Best Glucosamine for Dogs
Glucosamine for dogs helps produce and repair cartilage which results in better mobility and healthier joints. Whether you’re looking for preventative measures or have to treat your dog’s arthritis, the right type of glucosamine supplement can help you make a difference for your four-legged companion.
What is glucosamine?
If you have a large breed dog or a pet that’s approaching his golden years, your vet has probably mentioned glucosamine and how this naturally occurring amino sugar is essential for healthy cartilage. Like humans, dogs also produce this compound that is a part of cartilage – the tissue that cushions joints. Glucosamine stimulates the production and repair of this tissue, ensuring a good range of motion and pain-free movement in return. However, as dogs age or in case of some medical issues, the natural production of glucosamine is reduced and the lower levels of this compound have direct consequences. The cartilage starts to degrade and the bones stiffen, causing inflammation, swelling and pain that are not just uncomfortable but can limit your pet’s movement, too. To prevent this or to help control the damage that has already happened, you should give your pet joint supplements for dogs. The essential ingredient of these supplements is glucosamine from various natural sources, which helps boost the production and healing of cartilage in a natural and healthy way.
When talking about glucosamine for dogs, it’s important to mention chondroitin sulfate- another cartilage component that is used in combination with glucosamine to produce optimal results. The combined effects of glucosamine and chondroitin are beneficial for young and old dogs alike, as their function is both to ensure that healthy cartilage stays that way and to heal and repair worn down tissue that cushions joints of senior dogs. Even though glucosamine is highly effective on its own, the best results are when the two cartilage-building compounds are combined into one supplement.
What are the benefits of glucosamine for dogs?
Glucosamine for dogs has proven benefits for pets with arthritis as regular use of this supplement can reduce pain and inflammation in senior canines and improve their mobility. The use of supplements that were based on glucosamine and chondroitin has been studied through clinical trials and the findings were amazing – not only that dogs that have been given these supplements experienced less pain and stiffness, but there were as a remarkable improvement in their mobility and reduced severity of their arthritis. Similarly, there have been indications that glucosamine can be beneficial in the treatment of hip dysplasia, as well, although there have been no definitive studies to back these claims.
To sum it all up, glucosamine for dogs has numerous benefits for dogs prone to joint issues, and regular use of supplements that contain this compound can make a big difference for dogs suffering from arthritis. However, not all glucosamine supplements are formulated the same and what could help one dog could end up being ineffective for your furry companion. To make sure your pet is getting the most out of glucosamine for dogs, we’ve rounded up the best glucosamine supplements on the market. Whether you want something to keep joint issues at bay or need to manage your dog’s arthritis symptoms, you’ll find what you need on our list!
1. Editor’s Choice: Cosequin Maximum Strength Joint Supplement Plus MSM
Affordable, potent, and with an optimized formula to support joint health, Cosequin combines glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM together for a powerful formula that is suitable dogs of all sizes and ages. This glucosamine supplement is often recommended by veterinarians precisely because of its effectiveness, as the ratios of glucosamine and supporting substances supports the structural integrity of joints and connective tissues. The time-release formula is available in chicken-flavored chewable tablets – if you have a picky pooch, it’s best to crush the tablets and mix it in their meals.
- Supports healthy joint function
- Contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM
- Can be used in all life stages and for dogs of all sizes
- Tablets can be given on their own or crushed in meals
- Tasty chicken flavor
- Picky dogs might avoid it
2. Runner Up: Nutriline Labs Flex EZ
Made in the USA and designed for large and giant dog breeds, which are particularly at risk for joint and hip issues, this glucosamine supplement is to be given to dogs that weigh 60 pounds or more, in adult and senior age groups. Each chew contains 900 mg of glucosamine, 350 mg of chondroitin, 800 mg of MSM, and 20 mg of Boswellia and 50 mg of turmeric- needless to say these soft chews are more than potent enough for the needs of big dogs. And since this formula is adapted to large breeds, you don’t have to give more chews to get the desired results – two per day is the recommended dosage, which makes this supplement cost-effective as well.
