There are a lot of products for joint pain in dogs on the market. Many dogs have joint pain, as it’s common for older dogs to have arthritis and many breeds can be prone to painful joint conditions like hip dysplasia. One of the most common supplements (technically, a supplement ingredient) that you’ll see is Glucosamine. Even for people, Glucosamine is a popular choice. But, is Glucosamine good for dogs? Does it work?
The general answer is yes, though not all dogs see results. The first reason is that every body is different. Just like caffeine doesn’t affect every person the same, Glucosamine can affect each dog differently. There are also a handful of things that people aren’t aware of (or ignore) that can greatly affect how effective glucsosamine is. Here are some critical factors to look for in making sure your dog gets the most relief from their joint pain:
4 Things to Look for in Glucosamine for Dogs
- Choose a supplement created for dogs. It is not uncommon for people to give their pets supplements or medications designed for humans. While you may be able to get away with that sometimes with certain foods or supplements, we highly recommend that you give your dog supplements that are specifically meant for dogs. There are plenty of Glucosamine products on the market for dogs, and you should have no problem finding a good one without having to give your dog a product designed for humans.
- Look for Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium. Most people don’t realize that there are actually two different types of Glucosamine – Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium and Glucosamine Hydrochloride. The two are actually quite different! The bottom line is that Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium contains the sulfur required for building and repairing cartilage while Glucosamine Hydrochloride does not, and the research on Glucosamine Hydrochloride is not substantial, while Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium has been clinically shown to improve joint health. If you’d like to read more on the differences between the two, there is an excellent article here: Comparing Glucosamine
- Is there MSM in the supplement? MSM is short for “methylsulfonylmethane” (that one’s a mouthful!). Basically, what MSM does is increases the absorption rate of sulfur. This allows the body to better process the compound and essentially makes it more effective. Without it, you will not get the full effect of the Glucosamine.
- Take the recommended dosage. In our experience, the users that have reported the lowest amounts of effectiveness, or had any problems, typically did not use the proper dose. Just like you wouldn’t use a 6 year-old’s dosage of ibuprofen on a full grown adult and expect the same results, you can’t try to short the dosage for your dog to stretch our the amount of product. You just won’t see the results. If you give your dog too much (which is usually only an issue when mixing multiple supplements) – it can cause some bowel issues. It’s not different from eating a big serving of prunes and then washing it down with prune juice. It’s not an allergic reaction – just too much of a good thing. Give your dog the recommended dosage, and you’ll be fine.