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Glucosamine Medicine For Dogs

October 29th, 2018
Glucosamine Medicine For Dogs

For canines, a dietary supplement called glucosamine is usually recommended by veterinary doctors as an alternative for the treatment of inflamed joints and joint pain. It is also recommended when dogs cannot withstand the adverse effects of add-on therapies or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID). Though this compound has been proven to have a very mild adverse effect profile, clinicians still find its usage and benefits quite questionable. This is as a result of the fact that there is a plethora of formulation, composition, regimen, and amount of active ingredients in the products launched by different manufacturers. Notwithstanding, many veterinarians swear by this nutrient supplement. Wondering if glucosamine is the next best thing for your dog? Let’s take a look at the scope.


Predominantly found in the joints, bone marrow, and the hard tissues of mammals is a naturally occurring compound called glucosamine. Glucosamine is one of the most common monosaccharides in the world. In supplemental forms, glucosamine is produced from crustaceans like shellfish. It is also extracted from the fermentation of grains like wheat. Glucosamine is neither a mineral nor a vitamin but it is one of the most renowned dietary supplements used for alleviating problems associated with joints like osteoarthritis. There is evidence that proves just how effectual glucosamine is.

Side Effects of Glucosamine

As living organisms grow older, the cartilagein the body becomes weaker and less flexible. This is where the prescription of glucosamine comes in. The importance of glucosamine cannot be overemphasized. In supplemental forms, glucosamine is mostly orally ingested. The compound plays an important role in the build-up of cartilage and the treatment of diseases like arthritis and osteoarthritis. Cartilage is a tough, flexible, and rubbery tissue which pads the ends of bones at the point where they connect at a joint. Research has proven that the main component that helps glucosamine do the main work is sulfur.

In addition to the above benefits of the compound, it also helps to provide non-stop relief of symptoms for about half a quarter a year, even when treatment is discontinued.

Arthritis in Dogs

Osteoarthritis in dogs is very real and quite heartbreaking. At one time or the other in our lives as dog owners, we have had to deal with the guilt that gnawed at us while we watched our lovely, aging dogs go through a life-limiting and painful condition and feel like we have been spread thin on options on how to help out. We are usually plagued with questions such as: what can I do to make my best friend stronger and healthier? How can I nip this joint pain problem in the bud once and for all?

Canine lovers would give an arm and leg to have their four-legged cur jump and run around the house or park forever. Unfortunately, age kicks in and our mongrels become less active than they were when they were just puppies. One of the major ailments that affect our older hounds is arthritis and a worsening of joint health. Arthritis is simply the inflammation of the joints. Research has proven that this degenerative disease affects about 20% of dogs that are over one year of age. The inflammation is usually caused by infections like tick-borne diseases, metabolic issues or even trauma. Arthritis can be worsened by genetic makeup, injuries, cancer or even immune diseases. However, as a pet parent, it is important to know that the main cause of arthritis in dogs stems from three main problems including:

  • ​Age
  • ​Overworking of the pet
  • ​Developmental problems

​Dogs of different breeds and ages can be affected by arthritis but it is worthy of note that some factors put your canines at risk. What are they, you may ask?

These are a few of the factors that predispose hounds to the inflammation:

  • Poor conformation: Dogs that lack good conformation are more susceptible to developing arthritis than dogs with good conformation.
  • ​Breed of the dog: Breeds of dogs like golden retrievers. German shepherds and Labrador retrievers are more likely to have suffered from inflamed joints like other breeds.
  • Obese dogs: Overweight and obese dogs suffer from arthritis more than the fit dogs.

​Sometimes, as pet owners, we might not even know when our dog is suffering from the disease. In dogs, the disease usually occurs in the knees, shoulders, hips,and elbows. They occur in various forms including:

  • ​Osteoarthritis
  • ​Hip dysplasia
  • ​Elbow dysplasia
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    Knee dysplasia

​Arthritis causes the synovial fluid in the joints to lose its ability to lubricate, causing difficulty in the movement of bones and subsequent discomfort. An uncomfortable hound cannot move. If you are a dog owner whose canine is showing some strange signs of discomfort, you might want to zero on the fact that your dog is suffering from arthritis if it presents any of the symptoms related to the inflammation.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Canines

Check for any of these symptoms and start making plans to visit a doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • ​Reluctance to go for a walk or engage in any form of physical activity
  • ​Constant limping
  • ​Lagging behind during walks
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    Swollen joints
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    Loss of muscle mass
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    Loss of appetite
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    Unusual weight gain
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    Whining or whimpering
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    Intense pain when your dog tries to get up
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    Screaming when touched
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    Constant licking of affected areas
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    Aggressive behavior

​The symptoms worsen as the disease progresses. The disease cannot be cured; however, the pain and discomfort can be alleviated and the symptoms managed.


