Our dog’s happiness is predicated in part to its ability to move – walk, run, rise up, lie down, jump, and whatever form of movement you can think of. Movement is one of any living organism’s fundamental functions in life. Since movement is anchored on well-functioning joints it is imperative to take care of these important body parts. While calcium and phosphorus can help strengthen the bones, proteins and a host of other substances can help strengthen and improve the overall function of the joints. Joint supplements for dogs can help strengthen the joint capsule and allow for greater range of motion of the joints. And if you’re looking for the best dog joint supplements you’ll love our list.
Quick Answer: Best Dog Joint Supplements in 2018
Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewables
Despite its hefty price, Nutramax’s Dasuquin with MSM happens to be one of the world’s best dog joint supplements especially for canines that are already showing manifestations of impaired mobility secondary to diseased joints. Its biggest draw is the inclusion of 900 mg of 99% pure glucosamine together with 800 mg of methylsulfonylmethane or MSM. It is this unique combination of glucosamine and MSM that provides anti-inflammatory benefits to the aching joints while providing the necessary building blocks for the synthesis of substances that work to improve the overall functioning of the joints. Add to this blend 350 mg of chondroitin and you’ve got the right blend of dog supplements to improve the cartilage of the joints, strengthening these and improving their range of motion.
The inclusion of ASUs or avocado soybean unsaponifiables is also noteworthy since it has been proven that these substances are effective in the management of osteoarthritis through a number of processes. These can include prevention of cartilage degradation, inhibition of fibrin breakdown, promotion of cartilage repair, and protection of cartilage cells. Overall, ASUs reduce stiffness and pain to improve joint mobility and function.
It is no wonder that when it comes to the ultimate in pet supplements for dogs with moderate to severe joint problems, Dasuquin with MSM is always a recommendation.
Contains glucosamine 99%, MSM, chondroitin sulfate, and 90 mg avocado soybean unsaponifiables
Formulated specifically for all types of dogs with joint problems
Veterinarian-recommended, pet parent-approved formula
- Weight12 oz
Doggie Dailies Glucosamine for Dogs
This glucosamine chondroitin for dogs may not have the same levels of these joint-friendly substances as Dasuquin, but the Doggie Dailies sure knows how to beef up its formulation to provide more than just joint health. Joining glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are Yucca schidigera and hyaluronic acid, two substances that possess their own unique properties that can help in the management of joint problems in dogs.
For starters, Yucca schidigera is known for its anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties, making Doggie Dailies a good choice for dog arthritis supplements. Hyaluronic acid is an essential part of the synovial fluid, that part of the joint which serves as lubrication. Providing HA to the mix is like improving the viscosity of the lubricating fluid inside the joint capsule, absorbing impact forces and minimizing the effects of these forces on the joints.
Now add to these ingredients coenzyme Q10 and you’ve got one of the best known antioxidants on the planet. It’s the perfect support for a dog’s aging heart and kidneys while aiding in the natural increase of the older canine’s energy levels. What many do not realize is that coenzyme Q10 doesn’t only benefit the heart; it also benefits the joints as it does come with anti-inflammatory properties. Now, top that.
Contains glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, Yucca schidigera, coenzyme Q10, and hyaluronic acid
Enriched with cod liver oil, salmon oil, flaxseed, egg, chicken, and carrots
Manufactured with cold-press extrusion process
- BrandDoggie Dailies
- Weight1 lb
VetriScience G+ GlycoFlex 3 Joint Support
With its doggie treat-like formulation, giving your pet these glucosamine for dogs is going to be a cinch. The G+ GlycoFlex 3 is an integral component of VetriScience’s 4 levels of support for all pets. The formulation comes with exceptionally high levels of glucosamine and MSM for optimum joint health. Additionally, the formula calls for the addition of Perna canaliculus or the green-lipped mussel which is important for supplying your pet with the much-needed building blocks for the synthesis of synovial fluid and cartilage. Dimethylglycine is also added to help boost your pet’s immune system as well as aid in the alleviation of pain and inflammation.
Do take note that the GlycoFlex 3 is especially formulated for very active dogs as well as working dogs and elderly dogs. Its high levels of joint-friendly substances make it ideal for such canines. The addition of manganese, glutathione, and vitamin C also help in the better absorption as well as for enhanced immune functioning. It’s not surprising why both vets and pet parents love this dog vitamins and joint health supplements from VetriScience.
