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Glucosamine for Dogs: A Vet’s Guide to Joint Supplements

For all dog owners, it is very important to maintain the health of their dog’s joints. A lot of dogs tend to suffer from arthritis by the time they age. This condition occurs in both humans and dogs and is caused when the cartilage in the joints wears away over time. This causes the bones in the joints to touch each other causing the dog to limp when they walk. If you give your dog a healthy balanced diet and ensure a healthy lifestyle for them, you can ward away diseases like arthritis. Other than that, supplements that have Glucosamine can work like magic as well, to help you heal your furry friend. 

What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural compound and one of the best medicines out there to heal arthritis. It’s a nutraceutical, or a natural substance used to treat arthritis in humans, horses, dogs, and also other animals. Glucosamine helps to decrease pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and heals joint wear caused by hip dysplasia. Glucosamine can also help you to heal spinal disc injuries and make recovery faster after joint surgery. Glucosamine boosts the repair of damaged cartilage. Cartilage is very important to keep your dog’s joints in good shape and when damaged they require medicines to heal them back to full health. 

Glucosamine is used with other natural substances like chondroitin sulfate to help treat arthritis. Chondroitin also helps to repair cartilage damage and is made from the cartilage of cows and pigs. Chondroitin can also be made from crabs, oysters, and shrimp shells. FDA identifies both Glucosamine and Chondroitin as dietary supplements rather than identifying them as drugs. Dietary supplements do not undergo a lot of trials and testings like other medicines but Glucosamine has been used by veterinarians for more than two decades and has shown positive results so far. 

Does Glucosamine work?

While studies done on humans have been inconclusive, researchers have been looking into glucosamine since the 80s to know whether it can really help heal joint diseases. With time, researchers found out that glucosamine sulfide offered pain relief in humans and also other animals just like normal analgesic medicines. The scientists could not verify the benefits of Glucosamine but managed to find out that the substance did not have any adverse side effects on the health of humans or animals. Other studies have shown that Glucosamine does help to give moderate relief from joint pain just like other pain relief medications available in the market.  

When should you give Glucosamine to your dog?

If your dog has the following symptoms, namely joint stiffness, limping when they walk, or when they have trouble while moving around mainly moving very slowly. If you see your dog facing any of these issues then you should take your pet to the vet directly. 

How to Give a Dog glucosamine

After consulting your dog’s vet, you should have a clear idea of your dog’s condition and have the correct dosage of medicine that you might need to help treat your dog. Glucosamine is available for dogs in the form of oral medications such as flavored tablets, syrups, powders, and other forms of oral medicines. The medications can easily be found in any pet store, vet’s office, or even online medication stores. To get the best glucosamine for dogs available in the market you can ask your vet and they will surely suggest the best ones that will suit your dog. 

A vet usually decides the correct dosage of the medicine based on the weight of your dog. The dosage information can normally also be found on the product’s label. The products take up to 2-3 weeks to show positive results on the patient. If you continue to give your dog Glucosamine dosages even after their arthritis problem has been solved, you can help your dog by keeping their mobility in good condition. Vet’s also suggested not to stop the dosages of Glucosamine as it can cause stiffness in the dog’s bones. Vet’s also said that dog owners shouldn’t change the supplements in between the course of the medication as different products have different concentrations or formulas of the compound. 

Does Glucosamine have any side effects?

Glucosamine may have a few forms of side effects on your dog. The side effects include fatigue, insomnia, allergies, excessive thirst, and the medication containing sugar might cause issues to diabetic dogs. If you notice any of these side effects in your dog, you should rush them to the vet as soon as possible and get their medication changed. If you’re giving glucosamine to your dog in the form of treats, then there’s a concern for the dog to gain weight as a huge amount of treats will be required to be fed to your dog and these might amount to a lot of calories. 

Some forms of glucosamine are made using shark’s cartilage, such forms of the compound should be avoided as they’re sourced by killing sharks and a lot of species of them are already on the brink of extinction. Lastly, glucosamine made for humans is not suitable to be given to dogs. 


Written by Lara Harper