How Much Glucosamine For Dogs? Dosage Recommendations

Filed in Dog Health by on January 11, 2020

Text stating "How Much Glucosamine Should A Dog Take?" next to running dog

One common question of dog owners is how much glucosamine should a dog take.

Maybe your dog is getting older, showing signs of stiffness, joint pain, or has a sudden limp, and you’ve heard about glucosamine for dogs dosage and 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 pet any joint supplement, always check with your veterinarian for safety and to avoid side effects.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but I only recommend products I find trustworthy and you pay nothing extra.

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 pet’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 joint supplement for pets 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 joint supplements for your dog’s health issues.

What Glucosamine Dosage is Right for Your Dog?

A dog next to a hand giving glucosamine

First, it’s important to know that it’s fairly difficult for your dog to ‘overdose’ on glucosamine chondroitin supplements.

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

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

  • 5 to 20 lb small dog: 250-500 mg
  • 21 to 45 lb dog: 500 mg
  • 46 to 90 lb medium dog: 1,000 mg
  • 90 lb + large dog: 1,500 mg (Includes over 90 lbs)

Vets will recommend about 20 milligrams of glucosamine for dogs per each pound of body weight, however, that is a rough estimate and it can take more than that to resolve your pet’s issue.

What Do Companies Recommend?

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

It has a very high Amazon rating including many reviews.

Each tablet contains 600 mg of glucosamine.

It also includes chondroitin sulfate and MSM.

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

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

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

For the maintenance doses, 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 glucosamine pet 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’s body shows mobility improvement, then give the amount that coincides with those above (for average daily dosing).

As pets 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 pet glucosamine (sulfate as well as hydrochloride) to reach therapeutic levels (source).


Because companies derive glucosamine products from shells, make sure that your pet 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 the amount as required.

Is It 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 Canine Amino sugar

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 for maintaining healthy joint function – roughly two to three years of age.

Selecting The Best 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 compare 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 its 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!

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Sharon VonBlohn says:

    I have a 5 lb Maltese Chihuahua mix puppy who is 13 weeks old and weighs less than 6 lb. He was weighed two weeks ago and weighed 5 lb so could take a flea preventative her puppies. I read that Chihuahuas can develop hip and Joint problems because of their fragile skeleton and I want to start my puppy on a supplement that I saw that has cranberry glucosamine and a probiotic in it for puppies. My veterinarian wants me to wait until I bring him in for his second round of shots to tell me what he should take. I am a person that relies on natural herbs more than chemical meds for myself and I have avoided lupus getting severe for 40 years now with a regimen of herbs and minerals and anti-inflammatory food. I don’t want to go against my veterinarian and I want to know the dose of glucosamine that would be good for this little guy I don’t want overdose him. On the other hand I do know that my veterinarian is going to charge me more money for a supplement and I can’t afford the veterinarians prices as well as other reputable products that are on the market that aren’t quite as expensive. I just don’t want to go cheap on my puppy and harm him. Would the advice you give about supplements and puppy size and age be given by a veterinarian? I would appreciate some feedback as his next appointment is not until December 17th and I wanted to get him started on especially the glucosamine because I have taken it for 40 years and have managed to avoid needing a knee replacement or a hip replacement, along with making sure me and my puppy will exercise regularly.

  2. Kathy Canterbury says:

    Looking for help for my 8 yr dog Vinnie. How much glucosamine sulfate should I give him he suddenly can’t climb stairs or get up on the couch he’s been slowing down for a while now. There’s no doubt he has hip dysplasia.

    • Todd says:

      Hi, sorry to hear about Vinnie’s issues. I would speak to your vet since I’m not qualified personally to tell you how much. I have only listed my findings from other sites. I did try to find an article on glucosamine and hip dysplasia, but couldn’t find anything on point.

  3. Michael says:

    Hi I have a golden that is 12 years old about a 100 lbs, she is starting to have a hard time getting up with one of her hind legs but seems to be find walking shortly there after. Would you recommend Glucosamine 1500mg with Chondroitin 1200mg (that’s what I take)? How many pills and how many times per day thank you.

    • Todd says:

      1500 mg seems to be right around what is recommended for dogs of that weight. Keep in mind I am not a vet, but just going by what I have seen recommended online. I know that recommended amount is per day, so depending on who you order from, it may be split up into two pills. I do not know about the dosage for Chondroitin, but I may do a future blog post on that. I know the Cosequin supplement recommended on my blog post has Chondroitin in it, so you may want to check out their recommendations also.

    • Wendy Jonson says:

      Please help me give my dogs the right amount of glucosamine ones 150 lbs other is 140 lbs

  4. David says:

    Do you give pills all at once every day or break up dosage?

    • Todd says:

      I think it depends on the manufacturer’s instructions, but for Cosequin they give you the option of either all at once or split up throughout the day.

  5. Todd says:

    My 10 month old boxer just diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Vet recommended glucosamine supplements. She’s 40 pounds, does 400mg dosage sound right?


    • Todd says:

      That seems to be near the recommended dosages in the article, but use your discretion and possibly check with your vet.

  6. Tammy Via says:

    I have a German Shepherd who is only 2 years old. He is a hefty one (118 pounds). When he plays with my other Shepherd who is only 1 years old, and only weights 85 pounds. Sometimes his left hip hurts to get up the next day. Do you think this will help him?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *