How Much Glucosamine Should A Dog Take?

Filed in Dog Health on January 11, 2020

Text stating "How Much Glucosamine Should A Dog Take?" next to running dogOne common question of dog owners is how much glucosamine should a dog take?

Maybe your dog is getting older, showing signs of stiffness, or has a sudden limp, and you’ve heard about glucosamine for its health benefits.

Humans rely on this compound for our aches and pains, and it is also believed to help dogs.

Note: Before giving your dog any supplement, always check with your veterinarian.

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What Is Glucosamine and What Does It Do?

Woman jogger running with her dog in streetIn the simplest of terms, glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage, which stimulates the growth of cartilage cells.

Cartilage is the connecting, strong tissue that helps to cushion joints.

In order to manufacture glucosamine for supplements, companies harvest it from the shells of shellfish. Also, in some cases, it can be made in a lab.

This powerful compound can be taken orally to treat inflammation and to halt or slow the loss of cartilage that leads to osteoarthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis in some cases.

Generally speaking, for dogs, glucosamine can:

  • Alleviate pain and joint wear caused by hip dysplasia or structural changes.
  • Assist in the treatment of spinal disc injury.
  • Ease recovery from joint surgery.
  • Extend a dog’s prime condition.

You have to make sure that you are providing your dog with the right type of glucosamine. There are several forms of glucosamine: 

  • Glucosamine Sulfate – this is the most common form of glucosamine sold in supplements and is highly researched.
  • Glucosamine Hydrochloride – this is a more concentrated version of glucosamine, but most studies find little difference between the effects of this form and Glucosamine Sulfate.
  • N-Acetyl Glucosamine- this form comes from glucose, and helps in the production of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints. While used to help joints, it’s more commonly used for gastrointestinal issues.

However, while these each sound close in name, they are not and should not be considered interchangeable. As a result, read labels and select the right type of glucosamine for your dog’s health issues.

How Much Glucosamine Should A Dog Take?

A dog next to a hand giving glucosamineFirst off, it’s important to know that it’s fairly difficult for your dog to ‘overdose’ on glucosamine.

However, how much glucosamine to give your dog depends on a few things, including their weight and severity of condition.

While you should always coordinate your dog’s care with a veterinarian, we can provide you with the average daily dosing that is found to be effective:

  • 5 to 20-pound dog: 250-500 mg
  • 21 to 45-pound dog: 500 mg
  • 46 to 90-pound dog: 1,000 mg
  • 90-pound+ dog: 1,500 mg

What Do Companies Recommend for Glucosamine Dosage?

One of the best selling glucosamine supplements for dogs on Amazon is Cosequin Maximum Strength Joint Supplement.

It has a 4.7 star rating with over 15,000 reviews on Amazon.

Each tablet contains 600 mg of glucosamine.

It also includes chondroitin and MSM.

They recommend an initial loading dose and then a maintenance dosage.

For the loading dose, they recommend the following in the first 4-6 weeks:

  • 15 lbs and under: 1/2 tablet daily (300 mg of glucosamine)
  • 16-30 lbs  1 daily tablet (600 mg glucosamine)
  • 31-60 lbs  2  tablets (1200 mg glucosamine)
  • Over 60 lbs  3  tablets (1800 mg glucosamine)

For the maintenance dose, they recommend the following:

  • 15 lbs and under: 1/2 tablet every other day (300 mg of glucosamine every other day)
  • 16-30 lbs  1/2 tablet daily (300 mg glucosamine)
  • 31-60 lbs  1 tablet daily (600 mg glucosamine)
  • Over 60 lbs  1 to 2 tablets daily (600-1200 mg glucosamine)

As you can see, the recommended dosages can vary depending on who is providing the information.

Loading Dose

Some dogs, based on their condition, require a “loading” phase of glucosamine.

This is beneficial because unlike pharmaceutical drugs, supplements act slowly and may take up to 30 days before improvement.

By including a loading phase, your dog’s glucosamine levels get a boost and help expedite the cartilage repair process.

Once a dog shows mobility improvement, then give the amount that coincides with those above (for average daily dosing).

As dogs age, maintain awareness of any changes that may require additional loading sessions.

How To Load

According to Matt Brunke, DVM, CCRP, CVPP, CVA, a loading dose of two times the regular dose for four to six weeks is required for glucosamine (sulfate as well as hydrochloride) to reach therapeutic levels (source).

Precautions

Because companies derive glucosamine products from shells, make sure that your dog is not allergic to shellfish.

As with all supplements, keep a watchful eye for upset stomach, constipation or diarrhea, and any other small changes. If seen, adjust amount as required.

Is Glucosamine Effective?

There is some scientific data that supports the effectiveness of glucosamine.

For example, The College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, conducted a review of 16 canine osteoarthritis clinical trials. The positive results were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, stating that glucosamine provided moderate comfort similar to some prescription drugs (source).

When To Start Giving Your Dog Glucosamine

Woman holding up a sign stating When?For some dogs, early intervention with glucosamine is best. This is because certain breeds are likely to develop arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, and general joint inflammation.

If your dog’s breed is one of those listed below, consider giving your dog glucosamine when they turn one, or earlier if their bodies stop growing before this age.

  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Bloodhounds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Catahoula Hounds
  • Chow Chows
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
  • Dachshunds
  • French Bulldogs
  • German Shepherds
  • Great Danes
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Mastiffs
  • Newfoundlands
  • Old English Sheepdogs
  • Pit Bulls
  • Pugs
  • Rottweilers
  • Saint Bernards
  • Shih Tzus

For all other dogs, consider starting glucosamine when they are active and young – roughly two to three years of age.

Selecting The Best Glucosamine Supplement Possible

The quality of glucosamine is important to your dog’s health. As a result, keep these four things in mind:

  1. How much active ingredient is in the product? Analyze product labels to determine the amount of glucosamine and comparing brands. Select the one with the highest amount of active ingredients.
  2. Where does a company manufacture their product? It’s important to ensure high-quality, and credible brands that make their products in the USA.
  3. How does a company manufacture their product? Heat is not a friend to supplements. Seek out cold-pressed extrusion products if possible as these tend to have a higher bioavailability rate.
  4. Consider researching dog food that contains high-quality glucosamine.

With all of this information you can now answer the question, ‘how much glucosamine should a dog take.’

More importantly, you now know that most dogs should start this much-needed supplement earlier in their lives to help protect their joints and keep them going for a long time to come!

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