Glucosamine For Dogs: The Ultimate Guide

What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a critical molecule of the synovial fluid which main function is to lubricate and reduce friction between the cartilage of joints during movement. It's basically a sugar produced by the body which helps in the formation of substances called glycosaminoglycan (GAG)¹, these are building blocks for cartilage and are essential for its growth and repair.


Also known as a chondroprotective agent and discovered in 1876 by Dr. Gerog Ledderhose² in the German University of Strasbourg while working on cartilage science, (initially called glycosamine) glucosamine is commonly used as a supplement to reduce joint pain due to arthritis, trauma or hip dysplasia. Many scientific studies and medical articles published by health centers and universities have touted the benefits of glucosamine, including its ability to induce the production of hyaluronic acid and its anti-inflammatory effect through the inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase.

Other studies have suggested that Glucosamine is more effective when combined with Chondroitin, which is a substance derived from pig or cow cartilage but can also be found in shrimp, oyster, and crabs shells.

When to start glucosamine for dogs?

Look out for these signs:

  • Slow Gait
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Change in mood
  • Unwilling to play/exercise
  • Reluctant to climb stairs
  • Lameness in one or multiple legs
  • Some dogs might become aggressive

"The best time to get your dog started with a joint supplement is as a preventative before the first signs of mobility issues appear, the second-best time is now" - Ruff Hero

Why does my dog need Glucosamine?

According to scientific studies, 80% of dogs over eight years old will suffer the devastating effects of osteoarthritis, and more than 75% of those will be prescribed an analgesic drug that might cause internal damage.

Large dogs and pure breeds are more predisposed to arthritis, but overall it affects all dog breeds, ages, and sizes, this is why a glucosamine supplement is a good idea.

Which glucosamine is best for dogs?

The best glucosamine for dogs offer the same benefits similar to the one naturally produced in the body, the most effective is usually derived from crab, lobster or shrimp shells and it comes in the form of glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine phosphate.

Until recently, glucosamine for dogs products were only available in the form of tablets, powder or liquid, all very difficult to get dogs to eat. But Ruff Hero’s innovative glucosamine for dogs comes as soft chewable treats loaded with all nutrients recommended for senior dogs and in dog-approved yummy taste that’s beneficial to pets plus a price-quality difficult to beat and great reviews in online marketplaces like Amazon.

Hero One

Stop paying for fillers, pay for nutrients.

Glucosamine for dogs benefits

  • It’s a natural anti-inflammatory agent that helps relieve pain, swelling, joint stiffness, and usually an easy formula for pet owners to administer.
  • It helps maintain the structural integrity of the cartilage preventing further damage thus promoting joint health.
  • Products with glucosamine chondroitin is a powerful combination that inhibits destructive enzymes in the joint fluid from damaging the cartilage at a good price compared to surgery.
  • Glucosamine supplements are also used in dogs after joint surgery to fasten wound healing and scar tissue formation.

How to buy the best glucosamine supplement?

  • Canine joint support is not only used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but it is also given to healthy pups looking to remain active longer. Other than price, make sure to check this list before purchasing products:
    • Multiple Active Ingredients: It is important to pick the joint support that contains more than two of the recommended additives. Apart from glucosamine, it should also have additional items including MSM, turmeric, and chondroitin sulfate. A combination of three or more of these will have maximum benefits to your pet.
    • Check the Number of Active Ingredients: If the amount of active additives is not indicated on the product (in milligrams), it is likely that it contains very low levels that could not substantially help your dog’s joints. Some manufacturers only add minimal quantities of active elements to entice customers to save on price so always check the label to ensure you purchase a product that’s beneficial to your pet.
    • Purchase Products Made in USA: Due to the availability of other manufacturers outside the USA who produce dog supplements, it is important to check where they’re made prior to any purchase. Some manufacturers only add a minimal amount of active elements to offer lower cost, always read the label. Ensuring that you buy Made in USA products might result beneficial to your pets. If you purchase on Amazon or eBay, make sure the vendor has an email so that you can contact them with questions and don’t forget to read reviews.
    • Select a Hypoallergenic Product If Your Pets Have Allergies: If your dog has exhibited hypersensitivity or an allergic reaction towards certain items, we recommend that you search for the hypoallergenic option. Although they don’t provide full proof from causing allergies, they are less likely to use active things that may cause hypersensitivity in dogs.
    • Every Dog Is Different: Depending on the age and condition of your pet, the effect will be manifested differently. It is advised to start administering³ joint support at the age of 5 and earlier for bigger dogs. If you wait until you see signs of pain and distress on your dog, you might only see results after one or two months. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s levels of sodium and potassium.
    • Taste and Format Matters: It is quite discouraging to purchase the best glucosamine supplement product if your pet doesn’t want to eat it. The most common joint support are tablets, liquid, and soft chews; each having its merits and demerits. When it comes to choosing the most palatable, go for the liquids or soft chews as dogs will prefer these mostly. Ruff Hero’s soft chews also come with a range of nutraceuticals and yummy flavor, making it the preferred choice for many dog owners.

Does glucosamine have side effects?

  • Few side effects and adverse reactions could occur with administration of glucosamine chondroitin for dogs, keep an eye on your dog whenever you initiate a new treatment. Stick to the recommended dosage to minimize risks, secondary effects might include:
    • Allergies especially in pets allergic to shellfish. Plant-based options are however available.
    • Increased thirst and urination
    • Fatigue
    • Since it’s sugar-based, it should be administered with care in diabetic patients
    • Some pups might get upset stomach or diarrhea, in most cases, this can be avoided by giving the glucosamine chondroitin supplement with a meal.
    • Formulations combined with chondroitin should not be given to animals with blood clotting problems or on blood thinners.


Can I give my dog human glucosamine?

Yes but make sure it’s only Glucosamine, if your supplement has added ingredients, which is quite possible. then make sure all those ingredients are dog safe before sharing your health supplement with your dog.

What can I give my dog for joint pain?

Glucosamine by itself might not be enough if your dog is already suffering from joint pain, in this case, look for a dog supplement that contains anti-inflammatory and pain-relief ingredients like Turmeric, Black Pepper or Hemp.

How long does it take for glucosamine to work in dogs?

All dogs are different and it depends on the severity of the problem, you should expect to see a difference in2-3 months.

Does glucosamine work?

There have been many studies about this, there is an indication that Glucosamine supplements do help dogs with mobility issues. However, choosing the right joint supplement is critical, make sure it contains appropriate levels of Glucosamine as well as natural ingredients and mobility boosters like Chondroitin and MSM for example.

How Do I Give My Dog Glucosamine?

Most formulations are oral and come in a variety of formats, you can choose from soft chews, tablets or liquid.


  1. McCarthy G, O’Donovan J, Jones B, et al. Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis. Vet J 2007 174(1):54-61.
  2. Wooten, Sarah J. “Joint Supplements for Dogs: The Helpful vs. the Hype.” DVM 360, 16 June 2017,
  3. Plumb, Donald C. “Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook, 9th Edition.” Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs, Wile-Blackwell, 2018,