Glucosamine for Dogs May Help With Joint Health

Four Minutes
Mar 21, 2023

If your dog loves to go for walks, join you on camping trips, works as a service dog, or loves agility competitions, having healthy joints can be critical to their day-to-day life. But joint conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia, or damage from an injury can make these activities harder to enjoy.

Fortunately, there’s a supplement that may be able to help. Read on to learn more about the potential benefits of glucosamine, how to give it to your dog, and tips for choosing the best supplement for your pup.

What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the body that helps repair and protect cartilage.1 Supplementation can be used to help manage certain health conditions or as a preventative measure, which could make glucosamine good for dogs. Glucosamine can also be a great option for dogs that aren’t able to take certain medications for pain relief. As with any supplement, it’s advised to consult with your veterinarian before including it as part of your dog’s routine.

Potential Benefits of Glucosamine for Dogs

Since glucosamine could help repair and protect dog joints, it’s mainly used to help manage the symptoms of arthritis.2 It may also be used to help alleviate joint pain, treat certain injuries, aid in recovery after surgery, and keep joints healthy for active dogs.

Glucosamine could possibly benefit:

  • A damaged joint when a dog suffers an injury
  • Active dogs that run and jump frequently
  • Dogs having trouble climbing up stairs
  • Senior pets

Certain dog breeds are predisposed to arthritis, elbow and hip dysplasia, and other joint conditions. These dogs might benefit from glucosamine supplementation to help prevent joint problems from developing. Some of these breeds can include:

The benefits of taking glucosamine can compound over time, so it may take a few weeks before you see a noticeable difference in your pup.3 It should be known that while glucosamine supplementation can help manage the symptoms of arthritis, it won’t reverse the disease. While it has its potential benefits, glucosamine is not medicine.

Combining glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs

Sometimes, glucosamine may be given in combination with chondroitin — another joint supplement that could help protect and promote production of cartilage in the body.3 Both of these may be part of your vet’s dietary recommendations to assist with your dog’s joint health.

How To Give Your Dog Glucosamine

Glucosamine supplements come in different forms such as pills, powders, flavored tablets, or liquids so you have plenty of different ingestion methods to choose from. You may even be able to get special diet food with glucosamine already added in it. Some dogs may not be able to handle glucosamine on an empty stomach, so you can try giving them their dosage with food.3

Glucosamine for dogs dosage

So how much glucosamine is considered safe for dogs? While there may be dosage instructions provided on the label, ask your vet what their recommended dosage is for your pup.

Because glucosamine is fast-acting and usually wears off in about 24 hours, your vet may recommend a daily dose. They may also start your dog on a higher dose and then decrease it to a maintenance dose after seeing how well it works for them.3 Depending on the reason your vet is recommending glucosamine supplementation, your dog may be put on it for a short period of time or long-term.3

Side effects and risks

The possible side effects for glucosamine supplements can be mild, usually appearing as digestive discomfort.3 Too much glucosamine may not be life-threatening, but it’s recommended to call your vet if you believe your dog has taken too much at once.

There haven’t been many studies on glucosamine, so there is limited information on any potential risks. At this point, it is not recommended for dogs that have asthma, bronchoconstriction, dogs that are pregnant or lactating, or dogs that need a low potassium diet.3 Dogs that are allergic to any of the ingredients in the supplement should typically find another option.

There are also some medications that may cause an adverse reaction when taken with glucosamine such as doxorubicin, heparin, antidiabetics, warfarin, and etoposide.3 It’s important to tell your vet all of the medications, supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies your pup is on to make sure they’re safe to take with glucosamine.

Choosing the Best Glucosamine Supplement for Dogs

You and your vet can work together to choose the best glucosamine brand and dosage for your pup’s specific condition, but here are a few tips that can help:

  • Try to avoid giving your dog human glucosamine supplements, as they may have ingredients in them that are toxic to dogs.
  • Glucosamine supplements aren’t strictly monitored by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) so find a brand that has been tested for quality and effectiveness.2
  • Check the label to see if there are other ingredients or joint-supporting supplements (like chondroitin) mixed in that may benefit, or negatively impact, your dog.
  • Choose a supplement form that’s easy or enjoyable for your dog to take, as they may be taking this supplement for a long period of time or as a permanent part of their daily routine.

How much does glucosamine for dogs cost?

You can get glucosamine supplements at pet supply stores, through your vet, or online. Cross-checking brands and shopping around can help you find the best price. Glucosamine supplements can cost anywhere from $10 – $100 depending on the brand, where you purchase it, the dosage, and other factors.

Relieve Stress on Their Joints and Your Budget

Joint problems can put a damper on your pup’s play time, work, and day-to-day life, but glucosamine supplementation may help. However, the cost of treating your dog’s joint problems or arthritis can add up — potentially putting some stress on your budget.

Getting a dog insurance policy from award-winning4 MetLife Pet may help relieve some financial stress on covered expenses like diagnostic testing, exam fees, X-rays, and holistic care.5 Start by getting your free quote today.

Keep your Dog Healthy

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

1 “Glucosamine - Uses, Side Effects, And More,” WebMD

2 “Can Glucosamine for Dogs Help Treat Arthritis and Joint Pain?,” American Kennel Club

3 “Glucosamine Chondroitin Combination,” VCA Animal Hospitals

4 “2023 Pet Insurance of the Year Award” Winners, Pet Independent Innovation Awards

5 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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