Dog News

Glucosamine for Your Dog

by Lilly

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Glucosamine for Your Dog

Glucosamine is a product that your dog may need as he ages or if he suffers from issues such as hip dysplasia. As loving pet owners, we always look at ways to alter their diet to make sure that our little fur balls have the vitamins and minerals they need as their joints become a little more worn and suffer joint pain through work and play. However, just changing the dog food is not always enough to ease the pain. One of the first problems that many aging dogs encounter is joint issues. Years of wear and tear on joints and the connective tissue means they can become sore and swollen as they age. Glucosamine has the potential to help and improve joint health. Glucosamine for dogs is created out of a source that is somewhat different: shellfish. The shells contain amino-sugar that is taken and used to replace natural glucosamine that is waning in your dog’s system. This supplement is proposed to help build and keep cartilage healthy in the joints. Cartlidge is important in keeping the joints moving and pain-free. It stops the joints from rubbing together and causing discomfort. Glucosamine is present in the body of young dogs so there is usually no issue with joint maintenance. As these same pups age, however, it can become depleted. When this happens, the following health and well-being issues can ensue:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bones rub together at the joint
  • Joint pain and connecting tissue
  • Poor mobility
  • Stiffness
  • Lethargy
  • Odd gait
  • Swollen joints
  • Irritability
  • Promotes joint health

Why Would my Dog need Glucosamine?

Your dog may find Glucosamine helpful if they seem to be suffering from stiff, swollen, and sore joints. It is a natural anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation. As a supplemental medicine, it can give your dog’s own glucosamine levels a boost as he ages. It may help relieve swelling and irritation in the joints that show up due to both normal wear and tear, as well as through certain illnesses. This drug is considered natural and basically safe, but you should still seek approval from your local veterinarian to make sure there are no unexpected side effects for your dog’s health.  

When Shouldn’t My Dog Take Glucosamine?

Pet owners should not be looking for a “quick fix” for serious medical issues when it comes to using glucosamine. If your dog is suffering from painful joint issues, you need to take them to see your veterinarian first. Glucosamine will be a help in treating joint problems over time, but you need to make sure there are no other serious health issues that need to be addressed first. Glucosamine is also not appropriate if your dog has issues with excessive bleeding as the supplement increases clotting time. It is also not advisable to use the product if your dog has or might be prone to diabetes. Glucosamine is sugar-based so would be unhealthy for dogs who have to watch their sugar intake. This supplement takes time to work so will not be an effective quick fix no matter what the health problem is that it is being used to address.

How Does My Dog Take Glucosamine?


Glucosamine comes in many forms. As always, use and dosage should be discussed your dog’s veterinarian. If they are on board with your use of the product, then you have many different options to chose from. There are pills, capsules, liquid, powder, and injectables, which will all be useful for your pet. There are also many brands of kibble that include it in their recipes which are specially formulated for senior dogs. Oral methods are usually suggested to be given in higher dosages than injections simply because they have to travel through the digestive system rather than directly into the bloodstream. Directions are usually listed on the packaging of glucosamine supplements, but it would be smart to run it by your dog’s vet just to make sure its appropriate for your particular pup. Liquids and powders can be added to food to dry or wet food. Pills and capsules can also be hidden in treats. There are also dog treats that contain glucosamine that combine the best of both worlds, but you just need to make sure that your pet does not get too much of a good thing. They should be getting about 500mg per 25 pounds of body weight each day overall.

Glucosamine Side Effects in Dogs

There are not a lot of side effects that come from the ingestion of Glucosamine. Overdose isn’t prevalent and studies on rats show that it would likely take extreme amounts of the supplement to be lethal for your dog. However, it is like any other supplement or medicine and should be closely monitored and given carefully at the right doses. As a responsible pet owner, you should also make sure your dog is not given any human forms of glucosamine supplements. This is because they are designed to appeal to humans, and this means they often contain additives such as Xylitol. Additives such as this will not just harm your dog but could be potentially deadly. The human product does not transfer to dogs and must not be used. Other side effects that may show up when too much glucosamine is given may include bleeding and upset stomachs. Although most dogs do not negatively react to the supplement, there were some reports of:

  • Allergic reactions—especially if your dog has seafood allergies
  • Insomnia
  • Dehydration
  • High glucose for those with diabetes

Though rare, these random reports of side effects simply mean you need to be aware of the possibilities, so you know what to look for once your pet makes this part of his daily regimen.


Glucosamine is not FDA approved and is considered a supplemental approach to treatment. Studies of the product have limited and neutral results on its effectiveness, but it seems to do little harm if taken. If your dog is suffering from joint problems, your veterinarian should have a look at them first before you add glucosamine into their diets. This product is most beneficial as a supplement to other positive lifestyle choices that may help alleviate some of the joint issues found with aging. It’s important to make sure your dog feels the best they can as they move into their senior years.