What is Glucosamine for Dogs?

Glucosamine for dogs
Shelly Adrian, DVM, Veterinary Communications Manager, Nestle Purina Pet Care

Glucosamine for dogs is a supplement that supports cartilage, which is the tissue that provides smooth movement of the joints. Glucosamine nutraceuticals can help maintain joint mobility, may reduce inflammation, may have some antioxidant activity, and are often used as part of a multi-modal treatment of osteoarthritis.

Dogs and glucosamine: Benefits & Uses

The benefit of glucosamine for dogs is that it is safe, long-term mobility care and joint disease preventative, and may reduce pain and inflammation.

It has very minor side-effects and the supplement also offers benefits such as soothing damaged and painful joints, as well as potential antioxidant properties.

Whether you choose chewable, powder, tablet or liquid glucosamine for dogs, there is some evidence that the supplement can offer comfort to dogs with early Osteoarthritis, although it should only be used as part of a veterinarian’s clinical treatment plan.

The quality, source, and amount of glucosamine and chondroitin can vary from product to product, so it is important to use a brand that is trusted by veterinary professionals. There is no evidence that glucosamine effects or produces a reaction when mixed with other medications.

The nutraceutical is best known for its use as effective cartilage and joint support, which maintains healthy movement of:

  1. Hips
  2. Knees
  3. Elbows
  4. Shoulder
  5. Thigh
  6. Carpal, or wrist
  7. Hocks

Glucosamine side effects

Glucosamine chondroitin supplements are mostly seafood-based sources. While the supplement is tolerated well by dogs, pet parents are cautioned when considering the compound for a pet with a seafood allergy.

To ensure your dog is safe and healthy, always check with a veterinarian before including additional sources of the glucosamine for dogs.

There is no evidence that glucosamine causes side effects or toxicity reaction at veterinary recommended doses, however, some minor symptoms of over-dosing can cause gastrointestinal irritation such as:

  • Excessive gas
  • Rumbling stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Softer stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting


Glucosamine: Nutraceutical vs Natural

The easiest way to ensure the best natural glucosamine for dogs throughout every life stage is to feed a high-quality dog food diet. The compound should be listed as an ingredient or may be the reason a dog food lists chicken or poultry by-product meal as one of the ingredients.

Many pet parents consider nutraceuticals for dogs as a way to keep pets as healthy as the human members of the household. Glucosamine chondroitin supplements for active, working or sporting dogs are some of the most popular. The two compounds work together and result in an anti-inflammatory effect and cartilage protection.

While these supplements do not have significant scientific support to endorse the effect on dogs’ joints, it is reasonable to incorporate them into a therapeutic plan given the small amount of risk and potential benefit. Pooled data from human studies show that glucosamine chondroitin can significantly reduce pain associated with joint disease.

Pet parents should consult a veterinarian before including any supplements in a dog’s diet, as these are for the most part not monitored by the FDA and therefore unregulated. Thus, using a veterinarian-approved product is recommended.

Which osteoarthritis signs to look for in dogs

Causes Affect Symptoms
Lifetime overactivity Weight gain Reduced activity
Injury Increased disability Decreased exercise
Breed predisposition Limbs sensitive to touch Obvious stiffness/discomfort
Age: senior dogs at risk Desocialization Withdraws from playing
    Refusing walking up or down stairs
    Apprehension to jump
    Noticeable gait repositioning
    Pain, lameness

Glucosamine safety

Glucosamine chondroitin is a supplement that can be ordered without a prescription, however, to ensure a dog is receiving weight and breed appropriate doses – consult a veterinarian before including in a dog’s diet.

Just like most human supplements, ingredients and quantities vary from brand to brand. Most veterinarians may have a preference for glucosamine from a brand that they’ve had good experiences with during treatment. Consult with a veterinarian before administering supplements as part of your dog’s diets.

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