Glucosamine for Dogs: What to Know

Glucosamine for Dogs: What to Know

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 06.02.2020

Seeing your four-legged best friend get older over the years can be one of the most difficult things that a paw parent will experience. Daily activities that were once fun and simple are now difficult for your pup. Even something as little as laying down or crawling into bed at night can seem extremely difficult for a doggo suffering from joint inflammation or pain. As a paw parent, we know you’ll do whatever it takes to keep your pup pain-free, but where should you start you ask? Are conventional painkillers worth the potentially harmful side effects? Are there other options available out there? What can I do to help prevent future ailments?

In today’s article, we’ll discuss all there is to know about joint supplements, specifically glucosamine as well as the ways in which it can help your aging pup! We will also touch on alternative options available and ways you can help prevent joint issues and damage from occurring in the future. While we can’t stop time (dang it), we can ensure that our pups are living their best lives, free of pain. 

1, 2, 3, here we go!

What is Glucosamine

This naturally occurring compound consists of sugar (aka glucose) and an amino acid (aka glutamine). Glucosamine promotes the growth and repair of synovial fluid and cartilage that surrounds and protects the joints. On a positive, your dog already naturally produces glucosamine everyday. But, by increasing glucosamine levels through the use of a supplement, this can help improve your dog’s overall joint health and slow the progression of arthritis. 

Because glucosamine is a natural compound, it is commonly referred to as a nutraceutical, which is different than a pharmaceutical. So, you are able to purchase glucosamine without a prescription. Many paw parents prefer nutraceuticals as they are typically associated with significantly less potential side effects. 

Glucosamine aims to slow the progression of disease, stimulate the body’s ability to repair joints, as well as help improve mechanical functioning of the joints. 


Where Does Glucosamine Come From

Glucosamine is typically extracted from lobster, shrimp, or crab. It’s also found in many raw meats. 

Side Effects of Glucosamine

Since glucosamine is a natraceutical, the potential adverse side effects are considered minimal and may only be limited to generally:


  • Allergic reactions (shellfish allergies)
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


With this being said, all doggos are different. It’s important to always keep a close eye on your pup when giving them any new supplements, regardless if it’s conventional medicine or all-natural. 



Chondroitin is another naturally occurring compound, being a key component of cartilage in the body. Often times, chondroitin is paired with glucosamine in supplement form to protect the cartilage and promote joint health. 

Dog Arthritis

Glucosamine is often recommended for dogs who suffer from arthritis. It’s important that dog owners know everything they can about arthritis in order to notice them signs and symptoms early on. Arthritis is a slowly progressive disease that derives from joint inflammation. Even with treatment, arthritis can be tough - stiffness, lameness, and potential loss of joint mobility overall. This disease may cause your pup a great amount of discomfort and pain. 

The Cause of Dog Arthritis

Something as minor as an acute injury, infection, or underlying condition, can lead to the development of arthritis, prematurely. But, do note, this progressive disease is typically associated with aging due to increased stress on the joints and ligaments over the years. Osteoarthritis is also synonymous with degenerative arthritis. 



Human joints are built the same way as dog joints - a thin layer of cartilage covers the ends of bones and acts as a shock absorber for each of the bones when they move. Cartilage also protects each bone from each other. Synovial fluid surrounds the bone and cartilage acts as a lubricant, helping make the joints move free of pain!

Arthritis is caused by the breakdown of synovial fluid and cartilage, making simple movements uncomfortable and extremely stiff. The breakdown of cartilage leads to bone-on-bone action, leading to bony outgrowths that develop on the ends of bone. 

Hip Dysplasia and Glucosamine

Glucosamine is recommended to help treat hip dysplasia. It is a deformity of the hip that occurs in growing animals, resulting in laxity of the joints. This joint laxity leads to osteoarthritis because of the loss of cartilage and development of scar tissue over time.

Hip dysplasia can cause your dog a lot of pain when attempting simple movements and activities, leading to immobility. 

Naturceutical Glucosamine vs Conventional Arthritis Medication

If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, whether it be caused by hip dysplasia or aging, your vet will likely prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs. NSAIDs are prescribed to help reduce pain and inflammation that your dog may be experiencing. As much as you’d love to get your dog pain-free by using NSAIDs, there are many side effects associated that need to be proceeded with caution. 

On the other hand, glucosamine has very minimal side effects and tend to subside as your pup gets adjusted to the supplement. 

