Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance which can be found in the joints and bone marrow of animals. It is thought to play a key role in the formation of cartilage and is often mixed with chondroitin in special arthritis-fighting supplements like Dasuquin.

Even though there is a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting the claim that the substance can help to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis as well as a number of positive studies, there are also studies which suggest the effect of this supplement is negligible. The largest body of research into the effectiveness of this supplement in the reduction of arthritis associated pain produced mixed results in which the overall group did not experience improved symptoms, but a large number of those with moderate or moderately severe pain did.

Can this supplement help my dog’s form of arthritis?

Not all forms of arthritis are the same. As an example, rheumatoid arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage due to a faulty immune response which treats the connective tissue of joints like an attacking entity. Many people who have given the supplement to their dog have reported an improvement of conditions including: osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and reactive arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome), though it may not provide relief to those suffering from temporomandibular joint arthritis.

Best formulation for dogs:

There are quite a few glucosamine supplements made for pets, but we love Infinite. Not only does Infinite contain glucosamine, it also contains many other ingredients such as turmeric and chondroitin which have proven useful for the treatment of arthritis in dogs.

Glucosamine Dosage For Dogs

Note: Even though glucosamine is a supplement, you should still speak to your vet before giving it to your dog. The vet may be able to help you decide whether or not glucosamine is enough to relieve your dog’s symptoms, and if not, will be able to recommend more suitable medication. Sometimes, you may be able to use supplements in conjunction with medication for added benefit.

Because of glucosamine’s safety it’s difficult to administer a toxic amount. The typical dosages (which you should double check with a vet in case of issues relating to your dog’s breed or medical history) are as follows:

Weight of dog


0 – 24.9 lbs250 mg once daily
25 – 49.9 lbs500 mg once daily
50 – 74.9 lbs1000 mg once daily
75 – 99.9 lbs1500 mg p/d (750 mg twice daily)
100 lbs +2000 mg p/d (1000 mg twice daily)

For treating acute pain following broken bones or other physical traumas you should speak to your vet about a higher dose. However you should be aware that when used in large amounts the likelihood of gastric effects such as diarrhea and vomiting may be increased.

Glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate, which is better?

Glucosamine is sold in two forms, one of these is glucosamine sulfate and the other is glucosamine hydrochloride. It’s best to use supplements containing the hydrochloride form as it is absorbed more readily by dogs. You may also give your pet vitamin C to improve the rate of absorption if you think this could be an issue. Some joint supplements containing this ingredient also contain other active ingredients like MSM which could cause problems if your pet suffers from allergies or insomnia.

Always check the packaging of a supplement for a full list of active ingredients. One of the most popular supplements based on glucosamine is Dasuquin, a product which also contains chondroitin, ASU and tea.

How Safe Is It?

Glucosamine is thought to be very safe for use in dogs though some studies, while inconclusive, suggest an effect on blood sugar levels. You may choose to avoid giving the substance to dogs with an allergy to shellfish, but any side effects in these cases are still unexpected. If your dog is pregnant or nursing, supplementation is likely safe according to the results of small scale studies, but this is not yet proven so owners are encouraged not to give this supplement to pregnant or nursing pets.

FDA Status: This supplement is not as of yet approved by the FDA for use in animals. Despite this, vets regularly advise its use, especially when painkillers like tramadol could be dangerous.

Safety Guidelines

Speak to your vet before treatment to work out what’s best for your dog. You can suggest the dosages from our chart which your vet may wish to increase or decrease depending on your pet’s condition and breed amongst several other factors. This supplement is used regularly for the relief of arthritis symptoms due to the fact that:

  • It does not interact with any other known drugs or supplements
  • It has few, if any, contraindications
  • Side effects are mild and uncommon

You should not administer large overdoses based on the amount of pain your dog is experiencing. If you wish to use the supplement for the treatment of acute conditions you should speak to the vet about the possibility of using a higher dose.

What Is It Used For?

The effects of glucosamine make it a popular supplement for the treatment and prevention of arthritis in dogs. It is thought to slow the breakdown of cartilage and help to prevent the condition from progressing. It may or may not provide relief to dogs suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) arthritis. Insufficient evidence suggests that it could also be used to help:

  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Degenerative Myelopathy

Some owners have claimed the supplement helped their pet feel relief from the symptoms of degenerative myelopathy.

Side Effects

Any side effects resulting from the use of this supplement are uncommon and often mild. During treatment, your pet may experience the following:


  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Highly Unproven

  • Increased blood sugar levels

Most suggest that blood sugar/insulin levels are not affected by glucosamine, even though it is a type of sugar. However this is something to remain aware of if your pet suffers from diabetes or other similar medical conditions.


Toxic overdoses are rare and would require extremely high amounts to be administered. If you have accidentally given your dog too much of this supplement, or if your dog gained access to the tub and consumed a very large number of pills, they may experience symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting. Contact your vet right away in cases of overdose. If your dog has taken an overdose of a supplement containing additional active ingredients the effects may differ.