Contains glucosamine, MSM, Perna canaliculus, and dimethylglycine
Contains vitamins C and E, manganese, grape seed extract, selenium, and glutathione
Formulated in chicken liver flavor
Formulated specifically for highly active dogs, working dog breeds, and senior dogs
- BrandVetriScience Laboratories
- Weight1.8 lbs
Zesty Paws 5-in-1 Multivitamin Bites with Kaneka Q10
If you’re on the search for dog vitamins that also come with glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs, then you may want to check Zesty Paws’ Multivitamin Bites. Not only are you giving your pet the usual joint-friendly substances like glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin, you’re also providing it with a rich blend of vitamins and minerals that will help to support other organ body systems.
The Zesty Paws pet supplements is geared towards improving your dog’s coat and skin health, promoting optimum joint function especially at the hips, enhancing digestive functions, boosting the immune system, and protecting your dog’s heart. One of its key ingredients is Kaneka Q10, a brand of coenzyme Q10 that works to protect the heart while also aiding in the alleviation of inflammation in the joints. The addition of cod liver oil helps provide the necessary essential fatty acids for a host of benefits for your canine friend. The Zesty Paws dog supplements are indeed a bite full of health-giving goodness.
5-in-1 action: skin and coat, digestion, heart, hip and joint, and immune system
Contains glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin
Contains 6 different types of bioactive enzymes and coenzyme Q10
With 500 million CFUs of probiotic organisms
Enriched with cod liver oil, palm fruit oil, chicken, and flaxseed meal
- BrandZesty Paws
- Weight13.6 oz
Nutramax Cosequin DS Joint Health Supplement Soft Chews
If Dasuquin is for dogs with really serious joint health problems, Nutramax’s Cosequin DS is for those that have mild to moderate joint health problems; although it is best suited for the prevention of joint diseases in dogs. Cosequin DS is still one of the best dog joint supplements because of its high levels of glucosamine for dogs as well as MSM and chondroitin, although not as high as Dasuquin. It also doesn’t have the avocado soybean unsaponifiables. It does makes up for it by adding EPA and DHA as well as other omega-3 fatty acids to help in your pet’s coat and skin health.
That being said, it’s quite understandable why some pet parents are confused as to which between Cosequin and Dasuquin they want to get. Let us just put it this way. Everything depends on the extent or severity of your pet’s joint problems. If it is severe enough, then Dasuquin is a good choice. Otherwise, Cosequin should be enough.
Contains glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin sulfate, EPA, DHA
Enriched with fish oil, green tea extract, and rosemary extract
Can be used on dogs weighing at least 10 pounds
- Weight1.24 lbs
Extend Pets Joint Care Natural Glucosamine with MSM for Dogs
Extend Joint Care promises a unique blend of joint supplements for dogs by integrating glucosamine, MSM, and collagen in an easy-to-use powder form. Unlike other dog arthritis supplements formulations, the Extend Joint Care can be easily sprinkled onto your pet’s food instead of having it shoved down your dog’s throat. The issue here, of course, is that if your pet has poor appetite, then it will not be able to get all the benefits from this formulation.
On a positive note, the addition of type II collagen from chicken should help provide the necessary building blocks for your pet to keep on building more cartilage that will form the foundation for stronger joints. Plus, the use of beef liver powder should give the formula a more pleasant taste especially if your pet’s food also happens to be beef-flavored. The ascorbic acid contained by Joint Care also increases the synthesis of naturally-occurring collagen, giving your pet the framework it needs to strengthen and improve its joints.
Contains glucosamine, MSM, chicken collagen, apple pectin, and beef liver powder
100% all-natural and pet-safe formulation
100% money-back guarantee
- BrandExtend Pets
- Weight11.2 oz
Infinite Pet Supplements All-Natural Hip & Joint Supplement for Dogs
This formulation of glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs from Infinite Pets feature one very interesting ingredient that is quite popular in the world of human anti-inflammatory products. The Infinite joint supplements for dogs come with organic turmeric in addition to glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin. Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin which is highly valued for its anti-inflammatory properties especially in the management of swelling and pain syndromes associated with arthritis. It’s an ingredient used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine as well as the folkloric medicinal practices of Southeast Asia.
