What are the best supplements for dogs with arthritis?

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Does your dog seem reluctant to climb stairs? Does he seem to avoid getting up or seems to be limping around too much? If yes, it’s most probably because of arthritis or joint pain.

Canines, like humans, also experience joint discomfort as they age, which should not be something to worry about. There are many supplements you can give your furry companion for improved joint mobility and more comfort while moving around.

These supplements contain popular ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin which help reduce the swelling and pain in the joints, and also helps in the quick regeneration of joint structures and connective tissues.

How to choose the best dog joint supplements

The problem is that there are so many brands and types of supplements with different ingredients that you may need some help in making the right choice. This is where these tips should help you out:

Always buy from reputable companies

This is very important because the FDA does not control dietary supplements. So checking on the manufacturer is a good and safe way of ensuring the product’s ingredient quality, safety, and reliability. Also, check if the ingredients were tested in clinical trials for safety and efficiency at treating arthritis.

Read the label

Reading the label tells you more about the ingredients and their composition percentage. Your vet will be able to determine the right dosage for your dog based on his age and weight.

Type of supplement

Canine arthritis supplements come in various forms which include chewable tablets, liquid, powders, dog food, and pills. It’s left to you to decide which your pet will prefer based on how easy it is to give it to him. While some dogs may prefer mixing powders in their foods, others may prefer chewable tablets.

a) Chewable tablets

Tablets like Soft Chews by Genuine Naturals come in various sizes and shapes and are rather popular with canines worldwide. They chew them like treats than medicine which anyway come in exciting flavors like bacon and cheese. It’s usually suggested to give half a pill to puppies and a maximum of 2-3 pills per day for dogs weighing more than 50-100 pounds.

b) Liquid option

Liquid supplements like Liquid Health K-9 Glucosamine are either tasteless or with added flavors and are recommended for stubborn pets refusing to chew tablets. Besides, liquids are naturally absorbed a lot faster by your pet’s digestive system than chews and there’s no need of waiting to ensure it’s been ingested and swallowed.

c) Dog food

If feeding your pet itself is a nightmare, it will be quite difficult to give him another supplement. It’s in these cases that dog food containing glucosamine makes a better option.

There are many brands also contain other ingredients you usually find in other arthritis supplements like chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM. There are even senior dog foods that meet the specialized dietary needs of a senior canine to slow down the effects of arthritis and aging.

d) Powder

There are supplements like Extend k9 Health which come in powder form which can be conveniently mixed with your pet’s food. There is no need of taking the trouble of feeding it and as some powders are flavoured, it enhances the food’s taste.

How do arthritis supplements work on my dog?

The actual effect of the supplement depends on its ingredients. Some ingredients help support joint cartilage health while theirs take care of lubrication issues and others, provide relief from inflammation and discomfort.

It’s generally better to give supplements containing a blend of these ingredients, including vitamins and minerals for optimal results. And as glucosamine and chondroitin are considered to be nutraceuticals and not any conventional medicine, they are sold as Over-The-Counter medicine and available both online and in veterinary stores.

List of ingredients

1.Glucosamine and chondroitin

They work together to prevent and treat arthritis by reducing joint inflammation, promoting the regeneration process and slowing down cartilage degeneration. They also alleviate the discomfort and swelling and can be safely taken with NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin.
Glucosamine exists as hydrochloride or sulfate and is usually extracted from arthropods like shrimps and crabs.

Don’t worry if your dog is allergic to shellfish as there are products containing plant forms. Chondroitin or chondroitin sulfate is extracted from animal cartilages like cows and sharks to help reduce arthritis symptoms.

2. MSM and hyaluronic acid

MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is another common ingredient in joint pain supplements which works at reducing joint inflammation and the free radicals that harm living cells to worsen tissue swelling.
Hyaluronic acid is found in connective, neuronal and epithelial tissues of synovial fluid which provides the cushioning between joint bones. It also promotes quicker cell growth and repair for quicker wound healing.

3. CoQ10, turmeric and Omega3 fatty acids

CoQ10 exists in most cells and is involved in generating energy through respiration to store in ATP molecules. As a supplement, it helps cells generate more energy for proper cell functioning and metabolic processes for faster recovery and improved overall health.

Turmeric contains curcumin which boosts metabolism levels to alleviate arthritis symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids help in the development of animals and humans and essential in supplements because it’s not produced in the body.

4. Vitamins and minerals

Most canine supplements also contain various vitamins and minerals needed to improve the immune system, help with regenerative processes and helps maintain overall good health.

Vitamin C is the most common vitamin that’s essential for preventing serious medical conditions, tissue repair and for the body’s overall functioning.


1. How can I give my dog glucosamine?

This depends on the type of supplement you choose. Chews are comparatively the easiest option because dogs usually consider them as treats than a medicine. Liquid s can be poured in a bowl, mixed with food or given using a needleless syringe. In case of dog food, consult your vet to find out how much your pet requires based on the age, weight, and breed.

