Top 5 Best Glucosamine for Dogs

Latest Update July 31, 2017

Best Glucosamine for Dogs: Can Canine Joint Supplements Help Ease My Dog's Joint Pain?

Why Should I Put My Dog on a Glucosamine Supplement?

As dog owners, we want to know what supplements can help our pups feel their best regardless of age. Glucosamine is a supplement that can support healthy joints for our dogs. This is especially important as our dogs age and their joints begin to wear down.

Hip dysplasia and arthritis are common hip and joint problems that can develop in dogs, and there are many supplements available that are easy to administer to your dog that can coat the joints and provide pain relief for these bone conditions. With so many options to choose from, it can be a struggle to choose the best glucosamine for dogs. In the sections below, we will explain what joint conditions commonly affect dogs, how glucosamine can help, and which supplements we recommend for dog owners.

Glucosamine is a beneficial supplement for many dogs with varying ages and medical conditions. Due to improvements in veterinary care and dog owner education, domestic dogs are living longer. As dogs age, their bones and joints deteriorate while the muscles around them become inflamed. This can be very painful for dogs.

Fortunately, glucosamine supplements combined with chondroitin work to coat the joints, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation around problem areas.

When considering adding glucosamine to your dog's diet, it is important to find one that also includes chondroitin to help any inflammation your dog may be experiencing.

3 Main Arthritis Symptoms to Watch For in Your Dog

It isn't always easy to tell if your dog needs a glucosamine supplement. Some dogs are better at hiding their pain than others, and the size and overall health of a dog can make certain joint conditions difficult to notice until the pain has progressed significantly.

There are a few tell-tale symptoms to look for in your dog's behavior that could indicate a joint problem such as hip dysplasia or arthritis. The signs discussed below are in no way a replacement for veterinary care, and all concerns should be discussed with a veterinarian.

Difficulty Walking: If your dog appears stiff or looks like they don't want to put weight on a specific limb, they may be experiencing joint pain or arthritis. A dog's pain may be triggered by a long walk, playing, or going up and down steps. A dog's arthritic pain includes inflammation, much like human arthritis.

Showing signs of pain while resting: a sign that your dog may be experiencing joint or hip pain is if they appear to be at pain while resting. If your dog is restless while laying down on their bed or on the floor, like they can't quite find a comfortable way to sleep, they may have painful swelling and inflammation due to arthritis.

Dogs with arthritis may experience pain when touched in certain areas, so it is imperative to make a note of interactions you have with your dog and any reactions to physical touch. The hips and hind legs are most frequently affected by joint pain, but the front legs can also be affected.

Changes in activity levels: Dogs can't tell us what is wrong, but they know when something hurts. Dogs will try their best to avoid doing things that aggravate their joint pain, even if it is an activity they usually enjoy.

If you notice your pet hesitate to do activities they once performed with ease, they may be trying to avoid using painful joints. Avoiding going up and down stairs, rolling on the floor, or running could be signs of arthritis in dogs. Keep in mind it is easier to diagnose new problems when owners are attentive to their dog's behavior.

One important note when reading about any medical condition online: there are always other conditions that can mimic arthritis. These range from kidney disease to a skin disorder. A veterinarian is the best person to make an official diagnosis.

Your vet will consider your dog's history, age, and breed when determining the likelihood of arthritis as the cause of your dog's pain.

What Can I Give My Dog to Help With Arthritis?

Primarily, love and attention. Keeping a close eye on a pet that you suspect may be suffering, or that you know has a painful condition, can be key in both recognizing when other problems arise, and giving it the proper mental support to keep your pet from making injuries worse.

Just like us, pets need a positive environment to recover, and that will prevent further harm. Rest, reduced stress in their environment, and a properly balanced diet can all go a long way toward reducing their discomfort.

Another important thing to give them is supplements in their diet. Nutritional supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids can support joint health, reduce inflammation, and encourage an overall healthier system in your pet.

Special dietary formulas for older dogs tend to have this and other vitamins and minerals that aging pets need to both reduce the issues that arise with aging, and to prevent issues with kidney and liver disease, and to prevent unneeded weight gain.  Remember; a loss in activity level will also mean your dog will burn less calories too.

Listen to your vet, they might have some other alternatives for dogs that are experiencing arthritis.  While certain types of pain relief medicine may be recommended, it’s never a good idea to give any pharmaceutical products to a dog without first consulting a vet.  Even with low dosage over-the-counter pain products you still never know how your pet will be effected.

What are Glucosamine and Chondroitin and How Do They Help My Dog?

