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Dog joint supplements can help reduce pain associated with chronic joint issues that affect our pets as they age. Unfortunately, health conditions can develop in dogs and typically worsen as they age. In addition, many dog breeds are prone to joint issues, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Dogs of all breeds, ages, and health statuses can benefit from joint supplements because they can help treat various joint issues, from arthritis to hereditary conditions. However, there are so many joint supplements for dogs available that it can be challenging for pet parents to choose the right one.
So what is the best hip and joint supplement for dogs? This article will highlight the top joint supplements to help alleviate symptoms associated with painful conditions.
- Should I Give My Dog Joint Supplements?
- Top Supplements For Dogs Joints
- Factors To Consider When Shopping For Dog Joint Supplements
- Best Joint Supplements For Dogs: FAQs
- Final Notes
Should I Give My Dog Joint Supplements?
Dogs can benefit from joint supplements, especially if they’re experiencing arthritis or hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, these conditions can worsen with age, so senior dogs or those already diagnosed with joint issues can benefit from supplements that may help alleviate their symptoms.1
If you want to learn how to prevent dog arthritis, you might wonder about the efficacy of joint supplements. Joint supplements may reduce joint pain later in life in dogs with various risk factors. However, there’s no clinical evidence that suggests supplements can prevent arthritis in dogs.2
Older dogs are more likely to develop arthritis and hip problems than younger healthy dogs. Overweight and large breeds are also more susceptible to joint pain because there’s increased stress on the joints and bones.
Additionally, some joint issues aren’t preventable. For example, dogs can have hereditary joint conditions like hip dysplasia that worsens with age, putting them at risk for other types of injuries.
While joint supplements aren’t a cure, they can alleviate pain and other symptoms related to joint conditions. A few benefits of joint supplements for dogs include:
- Increased mobility
- Reduced inflammation and pain
- Minimized cartilage breakdown1
Unfortunately, our dogs can’t tell us when they’re in pain, so we must monitor them and look for any signs of joint pain, like swollen legs, reduced mobility, and pain while sitting or lying down. For example, if your dog no longer jumps onto the couch or bed without help or groans while lying down or standing up, they may be experiencing discomfort.1
Before administering new medications, vitamins, or supplements to your dog, it’s always best to consult a vet. A vet can diagnose your pet with joint issues and create a suitable treatment plan. Supplements can reduce pain, swelling, and discomfort, but based on your dog’s pain and mobility, they might need a more comprehensive treatment program.
Additionally, you should check with your vet to ensure the supplement is safe for your dog based on their overall health and if they’re taking any other medications the supplement might interact with.
4 Top Supplements For Dogs Joints
There are many types of joint supplements for dogs, and the best one for your pup will depend on several factors, such as their overall health, joint condition, side effects, and drug interactions. It’s important to note that the FDA doesn't regulate supplements like prescription medications. However, supplements can provide your dog with nutrients that decrease inflammation and pain by lubricating the joints.5
A few of the best supplements for dog joints include the following:
Glucosamine is a common ingredient in dog joint supplements because it can help relieve pain and stiffness due to inflammation.3 Currently, glucosamine is a popular arthritis treatment for humans and dogs.4 This nutraceutical works by helping repair damaged cartilage to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other and causing further pain.
Glucosamine is often used with chondroitin, another natural substance that can help stimulate cartilage repair.4 Together, these agents alleviate joint pain and stiffness, improving mobility while slowing the progression of painful diseases like canine arthritis.
A popular glucosamine/chondroitin joint supplement for dogs is Nutramax Cosequin DS Joint Health Supplements, which has been proven safe and effective in peer-reviewed and controlled U.S. studies.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been clinically proven to decrease inflammation associated with arthritis and joint pain. They may be more effective than glucosamine or chondroitin products at reducing pain associated with arthritis and other joint conditions.5
In a recent study evaluating the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and carprofen dosage in dogs with osteoarthritis, dogs were fed a diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids while taking carprofen to manage their arthritis.6 The study lasted 12 weeks and demonstrated that the necessary carprofen dosage decreased compared to dogs on a control diet.6
Of course, this research doesn’t suggest we should stop using effective pain medication for dogs to improve their quality of life. Still, it may give us insight into how effective omega-3 fatty acids are at protecting and repairing the joints.
Omega-3 oils are already found in many balanced dog diets and treats, but you can give them chews or fish oil to support joint health and control inflammation.1
4. Green lipped mussel (GLM)
GLM is an extract derived from mussels in New Zealand and is another proven joint supplement for humans and dogs.3 GLM contains omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce pain in the joints.3
A recent study on the effectiveness of a GLM-enriched diet demonstrated that GLM powder containing chondroitin sulfate, amino acid glutamine, and omega-3 fatty acids provided antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that reduced some symptoms associated with osteoarthritis in dogs.7
However, more research is needed to determine how effective GLM is at reducing inflammation and pain in arthritic dogs. This is because no significant effects regarding mobility and range of joint movement were observed in other studies.8
Factors To Consider When Shopping For Dog Joint Supplements
Unfortunately, not all pet supplements are formulated equally. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, it can be confusing for pet parents to understand exactly what they’re giving their dogs.
