What Are the Benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Dogs?

Jenna Matisz

The newest buzzwords in the world of dogs seem to be ‘glucosamine’ and ‘chondroitin’ – and for good reason! If you wondering what exactly these two words mean and how they can benefit your pup, look no further! We give you lowdown below.

What are glucosamine and chondroitin?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are molecules that are naturally found in the cartilage of both human and animal bodies. As you may know, cartilage cushions joints from rubbing against each other during movement.  Glucosamine strengthens existing cartilage while chondroitin helps generate new cartilage and aids he body in absorbing fluids to ensure that the existing cartilage is as healthy as can be. They occur naturally in many food products and fall into the same class as vitamins.

These two natural powerhouses have been used to treat osteoarthritis in Europe for decades but are just starting to get some buzz in the USA around their benefits for dogs. So, why has it taken so long? Simply because glucosamine and chondroitin are not products that can be patented and thus, big name pharmaceutical companies have little reason to develop them.

Despite the large body of positive research for their effectiveness across the sea, very few studies have been done on glucosamine and chondroitin over here in the USA. Lucky for us, these hidden gems are starting to come to light and we’ve got the scoop on why your pup should be taking them.

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dog frisbee

What are glucosamine and chondroitin used for?

Glucosamine and chondroitin have a laundry list of benefits for both dogs and humans. The biggest one? Tackling joint problems. Glucosamine and chondroitin have been successfully used to provide relief and treatment of the symptoms of joint disease in humans, horses, dogs and cats.

As many dog owners unfortunately know, hip dysplasia (a condition in which normal wear and tear on joint cartilage is exacerbated) is very common among larger breeds of dogs. This means that there is a lot of bone-to-bone contact, causing severe pain for our furry friends!

Even dogs of smaller breeds and dogs that don’t experience hip dysplasia will likely see a have a decrease in this cartilage as they age, creating a need for some extra glucosamine and chondroitin. Adding these supplements to your dog’s diet can make a world of a difference in terms of reducing your dog’s joint pain and preventing further damage from being done.

On top of this, glucosamine products have been proven to be effective in treating skin wounds, stomach problems, spinal disc injuries, and for post-surgery recovery.

Do glucosamine and chondroitin have any side effects?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are among the few supplements with no listed side effects. There have been occasional reports of dogs vomiting or getting diarrhea because of supplementation but these effects have been proven to be quickly alleviated by simply adjusting the dosage or providing the supplement alongside food.

As with any dietary supplement, you should always first consult with your dog’s veterinarian to ensure glucosamine and chondroitin will not interact with any medication or supplements your pup is currently taking.

How long should my dog take glucosamine and chondroitin?

Similar to human vitamins and supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin are used most commonly as preventative measures and can therefore be given to your pup long-term.

Studies show that you will likely not notice many changes in your dog’s mobility for about 6-8 weeks after starting supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin as his/her system must get used to it.

However, once your dog is regularly taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, he/she may experience cartilage degeneration 4-6 months after if it is discontinued.

dog run

Where can I find glucosamine and chondroitin?

While glucosamine and chondroitin are natural substances that can already been found in your pup’s body, he/she is likely not reaping many benefits from it. Digestive processes tend to make glucosamine and chondroitin mostly unavailable for use, which can become a problem as your dog ages or if he/she experiences joint damage. Supplementing your dog’s diet with glucosamine and chondroitin will ensure that his/her body is consuming enough to meet his/her needs.

Sourced from the shells of sea animals and cow cartilage, glucosamine and chondroitin can be found in many different forms including liquid, powder and chewable tablets that are easily found in most pet stores and online.

Liquid Glucosamine

One of the most common supplements given to dogs is a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin. When combined, these two compounds have been shown to prevent and slow the progression of arthritis in dogs.

While it certainly won’t repair or eliminate the effects of arthritis on your dog’s body (although we wish it could!), this supplement can be used as a preventative measure to ensure your dog’s joints keep moving and grooving to the best of their ability.

How much glucosamine and chondroitin can I give my dog?

Most veterinarians recommend providing your dog with approximately 500mg of glucosamine and 400mg of chondroitin per 25 pounds of body weight daily.

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