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MSM For Dogs: Discover How It Can Bring Relief To Aging Canines

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on February 9, 2022

The older dogs get, the more health risks they face. Whether it’s aching joints, allergies, or serious diseases, your dog may suffer without a proper diet and supplements. Luckily, using MSM for dogs is a great way to prevent several health concerns, especially those related to inflammation.

Watching your dog struggle at any age is heartbreaking. So, the best way to ensure that they live a long, healthy life is to prevent problems before they occur. MSM is one of many ingredients that can protect your dog from risks like chronic joint pain. So, what is MSM, and what can it do for your dog?

Shiba Inu Relaxing

What is MSM for Dogs?

Methylsulfonylmethane, more commonly known as MSM, is an organic compound containing sulfur. It’s found naturally in the bodies of both humans and animals. The body needs MSM for biochemical functioning, but it also helps build and maintain joints, cartilage, connective tissue, and amino acids.

MSM is often a key ingredient in canine supplements, especially ones used for joints. It can boost your pup’s immune system while also relieving chronic pain like arthritis. MSM supplements are commonly given to dogs, humans, horses, and cats. Studies show that MSM specifically helps with conditions related to inflammation in humans and canines.

Dogs who take MSM for pain relief can experience the same results as if they were taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). MSM is a safe, more natural alternative to NSAIDs and other drugs because it has minimal side effects. The compound exists naturally in plants and animals, but it can also be produced in a lab if needed.

Where Does MSM Come From?

In nature, MSM appears after microscopic phytoplankton in the ocean die and decompose. Those dead organisms create a gas called dimethylsulfide (DMS), which produces MSM when oxygen and sunlight interact with it. MSM is seen naturally in raindrops and the water vapor of clouds.

Other natural sources of MSM are fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, raw milk, and some seafood such as kelp. Yet, many foods we eat are low in MSM because cooking, heating, and freezing may destroy most of the MSM in those items.

When MSM is used for supplements, it’s not sourced naturally from phytoplankton or the foods that contain it. Instead, it’s created through reactions that use substances like petroleum waste and methane gas. Making MSM is a complicated process, but it’s still a safe and natural ingredient for humans and animals when done correctly. A trustworthy company will have strict protocols and detailed product testing before their MSM products go on the market.

Dachshund Hiding Under Blanket

Why Do Dogs Need More MSM?

Even if dogs eat a raw diet with whole foods, they still might not get enough MSM to make a significant difference. Dogs should get 50mg to 100mg of MSM per ten pounds of body weight daily to help with joint inflammation. That’s much more than the amount that naturally occurs in their food. MSM can benefit dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, so talk to your vet about how it can improve your pup’s well-being.

What Does MSM Do for Dogs?

Even though MSM for dogs is most commonly known for reducing joint pain, its benefits don’t end there. MSM can reduce the risk of many major health concerns, making it excellent at protecting dogs of all ages.

MSM supplements can benefit a dog’s overall health, but they are most commonly given to dogs who have conditions related to inflammation, such as joint disease, colitis, lung injury, liver injury, and allergies. Here’s how MSM can help with the following general conditions.

Related: 10 Best Liver Supplements for Dogs

Prevents Chronic Pain

MSM is great at reducing chronic pain, especially related to joint problems. It can reduce the transfer of pain impulses in your dog’s nerve fibers. Also, it can increase the amount of cortisol produced in the body, which is a natural hormone that prevents inflammation. MSM may protect your dog from further cartilage damage, allowing less friction and inflammation around their joints when they exercise.

In addition to soothing your dog’s pain, it can also strengthen your dog’s bones, hips, and joints to prevent future joint issues like arthritis, osteoarthritis, and tendonitis. It can prevent or lessen joint and bone problems to make symptoms of aging not occur as quickly. Thus, dogs will experience less swelling and deformation around their joints as they get older.

Related: The 13 Best Heart Supplements for Dogs

Old dog close up

Boosts the Immune System

This compound’s anti-inflammatory properties can lead to less stress on your dog’s immune system. It can regulate and balance antioxidant enzymes found in a dog’s body. It can also remove harmful substances, such as free radicals. The production of too many free radicals can lead to stress and malnutrition in canines. With fewer unwanted materials in your dog’s body, their immune system will be much healthier.

Other vitamins and nutrients in your dog’s body may be enhanced by consuming MSM. Vitamin C, all B-vitamins, vitamin A, coenzyme Q10, vitamin D, vitamin E, amino acids, calcium, and magnesium are just some nutrients that benefit from interacting with MSM. MSM can improve the elasticity of your dog’s cell membrane, allowing the body to more easily absorb essential nutrients.

Fights Off Parasites

MSM may have anti-parasitic effects on your canine’s body. Giardia, roundworms, trichomonas, and nematodes are some intestinal worms that MSM can deter. However, if your dog is infected with a parasite, you shouldn’t use this as your sole treatment method. Instead, talk to your vet about the best options.

A study involving mice helped scientists discover the parasite-deterring properties of MSM. At the beginning of the study, the rodents all had pinworms, but after eating and drinking substances with 2% MSM by weight, the worms and eggs disappeared after 17 days. It’s suspected to have a similar effect on other types of animals.

Reduces Allergy Symptoms

Allergies can cause irritating reactions, which MSM can help to relieve. Food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalation allergies can become less severe while your pup takes an MSM supplement. It does this by blocking the allergens from reaching the host. Since MSM gets rid of free radicals, that can also contribute to allergy relief.