- Keep joints lubricated
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Suited to the needs of large dogs
- Promote cartilage repair
- Can be used throughout pet’s life
- Chewables easy to administer
3. Best for Picky Dogs: Liquid Health K-9 Glucosamine Hip and Joint Formula
With circa 62 percent more glucosamine and 50 percent more chondroitin in its formula, this liquid supplement packs a powerful punch. To boot, this supplement also includes a purified and distilled form of methylsulfonylmethane: Opti-MSM, made in the USA. This makes it a good choice both for preventative use and to relieve symptoms of dogs already having issues with joint health. And as it’s in liquid form, it’s easy to dose to fit dogs of all sizes – and easy to give to your pooch, whether on its own or mixed in with some wet food. They won’t even notice it is there – but their body surely will, reaping the benefits beside.
- Potent formula
- Made in the USA
- Liquid form easy to dose
- Act as a preventative and has a therapeutic effect
- Can be mixed with food
- Suited only for younger dogs
4. Budget Buy: NaturVet – Glucosamine DS Plus
This type of glucosamine for dogs from NaturVet’s range is labeled as moderate level- meaning that it’s meant to be given to adult dogs as a preventative supplement, especially large dog breeds and overweight pets that are at a higher risk for developing hip and joint issues in their senior years. The combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM supports healthy cartilage and joints, but the dosage is optimized for dogs that don’t have an existing condition already. Additionally, NaturVet – Glucosamine DS Plus is enriched with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids for a well-rounded effect on your pet’s overall health. This glucosamine supplement for dogs comes in the form of soft chews.
- Good preventative for adult dogs
- Formula with glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM
- Enriched with vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids
- Soft chews for easy administering
- Good choice for multi-pet households
- Not suited for seniors or dogs with advanced arthritis pains
5. Best organic: Wild Paw Organic Hemp Treats
Dogs don’t like to take medicine, we know. That’s why we love these hip and joint mobility treats from Wild Paw. They are based on natural ingredients that give joint and hip support to adults and senior dogs. With the core Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM basics that are the foundation of any good joint and hip supplement, Wild Paw added organic hemp seed oil and powder to help fight joint pain, inflammation and allergies as it also moisturizes the skin. The turmeric and black pepper decrease inflammation and help strengthen your dog’s immune system and the boswellia is an anti-rheumatic that will help slow down the loss of cartilage as it helps joint mobility to be stronger.
What’s really a great ingredient is the devil’s claw – a natural joint support that also is an analgesic to help your dog’s joint pain subside. This is a perfect way to soothe the issues of a senior pupper. And all this in a delicious chew they won’t know is so good for them!
- Natural and organic ingredients
- Organic hemp seed oil and powder to reduce pain and inflammation
- Glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM promote joint health
- Turmeric and black pepper for a better immune system
- Anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory function
- Can help with pain
- Tasty chewables
- Somewhat pricey
6. Best for mobility: Doggie Dailies Glucosamine for Dogs
The unique formula of Doggie Dailies combines six active ingredients into one powerful hip and joint supplement: glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, and Yucca Schidigera. The CoQ10 alleviates symptoms of arthritis and improves energy levels, hyaluronic acid makes joint fluid thicker and thus provides more cushioning for the joints, and the medicinal Yucca plant has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects. Not to mention that, in addition to their potent formula, these soft chews are easy to administer – they are essentially flavored treats (pick between chicken or peanut butter flavor), just loaded with beneficial ingredients for your pet’s health. And best of all, the added Q10 will help keep their skin and coat healthy and shiny! Great for show dogs in particular. This product is made with strict safety standards in place, in a U.S. facility that is GMP compliant and Level 3 SQF certified.
- Eases joint pain
- Increases mobility and energy levels
- Formula designed to support healthy hips, joints, and ligaments
- Chicken or peanut butter flavor
- Therapeutic effect
- High fat content
7. Best for seniors: Bayer Synovi G4 Soft Chews Glucosamine Joint Supplement for Dogs
The upgraded, multi-benefit formula of this supplement is optimized to deliver a well-rounded effect, so it can be used on senior dogs and adults alike. In addition to glucosamine, the list of ingredients includes green-lipped mussel (as a natural source of chondroitin), creatine for better muscle mass, Boswellia serrata and turmeric for their anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. These poultry-flavored soft chews are tasty too pooches and you won’t have any problem delivering the supplement to your pet. This Bayer product is one of the rare on the market that has the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal.
