If you are a concerned pet owner who notices that your beloved dog moves less, especially in the morning, and that he avoids stairs and long walks – you probably want to prevent or slow down joint diseases that you know your dog is predisposed to. In this case you should learn more about joint supplements that would be the best for your dog. This article will provide you more information on how to pick the right supplements for your dog.
Joint problems are very common in dogs. Some races are predisposed to joint diseases, such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Some joint problems are caused by a lack of certain vitamins and minerals, and sometimes the cause is unknown.
These conditions are mostly incurable and treatment depends on the stage of the disease. Milder degrees are treated symptomatically with painkillers, supplements, and by maintaining strong muscles that will reduce the load on the joints. However, pain reduction therapy in progressive stages does not give long-lasting results, and in more severe cases, more radical methods such as surgery must be used. To learn more about treatment for a certain disease please read our articles on the disease itself.
The surgical placement of artificial joints and implants is certainly expensive and invasive. Therefore many veterinarians help responsible owners to see problems in their dogs in time and provide quality supplements that can and will prevent the occurrence of major problems.
What are Joint Supplements?
Joint supplements are synthetic products that can come in the form of tablets, powder or chew gum, and they serve as a dietary supplement to help with conditions such as arthritis, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia and different joint trauma.
NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) has defined animal supplements as a product intended to support the maintenance of normal biological structures and functions in animals, such as dogs, cats and horses. These types of products are not intended for human consumption.
Are Joint Supplements Good for Dogs?
Many veterinarians use joint supplements in their practice and recommend them. The reason for their growing popularity among vets is the fact that they help in the most cases.1Williams K., Ward E. Degenerative Joint Disease in Dogs. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
Studies done in the US show that pet owners most often buy supplements for strengthening joints and bones, and there are good reasons for this. Many dogs, regardless of age and breed, suffer from stiff, painful joints, which later lead to arthritis. It happens that the joint runs out of the fluid that allows it to function normally; the joint structure wears out and inflammation and great pain occur. This often happens as the result of aging and it occurs in senior dogs.
If you are still wondering if joint supplements are good for your dog, here are a few facts backed by science.
To investigate the effects of joint supplements, a trial was done with 35 random dogs diagnosed with knee or elbow osteoarthritis.2McCarthy, G., O’Donovan, J., Jones, B., McAllister, H., Seed, M., & Mooney, C. (2007). Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis. Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997), 174(1), 54–61. The dogs were treated with joint supplements glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate. The researchers noticed that dogs treated with supplements showed statistically significant improvements in pain scales, mobility, and severity of the condition. The supplements had a positive clinical effect in dogs with different types of osteoarthritis.
Best Joint Supplements for Dogs
Nowadays you can get different supplements with different ingredients online and offline. More dangerous is the fact that those supplements are sometimes from shady manufacturers, so finding the right one isn’t an easy task. We present you the most popular and most efficient joint supplements for dogs in this article and recommend you only products which are proven and popular among vets, because of the good results we have seen in our practice.
Glucosamine hydrochloride is produced naturally in the body of an animal; it surrounds joints, making small cushions around bone structures. In certain conditions, there is excessive wear of these structures, and the body cannot normally produce sufficient amounts needed for excessively worn or diseased joints; therefore, by giving a synthetic preparation of glucosamine, you can help your dog with various joint problems. Glucosamine hydrochloride is the most popular joint supplement, but more efficient if used in a mix with chondroitin sulfate. Therefore we recommend using a mix, like the PUP Science Hip & Joint Chews.
