Glucosamine for Dogs: All you need to know

Glucosamine for Dogs: All you need to know

We love our furry friends almost as much as they love running around and playing. But as our dogs age, they can start to experience arthritis and joint pain, hindering their ability to be active and have fun. Seeing our beloved pets in pain can make us feel helpless - but there may be something we can do about it.

Glucosamine supplements with chondroitin can provide relief for dogs suffering from arthritis or general joint pain. These supplements cushion a dog's joints and reduce inflammation, resulting in reduced pain and increased joint mobility.

For many of us, dogs are considered part of the family - this is why we must stay informed on how to best take care of our little fur babies. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the effects of glucosamine on dogs, from its potential benefits to possible side effects. To find out whether or not glucosamine could help your dog find relief from joint support, stay tuned.

How does glucosamine work for dogs?

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring chemical found in the fluid surrounding the joints, helping to cushion and increase joint function. 

When we start to notice that our dogs are missing spring in their step, we need to consider the possibility that it’s from a lack of glucosamine leading to joint deterioration.

By adding joint supplements into our dog’s diets, we can help to lubricate their joints and reduce the inflammation that leads to pain and stiffness.

In fact, one study tested the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin in 35 dogs suffering from osteoarthritis in their hips and elbows. The results showed that glucosamine and chondroitin had a positive clinical effect in helping with joint pain. 

While further study is required to fully understand how glucosamine affects dogs with arthritis (2), the results seem promising for man’s best friend.

Which glucosamine supplement is right for my dog?

Anyone interested in giving their dog glucosamine should first see their veterinarian to ensure their dog is getting the right treatment for their condition.

But we should still go into the vet appointment with some background knowledge - the beneficial effects of a glucosamine supplement with chondroitin, for example, maybe something you want to bring up during your appointment.

Why? Glucosamine and chondroitin work together as a team to protect and maintain joint health in your dog. To ensure your dog is getting the best possible supplement, make sure the label lists both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate as ingredients.

Signs your dog may need glucosamine 

There are a few signs our dogs may show to suggest they are suffering from arthritis and in need of glucosamine. Pet owners should keep an eye out for the following behaviors:

  • Difficulty getting up and down
  • Difficulty walking
  • Lameness in legs
  • Reluctance to use stairs
  • Licking or chewing of joint
  • Unusual signs of aggression
  • Reluctance to be touched in certain areas

The areas our dogs are most likely to experience joint deterioration in and may be treated more sensitively, as a result, are indicated in the photo below.

If your dog is showing signs of arthritis in any of these areas, it could be an indicator that it’s time for a trip to the vet to ask about the beneficial effects of anti-inflammatory glucosamine supplements.

How do I give my dog glucosamine?

Many glucosamine supplements for dogs come in the form of chewable treats, making them easy and fun to incorporate into our dog’s diets.

However, it's important to listen to the recommendations of your veterinarian regarding the best method for your dog to consume glucosamine. It can vary depending on circumstances like breed, condition, weight, etc.

Potential side effects of glucosamine in dogs

Although rare and typically nonserious, there are a few side effects our dogs could experience from taking glucosamine supplements. These include:

  • Allergies
  • Fatigue
  • Occasional vomiting or diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination

If you notice your dog experiencing side effects after taking glucosamine, be sure to call the veterinarian to follow up and discuss other options.

Final thoughts

Our furry friends rely on us to do what’s best for them. Since they can’t tell us how they’re feeling with words, it’s on us to keep an eye out for any signs our dogs may be experiencing pain.

For older dogs specifically, we need to make an extra effort to help them maintain healthy joints. That’s why if you think your dog is suffering from joint pain, you should ask your veterinarian about the beneficial effects of glucosamine supplements for dogs.

For more information on how glucosamine and chondroitin supplements work, click here.

Trusted Sources

  1. McCarthy G, O'Donovan J, Jones B, McAllister H, Seed M, Mooney C. Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis. Vet J. 2007.
  2. Bhathal, A., Spryszak, M., Louizos, C., & Frankel, G. (2017). Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review. Open veterinary journal, 7(1), 36–49. 
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