This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
At a Glance: Our Choice for 5 Best Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs
- Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewable Tablets for Dogs
- Nutramax Cosequin DS PLUS MSM Chewable Tablets
- Pets-Are-Human – Hip Joint Pain Relief Chews with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3 and MSM
- TerraMax Pro Liquid Glucosamine with Chondroitin MSM and Hyaluronic Acid
- Vetri-Science Laboratories Glyco-Flex III Bite-Sized Dog Chews
Just like in humans, joint pain and arthritis can cause your dog a lot of pain as they get older and reduce their quality of life. But, there’s no need for your dog to live in pain. Glucosamine has been proven an effective supplement for both preventing and reducing dog joint pain and arthritis.
In this article, we’ll go through the best glucosamine supplements for dogs, which you can feel confident about giving your dog safely.
SPOILER ALERT: We recommend Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewable Tablets as the best way to give your dog the joint support they need.
We will also go through how and why glucosamine works and how to go about administering it to your dog. We’ll have a quick look at natural sources of glucosamine, and other supplements and remedies that can help your dog have a little more spring in their step.
Quick Overview: The Best Glucosamine for Dogs
Contents & Quick Navigation
- At a Glance: Our Choice for 5 Best Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs
- Quick Overview: The Best Glucosamine for Dogs
- The Benefits of Glucosamine for Your Dog
- When Does My Dog Need to Take Glucosamine?
- How to Administer Glucosamine
- Are There any Side Effects for Dogs Taking Glucosamine?
- Best Glucosamine for Dogs
- Natural Sources of Glucosamine for Dogs
- Alternatives to Glucosamine
- FAQs About Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs
- Can I Give My Dog Human Glucosamine?
- How Much Glucosamine Should I Give My Dog?
- Can A Dog Get Too Much Glucosamine?
- Can Glucosamine Cause Liver Damage In Dogs?
- How Long Does It Take For Glucosamine To Start Working In Dogs?
- What Are The Side Effects Of Glucosamine In Dogs?
- When Should I Give My Dog Glucosamine?
- Save to Pinterest:
- Top Picks For Our Dogs
The Benefits of Glucosamine for Your Dog
One such diet supplement is glucosamine, which you may be familiar with as a human supplement to help ease joint stiffness and the symptoms of arthritis.
Glucosamine for dogs is similar to the human formulation and can prove a valuable tool in the fight against arthritis regardless of the stage the arthritis is at.
In essence, glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the connective tissue and fluid around joints. The supplement is simply a synthesized version of this.
By taking glucosamine regularly, in the manner advised by your vet, your dog can expect to enjoy the following benefits:
- Pain relief from muscle inflammation, bone loss and arthritis
- The rebuilding of lost cartilage
- Improvement in joint function and movement
Consequently, you’ll notice that your dog has more energy and freedom to move, leading to a greater quality of life and an array of other health benefits.
Additionally, taking glucosamine as a preventative measure for arthritis will mean your dog is less likely to need medicated pain relief in their future. In comparison:
- Glucosamine is cheaper than pain medication
- Glucosamine carries less risk of unpleasant side effects than pain medication
- Glucosamine is less likely to react with other supplements, dietary intake and medicines than pain medication
When Does My Dog Need to Take Glucosamine?
You can start your dog on glucosamine at any age; just remember to consult your vet so that they can advise on the best dosage tailored to your pet’s particular needs. As a diet supplement, it carries low risks of side effects and can prove preventative for arthritis and other joint problems later in life.
Having said that, if your dog begins to develop signs of arthritis, or if they are already in the full throes of the disease, glucosamine supplements are still a valuable tool in your dog’s health kit.
If you think your dog may be developing joint problems or arthritis, consult your vet so you can begin treatment and glucosamine supplementation as soon as possible.
Labradors and Arthritis
While arthritis can and does affect all breeds of dogs, it is particularly prevalent among larger breeds including Labrador Retrievers. Labs are particularly prone to a form of joint pain called hip dysplasia.
This is a deformity of the hip that occurs during growth, when the ball and socket of the hip joint grow out of proportion to one another. It can be painful on its own and also increases the dog’s risk of arthritis.
