint and muscle tissue damage from arthritis and acute injuries.
Giving MSM to your dog is easy. With long-term use, it can reverse damage to your dog’s joints and other tissues, keeping him active, healthy and happy even in his senior years.