The average dog’s lifespan is between 10 and 13 years. And generally, towards the handful of last years, you may begin to see signs that your dog is aging. Oftentimes, arthritis is the first and most obvious sign, and its progression can be difficult to watch.
Dogs who are victims of arthritis and other joint problems will show some signs we all dread to see:
- Easy sprints turn to tedious walking
- Jumping disappears, even to the couch
- Groaning when lying down or getting up
- Overall mobility issues and slower movements
The good news is that arthritis supplements may help your pup keep arthritis at bay. However, if your dog is already feeling pain and stiffness in his joints, stronger supplements should help soothe.
The most popular and most recommended dog arthritis supplements are:
- Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM – a very strong supplement for larger dogs
- The Missing Link Ultimate Hip & Joint – some delicious treats with glucosamine
- Synflex Liquid Glucosamine For Pets – a liquid dog arthritis supplement
- IAMS Proactive Health Dog Food – a dry dog food promoting joint support
- Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus MSM – gentler supplement than Dasuquin
But before we delve further into this topic, it’s important to mention that dog arthritis supplements cannot correct structural damage to your dog’s joints. Dog arthritis supplements may help alleviate pain, rebuild some cartilage, restore joint fluid, but these supplements will not heal calcium deposits, cartilage tears, scar tissue, or contour changes to the dog’s bones and joints.
What is Dog Arthritis?
Just like in humans, there are various types of arthritis a dog can get. The most common type is age-related osteoarthritis. Over time, cartilage cells can die off and this process releases enzymes that cause inflammation and lead to the excess joint fluid being released.
Due to inflammation, the space between joints becomes narrow and the bone underneath deteriorates. Ultimately, the joint does not function as it should, and this can cause pain that can lead to inactivity and a host of other problems.
Different Types of Arthritis Supplements for Dogs
When it comes to treating your dog’s arthritis with supplements, you have options. The truth is that what works well for one dog may not work as well for another, so if you choose only one supplement, keep an open mind to trying another in the event your dog’s arthritis doesn’t respond.
There are various types of supplements you can give your dog to help alleviate arthritis symptoms. Each supplement works in a different way, but the goals are similar. Most supplements work to decrease inflammation and improve the body’s ability to heal itself.
The below list includes the most common supplements for treating dog arthritis; asking a vet for his expert opinion is always recommended!
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are the most common supplements for treating dog arthritis. Glucosamine works by protecting the joint instead of just reducing symptoms. It helps rebuild cartilage and restore joint fluid. Some believe that glucosamine can help protect the joint, but more research must be done to prove this.
These supplements are given orally. Your dog’s symptoms should improve within three to four weeks. If they do not, try another supplement.
MSM is a common treatment for joint pain because the compound plays a big role in forming connective tissue and healthy skin. MSM protects cartilage from deterioration and reduces joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. As a bonus, it also helps decrease pressure inside the cells and allows nutrients and water to flow and nourish the body. This helps maintain the skin’s elasticity.
Methylsulfonylmethane, or just MSM, is a naturally-occurring organic sulfur-containing compound that is found in animals, plants, and humans. Scientists can also create it in the laboratory, which is often the case with MSM supplements. In the body, MSM is stored in almost all cells. However, your dog’s MSM levels decrease with age, resulting in skin problems or various joint pains.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). You may have heard of Omega-3s for human health, but they are equally important for your dog’s health (and cat, too.)
One Canadian study found that dogs who were fed a diet containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish showed significant improvement in locomotor disability problems and daily performance. In this study, 30 dogs suffering from arthritis were fed either food containing omega-3 fatty acids sourced from fish oil or a similar food with a different fat source. Both gait and activity scores were improved for dogs on the omega-3 rich diet, but no significant improvements were noted for the other dogs.
Natural Arthritis Relief Therapies for Dogs
Massage and homeopathy are two at-home treatments that can also be very beneficial to your arthritic dog. Massage can help relieve muscle tension and potentially slow the degenerative process of arthritis.
Begin by petting your dog and slowly start applying pressure to the affected area. This will help increase circulation. Next, lightly knead your dog’s muscles, but take care not to apply pressure to the painful joint. In total, the massage may last about 10 minutes.
Along with massage, you may want to consider using cold and heat packs. Heat packs create vasodilation and increase oxygen delivery to tissues, which can help improve the efficiency of any treatment. Cold packs are useful when your dog’s joints are so inflamed that they feel warm to the touch.
