Old Boxer dogs at a vet office for joint and health issues

Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs Guide, Top Picks & Reviews

Glucosamine is a natural sugar-based compound used to relieve pain in dogs with arthritis and joint problems such as hip dysplasia. Glucosamine does this by helping repair the damaged cartilage that’s the culprit of joint degeneration, but it doesn’t work alone. Glucosamine is believed to work alongside chondroitin to do this job and is less effective if used on its own.

If you’re in a hurry check out COSEQUIN DS: This is the best glucosamine joint health supplement for dogs, because it is rich in Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin and MSM and it’s 100% Made in the USA.

If your beloved dog is getting old, seems to be in pain, or just isn’t getting around like they used to, glucosamine supplements may be able to help. Many owners have seen dogs with mobility issues (who are unable to climb stairs for example) spring back on glucosamine supplements. These supplements can give older dogs better quality of life, but how do they work. 

Debunking Glucosamine Supplements for Pets

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What are they?

Glucosamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body but can also be made into supplements to treat various health problems in humans and animals.

The glucosamine in these supplements is either synthetic (created in a lab) or made using the processed shells of shellfish.

The different types

There are three different types of glucosamine:

  1. Glucosamine sulfate
  2. Glucosamine hydrochloride
  3. N-acetyl-glucosamine.

Although all three types of glucosamine work, sulfur is an important nutrient for joint tissue, so glucosamine sulfate is the type most commonly used in supplements.

 These supplements come in different forms as well. The most common and popular kinds come in pill form, liquid form, and soft chews.

Do Glucosamine Supplements REALLY help dogs?

Glucosamine supplements are regulated as dietary supplements by the FDA, which means they are not rigorously tested. Instead, these products are monitored to make sure that there aren’t any adverse events. In comparison, pharmaceutical drugs receive a much stricter review before being sold to the public.

Pet owners should also be aware that while glucosamine supplements are generally considered to be safe, studies on their effectiveness have found conflicting evidence. A 2017 study backs this up, stating that based on current research the effects of glucosamine (and chondroitin) are questionable.

However, studies show that more research is warranted because these supplements could be a useful alternative in treating osteoarthritis, a progressive and debilitating condition that affects all dog breeds. This is partly because the leading pharmaceutical therapy for osteoarthritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can cause problems like gastrointestinal ulceration in some dogs.  

Scientists may not be sure exactly how glucosamine works but overall, the research suggests that glucosamine has some degree of efficacy with few and rare negative side effects.

Despite conflicting opinions in research, glucosamine has been used by vets for approximately 20 years and is considered a safer alternative in cases where dogs are intolerant of drugs and other remedies used to treat arthritis and joint problems.

Are they just gimmicks?

Glucosamine supplements aren’t just gimmicks. They have been used with success by both humans and animals, and you can’t attribute improvements in animal health to the placebo effect!

That doesn’t mean that all supplements are created equally though. Some discrepancies have been found in the amount of active ingredients in both human and dog glucosamine supplements, so it’s important to buy your supplements from a reputable company.

While many kibbles now advertise glucosamine as an ingredient used for hip and joint health, owners should keep in mind that the amount of glucosamine in these foods is probably not enough to make a difference in a dog with arthritis or joint problems.  

Dogs with sensitivites

While most dogs can take glucosamine supplements for optimum dog health without any issues, there are a few relatively minor side effects that owners should be aware of. They are:

  • Allergies
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive thirst and urination

Owners should also be careful using glucosamine supplements on diabetic dogs, as glucosamine is a sugar-based substance.

What to look for in a dog glucosamine supplement?

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to glucosamine is that it may work better alongside other ingredients, which is why you usually see glucosamine with chondroitin and MSM (a natural sulfur compound).

The book, Glucosamine for Dogs and Other Pets, states: “Glucosamine provides the building block of cartilage. Chondroitin also is one of the products necessary for a production of cartilage. Glucosamine plus chondroitin work better together than either ingredient alone.” Remember this when choosing the best supplement for your dog.

Other things to look for are glucosamine that is naturally sourced, because these supplements typically work better than the synthetic ones. You should also make sure that supplements are made in an FDA-approved facility and/or have other ways of showing that their claims are true.

Best way to store them?

It’s best to keep your dog’s glucosamine supplements in a cool, dry place that isn’t very humid.

When and how to administer them?

Each glucosamine supplement has different instructions for their use that should be carefully followed by pet owners. Usually, you give your dog a daily dose as needed, based on their weight and needs. If you have questions or your dog has taken the supplements for a while without any improvements, talk to your vet.