- Potent enough to reduce pain and inflammation
- Improves joint and hip health
- Promotes better mobility
- Enriched with antioxidants
- Tasty chewable form
- National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal
- Picky dogs don’t find it tasty enough
8. Best for large dogs: Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewable Tablets Joint Supplement for Dogs
After ten years of clinical use and research on their joint health supplement Cosequin with their research in advanced joint health ingredients in developing Dasuquin, Nutramax formulated this effective and potent joint supplement for large breed dogs that weigh over 60 pounds. The unique formula goes beyond a standard joint health supplement and delivers comprehensive joint support to help keep your dog active and mobile. It’s all thanks to synergistic ingredients that stimulate cartilage matrix production and keep joints in top shape. The supplement comes in the form of chewable tablets, in counts of 84 or 150 tablets. During the initial period of 4 to 6 weeks recommended dosage is 2 tablets per day, and after that 1 tablet daily for maintenance, so a pack should last you a while.
- Powerful proprietary formula
- Specially formulated for big dogs
- Comprehensive joint support and stimulation of cartilage production
- Keeps joints health and improves mobility
- Tablets could be difficult to administer
9. Best for working dogs: VETRISCIENCE Laboratories – Glycoflex 3
Formulated for advanced joint support, this supplement is aimed at those canines who are at the highest risk or already experiencing cartilage deterioration: working dog breeds, very active dogs and seniors with arthritis and stiff joints. The combination of high levels of glucosamine, MSM, and Perna (a green-lipped mussel from New Zealand) is what makes Glycoflex 3 so potent – not to mention highly recommended by vets and pawrents alike. These soft chews come in duck and chicken liver flavor.
- Keeps joints cushioned and lubricated even in working dogs or aging dogs
- Clinically proven to increase hind leg strength
- Glucosamine, MSM, and Perna canaliculus for superior joint care
- Formulated by veterinarians
- Duck or chicken liver flavor
- Can cause vomiting or diarrhea in some cases
10. Best for multi-benefit: Zesty Paws Turmeric Curcumin Bites
Believe it or not, good joint mobility is tied to good gut health, and that’s why Zesty Paws knows how Turmeric and Curcumin can not only help joint health but digestive function and immune support as well. This extra-strength formula is made with organic Turmeric and Qmin+ Curcumin. That means it has 95% Curcuminoids that help take your dog’s joint aches and pains away while it also strengthens their digestive and immune systems for overall better health. IT’s also enhanced with BioPerine, which comes from organic black pepper.
This is key for better nutrient absorption and combined with coconut oil, gives your dog a better boost of joint and immune support. It can also help keep weight under control, which is a major factor in healthy hips and joints of all dogs, but particularly for aging dogs. Keeping weight off hips is harder as dogs hit their senior years, and the everyday vitality aspect of these bites means that those golden oldie years are healthy and happy.
- Natural ingredients in service of health
- Extra-strong formula
- Anti-inflammatory function
- Can help manage pain
- Nurtures health digestive system and helps joints
- Soft chews in duck or bacon flavor
- Turmeric in the formula means that chews can stain surfaces
Why Trust Us:
Just like you, we’re pet parents. For the past 10 years, we’ve spent our days researching a broad range of products in every product category we cover to bring you a perfectly curated list of recommendations. With 50 pets on staff and over 40 years of pet industry experience writing and testing products, we’ve got an uncanny sense of what’s worth your money and what isn’t. Our aim is to give you the most accurate and unbiased reviews to help you pick the best products for your furry, hairy, feathery, and/or scaly family.
What are the best sources of glucosamine for dogs?