2. Are dog and human glucosamine the same?

While both are organically the same compound, there are differences in its manufacture. Tablets made for human consumption come with a coating that your canine may not be able to dissolve. They have shorter digestive tracts than a human, so the pill may end up passing through without getting dissolved and absorbed.

Canine glucosamine products are intended for dogs and easily chewed and broken into smaller parts for quicker absorption. They also come in various flavors, which doesn’t exist in human supplements.

3. Is human glucosamine chondroitin safe for dogs?

There is actually no problem if your dog takes it, especially if there are no other harmful ingredients in it. Your dog should also chew and absorb the tablet and the dosage adjusted to their physique and needs. Instead of going through all these hassles, it’s better to give your pet special canine supplements meant for them.

4. Can dogs be allergic to chondroitin?

There are only rare cases of dogs getting allergic to chondroitin. But keep a lookout for side effects ranging from mild gastrointestinal problems to loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. As glucosamine usually exists in supplements containing chondroitin, and may be extracted from shellfish, your dog may get an allergy if they are allergic to shellfish.

Stop the supplement immediately and consult your vet if you notice your pet unusually itching or chewing the paws and feet, doing something unusual or if there’s a loss in appetite.

Importance of canine glucosamine

Glucosamine is given both to treat arthritis in dogs, and to prevent it. As the body stops producing it as they grow older, regular consumption of joint pain supplements can prevent wearing out of the tissue, and also help in supplementing essential cartilage tissue.
It is also important for pets suffering from any form of joint discomfort due to old age or any injury.

They automatically avoid doing any exercises or any form of physical activity every day because of the pain they feel while getting up and doing things. This only leads to their joints getting worse and more painful with time. Insufficient exercise also leads to their gaining weight which again is bad for arthritis. This is why the best option here is to give you pet arthritis supplements while following a healthy diet and regular exercise for relief from the pain and inflammation.

Signs indicating you should consider starting supplements for your dog

Unusual gait
An unusual gait where your pet moves around weirdly with a limp or in pain or seems to be avoiding a part of their body while walking is the main reason to start canine supplements.

Reduced activity
Your dog tends to reduce movement and activity when in great pain and may even avoid it because of the pain it triggers. So a drop in your dog’s activity levels is another sign indicating the probable need of starting supplements.

You as the owner will be the best person to notice signs of restlessness in your dog. There may also be cries of suffering which together indicates that something is definitely wrong with your pet.

They cry out in pain because of the discomfort, inflammation, and discomfort in the joints is felt throughout the day and not necessarily only while performing some physical activity. While these are the main signs indicating the need for canine supplements, sometimes it can indicate something different. This is why it’s better to consult your vet before starting any supplement, and not self-diagnose the condition and start anything on your own.

Possible side effects
While there are minimal side effects reported with glucosamine in dogs if you give it in appropriate dosages and the right time, there are some problems dog owners have encountered. As mentioned earlier, there’s a chance of shellfish allergies if your pet is allergic to it.

So look out for behavioral changes like excessive scratching or licking or biting lower parts of legs. Switch to using supplements with glucosamine from plants if you notice these changes. Do not ignore these symptoms as your pet may go into a state of shock or even pass away if not treated on time.

There are also complaints of digestive system problems like loss of appetite, diarrhea, excessive gas, constipation and vomiting. They can be prevented by giving the supplement with food or after feeding your pet. Your vet may also lower the first prescribed dosage because it’s usually because the dosage is a bit too high for your canine friend to handle.

Stop the supplement immediately if you notice any other abnormalities like skin rashes which you attribute to the supplement and consult your vet. You may have to change the brand or type of supplement. Always let your vet know about any other medicine or supplement you are giving your canine friend before starting joint pain supplements. Sometimes arthritis supplements may end up conflicting with the other medicine you give your dog, and this can lead to serious health problems.

How much is safe?
While glucosamine is meant to help provide joint pain relief there is no single dosage for all dogs. Some dogs may need more of it and some less. Your vet will decide how much your dog requires based on the weight, breed and health condition.

Your vet will most probably even advise arthritis supplements for the rest of your dog’s life to help heal and rebuild their cartilage. It’s because once stopped, the cartilage damage recurs to take your pet back to square one. Your vet will decide how much canine glucosamine to give, for how long, and if and when you will have to taper the dosage once the discomfort and inflammation subsides.


Glucosamine goes a long way at helping to treat joint pain and inflammation, and even in preventing it. However, the results are better and longer lasting only if your dog is given the right dosage for their body and breed and if they have regular exercises and follows a healthy diet.
Your veterinarian will even recommend a weight loss diet for obese canines to reduce joint pressure. Remember, don’t expect miracles. Be patient and with a healthy diet, regular exercises and regular supplementing, you will be able to see a marked improvement in your canine within a few weeks or months’ time.

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