Without sugarcoating things, arthritis goes unnoticed by pet parents and even veterinarians, especially at the earliest stages. If you are a dog owner, do not just beat yourself up yet for ignoring your pet. Sometimes, dogs tend to hide any form of discomfort or stiffness until the inflammation has become really severe.

Arthritis is a disease that slowly progresses as it causes debilitation in different breeds of canines. The pain and reduction in mobility it causes usually has a negative impact on the affected dog. This negative impact can be in form of reduced quality of life, heightened level of discomfort, the decline in daily functioning, activities, behavior, and a sharp decline in an owner-pet relationship.

For our active canines, the test of health is being able to move freely without hassles or stress. Perfect mobility is facilitated by healthy cartilages that cushion the bones of your dog that connect at a joint. The cartilage is the “perfect shock absorber” when bones are in motion. Cartilage absorbs the force of concussion generated when your dog walks. Unlike other parts of the body that gets a frequent supply of blood, cartilage depends on the joint to actively pump nutrient-rich fluid to the tissues surrounding it. As your dog ages, this shock absorber becomes drier and thinner making it less effective to cushion the bones that meet at the joint. Young dogs are not usually saddled with this challenge because their cartilage turns constantly undergoes renewal.

As soon as a dog develops this disease, it is best to explore different treatment options. NSAID feel heaven sent at first but their adverse effects—which includes gastrointestinal ulceration sometimes—outweighs their benefits. Other ways of managing arthritis in canines include administering nutraceuticals like glucosamine, milk protein, pentosane polysulphate, and chondroitin. The most common types of nutrient supplements used for treating dogs with this inflammation are chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride (HCl). The latter has been proven to be very effective in recent years and is fast eliminating the need for NSAIDs which can have deleterious effects on canines.

Glucosamine for Dogs

What Is Glucosamine?

The word “glucosamine” might not ring a bell but glucose + amino acidsstrike a chord, right? You are beginning to have an idea, aren’t you? Well, glucosamine is simply amino sugar. The amino sugar combines glucose, a popular type of simple sugar and glutamine, an amino acid.  Glucosamine is a nutritional supplement that can be consumed alongside an adequate diet. Glucosamine is believed to be safer than other over-the-counter drugs because side effects are unheard of.

Glucosamine regulates the production of collagen in the cartilage and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Glucosamine also helps to improve the lubrication in the joints of canines. In addition, it aids in the synthesis of two vital components:glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. These components are the building blocks for the synthesis of cartilage. All the aforementioned functions of glucosamine come with minimal side effects.

The good news is that your canine friend has stores of glucosamine in its body; the bad news is that these stores deplete with age. The greater news is that you can boost the levels of the compound in your dog’s body by constantly administering glucosamine supplement. Glucosamine is the go-to supplement for veterinarians who want to prevent complications during arthritis and ensure that dogs are kept in peak condition. The nutraceutical is produced from lobsters, shrimp shells or crabs. The supplement is usually administered in two forms, either in the hydrochloride form or in the sulfate form. Whichever route you might decide to go, it will do you a ton of good to know that both forms are effective. However, glucosamine sulfate is said to have a very high absorption and utilization rate.

Other parts of the body also reap the benefits of glucosamine sulfate. These parts include the skin, nails, tendons, eyes, heart valves, and ligaments.

Does Glucosamine Work?

There is no sitting on the fence on this question. It works, period!

The positive effects of glucosamine supplementation in dogs has been backed by quite a number of vet doctors. Despite scarce evidence and the controversies surrounding its efficacy, veterinary doctors still recommend supplements that have glucosamine for the treatment of arthritis in mongrels. It is imperative to know that while the supplement will not cure any form of inherent damage like the build-up of calcium deposits, it will constantly replenish the cartilage thereby causing a reduction in irritation and pain. If you are looking for an overnight remedy for your dog, glucosamine is not for you. The supplement acts more slowly than pharmaceutical prescriptions. It can take about 30 days for you to start seeing improvements. In the same vein, it takes a while for the effects of the glucosamine to completely fade out. It is advisable to plan a lifetime supplementation package for your pet. You can either add glucosamine to your dog’s diet.