Glucosamine is a compound that is produced naturally in a dog’s body, but in certain situations (most often as a side-effect of the aging process), the body doesn’t produce enough of this amino sugar to keep joint health at an optimal level. That’s why it’s important to introduce a glucosamine source externally – but what are the best sources of glucosamine for dogs? There are no definitive studies as to which glucosamine source is the most effective (and if there’s even a difference) but your pet’s sensitivities could play an important role in your choice of glucosamine supplements. The most common glucosamine source in dog supplements is shellfish, as this compound is extracted from chitin that makes up their hard shells. Other common sources include pig and chicken feet, oxtails, bone broth, and green-lipped mussels. However, the natural content of glucosamine in these sources might not be enough. And that is when supplementation becomes important.
While you may opt for the all-natural route and give your pooch a dried chicken leg snack or mix in some bone broth to their kibble from time to time, it’s not always the most effective solution. This can be a good way to promote better joint health in adult dogs that have no cartilage issues already and are not a high-risk group for these conditions, but the dosage of these natural remedies might not cut it for a large breed dog or seniors already affected by arthritis.
Are human glucosamine supplements safe for dogs?
There’s no difference in the glucosamine that our bodies produce and that which keeps cartilage of our four-legged besties healthy. However, when it comes to supplements- things get a bit trickier. You see, glucosamine is never the sole ingredient of a supplement and it comes bundled up with different compounds and substances which make a certain supplement perfectly optimized for the intended consumer. Needless to say, not all of the items from the ingredients list of glucosamine supplements for humans are safe for dogs, and some of them can even be toxic. Furthermore, the dosage of glucosamine for dogs is not the same as that for humans, and you won’t have the desired results if you try and give your own pills to your pet.
There are many different joint supplements for dogs that contain glucosamine and various formulations that target specific categories of dogs or specific issues. For instance, there is glucosamine for puppies or glucosamine for hip and joints, glucosamine with turmeric or MSM, and so on – each dog can have exactly what they require. To ensure effectiveness and fast results, it’s best to make sure the supplement you pick for your pet is tailored to their needs.
What to look for in glucosamine supplements for dogs
There are plenty of glucosamine supplements for canines on the market – but not all of them will be a perfect match for your pet’s needs. From different formulas with different benefits to the fact that there are all kinds of supplement forms to choose from, you’ll have to consider various factors before making a decision. After all, this is a crucial supplement to preserve your pet’s joint health and their agility, so you would want only the legit offers and best ingredients. Here are some of the features you should be looking in glucosamine for dogs to make sure your pet is getting the most out of his supplements:
The right mix of components is the key: with multiple active ingredients in one supplement, fast and significant improvements are all but guaranteed. In addition to glucosamine, the best hip and joint supplements include one (or more) of these substances
- MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)
Chondroitin improves the water retention in the cartilage, improving its elasticity and making sure that the shock absorption function of this tissue is optimal for joint health- but it’s only significantly beneficial if it’s paired with glucosamine. MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is a form of sulfur with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect which makes it a useful component of formulas aimed at senior dogs and dogs that already have developed joint issues. Finally, turmeric is an all-natural component that is completely safe for pets and can soothe pain and reduce inflammation in joints, making it a welcome ingredient in joint supplements for dogs.
The amount of glucosamine in a supplement will drastically impact its effectiveness, so be sure to check the label for accurate information on how much of this compound is included in each serving. As a rule of thumb, most dogs need around 20 mg of glucosamine (or more) per pound of their weight. Of course, you should follow your vet’s instructions on this to the letter: they know best how much is needed for your pupper.
Unfortunately, not all manufacturers care about the wellbeing of dogs – and use ingredients from dubious sources that could end up causing more damage than they do to help your dog. Joint supplements that use glucosamine and other components sourced from China could be unsafe as they haven’t been tested in proper labs or had FDA’s approval – so it’s better to steer clear of them.
No matter the formula of glucosamine supplement and its potency if your dog won’t get anywhere near it. Some pooches can’t stand swallowing pills and tablets, others always notice if you try and mask their supplements in food- it’s important to know what your pet prefers to make sure the glucosamine delivery is hassle-free and successful. Glucosamine for dogs usually comes in the form of chewable tablets or soft chews, which is fine for most pets that will gobble these flavored supplements without making a fuss. However, for those dogs that are not fans of chews, glucosamine can be given in the form of powder or liquid, usually cleverly mixed in their meals so they wouldn’t notice it.