The best thing you can do for your Labrador is to prevent this deformity while they are still young, by managing their weight and ensuring they keep up the right amount of exercise. But glucosamine will also help with the pain later in life.
To learn more about caring for your older labrador, read: Caring for your senior Labradror: Health and Happiness until the end.
The Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
It can be quite difficult to detect whether your dog is suffering from arthritis, as our canine friends tend to hide their weaknesses and suffering as an innate defensive response.
Having said that, look out for the following clues that could be signs of joint discomfort in your dog:
- A decrease in activity and sense of lethargy. They may be particularly hesitant on long walks, and running up and down stairs
- Tender to the touch, particularly around their hind legs and hip joints
- A restlessness when lying down or sleeping, indicating pain from swelling and inflammation
You can learn more about caring for Labradors with Arthritis here: Labrador Joint Health.
How to Best Treat Arthritis in Dogs
First things first, always consult your vet if you suspect your dog may be suffering from arthritis or a similar joint problem and they will be able to provide tailored advice and medication to best fit your dog’s needs.
Otherwise, you can make your dog as comfortable as possible by:
- Providing them a healthy, balanced diet (remember to reduce their portion sizes accordingly if they are less active than normal)
- Giving them plenty of rest and avoiding stressful environments
- Giving them plenty of love and attention
- Supplementing their diet with substances like glucosamine and other vitamins and minerals to help slow and support the aging process
How to Administer Glucosamine
Your vet should be able to advise on the correct dosage of glucosamine for your dog, taking into account such factors as their weight, age and the extent of their problems.
It’s imperative that you do consult a vet before administering supplements or other medicines to your dog: only a trained professional will be best placed to know how your dog will react to a certain formula.
Often, your vet will advise your arthritic dog be put on an initial ‘administration’ or ‘loading’ phase, featuring a high intake of glucosamine in a short period, followed by a ‘maintenance’ period with a lower dosage over a longer time span.
Many manufacturers of glucosamine for dogs will have special formulations like flavored chews, liquid, or crumbling tablets to add to food. It depends on your dog’s sensibilities which one they best prefer and are most likely to ingest.
Some manufacturers will also include additional vitamins and minerals in their supplements.
Some popular added substances include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: to reduce inflammation and improve the condition of skin and coat
- Sulfur and sulfur-containing compounds: helps to rebuild cartilage and joint health while improving the condition of skin, hair, and nails
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): reduces stiffness and inflammation
- Manganese: strengthens bones
Are There any Side Effects for Dogs Taking Glucosamine?
The side effects for a dog taking glucosamine are rare although not unheard of, and usually avoided if you follow dosing advice from your vet.
- Allergic reactions: dogs who suffer from shellfish allergies may also be allergic to glucosamine supplements. Your vet will either advise a lower dose of the supplement or recommend a plant-based formulation.
- Interactions with blood sugar: glucosamine supplements can interact with your dog’s blood sugar levels, particularly if they are also taking blood-thinning medication. Again, consult your vet for tailored advice.
- Gastrointestinal upsets: glucosamine supplements can be a little harsh on your dog’s stomach and digestive system, occasionally leading to flatulence, vomit, and diarrhea. The best way to combat this is to administer their dosage with food or lower their dose, after consulting with your vet.
Best Glucosamine for Dogs
Below, we’ve rounded up and reviewed what we consider to be the best glucosamine for dogs currently available on the market.
Trusted manufacturer Nutramax are the people behind the best glucosamine supplement for dogs on the market with their all-round joint support chewable tablet.
- The most complete joint support supplement on the market today
- It’s a chewable tablet that’s easily digestible
- Its formulation includes Chondroitin Sulfate, ASU (avocado and soybean unsaponifiables), MSM and green tea to effectively reduce stiffness and other symptoms of arthritis
- It benefits from over ten years worth of clinical use and research
- It’s suitable for long term use and effective when used for arthritis, hip dysplasia and other joint problems
- It’s quite expensive in comparison to other supplements on the market
Another Nutramax product is in second place and is well known for being potent and fast-acting – hence why it’s vets’ favorite glucosamine supplement for joint health.
