Best Joint Supplements for Dogs

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Joint supplements for dogs reduce pain and stiffness and help your elderly pooch get back to his old self. In some cases, joint supplements can even prevent health issues if given early enough–read on to find out more about the benefits of best joint supplements for dogs.

Your senior dog might be lacking spring in his step: getting up and down the stairs might be a painful affair, walks might have a much slower pace with your pet tiring much faster than before, and even standing up after a long nap could be accompanied by whines and exertion. All the signs are there: your dog has arthritis. As dogs age, they can develop certain health issues, the most common, by far, being joint and hip related problems. Stiffness, swelling, and pain make movement more limited and can severely lessen the quality of your pet’s life in what should be his golden years. Luckily, with the right approach and proper medication, these painful symptoms can be successfully managed and your pet could get his pep back.

Why do I need joint supplements for my dog?

Joint supplements for dogs are used to manage arthritis in canines or given as a preventative to dogs which are at high-risk groups for developing it. In either case, the result is the same: your dog won’t have to live with stiff and painful joints that make getting out of bed unbearable, let alone going walks and playing- activities that used to be what makes their day. Not to mention how much better the quality of their life will be when growing older doesn’t have to mean losing mobility or living with chronic ailments. Of course, joint supplements for dogs are not a one-formula-fits-all kind of supplement. There are hundreds of different supplements on the market, from those made from natural ingredients only to those formulated by veterinarians, supplements in the form of pills, tablets, chewables, liquids, and powder- in short, the options can be overwhelming.

To help you weed through all the joint supplements for dogs that are being offered and help you quickly find the type your pet needs, we’ve rounded up the most popular tried-and-true joint supplements for dogs in one place. These are the formulas that have had the best effect on dogs of all sizes and ages and you should have no problem finding a perfect match for your canine friend! Of course, it should go without saying that you should consult with your veterinarian for every change in your pet’s routine, even those that include supplements- so be sure to get a green light from your local expert before giving your pet therapy for his arthritis.

1. Editor’s Choice: VETRISCIENCE Laboratories – Glycoflex 3 Hip & Joint Support for Dogs

In addition to the common enough combination of chondroitin, glucosamine, and MSM in the formula, Glycoflex 3 includes Perna canaliculus (green-lipped mussel) for maximum potency. Delivered in bite size chews, this supplement promises to improve your pet’s hind leg strength by up to 40 percent- in as little as a month of use! This joint supplement is recommended for working dog breeds, active dogs and senior dogs that are already showing signs of joint pain and issues.

2. Runner Up: Dr. Lyon’s Advanced Strength Hip & Joint Health Soft Chews

These joint supplements for dogs combine the benefits of natural remedies and scientific research into one unique formula that helps promote healthy hip and joint function and improve mobility for dogs who experience stiffness and pain. Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM combination will ensure you see the difference- and fast! Suitable both as a preventative and therapeutic supplement, Dr. Lyon’s Advanced Strength Hip & Joint Health Soft Chews are a match for dogs of all ages and sizes. And as these are tasty chicken liver flavored soft chews, every pooch will love taking them!

3. Best with Turmeric: PetHonesty Hip + Joint Supplements

PetHonesty’s Advanced Hip + Joint supplements are soft, chewable supplements that are easy for your dog to consume. They combine glucosamine, MSM, and powerful all natural ingredients like turmeric. There are 8 active ingredients that will help with your pup’s joint stiffness and pain by reducing inflammation and increasing joint strength. The egg shell meal coats their joints, while the organic turmeric and Yucca Schidigera provide strong antioxidants that prevent inflammation. Other ingredients like glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin sulfate support cartilage and connective tissue development. With all of these safe and effective ingredients combined, your dog will have better mobility, stronger joints, and less joint stiffness.

Made in the USA, PetHonesty’s Advanced Hip + Joint supplements for dogs have higher amounts of the most active ingredients (i.e., glucosamine and turmeric) which means they will last longer and be more effective for your furry friend.

Their supplements are made with all natural ingredients and are safe for even the most sensitive of tummies. They contain no sugar, no wheat, no corn, or any GMOs or preservatives. PetHonesty’s Advanced Hip + Joint supplements are made with all high quality ingredients and top notch safety standards so you can feel confident in that you are giving your canine exactly what they need to help them be more mobile, happier, and healthier.

4. Best Hemp: PetHonesty Hemp Hip & Joint Supplement for Dogs

There are many benefits of hemp oil for pets and one of them is improving joint function. To make the effects of the Omega fatty acids in hemp oil even more potent, the formula combines the THC-free oil with other joint-preserving and inflammation-reducing ingredients including green lipped mussel for joint mobility, turmeric for antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties, and Glucosamine HCl, a 30 percent more potent version of the regular Glucosamine. Made in the form of soft chews with either natural duck or bacon flavoring, these joint supplements for dogs will be more of a treat than a treatment to your pooch- but still with powerful benefits!

