Side Effects of Joint Supplements for Dogs

Joint supplements for dogs are additional sources of nutrition used to control symptoms of arthritis, hip dysplasia and degenerative joint diseases. Although supplements are available as non-prescription products, it's best to seek vet approval to administer supplements that suit individual dog concerns. Most supplements that benefit dogs suffering from arthritis contain ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin that prevent further joint degeneration. Supplements may also partially cure damaged cartilage and joints in pets.

Ingredients in Joint Supplements

Although the most important ingredients used as joint supplements are glucosamine and chondroitin, most supplements contain other ingredients that provide additional protection from other health concerns. Several supplements contain pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs that ease the discomfort or pain caused by joint problems. Other ingredients present in commercially available supplements include methylsulfonylmethane, brewer's yeast, magnesium stearate and vitamin C. Since some ingredients aren't beneficial for use in all pets, such as diabetic dogs, pet owners should talk with their vet about treatment options useful for dogs suffering from degenerative joint disease.

Commercially Available Joint Supplements for Dogs Include:

  • Super Joint Enhancer
  • Arthramine
  • Super Joint Omega
  • Joint Enhancer for Dogs
  • Glyco Flex 3
  • Cosequin for Dogs

Side Effects of Canine Joint Supplements

Although several joint supplements are safe for use in all breeds, certain ingredients present in supplements can cause adverse reactions in dogs. Side effects that are more common in some pets include diarrhea and change in blood glucose levels. Products that contain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) cause decreased kidney function and liver dysfunction. Long term use of steroids also decreases joint function. Most steroids are prescribed as short term courses to bring relief from inflammation and pain. In addition to steroid medication, supplements that contain vitamin K are not effective for prolonged use, as they lead to toxic buildup in the body. Apart from the side effects caused due to supplements administered for canine arthritis, other reactions may develop if joint supplements are administered to pets with underlying health concerns.


  • Pets suffering from diabetes have to be monitored for blood glucose levels, as glucosamine can alter insulin resistance in the body.
  • Overdose increases the likelihood of developing diarrhea.
  • Joint supplements aren't useful to treat conditions that require emergency treatment or surgery.
  • Some pets may show no signs of improvement if the joint condition is very severe.

Tips for Pet Owners

Pet owners should follow vet instructions for dosage to administer joint supplements to dogs. It's also necessary to inform the vet if the dog is prescribed medication for other health concerns, to prevent drug interactions if applicable. Read package labels before purchasing any joint supplements, as it's necessary to use products that contain high quality ingredients. Glucosamine that's used in the pure form or in combination with chondroitin is ideal. If the dog responds favorably to joint supplements, it's important to use these as lifelong treatment options. If the supplements are discontinued, the symptoms of joint degeneration reappear.

Along with supplements, dogs may benefit from moderate exercise to keep the joints supple and reduce friction. Pets suffering from obesity should be given diets that promote weight loss, because obese dogs exert excess pressure on the joints and limbs.