You may have heard your vet recommending MSM supplements along with common joint healers like glucosamine and chondroitin, but most people don't actually know what the acronym stands for. These letters refer to methylsulfonylmethane, a naturally occurring form of sulfur. This sulfur begins as a gas released from dead plankton, which then works its way through the water cycle to come down as rain. Rain causes plants to grow, which are then consumed by animal life and thus, MSM exists in all living things. As the natural process is quite lengthy, many have turned to man-made options instead of trying to derive MSM from rain water. So what does all of this have to do with your dog? If your furry companion is getting up there in years, suffering from arthritis, skin problems, autoimmune issues, gastrointestinal upset or general pain from injuries, MSM can provide some relief. It works by lowering pressure in cells and allowing more nutrients to be absorbed. This helps flush waste out of the body and improves how cells function. By making cells healthier, MSM reduces inflammation and works in multiple ways to help your dog. We've listed some of these benefits in detail below to help you determine if using an MSM supplement is right for your dog MSM is a powerful antioxidant Light has been shed in recent years on free radicals and the damage they cause. They have been found at the root of disease, and of aging in general, and are known to injure cells and destroy DNA. Antioxidants, such as the ones found in MSM, bind to these free radicals and allow them to exit the body. MSM is especially good at going from the bloodstream into the brain, making it ideal for helping dogs with neurological disorders. MSM is a detoxifier MSM detoxes the body on a cellular level, by flushing waste out of cells. It also can dissolve harmful toxins floating around inside your dog's body. Once the bad elements are out of the cells, fresh nutrients can enter in their place. This leads to less disease and better function of the body. MSM is a natural pain reliever The flushing properties of MSM also allow fluid to pass through your dog's tissues. The supplement can actually block the pain signaled by nerves in the body. It also signals the body to start producing more cortisol, which in turn lowers inflammation. All of these amazing responses happen without the need for strong, potentially damaging pain medications. MSM is an enhancer of other supplements Once the bad toxins have been pushed out of cells, vitamins and minerals can be absorbed more easily. A dog who has good levels of MSM will go on to experience longer benefits from vitamins A, B, C, D and E! Magnesium, calcium and many other minerals will also have a heightened effect if your dog is taking an MSM supplement. The real magic of MSM is its ability to get rid of the harmful things in your dog's body while also lowering improper inflammation. This type of chronic inflammation has been found to be the starting point of almost all diseases, and even of the aging process as a whole! Dogs with appropriate amounts of MSM in their bodies may actually age slower than those who are deficient. That being said, not all dogs should partake in this supplement. Intolerance can occur in some canines, with symptoms such as shortness of breath, congestion, skin problems and fatigue indicating that MSM may not be working for your pup. Dogs who eat an entirely raw diet may have enough of the natural sulfur already. This is because both plant and animal matter contains MSM, but only does until heated. Once MSM is heated, the sulfur escapes and is lost. If your dog eats only kibble, supplementing MSM into their diet may be a great addition for a more complete health regime.