Best Glucosamine for Dogs: Top Picks & Reviews

#1 Nutramax COSEQUIN DS Plus MSM Joint Health Supplement

Nutramax COSEQUIN DS is a highly rated hip and joint supplement for dogs in the form of soft chews and comes highly recommended by vets. This affordable supplement is made to provide pain management for dogs with sore and tender joints, using glucosamine and chondroitin which are the building blocks of joint repair. Owners are instructed to give their dog one to four supplements daily based on their weight.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Glucosamine Hydrochloride (HCI) (min) ........... 600 mg
Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate (min) .............. 300 mg
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) (min) ............. 250 mg
Manganese (min) ................. 5 mg

In addition to glucosamine and chondroitin, this supplement uses an anti-inflammatory MSM compound to promote mobility, agility, and flexibility and premium Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to help dogs maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. Owners whose dogs have health conditions or allergies should consult their vet before using this product, or if the dog’s condition does not improve or gets worse.

Pet owners love this supplement because it is made in the USA and they have seen first-hand the improvements that their dogs have had on this product. Owners with dogs who struggled with stairs and jumping or who needed surgery have seen their dogs become more active again in just a few weeks, plus dogs love these soft chews and eat them like treats unlike other supplement types.

#2 Charlie & Shmitty Glucosamine for Dogs, All Natural Hip and Joint Supplement For Dogs with Chondoroitin and Turmeric

Charlie & Shmitty offer an all-natural hip and joint supplement formulated to relieve joint pain in dogs and promote long-term health. These glucosamine, chondroitin and turmeric chicken and duck flavored soft chews help ease pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia by lubricating joints that are sore and inflamed. Owners should give their dog one to five supplements daily based on their weight. There are 120 chews in the jar for sale and is great for small, medium and large dogs.

Guaranteed Analysis (per 1soft chew):
Glucosamine HCL.............................. 200.0 mg
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)........100.0 mg
Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C)............................75.0 mg
Chondroitin Sulfate..............................65.0 mg
Organic Turmeric Root Powder..........50.0 mg
Dried Yucca Schidigera Powder..........15.0 mg

These supplements have excellent customer reviews in part because they are made in the USA at an FDA-registered factory that is inspected annually and certified by a third party and because they use natural ingredients with no side effects. Owners considering this supplement for their dogs can be confident in their investment, since the product has a full money back guarantee.

Many happy owners have said that they had trouble getting their dogs to take regular supplements, but the soft chews dogs eat up like treats! Dogs who were showing signs of pain and mobility issues had drastic improvements after taking these supplements, some of them running around like nothing was ever wrong in the first place.

#3 Extend Pet Health: Extend Joint Care Natural Glucosamine with MSM

Extend Pet Health offers an all-natural beef flavored glucosamine supplement with MSM for dogs that is sprinkled onto dog’s food (dry or wet like a gravy) once per day. This advanced joint support formula contains glucosamine (300 mg) for joint hydration, mobility, and comfort along with MSM for added joint comfort and to support proper maintenance connective tissue function.

This safe, natural, and vet approved supplement is specifically designed to reverse the effects of joint damage and comes with an instant money back guarantee for owners who aren’t satisfied. Other ingredients in this supplement include type II chicken collagen for healthy articular cartilage and ascorbic acid, which increases the production of important compounds like chondroitin sulfates.

Many owners have noticed improvements in older dogs with arthritis and joint problems using this supplement when others didn’t work, while a select few have noticed that this supplement did not agree with their pet.

This product is made in an FDA registered, GMP certified laboratory. Owners should be aware that it may take 4-6 weeks to start seeing a change in their dogs, but that this supplement has had many positive reviews from owners who have seen improvements in their dogs after using it.

#4 PointPet Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs 

PointPet’s Hip and Joint supplement for dogs is another soft-chew variety that is very popular with dogs and owners. This all-natural supplement is duck flavored and contains the active ingredients glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM along with fatty acids and vitamins to enhance your dog’s joint health and mobility.

Owners can be confident giving this supplement to their beloved pets as they are made in the USA at an FDA registered facility, and the company offers a 30-day 100% money back guarantee. Owners are instructed to give their dogs between ½ and 3 supplements per day depending on their weight to treat or prevent conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia in dogs without dangerous side effects.

Active ingredient per soft chew:

Glucosamine HCL........................ 300 mg
Chondroitin Sulfate......................100 mg
MSM...............................................150 mg

Also contains: Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids with added Vitamins C and E and Yucca Schidigera Powder.

PointPet’s glucosamine supplement has been reviewed by many happy owners who noticed that their dog’s pain and mobility issues were reduced after taking these supplements. Like many other owners who have switched from pill supplements to soft chews, owners using PointPet for their dogs also notice that it is much easier to get their dogs to take these.

Bottom Line

Even though there currently isn’t much science backing them up, many people and animals have seen improvements in their pain and mobility after taking glucosamine for a while. Glucosamine supplements can be a lifesaver for owners who want to help their dogs with joint problems an arthritis have a better quality of life.

For dogs, soft chews are a popular option because pets take them like treats. It can be harder to get a dog to take a supplement in pill form, but not impossible. If you’re looking for a good glucosamine supplement for your dog, remember that naturally sourced is best and look for other ingredients like chondroitin and MSM that might boost its effectiveness.

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany E. N. Murphy at Langley Veterinary Clinic.