Chondroitin sulfate is a chemical substance that is normally found in cartilage around joints in the body. It works by inhibiting cartilage-destroying enzymes, which means the dog’s body stops producing the substances that act in a destructive way. In diseases that cause cartilage damage, as well as in traumatic cartilage damage, it is recommended to take this supplement, alone or in combination with glucosamine chloride, to upgrade the damaged cartilage connections.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are nutritional supplements for dogs, and they benefit and help with different conditions, such as skin problems, allergies, kidney function, heart disease, arthritis, and different joint problems. This supplement is obtained from several sources, but for joint problems, the most benefits have been shown from omega-3 fatty acids obtained from fish and mostly from salmon that is free-range and not farmed. Omega-3 is a very good addition to glucosamine or chondroitin, although it doesn’t help too much after a disease has occurred, it can be used alone for prevention purposes.
The Best Joint Supplement for Dogs is This Mix!
For a long time, you had to decide which supplement you want to use for your dog. You had either to choose between glucosamine hydrochloride or chondroitin sulfate, until a few years back a mix of both was introduced. Later on, scientists discovered the most efficient joint supplement for dogs. It is a mix of those three supplements including methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is an organic sulfur-containing compound. MSM is also used alone for joint pain and also allergy relief, but in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin, it makes it the best known and available joint supplement for dogs. There are not too many manufacturers of this mix (glucosamine, chondroitin and methylsulfonylmethane) therefore we can recommend the “PUP Science Hip & Joint Chews” without any hesitation. One package of 60 chews can last for one or two months, depending on the size of your dog. It is only available on the website of the manufacturer.
5 Best Dog Hip and Joint Supplements Available on Amazon
Buying Omega-3 on Amazon should be safe, but buying pain killers on Amazon could be very dangerous if you are not experienced in detecting non-US products, which are sadly flooding Amazon every day even more. Please take a good look before buying joint supplements for dogs on Amazon, we strongly recommend buying from websites of manufacturers.
Cosequin is a joint supplement that contains vitamins, minerals, and two main components: chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. It helps with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and similar joint problems.
It comes in several forms, depending on the needs of the dog, such as pills, powder or chewing type of supplement.
Dasuquin from Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences is a joint health supplement for dogs. The manufacturer says it goes beyond other standard glucosamine supplements. It contains avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), green tea extract (EGCG), glucosamine hydrochloride, and low molecular weight chondroitin sulfate in a tasty chewable tablet and soft chew. Dasuquin is available in different forms, such as chew and tablets, for small and large breeds.
GlycoFlex is an advanced joint support supplement for dogs of any age, breed or size. The manufacturer claims it is clinically proven to help strengthen up to 41% of a dog’s hind legs in just four weeks. It contains glucosamine, chondroitin, Perna, DMG, MSM and antioxidants, which in this combination, increases mobility in limbs and joints.
VetIQ Maximum Strength Hip & Joint soft chews are joint health supplements for dogs in a bite-size form. They come in soft chewables, which is good for older and picky pets. These supplements contain glucosamine, fish oil, MSM, DHA, KRILL and omega-3 fatty acids, and they come with natural chicken flavor.
5. Joint MAX
The power of Joint MAX is in the ingredients. Joint MAX products combine glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and other antioxidants to give the best joint support to your dog, cat or horse.
There are not many side effects to these products. If you follow the instructions for use, you will notice that it is generally recommended that you should give your dog this supplement during and after meals because gastrointestinal problems may occur in sensitive dogs. One of the cons is the price. Joint problems are permanent problems, so your dog will probably need supplements for a long time.
Best Joint Supplements for Dog with Hip Dysplasia
The best supplements for dogs with hip dysplasia contain glucosamine chloride and chondroitin sulfate, because these compounds have been scientifically proven to have a positive effect on osteoarthritis, dysplasia and all other conditions related to joint structure problems. Some recent research also shows the effective effect of compounds extracted from plants and animal derivatives so that supplements may also contain these compounds: avocado soybean unsaponifiables, eggshell membrane and boswellia serrata, which is tree extract.
Joint supplements for dogs with hip dysplasia can be found in the forms of pills, chews or powders, and the dosage depends on the size of the dog and the components it contains. Every supplement has a recommended dosage in the instructions provided by the manufacturer that comes with each supplement, and you can contact your veterinarian for additional advice.
