The Benefits of Glucosamine for Dogs

As far as supplements go, glucosamine for dogs are one of the most widely recommended by vets, to help maintain the healthy joints of our best friends. There are many glucosamine supplements for dogs out there, so it can be confusing finding the right one. Here, we share exactly why glucosamine is so important to healthy joints in dogs, the signs to look out for if your dog may benefit from this supplement and the best ways to get the right dose to your dog, to support healthy, comfortable movement.  

What is glucosamine?

Glucosamine is naturally found in the bodies of dogs (and humans, too). It’s made up of glucose (sugar) and glutamine (an amino acid) and it’s needed to support healthy joint function. Glucosamine contributes to the synovial fluid in joints, which helps to keep them lubricated and running smoothly. Glucosamine is also used to build and repair cartilage. The cartilage found at the end of bones and within joints, articular cartilage, allows the joint to move smoothly and effectively. 

Glucosamine as our dogs age 

As our best friends age, glucosamine in the body declines and with this, the cartilage protecting joints can also decline. This can lead to wear and tear on joints, which becomes painful for your dog because of the inflammation, damage to the tissues within the joint and then the onset of osteoarthritis. Once osteoarthritis begins to set in, cartilage is even less able to produce glucosamine to repair itself1. 

Border Collie dog jumping to catch frisbee in mouth, in a lush green garden-02

What are the benefits of glucosamine for dogs?  

There are some great benefits of glucosamine for dogs, including:  

  • Helping to reduce painful2,3, inflamed joints3 
  • Helping maintain lubrication in joints2,3 
  • Helping to keep joints healthy and slow their deterioration2,3 
  • Supporting mobility and range of movement2 
  • Supporting healing after surgery or injury3 

Signs that your dog might benefit from glucosamine 

If your dog is showing some of these signs, it may be worth a trip to the vet to discuss if glucosamine could be useful in their diet: 

  • Your dog’s having noticeable trouble getting up the stairs, into the car, or onto the couch, when it used to be easy 
  • They’re having a restless sleep, which could be an early sign of joint pain. Your dog is trying to readjust themselves to get comfortable, but they can't because they’re in pain 
  • You’ve noticed your dog favouring one leg or putting more weight on its front legs than normal. This could be an be an early sign of joint pain or hip issues. 
  • Your dog is not wanting to exercise like they used to.       

Also like humans, dogs naturally produce glucosamine, but as they age, this production slows. Adding a supplement of glucosamine can help delay the onset of joint problems, improving their quality of life and overall comfort.

Yellow Labrador dog walking on footpath next to green grass with owner

Why has the vet recommended glucosamine for my dog? 

The vet may have recommended a glucosamine supplement for your dog for a variety of reasons, which can include: 

  • If your dog is middle aged or becoming more senior and may have started to show signs of joint stiffness or discomfort 
  • If your dog is predisposed to joint problems. This can happen in larger breeds including: 
    • German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, Old English Sheepdogs, Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • If your dog has experienced a joint injury in the past or had recent joint surgery, predisposing them to osteoarthritis 
  • If your dog is overweight
  • If your dog is highly active, such as a sporting, working, performance and agility dogs. 

When should I start giving my dog glucosamine? 

As our dogs age, they begin to produce less and less glucosamine, which can start from when they’re as young as four or five years old (depending on their breed and size). Adding a glucosamine supplement to the diet of dogs prone to joint problems, or even just as they become more senior, can be a great step to take to slow decline in joint health and increase your pet’s quality of life.  

Joint issues can also be hard to spot until they're painful for your dog. Proactively using a glucosamine supplement in large dogs can help to prevent or delay joint pain or surgery. 

Joint supplements for dogs with glucosamine 

ZamiPet Joint Protect is a great tasting, breakable chew formulated to support joint health in our dogs, with the following key ingredients: 

  • Chondroitin Sulfate: Promotes water retention and elasticity in cartilage and inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage. 
  • Glucosamine Hydrochloride: Promotes the formation and repair of cartilage and acts as an anti-inflammatory, which may help with joint stiffness and discomfort. 
  • Hyaluronic Acid: May alleviate symptoms of joint inflammation and help maintain synovial fluid that lubricates joints. 
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): An antioxidant and cell rejuvenator, it can help build and preserve cartilage, reduce inflammation and support joint function
  • Locally sourced chicken: Made with delicious Australian chicken. 

The power of glucosamine together with chondroitin 

Glucosamine works best alongside chondroitin sulphate2,3, with both supplements having greater effect on joint health when used together3. This is why you’ll find both glucosamine and chondroitin in ZamiPet Joint Protect. 

Be aware of shellfish allergies 

Before starting to use a glucosamine supplement with your dog, be aware that glucosamine supplements are often derived from shellfish. If you dog has an allergy to shellfish, look for a glucosamine supplement that’s synthetically rederived.

Disclaimer: This information is general advice only. Before starting any treatment or supplement with your pet, please consult your vet first for the best approach to getting your pet back to their best health. 

References 

  1. Beale, B. (2004); Use of nutraceuticals and chondroprotectants in osteoarthritic dogs and cats; Vet Clinics of North America 34 (1); 271-289 
  2. Neil et al (2005); The role of glucoasamine and chondroitin sulphate in treatment for and prevention of osteoarthritis in animals; JAVMA 226 (7); 1079-1088 
  3. McCarthy et al (2007); Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis; Vet J 174; 54-61