As the life expectancy of our pet pals grows longer, the incidence of joint problems grows, too. For most of us, problems like hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy are things to consider as our dogs grow older. So, as a doting pet parent of a senior dog, you’re probably wondering about the best joint supplement for dogs. Do joint supplements really help our furry friends? And if so, how exactly do they work?
A dog joint supplement should contain ingredients that aid joint health. These might include glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oils. In more recent years, however, newer products are joining the market and entering dog joint supplements.
What are Joint Supplements
Many humans take vitamins and supplements to help ease joint pain. In the same way, dogs can take supplements to help with their joint problems. Joint supplements are chews, tablets, or liquids that contain important compounds for keeping the joints healthy. It’s important to note that dog joint supplements are not a replacement for veterinary treatment. Your dog may need further treatment and physical therapy to benefit its joints.
If your dog struggles to stand or has trouble with everyday activities, it may be one of many dogs with joint problems. Many dog breeds are prone to joint problems like osteoarthritis, osteochondrosis, hip dysplasia, and joint injuries. Many injuries, like dislocations and ligament tears, can lead to joint disorders in dogs. Depending on what causes your dog’s joint problems, their symptoms may be obvious or subtle. These might include lameness, pain when moving, and wasting of the leg muscles.
Depending on the type of joint disease your dog has there are several causes. For example, osteoarthritis in dogs is very common, affecting at least one-quarter of the population. The majority of cases occur secondary to another orthopedic disease, like hip dysplasia, luxating patella, or a cranial cruciate ligament disease. In a small subset of dogs, however, osteoarthritis develops without any obvious cause apart from genetics or age. Other contributing factors to osteoarthritis in dogs include weight, exercise routine, and diet.
What Should I Look For in Dog Joint Supplements
There are many supplements that claim to help with joint problems in dogs. However, not all of them contain a useful range of ingredients. Keep a lookout for supplements that contain glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and Omega-3 fatty acids to be safe. Other ingredients may also offer benefits to dogs but are not fully understood yet. These are methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs). Regardless of what ingredients are in the supplement, it’s best to ask your vet before giving them to your dog. Certain ingredients may interact with any other medication that your dog is already taking! As well to this, supplements are not well-regulated. Not all supplements offer exactly what they claim to provide, so check in with your vet for a professional opinion.
There are at least three reviews evaluating the effectiveness of glucosamine for osteoarthritis in dogs. A review in 2007 looked at a study that used a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, manganese ascorbate, and chondroitin sulfate for dogs with osteoarthritis. Dogs who took these agents showed no significant improvement and no adverse effects were seen. A study in 2003 compared glucosamine to carprofen and meloxicam, and only found that carprofen and meloxicam were the most effective. While glucosamine did offer some benefits, they were less than those offered by the positive controls. In contrast, a review in 2009 suggested that there were statistically significant improvements for dogs who took glucosamine and chondroitin. However, most studies evaluate glucosamine alongside other supplements which might complicate any assessment of their results. As such, none provide any definitive word on how valuable glucosamine is for treating osteoarthritis in dogs.
Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a major component of cartilage. It promotes water retention and aids with elasticity. These qualities help the joint with shock absorption. Much like glucosamine, chondroitin may or may not be helpful for managing osteoarthritis in dogs. Clinical studies suggest that some dogs benefit from chondroitin, but others feel no benefit at all. Given the potential for benefit and the lack of side effects, though, many vets will recommend chondroitin supplementation for dogs with joint problems. Where a benefit is seen, the use of more expensive and potentially harmful drugs can be reduced.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are one of several fatty acids that are important for the body. Omega 3-s include DHA (docosahexaeonic acid) alpha lipolic acid (ALA) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid). Countless studies have shown the effectiveness of Omega-3 fatty acids for dogs with osteoarthritis. In a 2016 study, all dogs showed improvement in discomfort and lameness with no major side effects. The study also goes on to explain that fish oils help to relieve these symptoms because they reduce inflammation around the joint. Any future studies on fish oil for dogs should assess the longer-term effects of its use.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a popular dietary supplement for both dogs and humans. It’s a sulfur compound that is found naturally in plants and animals alike. It is also made in labs to create dietary supplements. This supplement may have analgesic and antioxidant effects, and current research suggests that it may be useful for preventing cancer and managing osteoarthritis. However, the evidence is not yet conclusive. There are also some potential side effects that aren’t well-studied yet, including stomach upset, diarrhea, and restlessness. Also, MSM should not be given alongside anticoagulants or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.
Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASUs)
Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) are natural vegetable extracts made with soybean and avocado oils. These oils are the leftover 1 or 2% that can’t be made into soap. These unsaponifiables contain a range of beneficial compounds, including fat-soluble vitamins, triterpene alcohols, and fatty acids. Furthermore, this combination gives ASUs chondroprotective properties that help to stop the breakdown of cartilage. However, the active component(s) are still unknown. A study on dogs found that ASUs might reduce the development of early osteoarthritic cartilage lesions. When given with chondroitin and glucosamine, ASUs appear to amplify their effects.
