Can a Dog Get Too Much Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

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Glucosamine is normally prescribed for humans and animals like dogs and horses to help cure and provide relief from joint pain. It comes as a dietary supplement that contains natural substances found in food products and can be taken just like vitamins. They are available in separate formulations for humans and animals. This is to ensure both get only the required and prescribed quantities of glucosamine, without risks of overdose.

The Right Dose

There is no right dose for your dog because it depends on your dog size and his condition. It is vital you consult your doctor on the right dosage and buy your medicine based on your dog’s daily needs. Some brands provide 60 capsules in a bottle claiming it will last a month if you give 2 to your dog everyday for a month. However, this may not be feasible if your dog requires 6 capsules a day, wherein you need more bottles in a month. This is why it’s better to compare rates based on your dog’s daily requirements and buy your supply accordingly.

On an average the recommended glucosamine supplement for dogs on a daily basis are:

  • 250-500 mg for 5-20 pounds dogs
  • 500mg for 20-45 pounds dogs
  • 1,000 mg for 45-90 pounds dogs
  • 1,500 mg for dogs weighing more than 90 pounds

The recommended daily dosage for chondroitin is:

  • 900 mg for dogs weighing less than 80 pounds

  • 1,800 mg for dogs weighing more than 80 pounds

Once you know your dog’s recommended dosage, you naturally start giving him his supplement as prescribed. Sometimes your veterinarian may suggest giving your dog double the dose for a week or so and then to continue with the prescribed dosage. You will usually find a marked improvement in your dog’s gait and comfort within a week or two of starting the supplements.

Two possible ways to get too much glucosamine

There is always the possibility of your dog getting too much of glucosamine and chondroitin in two manners.

  1. An overdose

One is that some supplements like chews taste really good that your dog sniffs it out, and will eat a whole bottle of it if they get their hands on it. There’s nothing much to worry about this because glucosamine is more a food supplement than a drug, so the drug comes with a very high margin of safety. It’s only in rare cases that your dog suffers from a serious toxic overdose where your dog consumes extreme amounts of glucosamine. At the most your dog may suffer from a mild bout of vomiting and possible diarrhea, and no long-term side effects. You, however, have to be careful if your dog takes an overdose of supplements containing glucosamine and active ingredients like vitamin D and zinc as this is something serious, including supplements with MSM and chondroitin. This is when you have to consult your vet immediately.

  1. Additional glucosamine sources

Another possible means of your dog consuming too much of glucosamine and chondroitin is through your everyday supplements. Though you may be giving your dog supplements based on its composition, did you know that there are other sources of glucosamine besides supplements? Well, there are lots of brands of kibble in the market which contain glucosamine. While a few kibbles won’t affect much, too much of it is not only fattening to your dog but can lead to extra glucosamine in the body.

There are also natural sources of glucosamine which are in fact a better option for your dog than supplements. However, not everyone has access to these food sources because they are available from raw food suppliers which are not found aplenty. And these foods are to be eaten raw to reap its benefits. This is why most dog owners prefer giving supplements. If you are one of those who prefer going natural and providing your dog with natural sources of glucosamine, you can do it by feeding your dog with trachea, chicken feet and other poultry feet, ox or pigtails, beef knuckle and other bones with good cartilage, shellfish shells, bone broth and green lipped mussels gives them quite a lot of glucosamine. It’s if and when you give supplements while feeding your dog with all these foods that you may end up giving extra glucosamine for your dog.

Bioavailability and quantity

There are also some other factors to consider while feeding your dog foods containing natural glucosamine. The first factor is the food’s bioavailability or the number of nutrients entering your dog’s systemic circulation. Glucosamine from food is readily absorbed by dogs and put to good use. While the body knows what to do with the glucosamine, it needs less of it for effectiveness when compared to synthetic supplements.

Another factor to consider about natural glucosamine sources is how much you need to feed your dog. Actually, there’s no need to worry because if you feed your dog these foods regularly, he gets more than enough glucosamine. It’s while you feed your dogs these foods, and regularly give them supplements that your dog may end up consuming more glucosamine and chondroitin than required. However, this occurs only if you manage to give your dog these foods, and supplements, EVERYDAY.


And the word ‘regularly’ is the hitch here. Not many people can do it every day, which is why they resort to giving supplements. These foods are beneficial only if eaten raw so some older dogs may not be able to bite the hard bones because of weak teeth. You aren’t even sure if you have raw food suppliers to supply these foods all the time, as per your needs.

So keeping all these points in consideration, and when it boils down to whether your dog can actually get too much of glucosamine and chondroitin, it’s most probably no. Even overdoses are not that dangerous and it’s a very few people who actually manage to provide for their dog’s glucosamine needs only through natural food sources. These people naturally won’t use supplements, so there’s no chance of their dogs getting too much glucosamine. And those who can’t get these glucosamine rich foods end up giving their dogs supplements.

  1. If my 16 has been getting cosequin daily instead of every other day cause liver problems

    • Hi Judy, Thanks so much for your question. Unfortunately as I don’t fully know your pet, or your situation I would absolutely recommend having a quick chat to your vet about it. I’m certain they will be able to assist you.

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