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Glucosamine for Dogs – Benefits, Side Effects, FAQ & Reviews

Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Friday 26 April 2019
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Glucosamine for Dogs
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Glucosamine for dogs is a naturally occurring compound used for the treatment of arthritis as it helps support the function and structure of the joints. It is a dietary supplement that is neither a mineral nor a vitamin.

Moreover, glucosamine supplements for dogs are chondroprotective agents, thereby, being one of several natural substances that are known to treat osteoarthritis in dogs, humans, and other animals. This supplement plays an important role in bone and tendon health. Also known as chitosamine, glucosamine in dogs is actually an amino sugar that occurs in a natural way in the synovial joints of a species and cartilages.

Glucosamine chondroitin for dogs is often added to dog food with many manufacturers adding this supplement in their products to promote joint health. Glucosamine for dogs can be used to help alleviate symptoms of arthritis. However, if given early, glucosamine medications for dogs may even prevent joint issues before problems even arise. Glucosamine actually occurs naturally in the joint fluids, bones, marrows, fungi, and shellfish.

Benefits of Glucosamine for Dogs

For dogs that struggle with weak bones and joints, glucosamine supplements for dogs can be an enormous help to their well-being. Even more so, senior dogs are more prone to health problems concerning these matters and are in more need of taking these medications.

Glucosamine actually offers great benefits for not only dogs but all mammals and species, including humans.

Pain relief

Many dog owners administer glucosamine medication for dogs for the sole purpose of relieving pain. If you’re looking for a great alternative for pain relief, then glucosamine for dogs may just be exactly what you’re looking for.

Studies on the effects of glucosamine supplements for dogs show relief from pain from mild to moderate in those affected by knee osteoarthritis. It also seems to do well for other joint pain as well. Pain relief is actually a leading reason for many people to resort to glucosamine medications in the first place, aside from its other well-known benefits.

Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

These conditions are marked by wear and tear of the cartilage between joints. This normally happens with age. The most common arthritis in dogs is in the hip joints. Glucosamine for dogs is excellent for the construction and maintenance of cartilage. Thereby, being a great aid for those that suffer the conditions of arthritis and osteoarthritis. It can also be a good supplement for dogs with luxating patella.

Glucosamine, along with MSM supplements, lessen the symptoms. If the response to the medication goes well, then he will experience less pain and begin to produce more agility in his overall performance. After someone stops treatment, relief can be felt for up to 3 months.

arthritis in dogs
Glucosamine for dogs is excellent for maintaining cartilage and prevent arthritis.

Joint repair

Any amount of glucosamine in a dog’s body will help with the repair and subsequent maintenance of the joints. Glucosamine medications for dogs, or even liquid glucosamine, are sufficient sources for alleviating and fixing injuries due to sports and even temporomandibular joint problems, or TMJ.

In essence, glucosamine is a prominent basic building block for joint cartilage. Most of these supplements work through an anti-inflammatory pathway. As a body’s natural shock absorber, these medications work as a joint lubricator as well. The joints are greatly nourished through the regular use of glucosamine.


Administering glucosamine for dogs needs to be done the right way. That said, having the right dosage for your pet can go a long way. Too much can have adverse effects, whereas, too little glucosamine may not yield any effects.

The average glucosamine sulfate dose for dogs is 20 mg per lb of body weight. Or rather, one 500 mg supplement for every 25 lbs of body weight in the dog.

These doses will vary according to how severe the health issue is at the time. Dogs that are under 25 lbs can take one tablet of 500 mg. Weights between the 25 and 50 lb mark can take two of these tablets daily with no ill effects. However, heavier dogs that weigh more than 75 lbs can take up to even four of these 500 mg tablets daily.

Take into consideration that these doses can be reduced with time as the condition begins to improve. Furthermore, these supplements can easily be mixed into the dog food of your choosing for easy administering.

Side effects

Despite the huge benefits brought to dogs by a regular glucosamine intake, there are a few side effects and disadvantages you should be aware of.

