If you have a senior or arthritic dog, chances are you are already feeding him glucosamine supplements. This brief guide is for pet owners who are not aware of the benefits of glucosamine for canines. In this guide, we will be discussing the best glucosamine supplements, its dosage for dogs as well as its possible side effects along with other important FAQs.
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a compound that occurs naturally in the body, in humans and in animals. It is the result of combining of glucose and glutamine, an amino acid. Glucosamine creates glycosaminoglycan which is necessary for building and repair of cartilage and other bodily tissues. The natural production of glucosamine reduces as we age. The same is true in case of older dogs. Thankfully, many good brands of glucosamine for dogs (and humans) are available today. Feeding these supplements to aged dogs can vastly improve their quality of life.
Why do dogs, especially senior dogs, need glucosamine?
As stated above, production of glucosamine slows down with age. Glucosamine forms the basis of connective tissues and joints. Diseases dogs or dogs that are injured need glucosamine to repair worn out tissues. Glucosamine is the basis of GAGs or Glycosaminoglycans. GAGs are needed in arthritic dogs to prevent joint aches and pains and prevent further degradation of the worn out cartilage. As the body is no longer capable of producing Glucosamine in required quantities, it is a must to add it through supplementation.
Some canine health conditions that can be prevented or managed with Glucosamine supplementation include:
- Degenerative joint disease
- Ligament, tendon and joint disease
- Hip or elbow dysplasia
- Luxating patella
- Genetic issues
- Bowel diseases like IBS, colitis
- Inflammation of mucous membranes of respiratory and genital or urinary tracts
Role of glucosamine in canine arthritis management
A study has shown that natural glucosamine can benefit arthritic pets by protecting and nourishing connective tissues of joints and cartilage, reducing pain and increasing mobility. The study also showed that regular use of glucosamine actually caused the worn out cartilage to heal. Supplements with MSM (sulfate) along with chondroitin and glucosamine helps reduce inflammation thus improving the pet’s mood and quality of life.
Glucosamine dosage for dogs
- Small or toy breeds -100-500mg daily
- Medium dogs – 500-1000mg daily
- Large and giant breeds- 1000-1500mg daily.
How long should you feed natural glucosamine supplements to your dogs?
Senior dogs or dogs with severe arthritis, genetic issues or joint injuries may be placed on Glucosamine for the rest of their lives. Studies have shown that once the supplement is discontinued, cartilage degeneration can recur within 4-5 months. For younger dogs who have had surgery or disease, you may discontinue use after 3-4 months of supplementation. You can, alternatively, continue to feed lower dosage to younger dogs.
Glucosamine for dogs are generally very well tolerated. When given with MSM and/or chondroitin, these natural supplements can benefit senior and diseased or injured dogs and improve quality of life. Though very rare, glucosamine for dogs can cause following side effects:
- Upset stomach or indigestion
- Stomach pain
Note that many commercially manufactured glucosamine supplements are made from chitin-a substance found in shellfish, shrimp, crabs and lobsters. So if your dog is allergic to sea food or is diabetic, do speak to your vet before feeding these supplements.
Supplements on the market
The supplement is available as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride or N-acetyl glucosamine. It is safe alternative to anti-inflammatory medicines and pain killers. Many supplements also contain Chondroitin and MSM as the combination of glucosamine with these ingredients is considered far more effective in relieving joint aches than glucosamine alone. Chondroitin attracts fluids towards the joints like a magnet (most senior dog joints become drier with age). Glucosamine is the natural joint building ingredient whereas MSM is a sulfate that provides powerful anti-inflammatory action. Liquid glucosamine for dogs is often recommended by vets, since liquids are better absorbed and most dogs like the light, natural flavor.
Glucosamine dog chews/treats
Dog chews and treats are convenient to administer to dogs as most pets love their flavor and crunchy, chewy texture. Good quality glucosamine dog chews often contain MSM, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, turmeric and other antioxidants for improved overall health. Look for all-natural, organic dog chews without GMO or preservatives. WildPaw® makes some great dog chews or dog treats with Glucosamine. Additionally, these healthy dog treats also contain hemp powder and hemp oil. Please read my article on CBD oil for dogs and how it can greatly improve your pet’s overall health. Apart from improving joint mobility, WildPaw® dog chew treats with glucosamine and hemp oil can provide calming anxiety relief and improve coat health. These delicious treats are available in chicken and other flavors which dogs love. This is one of the best glucosamine for dogs as it contains MSM, turmeric, boswellia, along with antioxidants like vitamins A and C.
Glucosamine liquid for dogs
Liquid glucosamine has better absorption rate and repairs and supports cartilage and joint tissues for improved mobility. Many natural supplements of Glucosamine come in flavored liquid forms which pets love. TerraMax Pro Best Hip and Joint Supplement is made in the USA. It has received thousands of great reviews from pet-parents. TerraMax liquid glucosamine for dogs not only repairs cartilage; it is especially beneficial for dogs having inflammatory conditions like colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome etc.
Dog foods with glucosamine
These days, dog food manufacturers are known to add chondroitin and glucosamine to their dry kibble. Such fortified foods are great for your pet’s coat and joint health. Blue Buffalo® Life Protection Formula Dry Dog food with chicken and Brown rice is one of the bestselling brands of dog food with glucosamine and chondroitin. You can also go in for Whole Hearted® grain free chicken and pea recipe for adult dogs or puppies.
How to choose the best glucosamine supplements for dogs
When looking for glucosamine supplements, go for either glucosamine HCL or glucosamine sulfate. Both types of supplements have been found to be effective but the ones with sulfate are more easily absorbed. Not all joint supplements for canines contain glucosamine, so learn to read product labels. Also, it is best to consider a supplement with glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin for best results. It helps if the supplement also has turmeric, boswellia, hemp oil and other antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
Can you feed human glucosamine supplement to your pets?
The answer is that Glucosamine is glucosamine-an amino acid sugar. So ideally, it should be the same for humans and pets. However, many human supplements tend to contain ingredients which your pet might not be able to tolerate. So make sure you look for supplements which are made for pets only to prevent side effects and unwanted reactions.