Glucosamine is a joint supplement that is commonly recommended by veterinarians for helping with pain associated with arthritis. There is cartilage within the joints of dogs that help serve as a cushion between bones. In arthritis, the cartilage degrades and becomes thinner so there is less of a cushion within the joint. It has been suggested that administering glucosamine hydrochloride in dogs may support the growth of cartilage and prevent cartilage destruction within the joints.
There is mixed evidence on the effectiveness of glucosamine. Some studies suggest that glucosamine can be a helpful add-on treatment for arthritis while other studies suggest that it has little to no effect in dogs. In my clinical experience as a veterinarian, the effects of glucosamine are variable depending on the dog. I have seen some dogs benefit substantially from glucosamine supplementation. At the same time, some dogs that I have placed on glucosamine supplementation did not have any improvement of their symptoms.
Often, glucosamine is paired with other nutritional supplements including chondroitin. Glucosamine chondroitin supplements for dogs may be effective for improving symptoms of arthritis. In a 2007 study on a glucosamine chondroitin combination product, researchers found that after about 2 months, the dogs in the study with hip or elbow arthritis had improvement of their arthritis symptoms including decreased pain, increased weight-bearing, and decreased severity of the condition. This shows that perhaps there is some evidence suggesting glucosamine chondroitin for dogs can be effective, but it may take several months for your dog to see a benefit.
Glucosamine joint supplements can be used for a variety of conditions. Most commonly glucosamine is used for adjunctive treatment for canine arthritis. The most common treatments for canine arthritis include dog-specific non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, gabapentin, and joint supplements. The most common conditions that glucosamine supplements are used for include:
The glucosamine dosage for dogs is variable depending on the size of your dog. You should consult with your veterinarian to determine the proper glucosamine dose for your dog. Most dog glucosamine supplements will have a recommended dose based on your dog’s weight. I usually recommend following the instructions on the bottle for the dog glucosamine supplement that you are using.
I do not recommend giving dogs human glucosamine. Since human glucosamine supplements are not formulated specifically for dogs, they can have additives in them that could be harmful to your dog. Xylitol is a common additive placed in medications that can potentially be fatal if ingested. I do not recommend giving your dog human medication unless specifically directed by your veterinarian to do so.
There are many options for joint supplementation for dogs. The best joint supplements for dogs contain a combination of various joint protective ingredients including glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Here are a few of my favorite joint supplements for dogs. The best glucosamine for dogs supplements include:
It can take up to 2 to 3 months to see the beneficial effects of glucosamine for dogs. Some dogs may see beneficial effects sooner than this. I started my own dog on Dasuquin, a glucosamine chondroitin supplement, and saw positive effects within 1 week. If your veterinarian recommends that your dog start a glucosamine supplement, I would recommend trying it for at least 3 months to see if it will help your dog. If your dog is not seeing any benefit from the medication after 3 months, then it is probably not going to be beneficial for your dog.
Before you start any new supplement or medication in your dog, I recommend speaking with your veterinarian to make sure that it is safe to give your dog. For example, if your dog has diabetes, it may not be safe for them to take glucosamine supplementation. Also, be careful with how you store these products because overdoses of this medication can cause severe side effects. So your pet won’t be at risk for ingesting excessive amounts of supplements, I recommend keeping any medications or supplements in a room where your pet does not have access to and on a high shelf.
There are a few medications that glucosamine might interact with adversely. VCA hospitals suggested that dogs should not take glucosamine while on the following medications:
In general, glucosamine is well tolerated with very few side effects, but occasionally, this medication can cause:
Glucosamine is a natural joint supplement given to dogs to help reduce the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis. The effectiveness of glucosamine appears to be variable. Some dogs may benefit substantially from glucosamine supplementation while other dogs may not benefit at all from this joint supplement. If you are interested in starting your dog on glucosamine, you should consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to determine if this joint supplement could potentially benefit your dog. They can also help you choose the best joint supplement for your dog. Glucosamine is relatively safe for dogs if given at the recommended dose.
The medical, nutritional, or behavioral advice we provide is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our editorial content is not a substitute for formal or personalized medical advice from a veterinary professional. Only board-certified veterinary specialists who have examined your pet should diagnose medical conditions, provide personalized treatment, or prescribe appropriate medication. For questions regarding your pet’s health, or if your pet is exhibiting signs of illness, injury, or distress, contact your veterinarian immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.