5. Best Value: Nutramax Cosequin Maximum Strength (DS) Plus MSM Chewable Tablets

Formulated both to promote collagen production in cartilage and protect the existing one, Nutramax Cosequin is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes. The bioavailable ingredients that improve joint function and mobility in this formula include potent ratios of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and MSM all in their double-strength form for maximum results. While efficient and affordable, these veterinarian-backed joint supplements for dogs do come in the form of chewable tablets–so count on having to crush them into your pet’s food if they are picky. And to make everything more convenient, this supplement comes in various sizes to suit any dog’s needs – 60, 132, 250, 500, or 750 count.

6. Best Taste: Zesty Paws Mobility Bites Hip & Joint Support

The advanced, natural-based formula of these chewable supplements offers superior hip and joint support but its not the only function these supplements have: they will also promote better heart health and keep your dog’s immune system in optimal shape. The “secret” is in the unique list of ingredients that includes, in addition to glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, potent natural substances such as yucca extract, vitamin E, and flaxseed meal. Delivered in tasty chews with duck flavor, Zesty Paws Mobility Bites Hip & Joint Support can be given to dogs in all age groups and all size categories. But what’s equally important is what the formula doesn’t contain and that’s nasty fillers such as corn, wheat, or soy.

7. Best for Adults: YuMOVE Adult and Senior Dog Tablets

Scientifically proven to give visible results in just 6 weeks, this joint supplement is backed by 15 years of clinical research. It comes in two formulas, one adapted to the needs of adult dogs, and one adapted for seniors: each boasts a triple-action effect that minimizes stiffness, improves mobility and joint structure. It features a list of potent ingredients such as ActivEase® Green Lipped Mussel (a concentrated source of essential fatty acids), glucosamine and chondroitin for high-strength joint support, hyaluronic acid that lubricates and cushions joints (it goes into effect within 2 hours), as well as vitamin E and C to promote better mobility. Available in the form of chewable tablets, these joint supplements come in various sizes – 60, 120, or 300 count.

8. Best Glucosamine: VetPro Complete Glucosamine for Dogs

Formulated by a veterinarian, these joint supplements for dogs might look like treats, but don’t be fooled: their formula is potent and has great benefits for joint and hip health. In fact, the chewables contain approximately 5 more glucosamine than most other competitors–there is 1000mg of Glucosamine HCI and 200mg of Chondroitin in each dosage. To boot, there’s also turmeric in the ingredient list to reduce swelling and inflammation. As a result, VetPro Complete Glucosamine for Dogs is perfect for seniors and dogs that already have painful joints, arthritis, or stiffness. Made in the USA using a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified process, these healthy chewables are chicken-flavored and can be given as a treat rather than medicine – great choice for dogs that don’t do well with swallowing pills.

9. Honorable Mention: Nutramax Dasuquin Soft Chews

Backed by more than a decade of clinical research, the dual synergistic formula of the Nutramax Dasuquin joint supplements for dogs promises impressive results in no time. Their safe and effective ingredients will help soothe your dog’s joints for increased mobility as well as strengthen them for more effective movement long term. To deliver maximum potency, these supplements contain NMX1000 ASU, decaffeinated tea with Cosequin’s FCHG49 glucosamine hydrochloride, and TRH122 low molecular weight chondroitin sulfate. It’s a mouthful, sure, but it’s important to know- these are the highest-quality substances that block the enzymes that break down cartilage and promote its regeneration.

These soft chews are designed for dogs of specific weights, and they have different options based on your dog’s size including dogs under 60 lbs and dogs over 60lbs. Be sure to choose the correct one for your dog’s size as they are created with specific amounts of each active ingredient for different-sized pups. The Nutramax Dasuquin joint supplements are highly rated by reviewers and other pet owners have seen a difference within weeks of use.

10. Also Consider: NaturVet Joint Health Maintenance Care

These budget-friendly joint supplements for dogs are meant to be given to young pooches (over 12 weeks of age) as an effective form of preventing joint and hip problems later down the road. The maintenance formula contains glucosamine HCI, chondroitin, yucca extract, calcium, and essential fatty acids so it will preserve both your pet’s joint and hip function as well as support their overall immune system.

Which dogs need joint supplements?

As dogs grow older, their needs change and evolve. From those first transitions from puppyhood to adulthood all the way to their golden years, your pet will have different care requirements–and it’s your responsibility to meet your dog’s needs as they go through different life stages. One of the most common issues for dogs in their senior years is joint pain and stiffness. Movement becomes restricted and difficult and life with chronic pain becomes a reality for some dogs–which is why owners turn to supplements to manage their pet’s pain and discomfort. Joint supplements for dogs are needed for almost any old pooch–whether they got an arthritis diagnosis or “just” have joint pain that comes with age.

When talking about joint pain and arthritis, a lot of people tend to focus only on senior pets, but while they are the category that’s high risk for this issue, it’s not just the elderly canines that benefit from joint supplements for dogs. According to experts, a little over a fifth of all dog arthritis cases are recorded in dogs that are less than a year old–a staggering fact that not many pawrents know. For a great deal of dogs, developmental diseases are what leads to joint pain and not old age. This is especially true for large breed dogs who should be started on joint supplements early on in their life, to prevent and postpone issues common for their size.