- It’s the most recommended supplement for joint health among veterinary professionals
- It contains glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium chondroitin sulfate, MSM and manganese
- It’s a chewable tablet so is easily digestible and has a light liver flavor
- Suitable for use on dogs of all different sizes, ages, and joint symptoms
- The supply lasts for a long time and is particularly economical once your dog progresses on to the maintenance stage and requires lower dosages
- The initial administration stage is very strong and works quickly in relieving chronic joint problems
- Particularly fussy dogs may not enjoy the very light taste of the chewable tablet
Although not carrying as renowned a brand name as other products in our ranking, these chews are full of potent and fast-acting vitamins and minerals, promising pain relief, joint support and an extra glossy coat for your dog.
- It contains extra-strength glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin and Omega-3 fish oils
- The Omega-3 ensures a strong and glossy coat, as well as providing additional anti-inflammatory support
- Formulated in a chewable tablet with a delicious chicken flavor
- Made in the USA using a cold pressed manufacturing process which ensures no active ingredients are lost
- It works quickly and effectively to combat joint problems and comes with a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied
- It’s gentle on your dog’s stomach
- Some users have commented that it’s difficult to halve the chews without them crumbling – be sure to use scissors if you try!
Offering something a little different, TerraMax’s glucosamine product comes in a liquid form and is easy to combine with food and water – perfect for fussy eaters! Additionally, it contains a high dosage of the glucosamine and other helpful compounds.
- It contains an unmatched 1,600 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride, 1,200 mg of chondroitin sulfate and 1,000 mg of MSM.
- It’s also fortified with Hyaluronic acid which helps the rebuilding process of cartilage and joint tissue
- It’s a liquid formulation which is absorbed faster and more efficiently into the bloodstream than tablets are
- TerraMax manufacture their supplements in the USA, and they last for a long time with a money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied
- All ingredients are rated at human grade and are distilled to provide the purest form.
- The liquid is free from gluten, corn, milk, yeast, sugar, salt, starch and soy derivatives
- As it’s in liquid form, this glucosamine supplement doesn’t last as long as the other solid products on this list.
We’re back to the usual chewable tablets with Glyco-Flex’s glucosamine supplement, and this product is particularly popular with dogs that like the tasty treat aspect of the chew.
- Best suited to dogs suffering from mild to moderate joint issues, geriatric and working dogs, or those recovering from orthopedic surgery
- It contains glucosamine, manganese, MSM and vet-patented DMG (Dimethylglycine, a protein building block), which claims to help bolster your dog’s immune system
- Shaped like a treat and available in a tasty chicken liver flavor
- Made in the USA
- Not as soft as their name suggests so some dogs may struggle to chew into these tablet treats
- These will be less helpful for dogs suffering from severe arthritis symptoms.
Natural Sources of Glucosamine for Dogs
If you would prefer to try to get your dog the glucosamine they need from natural sources, it is possible, but it’s not simple.
The best source of glucosamine for dogs comes from shellfish, which is why most glucosamine supplements for dogs are made from shellfish. Lobster, shrimp, and crab, all of which are full of cartilage, are great sources of glucosamine. But they aren’t cheap!
Another great source of glucosamine is trachea, which is the large membrane tube reinforced by rings of cartilage that extends from the larynx to the bronchial tube. Beef trachea is the easiest to get at your local butcher, but lamb, goat, and ostrich trachea are also available. Some top-quality dog foods will add this to their mixture. You can also feed these to your dog raw as a chewy treat.
Easier to find are chicken (or other poultry) feet, which are also loaded with natural glucosamine and make a nice crunchy treat for dogs. You can also look out for oxtails or pigtails and beef knucklebones, which have the added benefit of keeping your dog entertained for hours.
If your dog is a vegetarian, it is a bit more difficult as the best plant-based sources of glucosamine are from fungi. The easiest way to deliver this to your dog is via a supplement, or look for alternative supplements that can also help with joint pain.