A common allergy symptom is skin irritation and hair loss. MSM can keep your pup’s skin healthy by improving keratin levels and skin cell production. Their skin will be smoother and less likely to get irritation.

Dog itching outside

Lowers Risk of Major Diseases

There are many diseases that MSM can help fight off, including cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases, and autoimmune diseases. MSM can repair oxidative damage and improve the quality of the cell membrane, which can cause fewer neurological issues. Less oxidative stress on the body can also prevent eye problems like blindness. MSM fights inflammation in the body, benefiting dogs with autoimmune diseases, especially if those diseases are related to joint pain.

MSM is helpful for canines with diabetes because it contains sulfur, which is an essential part of your pup’s diet. A lack of sulfur could cause the body to create less biologically active insulin, affecting blood sugar levels. Taking MSM can refine glucose uptake to improve the blood sugar balance and pancreas function.

It’s not confirmed that MSM is a cancer treatment, but studies show it can slow symptoms. In a study with rats, all the subjects were prone to breast cancer. The number of tumors in the rats taking MSM and the control group was the same but drastically different when the tumors appeared. The rats taking MSM experienced tumors 100 days after the control group, and they didn’t have any cancerous tumors until 130 days after the other rats.

Related: 10 Best Eye Supplements for Dogs

How Much MSM For Dogs is Safe?

MSM is safe for dogs as long as you give them the proper dosage. Most supplements will list the ideal dose on the packaging, but it’s always a good idea to consult your vet first. They can help you decide on the safest, most suitable supplement for your dog based on their age, weight, and activity level.

MSM Dosage for Dogs

Even though every product has different dosages, there are general suggestions for how much MSM to give to dogs. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog 50 to 100 mg for every ten pounds of body weight.

Senior dog happy

Here’s a more specific recommendation for each weight group:

  • 10 pounds or less – < 500 mg
  • 11 to 20 pounds – 500 mg
  • 21 to 40 pounds – 1,000 mg
  • 41 to 60 pounds – 2,000 mg
  • 61 to 80 pounds – 3,000 mg
  • 81 to 100 pounds – 4,000 mg
  • Over 100 pounds – 5,000 mg

However, these doses are only suggestions. Don’t serve any MSM to your dog without looking at the label and checking with your vet first. Even though MSM has minimal side effects, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when serving your dog something new.

MSM Risks for Dogs

Luckily, MSM is a safe, natural product with few side effects. However, too much sulfur may lead to symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, restlessness, headaches, and a loss of appetite. If your dog displays any unusual behaviors after taking an MSM supplement, stop feeding it to them right away.

Do not give these supplements to your dog if they’re pregnant, nursing, or could have allergies to MSM. Talk to a professional about safer alternatives in that scenario.

If you miss a dose of MSM, give it to your dog when you remember, as long as it’s not too close to their next dose. Otherwise, skip it and wait until their next scheduled dose. You should never give two doses of MSM close to each other because the risk of side effects could increase.

Are There Any Drug Interactions?

Do not give your dog MSM if they’re currently taking anticoagulants, which prevent blot clots, or NSAIDs, which are used to reduce pain and inflammation.

Any medications, including vitamins, supplements, and herbal therapies, have the potential to interact with each other. So, the best way to ensure that your dog stays safe is to inform your vet of all medications they’re taking before adding something new. MSM will not affect other consumables in most cases, but it’s best to be cautious.

Beagle eating treat

How to Serve MSM to Dogs

MSM supplements are usually given as a capsule, treat, or powder. Most joint supplements include glucosamine and chondroitin with MSM because they also offer joint relief. Glucosamine builds new cartilage around your dog’s joints, while chondroitin prevents more damage from occurring.

All forms of joint supplements should be given to your dog with their food or shortly after to prevent stomach problems. While pills are a common form of joint supplements, they’re not as appealing to dogs and may require a pill pocket for picky eaters. Powder can be sprinkled on top of your dog’s food, but not every version will smell appealing to your pup.

While not as common, some MSM products come in the form of chews, such as Dasuquin for dogs. Chews typically have the same benefits as other types of supplements, but they look and smell like treats to dogs. Thus, they’ve been growing in popularity for pet parents with picky pups.

Regardless of the type of supplement you choose, you should inspect the label closely. Make sure it’s from a company you trust, and ensure that it only includes beneficial ingredients.

Pain Relief for Picky Pups!

If your dog is the master of refusing pills, no matter how well you hide them, then a chew may be the easier option for you. Yet, you’ll still want to make sure that the chew is packed with the same beneficial ingredients that any other type of supplement would have. When in doubt, ask your vet their opinion on a product.

The iHeartDogs Advanced 8-in-1 Hip & Joint Chews are a treat supplement that can benefit your pup’s joints. These chews contain glucosamine HCI, omega-rich organic hemp powder, MSM, chondroitin, green-lipped mussels, organic turmeric, and Boswellia serrata, all of which are great for reducing joint pain and inflammation.

iHeartDogs Hip and Joint Chews

With these chews, your dog will reap all the benefits of MSM, especially with easing pain, preventing damage, and improving mobility. Plus, each bag purchased will donate 14 healthy meals to shelter dogs, so you can save dogs in need while keeping your pup in shape.

It’s heartbreaking to watch your dog suffer from diseases and irritation. Luckily, MSM can keep your dog healthy in many ways, especially when it comes to reducing chronic pain like arthritis. It’ll help dogs of all ages feel young and energetic again.

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