Hylauronic Acid (HA)
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a component of synovial fluid. It acts as a cushion for the bones, resisting compression and allowing the joints to bear weight. It helps prevent luxating patella in small breeds. Degenerative joint diseases decrease the concentration of HA in your dog’s joints, increasing their pain and decreasing their mobility. Most vets will give HA to a dog with osteoarthritis through an injection. In a 2016 study, dogs with osteoarthritis improved when given HA injections, especially in comparison to those who only got saline injections. Another study found that giving oral HA after cranial cruciate ligament surgery could improve healing.
10 Best Joint Supplement for Dogs
Remember that joint supplements are not a replacement for appropriate veterinary care! Dogs with joint diseases often need multiple types of therapy and frequent follow-ups.
⚠️ Speak with your vet to decide on a treatment plan that works for your furry friend. Now, to find out about the best joint supplement for dogs, read on with us!
1. Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewables
Dasuquin is a vet-approved joint supplement. It combines avocado/soybean unsaponifiables, decaffeinated green tea, glucosamine, and sodium chondroitin sulfate to create a premium joint health blend. It also adds MSM to support cartilage. These tablets are chewable, making them easy for dogs to take.
Happy pet parents report that their pups have an extra pep in their step after taking this supplement! Because each ingredient may benefit the joint health of dogs, it seems that this supplement reduces pain and increases mobility for dogs with joint pains. This supplement is also great value.
The main issue with this product is the possibility that the Amazon vendor is selling counterfeit products. Therefore, to be on the safe side, consider buying Dasuquin from Chewy or the manufacturer’s website. Your vet can prescribe Dasuquin, too, which is the best route for your dog. Also, some customers also report that their dogs don’t like the taste of Dasuquin and refuse to take it.
2. Nutri-Vet Hip & Joint Biscuits for Dogs
Nutri-Vet’s Hip & Joint biscuits are not just healthy, but tasty, too! Also, these biscuits are made with glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, vitamin C, and manganese. They also contain chicken meal and peanut butter to add that tastiness that your pooch is sure to love.
Customers love how active their furry friends become after eating these biscuits! They also love how easy it is to get their dogs to eat them. While many dogs turn their noses up at pills and tablets, most dogs can’t refuse biscuits.
Some dogs don’t enjoy how hard these biscuits are. For older dogs, hard biscuits can be difficult to chew and swallow. Some dogs outright refuse to eat these biscuits due to their large size and, for some, the taste.
3. VetriScience Laboratories – GlycoFlex 3 Hip and Joint Support for Dogs
VetriScience’s Chewable Tablets are vet-approved and made with a range of beneficial ingredients. Each tablet contains glucosamine, MSM, DMG, and Perna canaliculus. This list of ingredients means that your pup receives a full spectrum of joint support!
Many happy customers report that these tablets offer support to their dogs’ arthritic joints. Dogs who take these tablets long-term seem to become more energetic and find it easier to move. Many dogs love the chicken flavor of these tablets, too.
One downside to this product is its lack of chondroitin. Glucosamine and chondroitin work synergistically with one another, providing more benefits for dogs who do experience them. The other problem that customers report is the size of the tablets. For small dogs, this product might be too big for them!
4. Amazon Brand – Solimo Dog Hip and Joint Supplement Soft Chews
Solimo’s Dog Hip and Joint soft chews are made with glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin C, manganese, MSM, and Perna canaliculus. These chews are made with natural duck flavoring to entice your pup to take them.
Pet parents love how effective these chews are. Many dogs who take these chews seem to be less stiff when moving. And, while some dogs are hesitant to eat them at first, most enjoy the duck flavor of them.
One problem with these soft chews is the dosage. Compared to other joint support chews, these chews have to be given twice as often. Some customers also dislike the small size of the tablets and bag. This makes them more suitable for small breeds. Lastly, some dogs don’t like the taste of these chews.
5. Synovi G4 Dog Joint Supplement Chews
Synovi’s G4 Dog Joint Supplement Chews are a great and convenient way to provide your pooch with the joint support they need. These poultry-flavor chews contain glucosamine, Boswellia, Perna canaliculus, MSM, turmeric, and creatine monohydrate. The latter ingredient benefits the muscles by aiding with muscle tone and contraction.
Happy customers love the fact that these chews contain turmeric! Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, but despite this, it is not used in many joint supplements. Other customers love how quickly the supplement helps some dogs. For the luckier dogs, improvements are seen in just one week.
Less satisfied customers report packaging issues. For some, the chews arrive dry and broken. For others, the smell of the chews is overpowering, and their dogs refuse to take them. There seems to be consistency issues with these chews, with one pack being perfect and the next having several issues.
6. VETIQ Maximum Strength Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs
VetIQ’s Maximum Strength soft chews offer plenty of glucosamine, MSM, HCL, manganese, hyaluronic acid, fish oil, and grape seed extract. With its wide range of ingredients, your pooch is sure to benefit from at least one! Most happy pooches love the taste of these chews, too.
