Glucosamine for Dogs

Glucosamine for dogs is considered a safe and effective treatment for arthritis and hip dysplasia. Glucosamine, and a similar substance known as chondroitin, have been used in Europe for the treatment of arthritis and other degenerative joint disorders for more than 20 years. Glucosamine supplements in the U.S. aren't regulated by the FDA, because they're considered a nutritional supplement rather than a medication. But that doesn't mean your dog can't enjoy the relief from arthritis symptoms that glucosamine supplements can bring.

How Glucosamine and Chondroitin Help Arthritis

Your dog's body produces glucosamine and chondroitin naturally. These substances form the building blocks of your dog's cartilage. If your dog is young and healthy, chances are good that his body is producing adequate glucosamine and chondroitin to keep his cartilage healthy. 

As your dog ages, or when he sustains severe damage to cartilage such as occurs with conditions like hip dysplasia, his cartilage begins to break down because his body can no longer produce adequate amounts of glucosamine or chondroitin. Luckily, supplementation can help to replace the glucosamine that your dog's body is no longer producing. Glucosamine supplements can significantly improve and even reverse your dog's arthritis symptoms. 

Choosing a Glucosamine Supplement

Pharmaceutical grade glucosamine supplements intended for humans are safe for use in dogs. Products intended for dogs contain additional vitamin C, which makes it easier for your dog's body to absorb and use the glucosamine. Products intended for dogs may come in more convenient dosages and may be flavored to make them more interesting to your dog. Glucosamine also comes in a liquid form, ideal for those dogs who don't like to swallow pills. 

When choosing glucosamine supplements for your dog, read labels carefully. Many supplements contain so little glucosamine per tablet or capsule that your dog could need to take several capsules per day. Choose a concentrated, high quality supplement, produced under GMP certifications. Look for glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine HCL; these are the highest quality products. 

Administering Glucosamine and Chondroitin

If your dog is suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia, your vet may recommend placing him on glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. These two substances are usually packaged together in the same formula, since they work together to help regenerate your dog's cartilage. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements carry few side effects. Some dogs may experience nausea and vomiting. These side effects are rare, and you can usually help to eliminate them by administering your dog's supplements at mealtimes. Your dog will need at least 750mg of glucosamine for each 50 pounds of his body weight, each day. Your vet may recommend doubling the normal dose during the first two to three weeks, to speed your dog's cartilage regeneration and help relieve his symptoms sooner. 

Your dog will need to remain on glucosamine supplements for the rest of his life. If he stops taking them, his arthritis symptoms will gradually begin to return.