This unique blend of ingredients makes the Infinite Pet a good choice for dog arthritis supplements. The chewable tablets are formulated with beef liver flavor to help simplify the administration of this glucosamine chondroitin for dogs.
Contains glucosamine, organic turmeric, chondroitin, and MSM
Natural beef flavor with human-grade, pet-safe ingredients
Manufactured from a c-GMP facility
Lifetime 100% money-back guarantee
- BrandInfinite Pet Supplements
- Weight3.2 oz
Bayer Animal Health SynoviG4 Soft Chews for Dogs
When it comes to animal health, professionals can always trust Bayer to deliver. As such, when the brand decided to come up with its own best dog joint supplements, it actually formulated the SynoviG4 System. This system capitalizes on the health-giving benefits of glucosamine and MSM but with the addition of creatine. Creatine is an organic substance that plays a role in the recycling of ATP energy for both brain and muscle tissues. It’s important for improving muscle tone and muscle contractions.
But Bayer did not stop there. The SynoviG4 joint supplements for dogs also feature Perna canaliculus, turmeric, and Boswellia serrata. We already know how the green-lipped mussel and turmeric can be very beneficial in the management of canine joint problems. Boswellia serrata, on the other hand, is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that Boswellia can provide fast relief from pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis, but only if its loading dose is observed. The effects are also longer-lasting than conventional Coxib-type of anti-inflammatories.
The SynoviG4, thus, makes for a worthy dog arthritis supplements.
Each soft chew contains glucosamine, MSM, and creatine
Also contains Boswellia serrata extract, Perna canaliculus, and turmeric
Synovi Matrix technology for joint and muscle health with antioxidant benefits
- BrandBayer Animal Health
- Weight2.1 lbs
Amazing Nutritionals Turmeric Chews for Dogs
Capitalizing on the anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, these joint supplements for dogs made by Amazing Nutritionals is primarily geared for pets whose pet parents are worried about giving their dogs way too many substances in a single pill. One can always feel secure that the turmeric used in this formulation came from organic sources and are manufactured in a GMP-certified facility. The good news here is that the formula is definitely non-allergenic. As you may be aware, glucosamine is mostly sourced from crustaceans like crabs and shrimps which can be allergenic to some dogs. At least, you’ll still be addressing your pet’s joint issues.
Formulated in delicious bacon flavor
Hypoallergenic, pet-safe formulation
Manufactured from a c-GMP facility
- BrandAmazing Nutritionals
- Weight4.8 oz
TerraMax Pro Extra-Strength Hip & Joint Supplement for Dogs
On a per-serving size basis, TerraMax Pro’s glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs have the highest amounts at 1600 mg and 1200 mg, respectively. In addition to these two substances, TerraMax Pro also comes with MSM and hyaluronic acid, the latter of which is important in the enhanced synthesis of synovial fluid for improved lubrication of the joints. It comes in liquid form which can be easily mixed in your dog’s food or water.
Unfortunately, if your pet doesn’t finish all of its food or its water it will not be able to obtain the full benefits of these joint supplements for dogs. Nevertheless, for the sheer amounts of glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin alone, this is one supplement you’d really want to try on your pet.
Contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and hyaluronic acid
No wheat, soy, corn, milk, gluten, yeast, starch, and sugar
Produced from c-GMP facility
- BrandTerraMax Pro
- ModelJoint Health Support for Dogs
- Weight2 lbs
Dog Joint Supplements Buying Guide & FAQ
What Ingredients to Look for in Dog Joint Supplements
Different brands of dog joint supplements will have their own take on what ingredients to put in their formulations to provide dogs with the best possible benefits for their joints. While the substances that can help in promoting joint health are numerous there are quite a handful that can be considered as the ‘mainstays’ in dog joint supplements.
This is a naturally-occurring substance that is known as a precursor molecule for glycosaminoglycans which are, in turn, major structural components of cartilage.
