What Are The Best Joint Supplements For Dogs? (And Does Your Dog Need Them?)

Is your dog suffering from painful joints?

If so, you know how it can drain their zest for life.

The pain can make them tired, slow, lethargic. And they’re just not themselves anymore.

Whether your dog has been diagnosed with a condition impacting their joints… or whether you have a breed with a genetic predisposition, this guide will answer some of your questions.

Let’s get started.

The Types Of Joint Supplements Available For Dogs

There are many different substances that are marketed to dog owners as a joint supplement for dogs, including:

Glucosamine Sulfate: Glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occurring amino sugar that is found in the joints, specifically the cartilage that helps to cushion the joints, preventing pain.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride: This is simply a different form of the glucosamine that is found in the joints. Some studies have shown that then used as a supplement, glucosamine hydrochloride absorbs faster than glucosamine sulfate.

Chondroitin Sulfate: Chondroitin sulfate helps when taken as a supplement by inhibiting the production of enzymes that destroy cartilage.

Omega-3: Omega-3s are fatty acids that help by encouraging the body to produce chemicals that combat inflammation. In addition to helping with joint pain, Omega-3s have been shown to support heart health, improve the efficacy of allergy medications, and boost the immune system.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane): MSM is an anti-inflammatory supplement.

While there have been many studies that show these supplements can greatly reduce pain and improve a pet’s quality of life, it’s important for dog owners to understand that these products need an average of 4-6 weeks to take effect.

Each product will have instructions on loading doses for your dog that need to be followed.

Which Medical Conditions Can Be Helped By Joint Supplements?

There are various disorders and injuries that can cause joint pain in dogs including:

1. Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD): Commonly known as osteoarthritis, DJD occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears down.

2. Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia occurs when there is an abnormal formation of the hip joint. This is typically caused by a genetic factor but can be caused by environmental factors as well. Larger breeds are more likely to have hip dysplasia.

3. Elbow Dysplasia: Like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is caused by the abnormal formation of the elbow joint. This results in damage to the cartilage.

4. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): An intervertebral disc is a cushion that sits between the vertebrae. When one of these discs ruptures or bulges, the dog can experience significant pain. Additionally, IVDD can cause damage to the spinal cord.

5. Cruciate Ligament Tear: Called an ACL tear in humans, the cruciate ligament is in the knee. When this ligament tears, surgery is typically required to fix it. Even though surgery is a way to repair the knee, scar tissue will still remain and the joint is technically damaged.

6. Immune-Mediated Arthritis: Also known as Rheumatoid Arthritis, this is caused when the immune system attacks the body and causes inflammation in the joints.

7. Trauma: Fractures and dislocations can cause damage to joints.

What Are The Best Joint Supplements For Dogs? (And Does Your Dog Need Them?) 3

When Should I Start Giving My Dog Joint Supplements?

This is a very difficult question to answer but overall, early action is always important.

At each yearly checkup, you should discuss your pet’s health and any supplements that might be beneficial.

In some cases, your veterinarian might recommend starting joint supplements before clinical symptoms appear because of a genetic predisposition for joint disease.

Breeds That Are Genetically Predisposed To Joint Issues

Dog breeds that commonly suffer from joint disorders include:

  • Labrador Retrievers;
  • German Shepherds;
  • Dachshunds;
  • Rottweilers;
  • Great Danes;
  • Mastiffs;
  • Newfoundlands;
  • Old English Sheepdogs;
  • Golden Retrievers;
  • Pit Bulls;
  • Boxers;
  • French Bulldogs.

While not every dog will need supplements, the risk is high enough and the supplements safe enough that you might want to consider including them as part of your dog’s daily routine.

Do Joint Supplements Have Side Effects?

Side effects caused by joint supplements are incredibly rare but include:

  • Lethargy;
  • Increased Thirst And Urination:
  • Hepatotoxicity.

The final side effect is only associated with a toxic overdose of a joint supplement.

My Dog Has Omega-3s In Their Food – Is This Enough?

The dosage for any joint supplement is based on a dog’s weight.

Generally, the omega-3s in a dog’s food is not enough to be considered an appropriate dose for joint support. Be sure to read the dog food label carefully and consult with your veterinarian.

The Highest-Rated Canine Joint Supplements

It’s always good to get feedback from other owners regarding how their dog did on a specific joint supplement!

The following are the highest-rated joint supplements on the market:

Last update on 2023-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cosequin comes in both flavored tablets and soft chews that dog’s love! Cosequin contains glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and omega-3s! Dog parents rave about how this daily supplement has helped their dogs.

Last update on 2023-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dasuquin is another favorite among veterinarians and comes in many formulas, all of which contain glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate.

In addition to formulas that include MSM, dog parents can also purchase chews that contain a few new substances that have recently shown promise as joint supplements, such as Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU), Boswellia serrata extract, and eggshell membrane.

Last update on 2023-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Glycoflex provides different products for different life stages. In addition to glucosamine hydrochloride and MSM, these soft chews and tablets also contain Perna Canaliculus also known as Green Lipped Mussel.

Last update on 2023-08-30 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Duralactin takes a completely different approach when it comes to joint health. These bone-shaped soft chews contain microlactin which is derived from the milk of hyperimmunized cows.

While there is still little testing to show how effective this supplement actually is, many dog owners swear by it.

Last update on 2023-08-30 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Nordic Naturals focuses on creating an omega-3 supplement that comes from a sustainable source. This means that their tasty fish oil supplement is made from anchovies and sardines from the South Pacific!

This liquid can simply be sprinkled over your dog’s food. Fair warning, once opened, the supplement must be refrigerated.

Last update on 2023-08-30 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another soft chew that contains hyaluronic acid in addition to glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and omega-3s. It also contains vitamins and minerals that support everyday health! It really is a daily treat that your dog will love.

Last update on 2023-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This joint supplement comes in a powder form that can be sprinkled on your pet’s food. The glucosamine is derived from shellfish! This powder also contains hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, yucca schidigera, green-lipped mussel, and boswellia serrate.

All not all of these have been proven effective as joint supplements, it’s worth a try! There are certainly thousands of dog parents who have reported a great change in their dog’s since they first started the supplement.

Last update on 2023-09-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and MSM, the Pawstruck supplement comes in two sizes, one for small dogs and one for large dogs. The team at Pawstruck swears that their tasty soft chew will tempt even the pickiest of eaters!

Keep in mind that regardless of which supplement you chose (and which supplement your dog does the best on), your dog will need to be on this supplement for the rest of their lives.

While a supplement can certainly help to reduce your dog’s pain and improve mobility, you may have to still administer the occasional pain reliever, prescribed by your veterinarian.