Glucosamine Dosage for Dogs

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What is the Glucosamine dosage for dogs and how often should I give it?

Cartilage is the body’s supportive tissue that ensures the smooth functioning of joints, Glucosamine is a natural building block for the body which unfortunately uses faster than it can produce. It’s when cartilage breaks down that arthritis occurs in especially the leg and hip joints. This is when your dog becomes stiff and cannot move properly because of worn joints. Glucosamine is therefore given to help restore the lost glucosamine, and provide relief from canine arthritis symptoms. You have to consult your veterinarian to find out what is the best glucosamine dosage for dogs. They will make calculations based on your dog’s weight.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your veterinarian will first ascertain your dog has arthritis by performing tests to rule out other diseases and infections. Your vet will check for hot or warm joints that are typical signs of infection and arthritic inflammation. Glucosamine is a preferred treatment option for early arthritis if your dog can’t take pain-relief drugs. It’s made from shellfish and is available over the counter without any prescriptions. It’s available in the form of tablets, powder, and capsules, liquid and is also an ingredient in most canine treats and food.

There are so many types of glucosamine supplements available, with variable quantities and qualities of active ingredients, that it’s difficult finding or calculating the exact dosage for your dog. You have to consult your veterinarian not only to find the best dosage for your dog but also to find out which is the best supplement to take. While glucosamine is usually given after surgery or if your dog has joint stiffness or arthritis, it’s also possible for your veterinarian to prescribe it as a preventative measure.

The right dosage

Your dog typically needs 500mg of glucosamine for every 25 pounds of weight.

  • 5 to twenty pounds needs 250-500 mg
  • 20-45 pounds needs 500 mg, 
  • 45-90 pounds needs 1000 mg
  • 90+ pounds needs 1500 mg.

The dose will be increased or reduced based on your dog’s weight and is usually split into two doses to be given twelve hours apart.

It’s also better to ask your veterinarian for the right initial or loading dose which your dog has to take for four to six weeks, and it’s only after that that the regular dose is doubled to boost glucosamine levels. Once you notice your dog moving much more comfortably with minimal symptoms, you can reduce your dog’s glucosamine dosage to the regular dose. And in case of symptoms do seem to return, later on, your vet will once again suggest increasing its dosage. Though most supplements mention the exact dosage of glucosamine on its label, it’s always better to consult your veterinarian for the right dosage. Of the lot, liquid supplements are considered the best for your dog as it is conveniently mixed with food.

Dosage when pet food also contains glucosamine

Now that you know the glucosamine dosage for your dog, you next wonder if you should make any changes to the dosage if your dog food has glucosamine. It’s true that most of the pet food companies do add glucosamine, and even chondroitin in their senior or large breed pet food. However, it’s a bit difficult to ascertain if your dog is getting enough of it from the foods.

Manufacturers mention how much of glucosamine they have in their food as ‘mg/kg’ of the pet food supplement. So considering this, your dog food should have 1500 milligram per kilogram of glucosamine in it to be regarded as an ideal maintenance dose.

Only a few pet food brands contain so much glucosamine. Besides, even if the pet food does contain glucosamine, it’s absorption is not proven nor is it proven if glucosamine will remain intact or also useful when added to pet food. This is why a supplement is always a better option.

Giving supplements to your dog

As mentioned earlier, glucosamine comes in chewable tablets, capsules with sprinkles or liquid form. You can add the tablet to your dog’s food so that it’s tasty flavour leeches into the food and entices your dog to consume it while eating his pet food. In case of capsules with sprinklers, you can split open the capsule and sprinkle its contents on the food and give it to your dog as usual.

However, if your dog doesn’t have any specific joint problems, but you want to prevent the possibility of injuries, pains and aches in the future, then you may consider first switching to a dog food brand that contains glucosamine.

Not only is it a low dosage, but your dog also gets used to the supplement and will not react much while taking supplements in the future. It’s also much better than immediately starting on large glucosamine supplements which in rare cases, may not agree with your dog.

Signs your pet benefits from glucosamine supplements

You should notice positive changes in your dog within five to eight weeks of starting the supplements. Signs to look out for in your dog are less stiffness, a much better attitude to life because of the improved life quality and more interest to play.

In case you notice that there are no definite improvements after starting glucosamine, it may mean that the dosage is low for your dog. If your dog does not like taking tablets or capsules, it’s better switching to a powder or liquid supplement that’s easily mixed with dog food. If there still seems to be no improvement in your dog after a month, then your veterinarian may suggest stopping glucosamine or may even consider prescribing some anti-inflammatory medication for your dog.

Remember, glucosamine is no wonder drug. It’s like any other vitamins and needs time to gradually help provide your dog relief from arthritis and its associated symptoms.

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