Homeopathy works to address the specific issues your dog is having while bringing the dog’s overall health and wellbeing back into balance. You can purchase a blend from a homeopath that is designed to specifically target arthritis. For example, one arthritis homeopathic remedy found on the market contains a blend of ten homeopathic ingredients that work symbiotically to help strengthen the cartilage along with a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that will reduce pain and improve your dog’s quality of life.
What to Look for in Dog Joint Supplements
When buying dog joint supplements, make sure that they contain joint health building blocks such as glucosamine, GLM ( Green Lipped Mussel), and chondroitin. Apart from these, here are the factors that you need to consider to purchase the best hip joint supplement for dogs:
Almost every dog joint supplement contains ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin but you also need to ensure that the ingredients contain joint pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
NSAIDs play an important role in controlling dog joint pain so your pets can feel ease and comfort. Ingredients like galliprant, carprofen, firocoxib, and meloxicam are also recommended to control inflammation. These are all safe for dogs but if your fur buddy has a specific health condition, you must consult your veterinarian first because any wrong usage can lead to kidney, liver, and digestive problems.
Manufacturing and product requirements
Since we’re talking about your dog’s health, it’s important to have dog arthritis supplements that are FDA accredited manufacturers to assure that all ingredients are pet-safe. This factor will determine whether the dog supplements that your purchase is in full compliance with good manufacturing practices that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Purchasing high-quality dog joint supplements will not only help your dogs feel comfortable but will also affect their effectiveness. It’s better to purchase pricey joint supplements than to purchase cheap ones that can lead to health complications.
Of course, knowing the right dosage is important when giving joint supplements. Since every dog has different body types, weights, and needs, most of them require different dosages. You need to know the right amount of dosage that your dog needs every single day so it can be more effective.
If you’re not sure about the dosage, you can ask your veterinarian for assistance to prevent insufficient doses or overdosing on your pets.
Taste and smell
As pet owners, we all know that giving dog supplements can be challenging especially if your dog is not attracted to the taste and smell. It’s better to purchase joint supplements that they can consider as a treat and not as a medicine for an easier way of indigestion.
Before purchasing a dog joint supplement it is important to read all the information and reviews from other owners who already purchased it. The experience of others can easily guide you to have a peaceful and uncomplicated medicine time with your pets.
Side Effects of Dog Arthritis Supplements
Compared to pharmaceutical medications, the side effects of supplements used to treat dog arthritis tend to be minimal. Glucosamine is generally well-tolerated, but some dogs may experience vomiting or diarrhea, especially during the first days. If this happens, try reducing the dosage and/or give the supplement with food.
MSM is also generally well tolerated and rarely results in side effects. However, the side effects can be more severe in dogs who experience them, so take caution when administering MSM to your dog. Start slow and gradually increase the dose. If your dog is allergic to dimethyl sulphoxide, administering MSM could cause a severe reaction – start with a small dose if you are unsure whether your dog has an allergy.
Even dogs who are not allergic can develop health issues from taking dimethyl sulphoxide over time, so keep an eye on your dog’s health. Dogs who take MSM should get regular eye checkups and liver and kidney tests.
Many dog foods do not supply adequate omega-3 fatty acids, so most dogs would welcome an increase as well. Don’t necessarily rely on manufactured Omega-3 supplements, you can add some of your own everyday foods like eggs, fish oils, and raw fatty fish like salmon.
In most cases, the dangers of supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids occur when a dog already has adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids and supplementation provides excess. Look for gastrointestinal issues if adding completely new fatty foods, and weight gain when your dogs have too much.
Massage and homeopathy are generally great for all dogs. If your dog seems to be in pain from massage, do not apply pressure to that area. Reactions to homeopathic remedies are extremely rare, but if your dog seems to be having a reaction, discontinue use and contact your naturopath or homeopath for some recommendations.
Top 10 Best Dog Arthritis Supplements
Each dog arthritis supplement mentioned here works in a different way, so you need to make a decision: which molecule, which brand, and what dose to start with? Consulting a vet may help you answer these questions but there are some well-known products that are overall great choices.
If you decide to do it yourself, the best thing you can do is start one-by-one. If your dog happens to have a reaction to something you’ve given, you’ll want to be sure you can pinpoint the culprit in order to keep your dog safe. By going one by one, you’ll know exactly what’s working, and carry on with this particular product.
1. Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM
Bestseller on e-commerce websites, Dasuquin by Nutramax is a powerful supplement for dogs suffering from joint issues and pains. This formula with added MSM makes this bestselling supplement a lot more effective, therefore ideal for larger dog breeds.
Each tablet contains at least 900mg of glucosamine, 800mg of methylsulfonylmethane, and 350mg of chondroitin. All three together have a unified action that was designed after years of research and clinical use.
