Glucosamine is a compound that is produced naturally in dogs’ bodies and is mostly found in healthy cartilage. It can also be given to dogs in the form of supplements, or it can be present in the food that dogs eat. Generally, it is used to treat arthritis in dogs, though it can be used to treat other painful joint and bone conditions, as well. If you are considering supplementing your dog’s glucosamine intake, there are several things you should consider, including the delivery method of the glucosamine, the dosage, and the possible side effects. Here is what you should know about glucosamine for dogs.
What Is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a natural compound that is made up of the amino acid glutamine and sugar, called glucose. It is produced by dogs’ bodies and aids in the formation of molecules that make up cartilage in the joints. The compound is necessary for repairing the wear and tear that happens to the joints over time. When the body ages, it produces less glucosamine, which can lead to joint problems like arthritis. Supplementing glucosamine for dogs can help maintain the body’s ability to repair joints.
There are three major types of glucosamine. Glucosamine sulfate is the most commonly used in supplements. It is extracted from shellfish shells or produced synthetically and contains sulfur, which helps in cartilage repair. Glucosamine hydrochloride also comes from shells, but doesn’t have sulfur and has been shown to be less effective. N-acetyl-glucosamine is the the third type and is derived from glucose, which helps in the production of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints.
What Does Glucosamine Do?
Supplemental glucosamine can be used to provide relief from a number of health concerns in dogs. In addition to aiding in the repair of cartilage, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to further reduce the pain caused by the degradation of cartilage in the joints.
Glucosamine can be used to treat conditions in dogs such as hip dysplasia and spinal disc injury in addition to arthritis. It can also be used to aid in recovery after joint surgery and slow the aging process in joints. N-acetyl-glucosamine in particular can be used to improve and maintain gut health. It does so by aiding in the creation of connective tissues in the gastrointestinal system. This form of glucosamine can reduce inflammation in the digestive system and improve the symptoms of irritable bowel disease.
How Should You Give Your Dog Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is available for dogs in the form of supplements that can be tablets, pills, powders, or liquids. These are usually meant to be given daily. They can be expensive and are sometimes made synthetically, rather than naturally extracted from shellfish shells. Synthetic supplements can sometimes lose their effectiveness more quickly than natural sources. If you decide to give your dog supplements, you should ask your veterinarian about proper dosage. Some dog foods claim to be a source of glucosamine, but the amount they contain is often far less than what your dog needs to maintain joint health.
Glucosamine supplements are often given to dogs along with chondroitin sulfate, which is extracted from the cartilage of cows or sharks, or methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). Chondroitin helps cartilage retain water, and MSM improves joint flexibility and reduces pain and inflammation.
Another way to give glucosamine to your dog is through the food they eat. Foods that are high in cartilage often contain high levels of glucosamine. Trachea, chicken feet, ox or pig tails, beef knuckle bones, bones that have a lot of cartilage, shellfish shells, green lipped mussel, and bone broth are all great sources of glucosamine. You should ask your veterinarian before making any dietary changes for your dog.
Are There Side Effects?
Some side effects have been seen in dogs that take glucosamine supplements. These are generally uncommon and mild, though if you see symptoms that are concerning, contact your veterinarian right away. Here are a few common side effects of glucosamine.
- Excessive thirst or urination