Allergies — Although not common among those dogs who take glucosamine as a supplement, allergies have been reported in some. For the most part, however, allergies are usually found within individuals who suffer allergic realities due to shellfish.

Fatigue — It is often normal to witness a change in energy levels in your pet after the consumption of glucosamine medications. This side effect may pass after some time, but you will notice a bit of fatigue in your dog.

Insomnia — Some dogs have been known to suffer some minor sleep issues due to the intake of glucosamine. These side effects can produce a number of symptoms such as the inability to sleep and take naps. Some dogs may suffer complete insomnia.

Thirst — Dogs can display symptoms of excessive thirst. If you see your dog drinking larger amounts of water than normal and at shorter intervals, this can certainly be an indication that your pet has taken a high dosage of glucosamine.

Urination — Just like dogs can be affected with excessive thirst, urination also comes into play. This is often due to the thirst, but sometimes it is not. Likewise, this only seems to be a side effect more prominent in dogs who have taken high amounts of the supplement.

Diabetes — This is a rare side effect. However, glucosamine supplements for dogs are sugar based. Considering it is a substance based on sugar, many vets are actually hesitant to administer glucosamine medications to dogs who already suffer from diabetes.

However, to a dog truly in pain, especially at a senior stage of their life, the benefits generally outweigh the cons without any doubt.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride vs Glucosamine Sulfate

In terms of efficacy, both hydrochloride and sulfate forms tend to produce the same effects. However, glucosamine hydrochloride is more in favor than glucosamine sulfate mainly because the hydrochloride form is more concentrated.

Besides, glucosamine in hydrochloride form contains less sodium per dose than the sulfate. The sulfate form contains more sodium chloride (table salt) and may even contain up to 30% sodium! This is something all dog breeders must take into consideration when choosing between the two types.

Glucosamine vs MSM for dogs

MSM, also known as Methylsulphynolmethane, is an organic sulfur compound that is also well known for its therapeutic effects on the joints. It is associated with lowering the pain of arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and various sports injuries.

Both Glucosamine and MSM are supported to work in tandem to repair tissue, reduce symptoms, and repair damaged joints and muscles. It is very common for dog joint supplements to include both molecules for a more wholesome benefit.

glucosamine chondroitin msm for dogs
Together, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM will help connective tissues in dogs affected by arthritis.

Top 5 Best Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs

For those looking at buying the most appropriate glucosamine supplements for their dog, we have reviewed the most popular and most effective glucosamine supplements on the market today.

1. Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus with MSM

The Cosequin DS Plus by Nutramax Labs is one of the tops of its kind on the market today. This supplement contains MSM and it plays an incredible role in the maintenance of the joints as a main bodily function for dogs. The DS Plus is one of the best as it is a #1 recommended product by vets for joint health. The period for the initial administration for your dog is four to six weeks. There are some dogs that may respond sooner though. The MSM contained is a sulfur compound that occurs naturally and is accompanied by the Cosequin which is great for joint function and mobility.

The Cosequin DS Plus is great for all ages and sizes of dogs as it will continue to aid in a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to read the packaging carefully in order to provide the correct dosage for your pet. These omega-rich chewable tablets are loved by all dogs alike. This brand of glucosamine supplements for dogs is highly respected on the market. One customer was relieved to learn that her 12-year-old Sussex lab mix was back to her normal happy self after using these tablets after suffering from hip problems for some time.

2. Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM

This supplement is the Dasuquin created with MSM which is also created by Nutramax Labs. As another highly rated product, this supplement takes care of your dogs at all ages, providing maximum protection for joint health. With the organic, naturally occurring MSM, the Nutramax Dasuquin is formulated to deliver maximum protection for cartilages. These chew tabs contain the potent mix of glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, as well as avocado and soybean.