There are cases of arthritis and bone diseases where conventional medications may be mandatory for pain. We support our readers in talking to your local vet about glucosamine and other treatment options prior to deciding on going with conventional pain medications. 

How to Tell When Your Dog Needs Glucosamine

Arthritis is common in dogs, however, the detection of it is not. Paw parents should look for the following early signs of arthritis:




Slow to stand

Disinterested in walking

Decreases mobility

Visible inflammation

Weight gain



Abnormal movements

Visible joint deformities or swollen joints

    The Best Glucosamine for Your Dog

    Recent studies are pointing out just how effective and powerful glucosamine is. Many animal stores are stocking up with this magical dietary supplement. It shouldn’t be too hard finding glucosamine in oral supplement form, kibble form, in raw meats, and injectables. 

    Oral and Injectable Forms

    The most popular form of glucosamine is in the form of an oral supplement. It can be seen in chewable tablets, liquids, or powders. 

    The injectable form is fast acting and may aid in a quick relief for those dogs with joint pain. Your vet will likely prescribe Adequan - helping with joint lubrication, protecting the joint from further degradation, and helping repair the damaged cartilage. 

    Kibble Forms

    Kibble forms are not likely high enough to make a huge difference in your dog’s pain. The amount of glucosamine in kibble isn’t nearly enough to make a difference as far as intake is concerned.

    Your vet may recommend a specialized formulated kibble for extra support, but also paired simultaneously with a glucosamine supplement. 

    Raw Food Forms

    Glucosamine is found in numerous raw meats. Your vet may recommend switching your pup to a raw food diet or have you incorporate raw meats into your dog’s current diet. 

    Meats that tend to have high levels are glucosamine are:

    • Chicken feet
    • Oxtails
    • Pig tails
    • Trachea
    • Shellfish shells
    • Bone Broth

    Why Glucosamine Sulfate

    Experts recommend glucosamine sulfate over glucosamine hydrochloride. Studies have suggested that glucosamine sulfate is more effective. Cool.

    Why Glucosamine With Chondroitin

    You want to purchase a joint supplement with appropriate levels of glucosamine in it, but also one with appropriate levels of chondroitin in it too. Chondroitin, like we mentioned above, is a naturally occurring substance that helps repair damaged cartilage, working with glucosamine to help overall joint health. 

    Glucosamine Dosage

    Studies show that most dogs need a daily dose of 500 mg of glucosamine per 25 lbs of body weight. Kibble alone will not be enough to make a difference in your pup’s life (unfortunately). This is where glucosamine supplements can come to the rescue!

    Glucosamine, a naturally occurring substance, which means it’s virtually impossible to overdose or reach a level of toxicity. It’s important to follow your vet’s recommendation to ensure that your dog is receiving the appropriate dosage needed for their personalized needs. 

    Don’t be alarmed when your vet recommends a glucosamine trial period for your pup. The trial period can be around 3 months long and can help show your vet how your dog is responding to the new supplement. 

    Should I Give Glucosamine to My Dog

    Talk with your veterinarian. Based on your dog’s age, weight, breed, and overall health, your vet can determine their potential of future joint issues and whether or not glucosamine is something worth considering for your pup!


    CBD For Dogs


    If you love to know what’s going on in the holistic wellness world, you’ve likely heard of CBD.

     Derived from the hemp plant, CBD is making big moves in the way paw parents are able to mediate their animals. 








    CBD For Joint Support

    Did you know that CBD is great for canine joint support and overall bone health? You may want to consider trying our PETLY CBD drops. In addition to the 125 mg - 500 mg of our premium CBD available, our drops include human-grade MCT oil and has no additives or preservatives. 

    In addition, here at PETly, we also have CBD Pet Chews! These soft chews are great for dogs that experience any joint stiffness or pain and want a beef flavored snack!


    Interested in learning more about PETly CBD? Click here!


    Glucosamine: Final Thoughts

    Recognizing that your pup is in pain can be incredibly difficult as a concerned paw parent. Understanding that there is a problem is the first step towards finding a solution! Glucosamine supplements for dogs are effective, safe, and protective in helping to ease your dog’s joint pain and discomfort, naturally. 

    We support our readers in talking with your veterinarian about adding a glucosamine supplement your dog’s diet. 

    When pairing glucosamine with another all-natural supplement like CBD,  glucosamine can help with your doggo’s joint health and quality of life. 

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