Green Lipped Mussels for Dogs & Cats
Green lipped mussels are one of those wonderful foods for joint health and prevention/treatment of osteoarthritis. It’s an ingredient we find in a few top quality foods, and often in foods from New Zealand where they’re generally sourced. The Maori tribe of New Zealand have a diet rich in green lipped mussels, and are known for having the strongest bones and joints in the world.
Green lipped mussels are a fantastic foodstuff for people with arthritis, and the same applies to our pets. In this article we’ll take a look at the benefits of green lipped mussels for dogs & cats, how to feed them, and where to buy them.
Why are green lipped mussels good for dogs & cats?
Green lipped mussels contain glycosaminoglycans which serve to maintain supple and strong joints and help the body repair cartilage. Large breed dogs are particularly prone to joint damage and conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia. It’s not just large breed dogs, as active or working dogs by nature put a lot of stress on their joints, and even less active dogs can suffer from poor joint health as they age.
Many commercial pet foods, particularly those formulated with high carbohydrates from grains or other starchy ingredients can also lead to poor joint health.
Another component of green lipped mussels is eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) which is a form of omega 3. ETA helps prevent inflammation in joints.
It doesn’t end there either, as lyprinols and anti oxidants are also found in green lipped mussels which further aid joint health in dogs & cats.
No matter what breed of dog or cat, or how old they are, green lipped mussels are always a worthy addition to their diet.
Let’s take a look the best ways to feed your pet green lipped mussels:
There are four common ways of feeding green lipped mussels. These are:
- Within some pet foods as an ingredient (see below).
- As freeze dried treats (see below).
- As capsules (see below).
- Fresh (if you can buy them locally!).
Green lipped mussels are commonly found in pet foods manufactured in New Zealand. The following foods, rated highly by us, contain green lipped mussels as an ingredient:
- ZiwiPEAK (dog and cat formulas)
- K9 Natural (for dogs)
- Feline Natural (for cats)
- Freeze Dry Australia (for dogs).
The wet foods by ZiwiPeak and K9 Natural/Feline Natural also contain green lipped mussels.
Until recently it’s been hard to find green lipped mussels. Thankfully they’ve become more common as freeze dried treats and can be bought from pet stores or online. Freeze drying is a process which removes all water content and leaves the nutrition intact, being a great way of preserving the food and reducing weight. A 50g bag of freeze dried mussels is the equivalent of over 250g of mussels in fresh form (as a guesstimate).
The website Sniff Out is an excellent tool to find green-lipped mussels (and any pet products) from Aussie retailers. I’ll include some links for a few products below:
As a general rule you could feed one mussel a day, or every couple of days, as a treat. For a more specific formula (see below).
Capsules might be a more convenient option, with PAW Osteosupport Joint Care Capsules from Blackmores being the most common. These are available as 500mg daily capsules for dogs or 500mg daily capsules for cats. You can buy these at most retailers including Pet Circle and My Pet Warehouse.
Sashas Blend is another good option, being a combination of green lipped mussel, abalone, and marine cartilage (shark cartilage). Abalone is a preventive of arthritis and reduces joint pain as well as other health benefits. Shark cartilage is said to aid cartilage repair, but there’s little research on this.
When feeding capsules it’s best to spread the powder over your pet’s food. This works better if you feed wet and can mix it in.
There are a few formulas based on studies. The following formula was published in a study in the Journal of Nutrition 2002 and applies to dogs and cats:
15mg of green lipped mussel powder per 1lb (1 pound) of body weight
Powder is essentially green lipped mussels with all moisture removed, with the same being the case for freeze dried offerings from manufacturers such as K9 Natural and Sunday Pets.
Here are some calculations using that formula, and converted to kilos and grams:
5kg (adult cat) – 0.165g/day
10kg (small dog) – 0.33g/day
20kg (medium dog) – 0.66g/day
When you consider a small pack of K9 Natural Green Lipped Mussels are 50g, that would mean the pack would be sufficient for a 20kg dog for 75 days!
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