This supplement has been formulated for more than 10 years with clinical research. Highly ideal for dogs above 60 pounds, the Nutramax Dasuquin helps inhibit cartilage breakdown from normal wear and tear. One user noted her dog’s limping and stiffness disappeared with use and wanted to check the validity so she refrained from taking it to notice the symptoms coming back. Some surgeons and vets have recommended the switch from Cosequin to Dasuquin with MSM.

3. Bayer Synovi G4 Soft Chews

These soft chews manufactured by Bayer Animal Health promotes healthy joints and hips. It helps flexibility and especially for dogs that have trouble with mobility. This supplement is ideal for dogs of any breed, age, and size. It is known for containing the Synovi Matrix which is a unique, special combination of ingredients specifically geared to assist in muscle tone, joint health, and antioxidant function. The green-lipped mussel, turmeric, and Boswellia serrata all help to support the body’s systems.

The manganese sulfate mixed with glucosamine assist in the maintenance of joint health and lubrication. With creatine monohydrate, dogs are supported for their muscle tone and contractions. Along with antioxidant support as well as the removal of free radicals, the Bayer Synovi is definitely a top competitor on the market due to its vitamins, Selenium, and grape seed extract. Users call this product the miracle cure for many and raving how it has a reliable supplier and cheaper than buying from the vet.

4. Extend Joint Care Natural Glucosamine

The Extend nutritional supplement for dogs is an advanced joint support formula. Help support and repair the joints of your beloved pets with one of the most highly rated glucosamine supplements for dogs on the market. Glucosamine supports hydration, comfort, and mobility. It contains MSM which assists in the proper alignment and maintenance of tissues and joint functions. The type 2 chicken collagen in this supplement is an important building block for articular cartilage along with ascorbic acid which helps to increase the collagen.

This joint care supplement comes in a delicious beef flavor that all dogs love. The ingenious proprietary formula is designed to even reverse the effects that are caused by joint damage. It is 100% approved and safe as well as vet-approved. Users who have used this product report positive results, however, one may have to wait a few months to see lasting improvement in conditions. It even did wonders for a 14-year-old black lab who suffered from hip problems and arthritis when all other supplements failed to aid him.

5. Liquid Health K-9 Glucosamine

The K-9 Glucosamine supplement for dogs is the ultimate formula for the dog’s health and maintenance. This liquid glucosamine for dogs is so unlike the other products as it comes in a drinkable form as opposed to pills and tablets. This makes it easy to slip into a dog’s water bowl. Made in the USA, it comes in a plastic bottle. This is literally a liquid joint supplement for dogs and works great to support the structural integrity of their joint cartilage.

This liquid glucosamine patent contains chondroitin sulfate which, along with the glucosamine itself, aids in the prevention of arthritis conditions in younger dogs. It also contains MSM and manganese chelate. With 100% pure aloe vera juice, the K-9 liquid glucosamine for dogs is definitely a top competitor. It has even helped one user with three pit bull mixes that were suffering from hip and knee injuries.

Glucosamine for Dogs — FAQ

In order to provide you with as much information as possible about glucosamine for pets, we have to answer a lot of questions we received by email over the years. On top of that, we scoured the web to find reoccurring interrogations and doubts dog owners had about it.

Can you give human glucosamine to a dog?

You can administer human glucosamine to a dog and not have any ill effects. In essence, glucosamine is the same molecule for any living being. However, supplements for humans may contain additional additives that are not suitable for canines. In fact, some of the ingredients humans take are fatal to dogs.

A lot of the brands use unsafe flavors and sweeteners for the average pet such as those flavored with xylitol. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase glucosamine products specially created for dogs. Furthermore, dosages may also be very different in humans than in dogs. So although glucosamine can be given to both humans and dogs, it is the added ingredients that are normally found in human products that are harmful to dogs.

Can dogs overdose on glucosamine?

Although glucosamine supplements, for the most part, are very safe for dogs to take there is always the possibility of a dog using too much and risking an overdose. One must understand that glucosamine for dogs can be found in a wide range of supplements and products. In an effort to alleviate your dog, you may wind up giving him too many different things not taking into account the number of glucosamine levels entering his body.

