Glucosamine for Dogs Side Effects & Alternatives
As dogs age, their movements slow down, and for many of them, joint pain occurs. If such is the case happening to your dog, you can only feel pain for what he is going through, so act fast.
You can start with some natural remedies:
- Physical therapy – This is especially recommended if your dog has been injured, and may be a good way to reduce chronic pain.
- Basil – This plant, which has anti-inflammatory properties, can be added to the dog’s meals. Combined with fish oil, also rich with Omega-3, the fatty acids contained in basil can help with arthritis.
- Vitamins E and C – These nutrients can help in fighting pains and aches associated with arthritis.
- Glucosamine – Often given in combination with chondroitin, glucosamine is one commonly recommended natural health treatment for canine arthritis. It is beneficial in two ways: reduced joint inflammation and increased joint mobility.
You might have qualms about using glucosamine, and in particular, about adding it as a supplement, but there is really nothing significant to worry about when using it.
To start with, using glucosamine in the right dosages is generally safe and side effects rarely happen, and for anyone trying to avoid NSAIDS for their bad side effects, using glucosamine instead is one good option to try.
What is glucosamine for dogs?
Glucosamine is a substance naturally produced in the human body as well as well as in animals, such as your dogs. The substance is mostly found in healthy cartilage – that spongy material serving as cushion in between joints.
Cartilage cells are constantly produced, but production slows down as your dog adds years to its life, making its joint tissues more and more susceptible to shocks. With every impact absorbed by the bones at the joints, greater amounts of pain are produced and inflammation ensues.
This is where glucosamine supplements are designed to work. With correct supplementation under the guidance of your vet, you can help your dog fight pain, repair damaged cells and promote healthy cartilage as it gets old.
Therapeutic effects from using glucosamine do not show immediately after the initial use. The estimate that has been reported with the use of both glucosamine and chondroitin combined is 2-6 weeks after initial treatment.
Improvements in condition have been very encouraging for pet owners. In one case, the dog started having hip and joint problems just before his 9th birthday and had difficulties walking and standing, especially in the mornings.
After a week of receiving glucosamine, the dog showed great improvement, and a few more weeks, he was back to his normal mobility levels – climbing the stairs, jumping on the bed, and running and walking without the whines triggered by pain.
Dosage of glucosamine for dogs
The right glucosamine dosage for your dog depends mainly on two factors:
- The weight of the dog
- The severity of the joint condition
Here are the average daily amounts:
- Over 90 lbs. = daily dosage of 1500 mg
- From 45 – 90 lbs. = 1000 mg
- From 20 – 45 lbs. = 500 mg
- Less than 20 lbs. = less than 500 mg
Take note of the chondroitin content of the supplement as well. Usual amounts recommended for chondroitin are as follows:
- Dogs weighing 80 lbs. or more = 1800 mg
- Dogs weighing less than 80 lbs. = 900 mg
Side effects of glucosamine for dogs
Glucosamine side effects in humans include:
- Uncommon side effects are: headache, skin reactions and drowsiness.
Diarrhea and allergic reactions are also listed as side effects in dogs, with diarrhea recorded to be occurring only after overdose. Vomiting is also another consequence of overdose.
Other side effects your dog might exhibit under normal dosage and conditions include:
- Excessive thirst and urination (usually occurring with dogs given high dosages)
Watch out for any renal impairment if your dog has a history of renal decline. There are some reports of adverse side effects in this regard.
However, causality of renal issues has not been established in research, and many studies have shown no significant changes in kidney function.
In one study involving different types of supplements and conducted over a 3-month period, the use of glucosamine has been shown to have no adverse side effects.
Cost of glucosamine for dogs
Majority of options run between $20 and $50. In Amazon, most brands sell for $25 to $40, and for budget-limited pet parents, you can go as low as $10 per bottle.
Check the active ingredients contained in the tablet, pill or chews. You may choose the tablet or the pill form, which is usually cheaper than the tastier chews, but you might grapple with getting your dog eat it even if it is smothered with peanut butter or the like.
The downside to most supplement chews is that they usually contain subpar ingredients, and usually have low concentration of active ingredients.
Interaction with other drugs
Glucosamine has the ability to thin blood, so consult with your vet if any of your dog’s current medications have blood-thinning effects as well.
Glucosamine has glucose as part of its structure, so check for insulin deficiency in your dog.
Herbal supplements that contain skullcap taken with glucosamine can lead to liver problems.
Ingredients in glucosamine supplements
Glucosamine supplements (usually formulated with chondroitin) also contain:
- MSM – a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic substance
- CoQ10 – a compound naturally produced by the body; used for cell growth and prevention of cell damage
- Hyaluronic Acid – has been used in treating arthritic conditions and joint diseases in animals since the 1970s
For senior dogs and dogs with mobility issues, alternatives for glucosamine other than already given above include:
- Turmeric – Recommended for osteoarthritis relief, turmeric will be a great addition to your dog’s diet. You can use curcumin supplements or buy turmeric-rich treats. For fast absorption, combine this supplement with coconut oil or other healthy fats.
- Ginger – So long as your dog does not abhor the taste of ginger, its active ingredient, gingerol, can help reduce inflammation. The only thing that your pet might suffer from ginger treatment is gastrointestinal irritation.
- CBD – This is one perfect alternative to treating pain in dogs, as well as in cats and other animals such as horses.
One of its greatest advantages over other options is that CBD has no adverse side effects, which has been shown in one study that evaluated its analgesic efficacy and safety.
If you decide to use CBD, not only will you give your dog relief from pain and improved mobility, but you will also give it other benefits that include healthy coat and reduced anxiety.
CBD also has anticonvulsant properties. If your dog also suffers from frequent seizures, using CBD can lessen the frequency, while it simultaneously does wonders on pain control as well.