Common Areas of Joint Pain in Dogs

Glucosamine, together with Chondroitin, is an effective supplement for arthritic dogs, very similar to the supplement that we take for joint pain as well.  Glucosamine, a naturally occurring substance in the body, helps with the body’s repair and production of cartilage.

Production of glucosamine in the body is reduced over time (as both dogs and humans age), that is why we can experience wear and tear on the joints that can eventually lead to arthritis.

Animal health experts, along with vets, have recently found that dog glucosamine shows similar benefits as they do for us, which are:

  • Cartilage rebuilding
  • Joint function restoration
  • Activity level increase that improves cardiovascular health too
  • Joint pain reduction
  • Lower likelihood your dog will need expensive pain medicine

All of these points are important, but take a closer look at the last one; as dogs get older, they might need pain medication to treat joint pain and other symptoms.

These medications can easily become far more expensive than supplements, but can also cause possible unintended interactions with other types of medication and other supplements as time goes on.

Supplements can both be extremely practical and economical when considering it as a long term investment to better your dog’s life overall.

Related Guides

What is the Recommended Glucosamine Dosage for Dogs?

Remember this; not every dog will need the same dosage of glucosamine and not every supplement with be right for your dog’s health.

Speak to your vet and he/she will help you find the right type of glucosamine and whether or not your dog should have anything with sulfate, and any other factors that may come up.

A vet can also tell you how many fluid ounces of supplement a dog should have, but understand that each type of glucosamine supplement has different dosage levels as well.  As an example, HCL and 2KCL glucosamine might not have the same doses for a 30 lbs. dog.

Here’s another factor to consider, there are different periods in which dosage levels can change. As an example, some vets may recommend a double dosage for a set amount of weeks to determine whether or not improvements can be made with glucosamine, and then a reduced dosage level after that trial period.

Because it’s possible to overdose on glucosamine, it’s recommended to get professional advice and assistance for safety purposes.

What are the Differences Between Human and Dog Glucosamine?

Many pet owners assume that there are no differences between human and animal glucosamine. While glucosamine is an amino sugar that both humans and dogs have in their bodies, giving your pet the human version of this supplement could be a mistake that can lead to some harmful side effects for your pet.

Let’s go over the differences in the two types of glucosamine and how they differ for the human and dog systems.

Ingredients

Glucosamine itself is safe for both humans and dogs. What makes them different is the other ingredients that, while maybe healthy for a human, are not as healthy for your four-legged friend. In fact, some of these ingredients can even be fatal for dogs.

The Coating

Another factor that makes a difference is the coating in the supplement tablets. The coating on human supplements is designed to digest in the human digestive tract, not that of a dog. While our systems can process the coating easily and without any issues, your pet's system may have difficulties and could lead to health issues.

Digestive System

There is another difference between canine and human versions of glucosamine. Each digestive systems works in different ways when breaking down materials.

Since our digestive tract is much longer than that of a canine, it has plenty of time to be absorbed before passing from our bodies.

If your dog was to take a human tablet designed to be swallowed whole, the tablet would more than likely pass through their system long before it has time to properly dissolve.

This is why canine glucosamine tablets are designed to be chewed, it helps to break down the material and allows it to be absorbed into their bodies.

Unless you are planning on giving your dog a human supplement that is pure glucosamine, such as a powder or liquid, your best bet is to simply purchase a glucosamine supplement designed for canines.

Possible Glucosamine Side Effects to Watch For

Glucosamine side effects are pretty rare, that’s the reason it’s commonly recommended for dogs with arthritis. Here are a few possible side effects to watch for:

Allergic reaction, which is typically caused by shellfish allergy. If you know that your dog has an allergy to shellfish, there are plant-derived glucosamine supplements available, although they are less common.

Gas, upset stomach, diarrhea are a few gastrointestinal symptoms that may occur. These can be reduced by changing the dog food or reducing the glucosamine levels. It’s a good practice to give supplements in combination with food to help lessen these symptoms.

Blood sugar interaction may occur if your dog is currently taking medicine to regulate an existing condition. Glucosamine might not be recommended if your dog is taking a blood thinning medication or your vet might recommend a smaller dosage.

Which Joint Supplement Works for Dogs with Food Allergies?

Every year, thousands of dog owners make the decision to start their aging dogs on a joint supplement regimen. However, dogs have food allergies just like humans do, and this can make something as simple as adding a supplement much more complicated.

Remember, the overall health of your dog and any other conditions will affect the way they respond to supplements. Always check with your veterinarian before adding supplements to your dog's diet.

