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As a veterinarian, I often get questions about glucosamine supplements for dogs. And it is a highly debated subject in the medical field, both in the veterinary and human communities, regarding its effectiveness. Do glucosamine supplements work? Let's dive into this and review the best glucosamine for dogs.
What you should know about glucosamine for your dog
Glucosamine is generally safe for dogs, but you should avoid it if your dog has allergies, especially shellfish.
Glucosamine has been used for decades, but the results are "hit or miss." Unfortunately, recent studies have confirmed what many vets already know: the benefits of glucosamine for a dog's joint health are mixed at best.
Sometimes people may argue that glucosamine works for their friend's dog.
However, studies show that this could be due to the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is when the owner believes in the effectiveness of a product, even if it doesn't have any active ingredients.
That's why studies have a placebo group as a control to measure the real difference in the treatment group-this is called a "placebo-controlled study."
Does glucosamine work for dogs? - A vet’s expert opinion
Many people wonder if glucosamine supplements work for dogs. Unfortunately, the answer is not really.
Despite being widely used, the results are mitigated, even if 2 studies have shown interesting results, like the 2007 study.
However, many studies have also shown that chondroitin and glucosamine are ineffective. Including this independant scientific article : Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review
Conclusion from : Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review
A 2022 nutraceutical studiy review the main clinical studies on nutraceuticals and concluded that most studies (8 out of 9) showed no effect of glucosamine on dogs' joint health.
"Of the nine trials assessed in this review, only one showed an improvement in the condition of the animals assessed, but this was using a non-validated subjective tool and for only one assessment time (at day 70)."
However, the same study confirmed the benefits of omega-3 and the promising results of undenatured type II collagen.
Graphs from : A 2022 Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Enriched Therapeutic Diets and Nutraceuticals in Canine and Feline Osteoarthritis
If you're looking for a joint health supplement, I recommend a chew containing Undenatured type II Collagen, which has shown to be significantly more effective than glucosamine and chondroitin in a recent study.
Does glucosamine work for humans?
In human medicine, conclusions look alike the ones in dog medicine. And a lot of debate take place on either or not we should keep take glucosamine.
The lobby industry for this market is substantial, with a value of nearly one billion dollars in the US solely for human use.
In this article from Medical News Today, the author says, "Some experts have suggested that any success could be due to a placebo effect, in which simply taking a supplement makes a person feel better.”
Best glucosamine supplements for dogs in 2023
Before recommending the best glucosamine supplements for dogs, I want to remind you that the evidence supporting the effectiveness of glucosamine for joint health is low. In both human and veterinary medicine, the conclusion is that glucosamine and chondroitin provide no other benefits in joint health management than placebo. As a veterinarian, I want to emphasize the importance of relying on scientific evidence and not just anecdotal evidence when recommending supplements.
And veterinarians agree: Dr. Brennen McKenzie emphasizes that veterinary professionals should understand the unreliable nature of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of glucosamine and not recommend or sell it to clients.
Similarly, in human medicine, a Harvard University Health Publishing Analysis of 8 studies with nearly 4,000 people with knee osteoarthritis found no evidence that glucosamine and chondroitin provide significant benefits.
Despite these findings, if you still want to try glucosamine supplements for your dog, here are some top brands recommended by veterinarians:
COSEQUIN® maximum strength with MSM and omega-3
Why trust it?
In the early 2000s, Nutramax, the company behind Cosequin®, conducted studies showing that their supplement contained the correct labeled amount of glucosamine and chondroitin. In contrast, 84% of other brands did not pass the test.
NB: Since then, to my knowledge, no studies has been done to show efficacy of Cosequin.
- They use a patented type of glucosamine
- Among the study results was the positive impact of the patented glucosamine in improving biological parameters in provoked arthritis. This included a reduction in the levels of IL-1, which is responsible for inflammation.
- I chose Cosequin® maximum strength because it contains the highest amount of glucosamine and includes omega-3.
Dasuquin® advanced soft chews
Why trust it?
- The same company manufactures Dasuquin® as Cosequin®.
- The advanced formula contains Omega-3.
- Special large dog chews are available.
- Proprietary glucosamine formula.
ElleVet® hemp CBD + CBDA chews
This alternative combines glucosamine with chondroitin and CBD.
Why trust it?
- CBD has potential benefits, but may not be as effective as omega-3 and UC-II®.
- ElleVet® has conducted recent studies on CBD.
- ElleVet® may be the only CBD company to provide such research.
Glucosamine chondroitin for dogs - The most used association
The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs is the most commonly used, and rarely do you see glucosamine alone, and all studies use this combination
The reason behind this combination is that people believe the mode of action of these two compounds is complimentary:
- Glucosamine is thought to stimulate cartilage production.
- Chondroitin might provide the building blocks necessary for the maintenance and repair of cartilage.
Therefore, combining these two compounds might, in theory, provide a more comprehensive approach to supporting joint health in dogs.
If you're looking for effective joint supplements, I recommend reviewing our article titled "Top 5 Best Collagen Chews".
Best Collagen for Dogs - Vet's Expert Advice
Collagen, a rising star in pet wellness, offers diverse forms designed for specific benefits. When it comes to boosting your dog's joint health, find out which collagen solution is the right fit for them...Learn More
Glucosamine MSM for dogs - Another association
While you may come across supplements that combine glucosamine and chondroitin with MSM, it is essential to note that this combination is more of a trend than scientifically proven effective.
Evidence for MSM's benefits for joint dog health is quite limited.
I would not recommend this association for improving dogs' joint health in my patients.
Instead, other options have shown better results, such as Omega-3 and UC-II®. These supplements have a better track record of improving joint health in dogs and providing relief from joint pain and inflammation.
Of course, best to consult your veterinarian before starting any new supplement regimen for your dog. We are here to help you make informed decisions and find the best solutions for your furry friend.
Glucosamine brand for dogs
When finding the right glucosamine supplement for your furry friend, it can be overwhelming to choose from the numerous brands on the market.Furthermore, it isn't very reassuring to note that many of these brands rely heavily on the placebo effect and make grand claims without providing substantial evidence.
When my clients ask about glucosamine for dogs, I always recommend checking the dosage of glucosamine in the product. It should be high enough to be effective. Additionally, it's a good idea to look for brands that provide studies and analyses of their product to understand their quality and efficacy better.
Some famous brands that offer glucosamine supplements for dogs include Zesty Paws, Vet IQ, Doggie Dailies, Pet Honesty Paw Labs, Petfinn, Youmove, Vet Naturals, Naturvet, Life Extension, and many others. You might be interested in learning that a class action lawsuit is currently underway against Doggie Dailies for false claims. Be sure to research the brand thoroughly before making a purchase.
To summarize my recommendation, while glucosamine supplements for dogs have been widely used and promoted, the scientific evidence of their efficacy still needs to be improved. I can't insist enough on the fact that all brands are not equal, and it's advisable to look for those that provide studies and analyses of their product. Also, check the dosage of glucosamine to ensure it's high enough.
Are you considering using glucosamine for your dog's joint health? In this case, it's also essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best option for your dog.
Choices like omega-3 and UC-I®I have shown better results and may be worth considering. In the end, keep in mind that maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your pet, including proper exercise, nutrition, and weight management, can also help promote joint health and prevent joint issues in dogs.