Dog Glucosamine Side Effects

Dog glucosamine is commonly given to canines with problems of the joints, like arthritis or dysplasia. Although found in healthy cartilage, glucosamine can be given to a dog to provide relief from the aches and pains associated with aging or joint abnormalities.

Glucosamine Examined

Glucosamine is made in a dog’s body out of glucose and an amino acid called glucosamine. This substance is needed to produce a molecule that helps repair and make new tissue and cartilage, called glycosaminoglycan. Glucosamine aids in the lubrication of joints, helps act as a shock absorber, forms tendons and other parts of a dog’s body, aids in the production of synovial fluid, and can help maintain healthy joint performance. As time goes on, a dog’s body many not be able to produce enough glucosamine on its own to keep up with the repairs needed to fix damaged cartilage. Research has shown that glucosamine along with chondroitin, when taken as a supplement, can help reduce inflammation and help lubricate a joint.

Veterinarians in Europe have been giving dogs glucosamine treatments for over a couple decades, and this practice is widely accepted. Glucosamine therapy is becoming more popular in the United States with the greater use of natural products within households.

As a dog ages, the production of glucosamine within his body will decrease. Therefore, a veterinarian may suggest a dog take a glucosamine supplement that is made out of the shells of crustaceans. Dog breeds that respond the best to glucosamine therapy are the larger ones who are middle-aged or in their senior years.

Side Effects of Glucosamine for Dogs

Glucosamine is usually tolerated well by dogs, especially when used for just a short period of time. Side effects that have been reported include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • A lack of appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation

These side effects can be alleviated if the glucosamine is taken with food.

Dogs with allergies to seafood may have an allergic reaction to many glucosamine products, as most are made out of shellfish. Glucosamine can be made out of plant products, such as corn, but this can be very hard to find.

In rare cases, the use of glucosamine can worsen blood sugar levels in a dog and increase the risk of bleeding. Bleeding is the most serious of the potential side effects, but should not be an issue for a dog that is healthy. Because glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate has a structure that resembles the structure of heparin, a dog that is on any type of medication that may thin his blood has a higher risk of bleeding. It's really important for a dog owner to tell a veterinarian about all of the drugs a dog is taking.

Glucosamine can be a beneficial supplement for dogs with arthritis and other joint problems. When given under the supervision of a veterinarian, it will have more positive than negative side effects for a dog.