How Do I Administer Glucosamine to My Pet?

The first step is to ensure that you have had the go-ahead from a veterinary doctor to give your dog the supplement. No matter how tempting it maybe, never give supplements formulated for humans to your dog. Your vet will educate you on the right dosage and schedule. According to some research, the recommended daily intake per pound of bodyweight is 25mg of glucosamine. The majority of the formulations of the dietary supplement for canines come in oral forms. Some are in powdered form while some others are formulated as flavored tablets, kibble, injectable supplements, liquids or pills. Injectable glucosamines are the fastest routes because they deliver the nutrient directly to the inflamed joints. It is inspiring to know that many dog food production companies are now fortifying dog food with glucosamine to meet the nutrient needs of canines that are at risk of this disease.

How Can I Choose the Best Glucosamine Supplement for My Pet?

There isa wide array of glucosamine supplements that are on the market today. Sometimes, apet owner’s the challenge might not be about getting the supplement but getting the RIGHT one. Do not be tricked by the marketing gimmicks of products that promise to give your pet a bone on a stick. You might live to regret it! It is always safer to go for trustworthy brands. How can you scale this hurdle? Look for products which have the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal slapped on them. The presence of this seal is a perfect indicator that you are on the right track. Also, pet owners are advised to buy glucosamine sulfate because it is more effective than its counterpart—glucosamine hydrochloride. Lastly, glucosamine works best with another nutrient called chondroitin; be on the look-out for supplements that have both ingredients.

Are There Natural Sources of Glucosamine?

The answer to this question is a big fat yes! Sometimes, as pet owners, we get really wary while trying to pick out a dietary supplement for our dogs. We find ourselves overthinking and worrying endlessly about our dogs suffering from overdosage. Well, if you find yourself on this bandwagon, you are not alone. The best answer to this is to incorporate natural sources of glucosamine into your pet’s meal, including:

  • ​Shellfish
  • ​Chicken feet
  • ​Trachea of beef
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    Pork tails
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    Bones broth
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    Beef knuckle bones
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    Green-lipped mussels

​A raw food diet is sometimes the best option because they are nutrient-dense with fewer additives.

Vegan Options for My Dog?

Vegan pet owners can jump with glee! In the past, dogs owned by vegetarians were precluded from the benefits of animal-based glucosamine. In the bid to bridge this gap, vegan-friendly companies decided to look for ways to ensure that vegetarians enjoy the same benefits as their meat-loving counterparts. Nowadays, there are vegan glucosamine supplements which are derived from the fermentation of corn which produces dextrose. Dextrose is further broken down into glucose. It is not also uncommon to see glucosamine extracted from other plant-based sources like wheat. This vegan-friendly option is also ideal for dogs that are allergic to shellfish.

Does Glucosamine Have any Adverse or Negative Effects?

Side effects of glucosamine are very rare, almost non-existent if truth be told. However, some dog owners have reported the following mild side effects in their pets:

  • ​Allergic reactions; especially among canines that are allergic to crustaceans like shellfish
  • ​Insomnia
  • ​Dehydration from urination and excessive thirst
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    Increased level of glucose in dogs suffering from diabetes

How to Track Effectiveness of Glucosamine

Upon deciding to tow this nutraceutical path with your pet, you might want to know if the inflammation is waning or not. After a three-month observatory period, you will give you verdict if the supplement is worth the hype. Following are a few signs that your dog is on the road to recovery:

  • ​Increased physical activities which include playfulness, willingness to go up the stairs, running and go for long walks
  • ​A happy demeanor
  • ​Less stiffness/pains

When Shouldn’t You Give Glucosamine to Your Pet?

Glucosamine should be avoided in the following scenarios:

Dogs that are allergic to shellfish should not be given glucosamine.

  • ​Pregnancy and Lactation

​Pregnant and nursing dogs should not be administered glucosamine because there is no data that backs up its effects on unborn puppies.

  • ​Diabetes

​Glucosamine is made of sugar and giving it to a diabetic dog will cause more harm than good. Avoid it at all costs.


Now that you have been well informed about this nutrient, it is your choice to weigh its pros and cons. Also, talk to your veterinarian so that you can be intimated on the risk factors of the inflammation and the potential rewards of administering glucosamine supplements. Whatever healthcare regimen you plan to adopt for your canines, it is important to ensure that they feel like they are in PAW-radise, all through the turbulent times!