Also, as per the chewable, dogs may enjoy the taste so much that they end up eating more than they should. However, very high rates of an overdose of glucosamine are rare.

What are the best sources of natural glucosamine for dogs?

Some of the best foods in which to derive your dog’s daily consumption of glucosamine are found in the trachea since it is made up of cartilage. Other great sources include chicken feet, beef knuckle bones, pigtails, mussels, shellfish, bone brother, and other bones with great cartilage.

Some of the best sources of natural glucosamine for dogs are found in foods. The levels of glucosamine that many kibble manufacturers claim to have are actually not that great and these should not be used as a natural source for your dog. Just like humans, glucosamine is naturally found in the bodies of dogs.

Do glucosamine supplements for dogs really work?

Yes, absolutely. Glucosamine supplements work in great favor for dog health if taken for the right reason and at the right dosage. However, some of these supplements tend to be lightly dosed so miracles should not be something you should expect your pet to experience.

Furthermore, a vet-prescribed medication containing glucosamine along with chondroitin and MSM may actually be preferable. Of course, this also depends on your dog’s age and current health status. Avoid those types of supplements that seem to contain additives that are not needed. Try to source alternatives that are as natural as possible.

Will glucosamine affect my dog’s liver?

In general, levels of glucosamine in a dog’s body have not been shown to affect his liver overall. Whether taken in supplement form, as a medication, or in food, glucosamine does not contain any links to liver issues in dogs.

However, if your dog does seem to be exhibiting symptoms of liver dysfunction, it is more likely due to other factors such as an anomaly in the liver itself, other illnesses, or it could very well just be the natural aging process. In any case, get your dog checked out by a professional vet for confirmation.

What brands of glucosamine chondroitin are the best for dogs?

The most popular brands of glucosamine chondroitin for dogs are Nutramax, Liquid Health, Bayer, and Tractor Supply. Actually, the current demand for arthritis supplements is at an all-time high right now.
With that being said, there are a lot of other great product brands out there and they are all offering good quality items at very decent prices. In terms of choosing the right brand for your dog, you must determine what form factor you are more inclined to administer them. These products come in the form of:
soft chews,
tablets, and
They also differ in their packaging as well.

How fast does glucosamine work for dogs?

Glucosamine supplements may take up to even a month to start producing results in dogs. Even then, for some medications, it may take more than a month. In this case, it is always advisable to consult your vet for more details. Glucosamine supplements for dogs, as well as other forms of glucosamine products, do not tend to be fast-acting on dogs in comparison to other prescribed vet medications.

In arthritis, glucosamine can be given before the symptoms show up in order to delay the onset. Usually, NSAIDs are given to those that need a more fast-acting pain reliever.

When to start glucosamine for dogs?

At around 12 months, once puppies begin to grow, is a great time to start them on the supplements. It’s a common misconception in the canine community that glucosamine for dogs should only be given at a certain age when they are older, but that is not true. In fact, you should start it at any age even if they are young.

The older a dog gets, the less able his body is capable of producing the necessary proteins to build the joints. Providing glucosamine supplements for dogs at an early age will help avoid many health problems before they arise.

What are the differences between Nutramax Cosequin and Dasuquin?

Nutramax Dasuquin has avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in it, whereas Nutramax Cosequin doesn’t. That said, Dasuquin costs more. According to reviews, one does not seem to be better than the other, except for the price difference. Dasuquin ultimately would be more ideal for dogs who suffer severe situations such as the case of hip and elbow dysplasia and arthritis.

Both Nutramax Cosequin and Dasuquin are great supplements. Both of these are dog joint supplements created by the same company, Nutramax Labs. As to how they are similar, they both contain MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

Guide: Glucosamine for Dogs
Guide: Glucosamine for Dogs

One comment on “Glucosamine for Dogs – Benefits, Side Effects, FAQ & Reviews”

  1. VetGen

    Can’t really think of side effects that glucosamine has on dogs. It is only beneficial.

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