What is Dog Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia involves specific developmental and other anomalies involving the hip joint. This disease mainly occurs in large dogs and is most often seen in German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers and similar breeds. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed orthopedic diseases in dogs and causes nightmares for breeders and dog owners. You can read our article about hip dysplasia in dogs for more information. Many veterinarians believe surgery to be a last resort when it comes to severe forms of dysplasia and arthrosis. As a prevention and treatment of milder forms, they recommend taking joint supplements.
Other Active Substances with a Positive Effect on Joint Health
One of the most effective vitamins that have trial-tested results is definitely omega-3 fatty acid. Data shows that “in dogs with chronic osteoarthritis, receiving carprofen because of signs of pain, feeding a diet supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids may allow for a reduction in carprofen dosage,” so it has been proven by “131 client-owned dogs with stable chronic osteoarthritis examined at 33 privately owned veterinary hospitals in the United States” that omega-3 fatty acids actually do work. We have already mentioned their importance and role in this article.3Fritsch, D. A., Allen, T. A., Dodd, C. E., Jewell, D. E., Sixby, K. A., Leventhal, P. S., Brejda, J., & Hahn, K. A. (2010). A Multicenter Study of the Effect of Dietary Supplementation With Fish Oil omega-3 Fatty Acids on Carprofen Dosage in Dogs With Osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 236(5)
Collagen for Dog Joints
We’ve all heard of collagen, and we know it’s good for the skin, but maybe you didn’t know it was good for the joints, both for you and your dogs. Collagen supports connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments, and thus helps the stability of the joints and is very often a component of joint supplements. This type of collagen is a newer generation and shows excellent results in dogs with arthritis and joint dysplasia.
Vitamin E for Dog Joints
Vitamin E is one of the most important vitamins in our body, and it is also important in the bodies of our pets. If you didn’t know, vitamin E has the greatest antioxidant effect on an organism, and its importance lies in protecting every cell from free radicals and damage. It is very good for various systems in the body and for the immune system, but its great advantage is that it has an anti-inflammatory effect and thus has an analgesic benefit for the body.
There are conflicting opinions when it comes to this vitamin, and many veterinarians believe that enough vitamin is ingested with food, but when it comes to dog conditions, such as arthritis, dysplasia and joint trauma, an additional intake of supplements containing this vitamin is more than desirable. In support of this is a study done on dogs who had surgically induced osteoarthritis, where the administration of this vitamin had great anti-inflammatory effects as well as reduced pain.4Rhouma, M., de Oliveira El Warrak, A., Troncy, E., Beaudry, F., & Chorfi, Y. (2013). Anti-inflammatory response of dietary vitamin E and its effects on pain and joint structures during early stages of surgically induced osteoarthritis in dogs. Canadian journal of veterinary research = Revue canadienne de recherche veterinaire, 77(3), 191–198.
Avocado/soybean Unsaponifiables for Dog Joints
Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (also found under the acronym ASU) are natural extracts made from avocado and soybean oils. Today, they are used for diseases such as arthritis because they show an effect similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and are much better and safer for dogs, especially for longer-term treatment. It can be found as a component of many joint supplements on the market, along with glucosamine and chondroitin, because synergistically, these drugs have a better effect on joint condition.
Turmeric is famous for its health beneficial compounds. Thanks to its active components that have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, turmeric can be found in many dog foods and supplements, including the joint supplements. Although it has a positive positive effect on joint problems, it can’t perform alone. Turmeric in joint supplements is just an additional ingredient and without glucosamine and chondroitin as the main active substances, it can’t give good results in the fight against joint pain.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that the dog’s body produces naturally; it is a component of cartilage and fluid that lubricates the joints. The beneficial effect of hyaluronic acid on the skin is well known, but not often is talked about its beneficial effect on the joints and bones. In many joint diseases, the cartilage and the fluid that lubricates them wears out, and hyaluronic acid as a joint supplement ingredient can have a beneficial effect on the reduction of joint pain symptoms.