The price, on the other hand, is top tier because you are having all the good stuff combined in one tablet. Additionally, Nutramax is a trusted manufacturer boasting several thousands of positive feedbacks on multiple websites. It’s a premium arthritis supplement for dogs.
2. The Missing Link Ultimate Hip & Joint
Another way to prevent an appearance or aggravation of joint problems in dogs is by providing them with healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These Missing Link Hip & Joint treats are embedding a great trio:
- over 400mg of glucosamine,
- 1,000mg of omega-3,
- and 450mg of omega-6.
Nala, our own adult Border Collie, tried it over the course of a month and we witnessed a significant improvement in her mobility and ease of movement. She is also now boasting a nice and shinier coat thanks to these nutritious treats. We used them daily for training amongst other things!
Severe cases of dog arthritis and osteoporosis may require stronger supplements such as Dasuquin. However, in most cases, a gentler option like the one offered by The Missing Link will suffice. Furthermore, because of its composition putting the emphasis on glucosamine and fatty acids, you expose your dog to a lesser risk of adverse side effects.
3. Synflex Liquid Glucosamine For Pets
Just like dog food, some dogs prefer wet stuff. Synflex has come up with a strong pharmaceutical-quality glucosamine formula that is completely liquid. Mix it with your dog’s water, or add it to the dog food. Either way, it’s much easier to give a liquid formula to some picky dogs than go with tablets or treats.
The formula includes Glucosamine HCL, Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin, Omega 3, and Omega 6 Fatty Acids. There are also additional and interesting ingredients such as Manganese, Yucca Powder, and Vitamin C. It’s overall a well-rated product that also exists as a human formula, with a similar composition.
4. IAMS Proactive Health Dog Food
The recipe includes great ingredients, and actually, many of them will help with joint support: chondroitin glucosamine, omega-6 fatty acids, and calcium, amongst many others. However, the quantities are way too low to have a real impact on suffering dogs. Younger dogs and active breeds are going to benefit from it over time, but don’t wait until it is too late to serve this great dry dog food.
Price-wise, it’s decent especially considering the fact that chicken is the first ingredient on the list. It is then followed by some carbs but it promises to also embed a good amount of farm-raised beef.
Used as ongoing preventive dog food, IAMS Proactive Health is great. Used as a treatment or curative arthritis supplement for dogs, it is useless.
5. Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus MSM
Nutramax Labs also makes Cosequin and it’s a cheaper option when compared to Nutramax Dasuquin. Both contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, while only Dasuquin contains ASU (Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables), compounds known to help slow down cartilage erosion in dogs.
Quantities also are another difference, as shown below, explaining why prices of both differ so much:
- 600 mg Glucosamine,
- 300 mg Chondroitin Sulfate, and
- 250 mg MSM.
It’s a big difference so it may favor Cosequin for small dogs and medium breeds while using Dasuquin for larger dogs. Remember that more of these compounds is not necessarily better, as we will explain below with side effects.
6. Hemp Treats – Glucosamine Dog Joint Supplement
This natural premium dog joint supplement is soft chew and contains a complex of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, and Hempseed Oil that supports joints keeps your dog’s bones strong, and improves their energy and mobility.
It’s perfect for pets of all ages – puppies, adult dogs, working dogs, and senior dogs can all benefit from this advanced hip and joint supplement treatment. It can help ease pain from aging and hip dysplasia to all dog breeds in various sizes.
One jar contains 120 joint health chews that can provide a 1 to 4 months supply depending on your dog size. It also has a delicious chicken flavor that your dogs will love – you will never experience any hassle. It’s also made by strictly following the highest manufacturing standards to ensure your dog’s safety.
7. VETIQ Vet Recommended Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs
This vet-recommended joint supplements for dogs that are made with high-quality ingredients in the USA. It comes with 180 chews per bag and promotes total joint health for your fur buddies.
It has Omega-3 for dogs with 600mg of glucosamine, 210mg MSM for dogs, and 210 mg krill per serving. Its triple-action formula also helps support cartilage, maintain muscles, and lubricate joints to improve mobility.
The VETIQ can ease joint stiffness from normal daily exercise and activity while enhancing tissue pliability. It has a natural chicken flavor so your dogs will surely consider this supplement as a yummy treat.
8. PetHonesty Senior Hemp Mobility for Senior Dogs
Gives extra strength for senior dogs that contain natural ingredients like organic hemp and turmeric. PetHonesty ensures that their hip and joint support supplement has ZERO harsh preservatives, harmful steroids, or any GMOs.