To help you identify the best supplement for your pet, here are a few factors to consider:
Of course, you don’t want to spend more on your dog’s joint supplements than you do on their food. However, as with any medication, vitamin, and supplement, the more expensive, the higher the quality in most cases.
It's essential to learn as much as possible about a brand before giving supplements to your dog to ensure it’s safe and effective. Many brands invest in clinical research to prove the efficacy of their products. Therefore, before you purchase a joint supplement for your dog, look for any studies that have been done either on the brand or the active ingredients.
The ingredients in supplements will ultimately impact the price and quality of a product. Many dog joint supplements contain the ingredients we just discussed, but you should look for those with scientific evidence to support any claims they make on their packaging or website.
The most common side effects of joint supplements for dogs are GI upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.1 If your dog begins displaying any side effects after taking their supplement, stop administering them and contact your vet for guidance.
If a product has known side effects, the brand may list it on its website or packaging. However, you should always read reviews online to see if pets have experienced severe symptoms while taking the supplements.
The dosage shouldn’t affect your decision to purchase a brand. However, you should understand and follow the dosage to prevent side effects.
All supplements come with directions you should follow, and some are more complicated than others. For example, certain joint supplements require you to start at a higher dose and decrease it gradually.1 If you know you won’t remember to lower the dose, consider a joint supplement with a dosage that won’t change over time.
Pet supplements are available in various formats, including chewable tablets, liquids, and powders. Always consider your dog’s preferences before buying a supplement. For example, some dogs don’t like taking pills and will spit them out unless you hide them in peanut butter or a treat.
Liquid formulas are easiest to put on top of food but can be messy. Most pet parents prefer the convenience of a chewable supplement because their dog will eat it just like any other treat.
Taste and smell
Most dogs are food motivated, so you can usually give them a supplement hidden in food if they don’t like the taste or smell. However, some dogs might not like the taste of supplements even if they’re in treat form. Instead, you might have to hide it in a piece of cheese or a pill pocket to make it more enticing.
Best Joint Supplements For Dogs: FAQs
When should I give my dog joint supplements?
Dogs can benefit from joint supplements when they reach adulthood. While there’s currently no research proving that joint supplements can prevent joint diseases, there’s no harm in giving your dog supplements for joints that help repair and lubricate tissue.
Most pet parents don’t give their dogs joint supplements unless they’re genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia and arthritis. Instead, you may give your pet supplements when they reach their golden years to support their joints and help them heal.
What is the most effective joint supplement for my dog?
The most effective joint supplement for your dog depends on their joint issue and underlying health conditions. When shopping for joint supplements, look for proven effective ingredients like omega-3s, glucosamine, and GLM.
Consult a vet before giving your dog health supplements
What should I know before giving my dog supplements for joints?
You should always consult a vet before giving your dog a new supplement to ensure it’s safe. If you’re considering supplements, talk to your vet about the best option for your dog.
It’s also important to remember that supplements are not a cure. Instead, they can support your dog’s diet and joint treatment plan to help repair tissue, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain.
If your dog suffers from arthritis, hip dysplasia, or any other joint conditions, supplements may help. Additionally, giving your dog joint supplements while they’re healthy adults may help minimize health issues later in life.
Wondering which joint supplement is best for your canine companion? Discuss your dog’s joint pain with a licensed vet. We can help diagnose and treat various joint conditions in dogs to ensure they get the best treatment.
“8 Best Joint Supplements for Dogs.” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/best-joint-supplements-dog.
“5 Ways to Prevent Dog Arthritis.” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/5-ways-prevent-dog-arthritis.
“How Joint Supplements Help Dogs with Arthritis.” American Kennel Club, 26 May 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/joint-supplements-help-dogs-arthritis/.
“Can Glucosamine for Dogs Help Treat Arthritis and Joint Pain?” American Kennel Club, 26 May 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/glucosamine-dogs-arthritis-joint-pain/.
“Arthritis Management and Prevention.” Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 15 Dec. 2020, https://vetmedbiosci.colostate.edu/vth/services/orthopedic-medicine/arthritis-management-and-prevention/.
Fritsch, Dale A, et al. “A Multicenter Study of the Effect of Dietary Supplementation with Fish Oil Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Carprofen Dosage in Dogs with Osteoarthritis.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20187817/.
Rialland, Pascale, et al. “Effect of a Diet Enriched with Green-Lipped Mussel on Pain Behavior and Functioning in Dogs with Clinical Osteoarthritis.” Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research = Revue Canadienne De Recherche Veterinaire, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3525174/.
Bierer, Tiffany Linn, and Linh M Bui. “Improvement of Arthritic Signs in Dogs Fed Green-Lipped Mussel (Perna Canaliculus).” Oxford Academic, The Journal of Nutrition, https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/132/6/1634S/4687864.