Glucosamine & Chondroitin for Dogs

Did you know that dogs can have joint issues like people do? They experience hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and other ailments like their human friends do. If your furry friend is having joint problems, what do you do?

Osteoarthritis is painful. It progresses slowly, and it’s a degenerative disease. That means that it gradually deteriorates the joints and causes debilitating pain. While there isn’t a cure for arthritis in dogs, there are some things you can do to help them feel less pain.

What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is an over-the-counter arthritis remedy. This remedy is used for both humans and dogs. It’s also used for horses and other animals.

Glucosamine, because it occurs naturally, is called a nutraceutical. This particular one is a chondroprotective agent. So, how is it used in dogs?

  • It alleviates the pain and joint wear that is associated with hip dysplasia.
  • It helps treat spinal disc injuries.
  • It makes a recovery from joint surgery a little easier.
  • It’s used to help performance dogs stay in top shape.
  • It reduces joint inflammation.
  • It improves your dog’s overall health.

Glucosamine for dogs is safe for your pet. It slows the progress of osteoarthritis, but it isn’t a cure. You can use it long-term for treating degenerative joint diseases.

How Does Glucosamine Work?

Glucosamine alleviates symptoms associated with joint damage by helping repair damaged cartilage. It works specifically on articular cartilage, the spongy material that creates a cushion between the joints. Most animals can tolerate taking these supplements for long-term use, so they are often an early intervention for dogs to slow the progress of the joint issues.

What Is Chondroitin?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are often paired together. Chondroitin is another natural substance that helps with cartilage repair. Would you believe chondroitin is created from cow or pig cartilage or that it may be made from crab, oyster, or shrimp shells? It is—unless it’s made in the lab from plant sources.

Chondroitin  helps with the elasticity of your dog’s joints. Elasticity helps reduce the risk of joint diseases. The chondroitin helps your dog rest because the dog isn’t hurting. It’s important to note that chondroitin can be taken wet or dry.

Benefits of Chondroitin

Chondroitin is like glucosamine in that it has a lot of benefits for joints. Chondroitin is anti-inflammatory, whereas glucosamine is a pain reliever. Chondroitin also helps block and reduce enzyme levels.

Enzymes that are present in the joints all the time break down cartilage. When your dog gets hurt, the enzymes increase. As that happens, your dog’s joints begin to hurt.

Are Glucosamine and Chondroitin Considered Medication?

As humans, we often loosely call any pill “medicine,” but technically, glucosamine and chondroitin are supplements. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) regulates glucosamine and chondroitin as supplements rather than as drugs. They don’t have the same review or approval process that the FDA uses with pharmaceutical products. Dietary supplements get evaluated after they are already being used to determine if they have adverse effects.

Are Glucosamine and Chondroitin Effective?

Studies of the effectiveness of using glucosamine and chondroitin in dogs have been limited. The studies don’t prove or disprove the effectiveness. Some stories indicate that supplements help ease the pain dogs experience.

The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin has pain-relieving properties. Glucosamine numbs, and chondroitin keeps swelling at bay. They are good for osteoarthritis, but your vet may prescribe them for other pain.

How Do You Give Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are available in chewable tablets, capsules, liquid, or powder. You give your fur baby the supplements orally. You don’t have to give it with food, but if your pet gets sick and vomits when they take the supplements, you should try giving it with food. Make sure you measure the liquid and powder forms carefully if you are giving those forms.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are not immediately effective. It typically takes a few weeks for the supplements to work fully. After a few days, you’ll probably see some gradual change for the better.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Typically, dogs tolerate taking glucosamine and chondroitin well. There aren’t usually side effects, but you might notice that your pup experiences some mild stomach issues. This is typically in the form of gas or soft stools.

Other side effects are the positive effects the natural supplements have. With the supplements’ regular administration, you could see your dog has an increased activity level. Your pet’s health and overall well-being will likely improve while taking the supplements, provided you are faithful in giving them.

Which Dogs Are at Risk for Osteoarthritis?

All dogs can develop arthritis or osteoarthritis, but the risk is higher in older dogs. Dogs often experience arthritis in their hips first. Early intervention for arthritis and osteoarthritis can help slow the progression of the diseases.

How Do You Know Your Dog Needs Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

Do you know how to recognize the signs of arthritis in your dog? Here are the signs that your dog may need glucosamine and chondroitin.

  • Stiffness or limping that may seem worse in the morning or when it’s cold
  • Trouble getting up or down
  • Not wanting to stand
  • Trouble climbing staircases
  • Difficulty getting in or out of the car
  • No desire to walk, exercise, or play
  • Pain when your fur baby jumps or walks

You have a chance of preventing these symptoms if you start a glucosamine and chondroitin protocol early.

When to Avoid Glucosamine and Chondroitin

While glucosamine and chondroitin are good for arthritis, there are times when your dog shouldn’t take them. If your dog has diabetes, glucosamine might not be the right choice. Blood-thinning medications and chondroitin don’t work well together. Also, if your dog has a rare shellfish allergy, you shouldn’t give glucosamine or chondroitin.

Wrapping It Up

Dogs develop arthritis and osteoarthritis just like humans do. When that happens, glucosamine and chondroitin could help alleviate symptoms and reverse some of the effects of joint diseases. Ask your vet if glucosamine and chondroitin are suitable for your fur baby.