Glucosamine for Dogs

The most widely recommended joint supplement for osteoarthritis in dogs is a glucosamine-chondroitin combination, although fish oil is close behind.


Most veterinarians recommend a supplement for dogs with arthritis that combines glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate. While research remains somewhat inconclusive, even as late as a study released in 2023, anecdotal reports from veterinarians who recommend this combination are strong. Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally found in cartilage. They have anti-inflammatory properties, helping with pain, and they cushion the joint, therefore easing arthritic joints.

Glucosamine Dosages for Dogs

For glucosamine dosages, follow the manufacturer label instructions. Overdoses of glucosamine are rare but can occur and usually show first as diarrhea and/or vomiting. Note that most products recommend a short period of “double dosing,” which is called the “loading dose.” It basically jump starts the benefits. You can do it with regular dosing, but it will take a lot longer to see results. Even with proper dosing, it can take a month or two to see a difference. Don’t give up too soon.

Note: Choose supplements made for dogs rather than sharing your human supplements, which may contain ingredients like xylitol that are toxic to dogs.

Other Good Joint Ingredients for Dogs

Many brands of glucosamine-chondroitin for dogs include additional active ingredients like fish oil and hyaluronic acid (HA). Fish oil has strongest research showing it  to be a strong part of a pain-relieving treatment protocol for dogs battling arthritis. In addition, a study on HA shows HA’s ability to increase the synovial fluid in a joint. HA has been long used as an injectable to promote joint health and ease arthritis, and the oral form has been shown to increase synovial fluid in the joints.

Best Brand of Glucosamine for Dogs

Whole Dog Journal is reader-supported. If you purchase through links on our site we may earn a commission. Whole Dog Journal does not accept money for its food and product reviews.

When choosing a brand of glucosamine for your dog, look for a seal from the National Association of Supplement Companies (NASC), which verifies that the product you are buying contains the ingredients and amounts listed on the labels. We would avoid companies without that seal, with one exception: Products from Nutramax, maker of brands like Cosequin.

Nutramax has been an undisputable leader in joint-health research on supplements for animals for over 30 years. The lack of a seal on Nutramax products is not an issue for us.

Consult Your Veterinarian About Arthritis

If your dog seems lame or sore when moving or getting up, don’t guess arthritis, especially since it has a gradual onset. The soreness your dog has may be due many problems besides arthritis. Never assume, even with an old dog, that his problem is arthritis or think glucosamine for dogs is a cure-all. It isn’t. It will support arthritic joints, but it will not help with non-arthritis issues.

In addition, if your dog’s pain is beyond the scope of a joint supplement, he may need pain medication, such as the recently released Librela, which is an injectable drug that is helping a large number of dogs with serious arthritis.

Finally, be sure that your dog is at a healthy weight. Maintain regular, appropriate exercise, like long walks and low-impact games. Keep up your veterinary visits and mention any evidence of early arthritis to your veterinarian. The earlier oral supplements for dogs like glucosamine are started, the better the results. For active sporting dogs, beginning joint-support supplements like glucosamine at an early age, before the onset of arthritis, appears to have some preventative properties.

Previous articleHow to Tell If a Dog Is Depressed
Next articleChicken-Free Dog Food
Cindy Foley is the editor of Cornell DogWatch and Cornell CatWatch. She has competed in dog agility for over 17 years with her Papillons. A member of the Syracuse Obedience Training Club, she is currently doing agility with Aries, who has his AKC MACH and PACH titles, and Twisty, who is just beginning her agility career. A lifelong horsewoman, Cindy was a founding editor of Horse Journal and an assistant editor at The Chronicle of the Horse.