Joint Chews for Dogs
Joint chews are supplements intended for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia, and for dogs who have had orthopedic surgery, some joint trauma, or for older dogs whose owners notice that they have movement problems as a result of worn joints.
Joint chews are just one of the forms of supplements that can be found on the market, in addition to tablets and powders, but they are definitely the best-selling because they are made as treats dogs like to take; therefore, the owners have no problems giving them to their pets.
They are especially good for picky dogs who like to eat only certain foods. Primarily in the composition of the joint chew is glucosamine and chondroitin, which are synthetic products that are normally found in the body, and whose action is best expressed when given together to preserve and strengthen the structure of the joints. Also, depending on the manufacturer, supplements often contain other effective ingredients, such as omega-3 fatty acids that are most often extracted from fish oil, then collagen of newer generations, vitamin E, zinc, and ASUs (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables).
One of such products are the recommended “PUP Science Hip & Joint Chews“.
What Age Should You Give Dogs Joint Supplements?
When it comes to when to start giving joint supplements, there are no rules, and it depends on the dog and the problem he has. Very often, there is no need to give supplements to dogs up to a year old.
If you are a responsible owner or know that your dog has a high probability of genetically inheriting one of the orthopedic diseases, then according to ACVS (American College of Veterinarians Surgeons), the recommendation is to perform the Ortolani Sign palpation method for dogs aged 10–16 weeks, which can be performed by veterinarians to establish hip dysplasia; supplements can be given if your veterinarian considers it necessary.
Many veterinarians instruct owners and breeders to do a preliminary X-ray on hips in predisposing breeds, within one year after bone structures are formed, to see if the dog has a tendency to develop hip dysplasia. It is recommended that supplements be given after a year. If you have a senior dog, which is less mobile due to the wear and tear of the joint structures, you will not go wrong if you give him much-needed medical support.
If your dog one day doesn’t run as usual or doesn’t want to go for a walk, it doesn’t mean that he has joint problems. If your dog often avoids movement, it is less active, it gets up harder or jumps in the car weaker, he probably has some mobility health issues. Some of them can be hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, knee luxation or other. Joint problems are quite common, and the demand for joint supplements is growing. We recommend buying US-only products, directly from manufacturers, not from Amazon and the product should contain Glucosamine hydrochloride, Chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) together.
Additionally, when choosing the right supplement, you should pay attention to whether it is intended for the problem that your dog has, whether it is intended for a certain age or size, and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it. Since dogs usually don’t like taking pills or food they are not used to, these supplements can be found on the market as soft chews that are delicious and that dogs take as treats. By taking chews, you make the process of giving supplements easier for you and your dog.
|↑1||Williams K., Ward E. Degenerative Joint Disease in Dogs. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved 13 July 2020.|
|↑2||McCarthy, G., O’Donovan, J., Jones, B., McAllister, H., Seed, M., & Mooney, C. (2007). Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis. Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997), 174(1), 54–61.|
|↑3||Fritsch, D. A., Allen, T. A., Dodd, C. E., Jewell, D. E., Sixby, K. A., Leventhal, P. S., Brejda, J., & Hahn, K. A. (2010). A Multicenter Study of the Effect of Dietary Supplementation With Fish Oil omega-3 Fatty Acids on Carprofen Dosage in Dogs With Osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 236(5|
|↑4||Rhouma, M., de Oliveira El Warrak, A., Troncy, E., Beaudry, F., & Chorfi, Y. (2013). Anti-inflammatory response of dietary vitamin E and its effects on pain and joint structures during early stages of surgically induced osteoarthritis in dogs. Canadian journal of veterinary research = Revue canadienne de recherche veterinaire, 77(3), 191–198.|