When should you start giving joint supplements to your pet?

As it is usually the case, for every medication or supplement, you should get your vet’s approval before introducing it into your pet’s regular routine. You don’t want to inadvertently make a mistake with the type of supplements, dosing, or timing and get counterproductive effects! With that being said, there is no set time for giving joint supplements to your pet. Large breed dogs or those breeds who are known to have a disposition for developing hip and joint diseases could be started on joint supplements for dogs as early as 2 months old–but only if your veterinarian strictly requires it. In most other cases, people start giving their pet supplements preventatively at 1 or 2 years of age when their bones are developed completely if their vet gives them the green light.

Benefits of joint supplements for dogs

When it comes to joint supplements, it’s difficult to talk about completely universal benefits, as there are many different formulas out there- each targeting different specific issues and tailored for the needs of dogs in different age and size groups. However, all joint supplements for dogs have the same function: to treat and prevent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Most canine joint supplements rely on (either or both) glucosamine and chondroitin to achieve this. Glucosamine encourages prolific production of collagen in your dog’s cartilage, which in turn renews the damaged tissue. Chondroitin reduces pain and inflammation and improves joint flexibility by promoting better water retention and elasticity in the cartilage. Needless to say, the two important substances, backed by a variety of other beneficial components that vary from formula to formula, will be a huge help for dogs that already have arthritis, hip or joint pain as a result of their old age. However, joint supplements for dogs do have other benefits than alleviating pain and significantly reducing the symptoms of arthritis.

When given as a preventative to young dogs, joint supplements for dogs can help reduce the risk of a range of joint issues down the road. Acting in advance can be of tremendous help, especially for large breed dogs that are a high-risk group for hip and joint diseases, but pooches of all sizes and shapes can take these supplements and be better off for it. In combination with optimal weight, an active and healthy lifestyle, and proper prevention, your pet will get to enjoy his senior years without having to go through pain and discomfort that arthritis causes.

What to consider when buying joint supplements for dogs

Joint supplements for dogs might be similar in their basic function but there are still important factors to consider before buying–not all joint supplements are made the same and sometimes those differences could easily make or break your decision. As it is the case with all health-related products, you will have to carefully consider all the factors before deciding which to give to your pampered pet.

Steer clear from dubious China-sourced supplements

Before you give anything to your dog, please check where the ingredients were sourced. The joint supplements for dogs that are made in China or made with ingredients sourced from China are a potential health hazard. Not only that the ratio of the substances can be completely off (from dangerous to ineffective) but the formula might be tainted with bacteria or toxic chemicals.

The right formula for your pet’s needs

Not every pooch needs the same type of joint supplements for dogs- some are fortified to be used on dogs that already have arthritis, others are meant to fortify bones and joints as a form of prevention, the dosages and ratios vary depending on the breed… And so on. To make sure you’re getting the right type for your pet, check the manufacturer’s info and see which weight and age categories are meant to use the product.

Ease of administration

It won’t matter if you’ve found the perfect, most effective dog supplement if you can’t get your dog to take it. And you know how stubborn pooches can be! Luckily, there is a good choice of joint supplements for dogs in all forms, from liquid to tablets so you can find the right match. Oh, and make sure to see if the supplements can be given with food if you’re opting for tablets or capsules- a great trick is to get a pill inside a piece of bacon or other yummy bite and get your pooch to swallow it without realizing what was hidden inside.

What joint supplements can I give my dog?

You should only give your dog joint supplements for canines (never those meant for human use), but there are many types of dog joint supplements out there. You can choose between different modes of administration and adjust them to your pet’s preferences and your own – liquids and powders can be mixed in with food which will also mask their taste and smell, chews are often flavored so that they can pass as a treat rather than medicine, and tablets or chewable tablets are meant for dogs that are either so greedy that they gobble down whatever comes their way or those familiar with taking tablets. In addition to different forms, you can also pick and choose formulas – those based on natural ingredients, different levels of potency, effects combined with other properties (e.g. skin and hair support), and so on. Just make sure that the joint supplements are formulated to meet the needs of your dog, such as their age, severity of their issues, and so on.

What is the best natural supplement for a dog’s joints?

There are many dog supplement formulas that are based on completely natural ingredients that are meant to promote better mobility, lubricate the joints, and relieve pain and stiffness. The most popular natural ingredients that support joint health in dogs are essential fatty acids – which are in abundance in marine oils (fish oil, krill oil, etc), as well as hemp oil, which is both a source of beneficial Omegas and reduces inflammation. The choice is yours – adapt it to the needs and condition of your pet.

Can I give my dog human glucosamine and chondroitin?

Never use human glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs – it can be really dangerous and veterinarians advise against it. It’s not just that the dosage will be significantly different for an adult human and a canine, but human supplements often contain ingredients that are perfectly safe for us, but potentially deadly for dogs. One great example of this is xylitol, an artificial sweetener frequently used to improve the taste of human supplements, which also happens to be fatal to dogs, even in the tiniest doses – side effects include hypoglycemia, liver failure, seizure, and even death.

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Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

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.

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