In fact, this natural supplement contains nutritious veggie blend base ingredients like Glucosamine HCL, MSM, Turmeric, Green Lipped Mussel, and Organic Hemp Oil to form a vet-recommended, extra-strength formulation.
Its ingredients like green-lipped mussel and balanced collagen have been shown to improve joint issues by 75% to 98% in research studies. PetHonesty is carefully formulated using the best, effective, and safe ingredients that are supported by research that has shown improvements in joint stiffness and overall joint health.
9. Doggie Dailies Glucosamine for Dogs
This advanced hip and joint supplement for dogs are carefully crafted to provide ingredients that your pets need to maintain and support mobility. It also features a delicious chicken flavor that’s loaded with ingredients that you can trust.
Every soft chew is had Glucosamine HCl, Chondroitin, MSM, Yucca Schidigera, CoQ10 (coenzyme q10), and Hyaluronic Acid (HA); Plus Omega 3 & 6, Vitamin C & E, and Salmon Oil & Cod Liver Oil for skin and coat health.
A daily dose of the Doggie Dailies Glucosamine can help maintain your dog’s energy levels, helps lubricate joints, maintain cartilage and connective tissue, mobility, and overall joint health. It’s made using strict quality and safety standards and GMP compliant and level 3 SQF certified.
Every batch is tested by an independent lab to ensure your dog’s health and is made using cold-press extrusion which helps preserve the integrity of the ingredients and to ensure maximum potency of your pet.
10. PetHonesty Advanced Hip & Joint Supplement
Another PetHonesty advanced hip & joint supplement that’s perfect for dogs of all ages. It eases joint stiffness that’s associated with daily activity and has a normal inflammatory response. Since PetHonesty is committed to producing premium quality ingredients, they assure that their supplements are gentle, natural, and go through strict safety standards.
All their ingredients are of the highest quality in the USA and are globally sourced that are derived from natural sources like turmeric and contain NO harsh preservatives, corn, soy, GMOs, or chemical ingredients.
It has ingredients like organic turmeric and yucca schidigera that focus on building joint health and promoting a healthy inflammation response. It also contains Glucosamine, MSM for dogs, and Chondroitin Sulfate that supports cartilage and connective tissue development.
Best Dog Arthritis Supplement: FAQ
We gathered the top frequently asked questions about the best hip joint supplement for dogs, below are the best answers to your inquiries.
No. Since human vitamins are not designed for dogs, it’s not recommended to give human vitamins and supplements to your pets. If you think that your dog needs vitamins and supplements to support its needs, it’s best to go to your veterinarian and ask for suggestions so they give you a prescribed dog supplement to treat or improve your dog’s current health condition.
Joint supplements with glucosamine are worth it and effective to relieve your dog’s arthritis pain. It can also boost their energy levels and mobility especially when it comes to aging. MSM for dogs also plays an important role in your dog’s health since it protects cartilage from deterioration and reduces joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Apart from dog joint supplements, glucosamine can be naturally sourced through beef, lamb, goat, chicken feet, ox, or pig’s tail. It’s also important for your pets to have a well-balanced diet especially if they’re experiencing joint pains and arthritis. This will simply help relieve any joint pains as long as they have the right amount and proper diet recommended by your veterinarian.
Yes, walking is great for pets that experience arthritis. But take note that you should give them the same amount of exercise every day. This can help build their muscles and have better support in their joints. Little and often walking should be the right approach to dogs that suffer from joint pains, also consistency should be considered for an effective exercise routine.
Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory effect and is usually given to dogs with joint problems. The recommended daily dose is between ⅛ tsp to ¼ tsp for every dog that weighs 10 lbs. If your dog has a specific health condition or allergies, go to the nearest veterinarian and seek assistance.
Glucosamine is usually recommended for treating osteoarthritis in dogs. Since glucosamine regulates the synthesis of collagen in your dog’s cartilage, it somehow provides a mild anti-inflammatory effect. This helps relieve joint pains and helps rebuild cartilage and restore joint fluid.
When it comes to buying the best dog arthritis supplement, you will need to try a few and see which one works the best. Most of them will work and relieve pain, strengthen the dog’s structural frame, but you want the one that works the best. Meaning, getting the most upside while having as few side effects as possible for your dog.
In practice, most dog owners pick one and they will see good results and they will stick with it for the years to come. They have seen their dog in pain, so they don’t want to risk going back to that for a product that may not even work as well as their current one.
Each dog is very unique and it’s all about knowing his or her reactions. The final decision is yours!