Remember that glucosamine is not a cure for arthritis – but it will help ease this condition. Arthritis happens when the cartilage – the cushioning between the bones – begins to wear out and disappear. A limp can be the first sign that your pet is developing arthritis. It is common with senior pooches. It can be good to introduce glucosamine even before any of this occurs, in order to strengthen the cartilage for future. Trauma and spine injury can also require glucosamine as an essential part to boost recovery. Your pet needs time to recover after joint surgery too, and the vet will surely recommend glucosamine.
Also, this supplement can be great for competing dogs. Many breeds – like the greyhound – enjoy a life of constant activities, plenty of running, and competitions. This can put a strain on their bodies, especially the joints, which will require some attention. A steady supplement of glucosamine can help to keep their joints and hips in prime condition and to help them compete longer and with success. Of course, this is something they will enjoy too.
When arthritis and joint pain appears in your senior dog’s life, it can really be a sad event. It can hamper their daily routine to a great extent, resulting in apathy and lethargy. The areas where it commonly appears are the hips, the knees, joints of the vertebrae in the spin, elbows, shoulders, and the carpus joints at the foot. All of these symptoms can be alleviated to an extent with glucosamine for dogs, if caught on time.
All in all, glucosamine is very important for your pet’s overall health. This supplement is crucial to battle arthritis and joint pain – which inevitably targets almost all senior dogs. Don’t allow your old pooch to battle his old age on his own and to be unhappy and lethargic. With proper addition of glucosamine, they can feel their old self once more and you will once again recognize your pooch in their true light.
When should I start giving glucosamine to my dog?
You might think that joint supplements are for senior dogs only, but that is not true – with joint health, prevention is key, so you should start supplementing earlier in life. A lot depends on your dog’s breed, as breeds naturally prone to joint issues such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, Retrievers and so on, will need to be started on glucosamine after their first birthday, ideally. That is the period when they finish growing, and you can start working on prevention of joint issues in the future. For other dog breeds, it’s up to you – just make sure that you start giving them supplements in advance, well before they hit their senior years and start being at an increased risk of joint pain and mobility issues.
How long does it take for glucosamine to start working in dogs?
It usually takes a few weeks before any significant changes are noticeable. In general, most experts agree that it takes 4 to 6 weeks for glucosamine to start working, but you might notice some smaller changes even after a few days. Of course, it goes without saying that you should make sure that you are dosing glucosamine correctly, according to your pet’s weight, age, and the severity of their symptoms.
Does glucosamine have any side effects on dogs?
When used properly, glucosamine is safe and beneficial for dogs, however, if you go over the recommended dosage, there could be some side effects. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage and check the levels of glucosamine in the supplement before administering to your pet. Excess levels of glucosamine can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, excessive thirst and urination, or dehydration.
What kind of glucosamine can I give my dog?
It’s important to note that you should only give glucosamine specially formulated for dogs to your pet. You should never give your own supplements to your pet, even if the amount of glucosamine in your supplement corresponds to the dosage in a dog’s supplement. The main reason for this is that human supplements contain various ingredients that are perfectly safe for us but could seriously harm our dogs, even to the point of being fatal. An excellent example of this is xylitol, a commonly used sweetener which is often found in human supplements but is considered severely toxic for dogs.
How much glucosamine should a dog take?
Dosage is essential if you want your dog to reap the full benefits of glucosamine. In the initial period of 4 to 6 weeks, the dosage should be double than in the maintenance period that comes after it. A good rule of thumb is to dose according to weight, and most experts put that number around 15mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) in the maintenance phase. However, most supplements come with exact dosing recommendations so you won’t have to worry about the amount – just follow the instructions. And, if you’re unsure for any reason, you can always consult with a veterinarian, as they can give you specific advice for your pet’s own health status.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
More by Angela Vuckovic