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Glucosamine for Dogs: What You Need to Know

August 7, 2022

You might consider giving your dog glucosamine if it has started limping or needs extra joint support. Furthermore, it is the most common dietary supplement on the shelf, making it a popular choice, but does it work for your pet? We will be discussing glucosamine supplements, side effects, and effectiveness in this blog post.

So what Is Glucosamine?

Animal bones, bone marrow, shellfish, and fungi naturally contain glucosamine, which is composed of a sugar and an amino acid. The level of glucosamine in dogs decreases with age, which can eventually lead to joint problems.

Canine Glucosamine Supplements

It has been suggested that glucosamine supplementation could benefit cartilage structure since it is a precursor to GAGS. As it is easily available in the market, both humans and animals use glucosamine as a supplement (alone or in conjunction with chondroitin and/or MSM) to support joint function.

It is, however, hotly debated whether glucosamine is effective. Studies show glucosamine doesn't work better than a placebo, and one study shows that people whose symptoms have been alleviated by glucosamine couldn't tell the difference between placebo and glucosamine when their pills were replaced. On the other hand, several studies have suggested that glucosamine may be beneficial for treating pain and osteoarthritis.

How Effective Is Glucosamine For Dogs?

There are few clinical studies on glucosamine's efficacy in treating arthritis in dogs and cats. Glucosamine for dogs has only been tested in one published clinical study in 2007, where 35 dogs were given carprofen (a medication for osteoarthritis). The veterinarians reported improved pain control in the dogs, but it can't be determined whether that was the result of glucosamine or the drug since a placebo group wasn't included. In spite of this, many vets and pet parents have reported a noticeable difference in their dogs after glucosamine supplementation.

There is no evidence that glucosamine supports bone health; it only lubricates joints and manages pain. You cannot prevent bone or joint problems by giving your dog glucosamine.

Side Effects Of Glucosamine For Dogs

As most glucosamine products are made from shellfish, dogs with allergies to seafood could have allergic reactions to them. A glucosamine supplement without shellfish is extremely hard to find. Still, an extreme allergic reaction to glucosamine is rare, and glucosamine is well-tolerated by most dogs when given in safe doses.

The administration of glucosamine to a dog with liver or kidney problems must be carefully monitored, as even low doses can cause kidney failure and liver damage.

In dogs with glucosamine allergies or sensitivity, these side effects are often seen:

  • Getting drowsy
  • Having diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastric issues
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting

Can A Dog Overdose On Glucosamine?

While glucosamine is generally considered a safe nutrient to give to dogs, there is a chance of overdose. These days glucosamine can be found in everything, from "senior dog food" to treats and a wide variety of supplements. By not paying attention to the cumulative amounts of glucosamine you are feeding your dog, an overdose is a real possibility. 

Learn more about some of the signs and symptoms that suggest dog illness for veterinarians or pet owners.


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