As such, it is often used in veterinary medicine in the management of articular problems whereby the addition of precursor molecules – glucosamine – may lead to increased production of glycosaminoglycans and pave the way for the synthesis of more cartilage. In its clinical application, glucosamine is known to help reduce the severity of pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
This is an ingredient that is almost always used in combination with glucosamine. It stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid which is essential for the formation of synovial fluid. It also stimulates the synthesis of proteoglycans which are structural proteins needed in the formation of cartilage. It also helps prevent the destruction or breakdown of cartilage by inhibiting the action of proteolytic enzymes and nitric oxide as well as other substances that may damage or destroy chondrocytes. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
This is an organosulfur compound that works by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. It is especially known in providing pain relief and the reduction of swelling in cases of osteoarthritis.
Any two of above-mentioned ingredients are considered as essential when it comes to dog joint supplements, although glucosamine should always be one of them. In addition to these 3 ingredients, other substances that can help your dog can include any of the following.
- Hyaluronic acid
An integral component of synovial joint fluid, HA improves lubrication in the joints. It is also an important part of cartilage especially the chondrocytes that make up the cartilage. It serves as a protective coat for individual chondrocytes to help improve the cartilage cell’s resilience.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Avocado soybean unsaponifiables
Prevents degradation of cartilage while promoting its repair and providing adequate protection of cartilage; excellent for alleviating pain and stiffness, too.
- Yucca schidigera
Has anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic action.
- Boswellia serrata
Favored for its anti-inflammatory properties especially in terms of reducing pain and swelling in osteoarthritis.
- Perna canaliculus
Helps provide the building materials for the production of cartilage and synovial fluid.
- Vitamin C
Helps increase the synthesis of collagen, the protein matrix that forms the backbone of connective tissues including the cartilage.
Why Give a Dog Joint Supplements
Dog joint supplements can be given for a variety of reasons. It can be to alleviate pain and help provide comfort for your dog so that it can continue what it loves to do. Dog joint supplements can also reduce inflammation or swelling so that they will be able to move their joints more effectively. Again, this has something to do with improving their mobility and their quality of life as dogs.
These supplements can also be given if you want to strengthen the joints of your dog. The joints are made up of different tissues requiring different structural elements. Dog joint supplements can provide these necessary building blocks so your dog is able to strengthen its joint capsule.
For dogs that are already suffering arthritis or other forms of joint problems, dog joint supplements can also help by providing the necessary building materials that will be used in the repair of the damaged cartilage. If there is insufficient synovial fluid, these supplements can also supply the ingredients for the synthesis of more lubricant for the joints.
Overall, you’d want to give your dog joint supplements simply because you want them to lead healthier, happier lives. Being able to move freely without pain or swelling is something that dogs will surely appreciate.
How to Get the Most from Your Dog Joint Supplements
The idea about supplements is that they are supposed to ‘help’, ‘assist’, or ‘aid’ conventional treatments and should never be considered as treatment in themselves. As such, getting the most from your dog joint supplements typically means adhering to the guidelines or directions provided by your vet. As you may know, the substances found in these supplements are not even recognized by the AAFCO and the NRC as essential nutrients. As such there are no clear-cut guidelines as to how much can be considered effective for a certain dog without causing any unnecessary side effects.
That being said, you need to strictly observe the dosing recommendation of the manufacturer of these pet supplements. The desired effects usually take several weeks. Many pet parents may feel disheartened at first because they don’t see any improvements at all. Be patient and stick with the regimen. If the regimen calls for a loading dose to be accomplished within 2 to 3 weeks, then be ready to adhere to such a regimen. However, don’t expect that the supplementation is already over. You will still have the maintenance dose to think about, which should last for as long as your dog is alive.
Tips for Managing Joint Pain
Dog joint supplements can help your pet experience pain-free lifestyle. However, it doesn’t always work as fast as you’d like them to. Here are some tips you can adhere to in managing joint pain in your dog.
- Give your pet a therapeutic massage. While the joints may be painful, careful manipulation of the muscles surrounding the joint can help improve blood flow to the muscles and relieve stiffness of the muscle tissues which can exacerbate pain.
- Apply warm compress over the painful joint. This helps increase the flow of synovial fluid while relaxing the various tissues within the joint capsule. Just be careful not to apply extremely hot compresses.
- Bring your pet to a swimming pool. Hydrotherapy is one of the best ways it can manage joint pain. The idea here is to keep on exercising the muscles surrounding the joint while improving the range of motion of the joints. Doing it in water helps provide for a non-weight bearing exercise so your dog will not be in pain while exercising.
