What to Know About Glucosamine for Dogs

What To Know About Glucosamine For Dogs

Glucosamine for dogs is something you might be considering if your dog has begun to limp, or for extra joint support. It is also the most commonly found dietary supplement on the aisle, making it a popular choice, but is it right for your dog? In this blog we'll discuss glucosamine supplements, glucosamine side effects for dogs, and its effectiveness.


What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is composed of a sugar and an amino acid and is naturally present in animal bones, bone marrow, shellfish and fungi. As dogs age, glucosamine levels go down, which can lead to eventual joint deterioration.


Since glucosamine is a precursor for GAGS, some have hoped that providing glucosamine as an oral supplement could beneficially influence cartilage structure. Glucosamine is readily marketed to support the structure and function of joints and (alone or with chondroitin and/or MSM) is widely used as a supplement for both humans and animals.

However, the effectiveness of glucosamine is hotly debated. There are a number of well-designed studies that show glucosamine works no better than a placebo, as well as a study showing that patients who had allegedly responded to glucosamine couldn’t tell the difference when their pills were replaced with placebos, according to Science-Based Medicine. At the same time, there are also a number of studies reporting that glucosamine may have therapeutic effects on pain and osteoarthritis.


There is very little clinical research on glucosamine as a treatment for arthritis in dogs and cats. The only published clinical study done on glucosamine for dogs was in 2007, where 35 dogs were tested with carprofen (an osteoarthritis medication) and glucosamine. While veterinarians reported improvements in the dogs pain, it is unclear whether those improvements are due to glucosamine or the drug, since there was no placebo group. Nonetheless, many pet parents and veterinarians have claimed to see a noticeable difference in their dogs after putting them on a glucosamine regimen.

Glucosamine only helps with joint lubrication and pain management, it does not help with bone support. Giving your dog glucosamine as a preventative WILL NOT prevent the onset of bone or joint issues.


Side Effects of Glucosamine For Dogs

It’s important to remember that dogs with allergies to seafood may have an allergic reaction to many glucosamine products, as most are made out of shellfish. It’s extremely hard to find a glucosamine supplement that doesn’t contain shellfish. Still, an extreme allergic reaction to glucosamine is rare, and glucosamine is well-tolerated by most dogs when given in safe doses.

Furthermore, you must be very careful in giving glucosamine to a dog with liver or kidney issues, as it can cause kidney damage and liver failure, even in low doses, to dogs that have these types of issues.

Glucosamine side effects for dogs are often common if your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to glucosamine, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • A lack of appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation


While glucosamine is generally considered a safe nutrient to give to dogs, there is a chance of overdose. These days glucosamine can be found in everything, from "senior dog food" to treats and a wide variety of supplements. By not paying attention to the cumulative amounts of glucosamine you are feeding your dog, an overdose is a real possibility. In fact, in 2013, glucosamine overdose was on the list of the Top 10 Most Frequent Dog Toxins published by the Pet Poison Helpline.

The Symptoms of Glucosamine Overdose in Dogs can be quite scary, so it is important to make sure you are giving the right amounts of glucosamine to your dog.


Boneo Canine is a great glucosamine alternative that helps with overall support for dog bone and joint health. It is an all-natural solution for dogs that that is glucosamine free and helps manage joint problems as well as bone problems. Boneo Canine is also the only product that will help the overall health of the entire skeletal system and not just the joints. Unlike the traditional bone or joint supplements that contain glucosamine, chondroitin, or MSM, Boneo uses a patented milk protein (lactose-free) known as ribonuclease-enriched lactoferrin. You can read more about lactoferrin in our earlier blog post.

If you’re wondering if you should give your dog a supplement to support their bones and joints, it’s never too late. Boneo Canine is safe for any size, breed, or age. Learn more about Boneo by watching this informative video:

This article is meant to inform you on the different options relating to your dog's bone and joint health. This is not meant to recommend any product or treatment. Be sure to always check with your veterinarian concerning your dog's health.