Alternatives to Glucosamine
Glucosamine is not the only option you have when it comes to supplements that can help your dog with joint health and pain. There are a few others also worth considering.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that is anti-inflammatory and also full of antioxidants. In humans, curcumin has been shown to be as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis-related pain. You can buy this as a supplement, or get fresh turmeric root, crush it up and mix it in your dog’s dish. Go for around ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon daily per 10 lbs of pooch.
Ginger has the ability to stop the immune system from producing leukotrienes, which cause inflammation. It can also increase blood circulation to help older dogs who have lost their mobility get a little bit more spring back into their step. The recommended daily dosage is ½ teaspoon for a dog of 35 pounds, and it can be minced and put into their food.
Blueberries contain 20 different kinds of anthocyanins, which help minimize inflammation and fight free radicals, both of which are good news as far as arthritis is concerned.
FAQs About Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs
Can I Give My Dog Human Glucosamine?
While the glucosamine in human supplements and dog supplements is the same, it is not a good idea to give your human supplement to your pooch. Both human and canine glucosamine supplements contain additional ingredients that are designed to be good for one species but not necessarily the other.
For example, some human glucosamine supplements contain xylitol or chocolate. Both of these sweeteners make the supplements palatable for humans but are very bad for dogs.
If you choose your supplement carefully, you could find one that works for both you and your dog, but you are better off getting your dog a specialist supplement made just for them.
How Much Glucosamine Should I Give My Dog?
Consult your vet about how much glucosamine to give your dog, as it depends on their size, age, and condition. However, as a general rule, dogs should receive about 15mg of glucosamine per kilogram of their weight when they are receiving glucosamine for maintenance. If they need a loading dose, it is probably about twice this amount.
Can A Dog Get Too Much Glucosamine?
As glucosamine is a supplement rather than a drug, it is very difficult for them to overdose on it in a severe or dangerous way. But too much of anything can affect the delicate balance of your dog’s system and lead to side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting, but without causing lasting damage.
However, also be aware that supplements often contain other ingredients, which may be more harmful when ingested in large doses. A common example of this is vitamin D.
Can Glucosamine Cause Liver Damage In Dogs?
Glucosamine causing liver damage in dogs is extremely unlikely. There have been a few isolated cases of liver damage in dogs in which glucosamine may have played a partial role. But, if you are giving your dog glucosamine as part of a healthy and balanced diet, there should be no risk to their liver.
How Long Does It Take For Glucosamine To Start Working In Dogs?
It can take up to 30 days for you to start seeing your dog benefiting from glucosamine, though they will likely feel it sooner. It is generally recommended that you stick with the treatment for about three months to assess its effects and see if more intense intervention is required.
What Are The Side Effects Of Glucosamine In Dogs?
Most dogs will present no negative side effects from taking glucosamine, but there are a few possible side effects if your dog is getting too much or has a particular problem with glucosamine. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common side effects in dogs that are sensitive to glucosamine. They can also suffer from fatigue and insomnia.
Dogs with an allergy to shellfish may present similar allergic reactions to standard glucosamine supplements and will do better with a plant-based alternative. Very high doses can also cause excessive thirst and urination.
When Should I Give My Dog Glucosamine?
You can start giving your dog glucosamine supplements as a health supplement to help prevent arthritis in the future from about the age of one, which is about when they are fully grown. But you can also start to implement the supplement into their diet later in life, and it continues to be beneficial when administered after the symptoms of arthritis have already become present.
Glucosamine supplements are an effective way to support the health and happiness of your dog if they are suffering from joint pain or arthritis.
There are lots of great supplements on the market which makes it simple to give your dog the glucosamine that they need in a safe and easy way. While there are a lot of choices out there, we recommend Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewable Tablets for Dogs.
But, as with most things when it comes to the health of your dog, speak to your vet. They can recommend doses and point you in the direction of good supplements. They can also let you know if your dog’s arthritis requires more serious intervention.
Product image credits © Chewy.com
Save to Pinterest:
This post was originally published March 16th, 2016. It has been updated with the latest and greatest content.
Top Picks For Our Dogs
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
- BEST CHEW TOY
We Like: KONG Extreme - Great toy for heavy chewers like our Labrador Retrievers.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.