- Consider alternative or complementary therapy such as acupuncture. These are not your mainstream medical treatments, but they do offer hope for those dogs in mild to moderate joint pain.
- Ask your vet to prescribe anti-inflammatory analgesics for your pet. Make sure to follow strictly the directions by your vet especially since many of these drugs have potentially serious side effects.
- Carefully plan your pet’s activities. If you have to perform an activity on your pet, do it quickly. Also, time it in such a way that it coincides with the moment when your dog is not in pain.
Q: How do dog joint supplements work?
A: The way in which dog joint supplements work largely depends on the active ingredients contained in such formulations especially since majority of the products in the market come with at least 3 active ingredients. Generally, however, these supplements work by reinforcing normal processes that are involved in the production of substances necessary for optimum joint functioning. This can include the production of cartilage, synovial fluid, collagen, and other structures or substances that are needed for the optimum functioning of joints.
Many dog joint supplements also help in the repair of damaged joint tissues especially the cartilage either by supplying the building blocks for the repair process or by encouraging the mobilization of reparative cells to the joint.
There are also active ingredients that provide relief from the symptoms associated with joint problems such as pain and swelling. This is where ingredients with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can help. There are also substances that trigger the synthesis of other substances necessary for alleviating pain and swelling.
Q: Are there side effects of joint supplements in dogs?
A: While it is true that joint supplements for dogs are considered safe there are some dogs that may exhibit hypersensitivity to one, some, or all of the ingredients used in the formulation.
Generally, dogs receiving joint supplements are prone to diarrhea and fluctuations in their blood glucose levels. It is for this reason that dogs that are diagnosed with diabetes should be placed on careful monitoring since glucosamine has the tendency to exacerbate insulin resistance. Diarrhea is most often seen in dogs that are given way too much of these pet supplements than necessary.
If there are NSAIDs or even steroids included in the formulation one can always expect liver dysfunction and kidney dysfunction to be major issues.
Q: What causes joint problems in dogs?
A: There are many potential causes of joint problems in dogs. Obesity is one of the most common causes of joint problems. The increase in body weight puts extreme pressure on the joints which were never designed to take such amounts of pressure on a daily basis. Over time, it will have to give. Lack of exercise also contributes to joint problems as pets don’t get to work out the full range of motion of their joints. Their muscles also lack the tonicity they need to maintain posture and gait.
Traumatic injuries can also lead to joint problems. Jumping from the bed or sofa and landing on the wrong paws on the floor can surely lead to injury in the joint apparatus. It may not be readily apparent, but it will manifest in the future.
Degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis are also fairly common among dogs, especially those that are fed high-calorie, high-carbohydrate food. This is because eating these kinds of food makes the body grow at a much faster rate than the growth rate of the cartilage in the joints. Dogs that are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as autoimmune diseases can also be subjected to DJD. Lastly, bacterial and tick-borne infections can lead to degeneration of the joint apparatus.
Q: Can I give a dog human joint supplements?
A: One of the cardinal rules in pet care is to give only products that are designed for pets. It’s important to take note that the formulation of human joint supplements is made in such a way that it passes through a longer digestive tract before it is absorbed in the small intestines. Dogs don’t have the luxury of an extra-long digestive tract. Their gut is designed to be that of a carnivore – short. This means the human joint supplement may simply be passed out into the dog’s stool without being absorbed. Moreover, human joint supplements may contain other ingredients that are safe for us, but definitely unsafe for dogs. So, don’t!
Our Top Pick
Topping our list of the best dog joint supplements is the Dasuquin with MSM. It may be pricier than most, but it has the backing of both veterinarians and pet parents alike. It has the three most important joint-friendly substances in the market: glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane, and it does so in higher concentrations for every chewable tablet. The addition of avocado soybean unsaponifiables also helps in the management of canine osteoarthritis. It’s this blend of anti-inflammatories, anti-arthritics, and chondroprotectives that makes Dasuquin with MSM simply the supplement to beat.
Dogs love to move, be it to walk, run, jump, or any other form of movement. It’s one of those things that can make them happy. Giving them the best dog joint supplements is, thus, critical to ensuring they lead happier, healthier, and more mobile lives.