Food Allergies and Supplements

One topic that can put a halt on your search for a good supplement is food allergies. Dogs who have food allergies or sensitivities need special care when the time comes to add in supplements like glucosamine. So many supplements have added ingredients which, even in small amounts, can trigger a reaction in your dog.

Vegetarian glucosamine is a viable option for dogs with food allergies, especially shellfish allergies. Since shellfish is the most common source of glucosamine, a shellfish allergy severely limits the safe options for your dog. The glucosamine in vegetarian supplements is derived from corn. These supplements now also included MSM derived from plants, where older vegetarian supplements were missing this ingredient.

This article describes a great option for dog owners who have to consider food allergies when choosing a high quality joint supplement.

Our Top Vegan Glucosamine Pick for Dogs with Food or Shellfish Allergies

Barker Labs FlexComplete Vegetarian Joint Supplement for Dogs

Bark Labs FlexComplete 100% Vegetarian Dog Joint Supplement is our top choice for dogs dealing with food allergies, including shellfish. More affordable than some non-vegetarian versions, this liquid supplement contains ingredients that does not contain Shellfish, Beef, Gluten, Wheat, Milk, Soy, Sugar, Starch, Yeast or Salt. It is made with corn, and still contains key ingredients that can deliver powerful joint relief to your dog.

As with all glucosamine supplements, it takes time to notice an improvement. Most users notice a positive change in their dog's ability to go up and down stairs, overall energy levels, and endurance during walks within 6-8 weeks. Some dogs will show improvements even sooner.

Positive reviews cite this product's fast acting ingredients and attribute the fast results to the liquid form and absence of fillers. Many owners explain their dog's extensive food allergies and the frustration with trying to find a safe supplement. Their relief with finding this product safe is only added to their excitement with the fast results.

Critical reviews noted that some dogs have a hard time adjusting to taking the supplement with their food. Some dogs do have corn allergies so this product would not be suitable for them. One reviewer suggested that the manufacturer use a pump lid for easier use. Some users stated they did not see any changes in their dog after giving the allotted 8 weeks of use, but the manufacturer does offer a money-back guarantee for these situations if owners are dissatisfied for any reason.

Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Glucosamine Supplements

1. TerraMax Pro Hip & Joint Supplement

terramax-pro-480

TerraMax Pro Hip and Joint Supplement is the first liquid glucosamine on the list. Why liquid? It is able to be absorbed into the body much faster and efficiently than tablets or chews.

This supplement can help improve the overall health of your pet as well as take care of your dog’s joint pain and stiffness.  Since it’s a liquid glucosamine it’s pretty easy to give to your dog, just add the recommended dosage to your dog’s food or water.

This joint supplement for dogs contains glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and even Hyaluronic Acid. This helps to safely rebuild cartilage and joint tissue and this formula is all natural as well.

It's also important to note what this product does NOT contain as well. This product doesn't include sugar, salt, starch, wheat, gluten, yeast, corn, milk, or soy derivatives. That makes this a good choice if you are looking for a high quality glucosamine for dogs without brewer's yeast.

A bottle of this can last longer than other glucosamine products out there. For instance, if you have a 45 lb. dog it can last over 2 months at the recommended dosage. TerraMax Pro also offers a 100% money back guarantee, so you can try it risk free.

Buyers largely report increased mobility and energy with the use of this supplement. Some buyers reported difficulties with getting dogs to eat the supplement when added to their food, but most state that their dogs seem to enjoy the taste.

Things We Liked
  • Liquid supplement that absorbs faster into your dog's body
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee and Made in USA
  • Tasteless liquid works well for dogs that are picky eaters
Things We Didn't Like
  • Minor side effect includes dizziness and diarrhea but is a rare occurrence.
  • Must be stored in the refrigerator after opening

2. Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM

dasuquin-480

Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM comes in an easy to take chewable tablet that can help with your pet’s joint issues. It contains Chondroitin Sulfate, ASU (derived from avocados and soybeans) and MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), which helps to reduce stiffness in your pet’s joints.

It also has been formulated from more than 10 years of clinical use and research. It’s recommended to start with 2 tablets per day for the first 4-6 week period, after that you can move down to 1 per day.

So you can see that this can be used over a long period of time to help relieve symptoms of hip dysplasia or other joint problems.  Dasuquin comes in bottles for both dogs over 60 lbs., and also for dogs under 60 lbs which you can get here.

Available online, these flavored tablets come highly recommended by consumers. Buyers report increased energy levels with their formerly lethargic dogs. Increased quality of life and decreased joint pain symptoms were also reported.

