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Glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs: What you need to know

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Our canine companion’s comfort is our priority, meaning we are always looking for ways to make their lives easier. Since so many dogs are affected by joint pain at some point, you may find yourself researching the best options. The combination of chondroitin and glucosamine for dogs has gained popularity for its incredible benefits, but what exactly are they and how does glucosamine for dogs work?

In this article we’ll discuss the details of glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs, and help you understand how this combination can improve your furry friend’s joint health and overall wellbeing. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin 101

Before we introduce you to the benefits of this impressive combination, we should first introduce you to glucosamine for dogs and chondroitin individually. With both substances having agents that target canine health, each supplement has a list of strengths. 

Glucosamine: Glucosamine is a compound that is found in the healthy cartilage of a dog. Glucosamine helps the body repair damaged cartilage within the joints, as well as aid in repairing other tissues as well. Unfortunately, as a dog ages, the glucosamine levels in their joints begin to decline. Because of this, joint pain can increase in our furry friends. 

Chondroitin: Chondroitin is another naturally occurring substance that’s found in cartilage. Chondroitin helps to promote water retention and elasticity of healthy cartilage, helping to promote shock absorption in the joints. Once chondroitin levels begin to decline in the joint, our pups are more susceptible to joint damage. 

How do they work and what are the benefits? 

So how do glucosamine chondroitin for dogs work? Though each substance has its own impressive healing benefits to offer, the true work is done when they come together. So how does the joint healing duo work? Let’s dive in!

Since both glucosamine and chondroitin promote joint and cartilage health in dogs, they offer multiple benefits when the two compounds are brought together. There is a reason why you see the combination of these substances in most joint medications, as there is no other joint supporting duo like it. Some of the many ways that glucosamine and chondroitin help our dogs includes:

  • Relieving inflammation of the tissues within the joints
  • Providing extra moisture in the cartilage, offering extra shock absorption
  • Stimulating collagen production within the joints
  • Slowing the progression of joint deterioration
  • Maintaining elasticity of the joints
  • Healing damaged tissue within the joints

As you can see, glucosamine and chondroitin are a joint-supporting force to be reckoned with. They can be used to manage pain from old age, arthritis, hip dysplasia, recovery after bone surgeries, and more. Sometimes our dogs will struggle to push through their pain on their own, making these supplements essential for pups in pain. 

Not only is this combination beneficial for dogs that are already struggling with joint pain and joint disease in general, but also for dogs that are simply at risk of joint disease in the future. Many veterinarians have begun to recommend joint supplements for large breed dogs from the age of 1 year, as these compounds help to prevent joint deterioration in the future. 

How are glucosamine and chondroitin given? 

Now that you understand the many ways that glucosamine and chondroitin can help our dogs, it’s time to discuss the many ways that these substances are given. Since every canine companion has a different interest in taste, there are many forms of joint supplement options on the market. Glucosamine and chondroitin can come in the form of:

  • Tasty chews that are offered as a daily treat
  • Liquid that is poured onto their food daily
  • Powder that is sprinkled on their food daily
  • Capsules that can be snuck into their favorite treats

No matter the form that your dog’s supplements come in, the daily use of these compounds can increase your dog’s quality of life. Just be sure to give your dog this combination consistently for at least 4 weeks, as it can take up to 6 weeks to see the full effect of this joint-supporting team. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin dosage for dogs 

When determining an accurate dose for your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most joint supplements have already determined your dog’s best dose based on their weight range, making the process easy to understand by reading the serving instructions on the label. But if you want to be sure that you’re offering your pup the best support for their condition, it’s important to be aware of the dosing on your own. 

Glucosamine doses based on weight:

  • 5-20 pounds: 250-500 mg daily
  • 20-45 pounds: 500 mg daily
  • 45-90 pounds: 1,000 mg daily
  • 90 pounds or greater: 1,500 mg daily

Chondroitin doses based on weight:

  • Dogs under 80 pounds: 900 mg daily
  • Dogs over 80 pounds: 1,800 mg daily

While these are recommended doses, it’s always best to discuss new supplements with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can offer the best suggestion for your dog’s current condition. 

Are there any potential side effects? 

One of the many reasons that these supplements are so popular for our pups is due to how minor the potential side effects are. The most common side effects include soft stool and increased flatulence, and potentially diarrhea in overdose situations. Though you should always keep a close eye on any potential side effects brewing, they are considered to be rare. 

One thing to keep in mind, however, is their effect in dogs with liver or kidney disease. Since these organs play a major role in metabolizing substances, it’s always best to discuss any new supplements with your vet if your dog has any kidney or liver complications. 

Since studies of glucosamine and chondroitin in dogs are limited, the potential side effects are still being researched. In order to ensure your dog’s success on any joint supplement, it’s best to watch them closely when beginning any joint regimen.

Buy only lab-grade glucosamine chondroitin 

To ensure your dog’s success when using glucosamine and chondroitin, it’s important to be aware of the quality of the supplements you are purchasing. Not all products are alike in terms of quality, making it essential to research what you are offering your canine companion. 

When purchasing a joint supplement, you should always search for lab-grade products with ingredients sourced in countries with strict oversight. Purchasing a supplement without production regulations can result in an unsafe product, or a product that does not offer your dog the relief they deserve. 

If you are ever struggling to determine the quality of a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, you can always seek your veterinarian’s advice. They can offer an expert opinion on the ingredients included, as well as offer any insight into the company in which it was produced. 


Glucosamine and chondroitin can offer our canine companions the joint support they deserve throughout their lives. Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can help your pup relieve his pain going forward! 

The article was written by Amber LaRock, RVT on November 29, 2020.

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