Written by Ella White
Medically approved by Cathy Piche BA, RVT, CCRP
Written by Ella White
Medically approved by Cathy Piche BA, RVT, CCRP
MSM, short for Methylsulfonylmethane, is a natural compound often used to reduce inflammation and ease joint pain. It’s known to boost immunity in humans and soothe the pain associated with arthritis, back pain, headaches, athletic injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and a number of autoimmune diseases – and dogs can reap these same benefits too.
Similar to glucosamine and chondroitin, MSM is used as an analgesic dietary supplement that can help your dog deal with allergies, inflammation, and pain. Here we will explore what MSM is, how it benefits your dog, and the best ways to introduce it to their diet.
MSM is an organic form of sulphur that comes from the oxidation of dimethyl sulphide – gas produced when microscopic phytoplankton in the ocean die and decompose – when it reacts with oxygen and sunlight. It’s highly soluble in water and is involved in the formation of clouds, so when it rains trace amounts of MSM are released in the water droplets and fall to earth to be absorbed by plants or to repeat the process in the ocean.
Dogs can naturally receive MSM through a raw, organic diet. It’s also present in leafy green vegetables, alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes, and beetroot. So it’s a safe and natural ingredient for your dog to ingest, but if you’re supplementing their diet with MSM then it’s important to understand the correct quantities. Dog owners should also research the brand of MSM they’re buying as some animal grade supplements are contaminated with heavy metals and other fillers that can be detrimental to your dog’s health.
MSM can benefit dogs in lots of ways. It can help reduce muscle damage as well as general pain and stiffness related to ageing. MSM is known to inhabit inflammatory responses in the body. This means it reduces stress on the immune system as well as preventing bone, hip, and joint pain and stiffness caused by ageing, reducing muscle damage, and increasing levels of antioxidants that support your dog’s immune system.
If your dog is deficient in biological sulphur, it can result in their cells, tissue, and organs functioning suboptimally. That’s why it’s essential to the health of all living things, not just humans and dogs. These are just some of the issues that can be helped by getting the right amount of MSM.
MSM blocks the transfer of pain impulses through the nerve fibres and prevents inflammation by increasing cortisol levels.
MSM is known to boost the potential of other nutrients in your dog’s diet, including Vitamins A, C, D, E, all B Vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, amino acids, selenium, calcium, magnesium and more. MSM boosts the cells’ ability to absorb these nutrients, and prolongs their efficacy.
MSM can bind and deactivate free radicals in the body, thus acting as an antioxidant. Free radicals are caused by stress, malnutrition, pollution, and contaminants in drinking water and food. An excess of these can be harmful for your dog’s physical and mental health.
MSM reacts with toxins, deactivating them and speeding up the rate at which they’re excreted from the body. It also makes cell membranes more permeable, so nutrients can be absorbed and waste can be eliminated more easily.
The brain is very sensitive to toxic materials, and because MSM reduces toxins and oxidants in the body, it removes their ability to affect the brain and cause oxidative damage. Not all antioxidants can pass the blood-brain barrier, but MSM can. So it’s able to prevent and repair damage, restoring the elasticity and permeability of cell membrane so the nerve cells can excrete waste products.
MSM can alleviate the symptoms of food, contact, and inhalation allergies. This is because it binds to the mucous and creates a natural block between hosts and allergens. It can also prevent allergies through its detoxification and anti oxidising, as it eliminates free radicals that can cause allergic reactions.
The immune system turns on autoimmune reactions like inflammation in response to other problems. But this swelling can be painful, and MSM effectively fights and prevents it. For this reason, MSM is especially beneficial for dogs suffering with arthritis and other joint problems that are prone to inflammation. MSM also significantly reduces joint degeneration and soothes pain and stiffness.
Sulphur is a component of insulin, and also contains B vitamin biotin that’s needed to utilise glucose. Without nutritional sulphur in the diet, both dogs and humans could produce less biologically active insulin that’s needed for metabolising. Because MSM improves cellular glucose uptake and cell permeability, it is thought to balance the blood sugar levels and support the normal function of the pancreas.
Dogs need about 50 to 100 mg MSM per 10 pounds of body weight. And though a raw whole food diet should be enough to ensure good levels of MSM, industrialised farming means some foods aren’t exposed to enough rain water which is where they get their MSM from. However, MSM is similar in toxicity to water so you don’t have to worry about your dog getting too much of it.
Though MSM comes from phytoplankton in nature, many commercially produced supplements are not made from natural substances. Some can be manufactured from petroleum waste and methane gas, while others are synthesised by the catalytic reaction of hydrogen peroxide with DMSO – the result of the reaction of nitrogen tetroxide and oxygen with DMS. The oxygen atoms for these reactions come from the atmosphere, the same source used in nature. However, because MSM occurs naturally in many foods when they take in rain water, the best way to boost your dog’s MSM intake is through an MSM-rich diet.
There is a small chance that your dog may experience vomiting and diarrhoea as a side effect of MSM. Like with any new ingredient in their diet, it’s worth consulting a vet before administering MSM. However the chances of negative side effects are incredibly low.
You can introduce MSM to your dog’s diet through chews, treats, or an MSM-rich raw food diet. There are also supplement bars and powders, usually targeted at easing joint pain, that ensure your dog gets enough MSM. However as we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to research and understand where the manufacturer of your chosen supplement gets their MSM source. If it’s synthesised, it’s crucial to know that it won’t contain heavy metals or other contaminants that will contradict the positive benefits you’re looking for.
Front of the Pack’s Move supplement is made with natural MSM that’s clinically proven to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy immune system. It’s designed to support your dog’s joint function and inflammatory response, as well as healthy cartilage metabolism and flexibility so they can stay active and healthy as they age.