Positive reviews note how this supplement seems to boost their pets’ mood and increase their mobility. Many dogs seem to move with more confidence on this supplement, allowing them to experience life as they used to.
Unfortunately, some dogs seem to become ill after taking this supplement. Some dogs experience vomiting and diarrhea, while others develop neurological symptoms. Other dogs simply refuse to eat these chews. To be on the safe side, consult with your vet before giving your dog any supplements.
7. Grizzly Joint Health Liquid Hip and Joint Support for Dogs
Grizzly Joint Health Hip & Joint Product is a liquid supplement for dogs. This liquid is made with glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, krill oil, and turmeric. By combining these powerful ingredients with krill oil, this supplement supports digestive absorption. This makes it the perfect addition to your dog’s food.
Pet parents love how easy it is to dispense this supplement. With an easy-to-use pump dispenser, your pup’s meals can be fortified with a range of ingredients that may keep their joints healthy. Most dogs’ symptoms seem to improve when taking this supplement, too.
This product seems to cause some issues for a small number of dogs. Some dogs develop diarrhea or vomiting, and others develop health problems that stop once the supplement is no longer used. Other buyers report that the supplement becomes rancid relatively fast.
8. Lintbells YuMove Dog Joint Supplement
When pet parents think of joint supplements, YuMove is probably one of the first ones that come to mind. YuMove’s Hip and Joint Supplement is a chewable tablet that claims to improve symptoms within 6 weeks. These chews contain glucosamine, vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese, Perna canaliculus, and hyaluronic acid.
Happy buyers love the effectiveness of these chews. Many dogs have a spring in their step just weeks after taking these chews. Also, many dogs even seem to think that they’re treats, and eagerly await their daily dose!
In a few cases, these chews may cause diarrhea and vomiting. For some dogs, this can become severe. Also, the chews sometimes come with a very strong smell and hard texture. Always check in with your vet before giving your dog any new supplements.
9. maxxipaws maxxiflex+ Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs
Maxxipaw’s joint supplement is made with glucosamine, chondroitin, hydrolyzed collagen, MSM, devil’s claw root extract, fatty acids, Phellodendron tree extract, and pineapple stem. It also contains calcium ascorbate and fructooligosaccharides. On top of this, the supplement is made with liver flavoring to make it extra tasty!
Most owners agree that this supplement is effective for relieving the symptoms of arthritis and cruciate issues in dogs. For most dogs, these supplements reduce their pain and increase their mobility. Also, owners love how easy it is to break these tablets into smaller portions for their dogs.
Some pet parents question the effectiveness of this supplement. Owners who have given this supplement for 3 weeks or more sometimes report no improvement in their dog’s symptoms. Other dogs outright refuse to eat these tablets regardless of how they’re hidden.
10. ProSense Hip and Joint Solutions
ProSense’s Hip and Joint Solutions chews offer plenty of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and vitamin C for pups with joint problems. This combination offers a high-strength formula for dogs.
For most dogs, ProSense’s supplement offers pain relief and mobility, allowing them to get back on their daily walks. Other buyers are happy with the price of the product, noting that it’s inexpensive compared to other joint supplements on the market.
Some customers report that the pill form of the product is more effective than the chewable form. Others warn that the glucosamine in the product comes from shellfish – if your dog has a shellfish allergy avoid this product.
Dog Joint Supplements: FAQ
Have any more questions about the best joint supplement for dogs? If in doubt about your dog’s joint health, always ask your vet for advice.
Whether a joint supplement will “work” for a dog depends on several things. These include the severity of the dog’s joint degeneration and the dog’s overall health. Some dogs seem to benefit from taking supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, while others experience little, if any, benefit.
It’s very difficult for a dog to overdose on glucosamine and chondroitin. In very big amounts, glucosamine and chondroitin may cause vomiting and diarrhea with no lasting side effects. However, when supplements are made with other active ingredients, your dog is at a greater risk of toxicity. Ingredients like vitamin D, zinc, and manganese can be dangerous in large doses.
Many foods offer health benefits for dog joints. Celery, for example, contains luteolin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Also, green leafy vegetables like kale and bok choy are packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and K. Speak to your vet about the best vegetables for your dog!
Some dog breeds are more prone to joint problems than others. German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands, Great Danes, and Saint Bernards are just some of the many breeds that are most vulnerable to developing joint problems like hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. Similarly, hypertrophic osteodystrophy is a bone disease of large and giant dog breeds that affects the joints. If you own any of these breeds, be sure to prioritize their joint health as early as possible! Joint supplements can be given to puppies as young as eight weeks old.
You can improve your pooch’s joint health by providing plenty of exercise and a healthy, high-quality diet. Also, be sure to check in with your vet regularly. Lastly, make sure that you screen your pooch for hip dysplasia and any other joint problems that your breed is prone to!
Always ask your vet about dog joint supplements before giving any to your dog. It’s important that your pooch gets a treatment that works for their individual needs! Also, stay aware of counterfeit products and check product reviews before giving the first dose to your pup.