Things We Liked
  • Vet Recommended
  • Over 10 years of research and clinical use behind this product
  • High quality, researched ingredients that are proprietary specifications
Things We Didn't Like
  • Pricing is high compared to other products available
  • Can be hit or miss with some dogs
  • Some dogs don't like the taste of the chewable tablets

3. Glyco-Flex III Soft Chews

glyco-flex-3-480

The Glyco-Flex III chews are the only treat-type chews on the list which might work better for your dog if they don’t take tablets. This makes it look like just another treat but don’t worry it still is packed with glucosamine for dogs, MSM, manganese, and DMG.

DMG in this chew is Vetri-Science’s patented DMG which is known for its immune support properties. These are made and distributed in Ft. Worth, Texas.

It’s important to still follow the dosage instructions based on your dog’s weight on the package even when these look like treats.

Some of the customers of this supplement only recommend these for dogs with a mild to moderate joint or arthritis issue and it’s better to go with something else if the problem is more severe.  These specific chews are available in chicken liver flavor.

Things We Liked
  • Comes in a bite-sized treat form which can make it easier to give to your dog
  • Vet recommended
  • Developed by Vetri-Science in the USA
  • Adheres to the NASC's quality standards
Things We Didn't Like
  • May not work well for severe joint or arthritis situations
  • Reports of customers receiving bad batches
  • Hit or miss for some dogs

4. Nutramax Cosequin DS plus MSM

cosequin-ds-with-msm480

Cosequin DS plus MSM is made by Nutramax which also makes Dasuquin. Cosequin DS is the #1 Veterinary recommended joint health supplement that is shown to protect joint cartilage and help keep dogs mobile. Cosequin comes in a liver flavored chewable tablet.

The recommended administration period of Cosequin DS is four to six weeks, after which you can reduce the amount to the maintenance level.  Cosequin is a bit cheaper than Dasuquin, so this might be a good Dasuquin alternative for you.

Things We Liked
  • Manufactured under strict guidelines in Nutramax Labs
  • Trusted brand that has been around for many years
  • Vet recommended and Made in the USA
Things We Didn't Like
  • Not all dogs show improvement after taking Cosequin
  • Some buyers report difficulty with hiding tablets or having to crumble them to get dogs to take them

5. Extend K9 Health Formula Joint Care for Dogs

extend-joint-480

Extend Joint Care is made by Extend Pet Health, a company that focuses on dog supplements. They offer Extend, not only on Amazon but on their own website as well. It is highly recommended to buy this from Amazon and avoid the free trial offer on their website.

They will send you the free trial, but if you don’t send it back within 14 days you will be charged for it as well as being put on an autoship. You can avoid the autoship by buying from Amazon to try it out and get a money back guarantee if you don’t like it. That was the biggest negative towards the product.

The Extend K9 health formula is designed to help reverse the joint damage in dogs. It includes Glucosamine, MSM, Type II Chicken Collagen, and Ascorbic Acid. It is a beef flavored powder packet.

Buyers report improvements in their dogs in as little as two weeks. Most were hesitant to try it but said they were glad they did afterward. One customer raved about the positive impact this made on her 14-year-old dog after trying several different options.

Things We Liked
  • Powder supplement that comes in prepackaged tubes
  • Can be good alternative if your dog doesn't like chewable tablets
  • Vet approved and 100% money back guarantee
Things We Didn't Like
  • Free trial autoships every month if bought from their website
  • Can be hit or miss for some dogs

Our Top Pick

Terramax Pro Hip and Joint Supplement is the overall best glucosamine for dogs we have found that meets a variety of dog owners needs and concerns. This liquid based product has the best value, tasteless and produced by a great company.

Terramax Pro offers a money-back guarantee if you aren't happy with your dog's results. Be sure to give the product the full 4-6-week trial period to judge the effect this supplement has on your dog.

All products reviewed above are viable options for your consideration. Your vet can also help you to choose the right option. When used consistently, glucosamine supplements can help your dog experience less pain and more energy over time.

Glucosamine is a great first defense against joint and hip problems for your dog. While joint damage cannot be fully reversed, you can ease your dog's discomfort and help them enjoy daily activities as much as possible with the right diet and supplements.

Buyer's Guide to the Best Glucosamine for Dogs
Buyer's Guide to the Best Glucosamine for Dogs
5 / 5

We cover the top 5 picks and reviews for the best glucosamine for dogs as well as dosage, tips and tricks, side effects, what to watch out for with arthritis and hip dysplasia.