Glucosamine has been used in veterinary medicine dating back to the 1970s. Reports of the discovery of glucosamine are varied and credit multiple scientists in different countries and centuries.
Despite this beginning, glucosamine supplements are used today to support the structure and function of joints. It is often accompanied by chondroitin sulfate and referred to as glucosamine chondroitin (Glu/CS).
Both glucosamine and chondroitin are essential components of normal cartilage, which was the main rationale for their use as joint supplements (1). Glucosamine regulates the synthesis of collagen in cartilage and promotes healthy joints (2). Chondroitin inhibits destructive enzymes in joint fluid and cartilage and both contribute to the formation of cartilage (2).
Together, this makes glucosamine and chondroitin popular supplements for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Does glucosamine work for dogs?
While there have been some conflicting results concerning the efficacy of glucosamine in dogs, the good news is that both glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to be bioavailable after oral supplementation (4). Studies have also revealed that chondroitin displays significant accumulation upon multiple dosages (4). This cumulative effect has been demonstrated before with Glu/CS.
And even more research reports that glucosamine is beneficial for dogs with osteoarthritis and joint inflammation.
McCarthy and colleagues found that dogs treated with oral Glu/CS showed improvements in veterinarian scores for pain, weight-bearing and severity of the condition by day 70 of supplementation (5).
Another study in client-owned dogs found a significant reduction in pain at 90 days with the maximal benefits observed at 150 days when dogs received Glu/CS (6).
Is glucosamine safe for dogs?
In the research highlighted above, none of the dogs receiving the dietary Glu/CS showed any signs of adverse side effects (5-7). While there have been questions about glucosamine side effects in dogs, studies have shown that oral glucosamine appears to be well tolerated by both animals and humans (8).
Glucosamine continues to be a highly recommended joint health supplement for dogs by veterinarians. Many dog owners take glucosamine themselves and report a beneficial effect, making them receptive to the idea of giving it to their pets.
While more research is warranted for the different doses of glucosamine, future uses may include combining glucosamine with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Research in this area has indicated that a combination of low-dose NSAIDS like carprofen combined with supplements such as Glu/CS could offer a safe, effective management for joint pain (9).
For the best glucosamine for dogs, check out Canine Cush soft chews. This is the most bioavailable form of glucosamine for dogs because it comes from 100% natural ingredients that your dog’s body can absorb and utilize.
- The bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of glucosamine hydrochloride and low molecular weight chondroitin sulfate after single and multiple doses to beagle dogs - Adebowale - 2002 - Biopharmaceutics & Drug Disposition - Wiley Online Library
- Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis - ScienceDirect