Best Joint Supplements for Dogs in 2024

Written by: Sarah Seward-Langdon

Published on: 03/13/2024

As loving dog owners, we wear many hats, and one of the most crucial is being the caretaker of our canine companion’s health. Depending on your dog’s breed and age, you might need to keep a keen eye on something we often overlook until it's too late: their joint health.

Our dogs leap, run, and play with boundless energy, making it easy to forget that, just like us, their joints need care too. Waiting until they start to slow down isn't an option; being proactive about joint health is key to ensuring they have a higher quality of life.

Joint supplements are a game-changer here, offering support that can significantly improve your dog's mobility and overall quality of life, whether you're looking to prevent future issues or address existing ones.

In this blog, we're diving deep into what the best dog joint supplements are. But that's not all—we're also arming you with vital information on why these supplements are essential and how to spot the signs of joint pain in your dog.

Grab a pen and get ready to explore this helpful guide to enhancing your dog's wellbeing.

Does My Dog Need Joint Supplements?

Joint supplements can benefit dogs across all life stages; however, they are more important for certain dogs. Elderly pets, large breeds, and those grappling with arthritis or similar joint afflictions often benefit more from these nutritional add-ons.

Recent studies reveal striking statistics: approximately 20% of dogs over one year old suffer from arthritis, while up to 70% of purebreds are affected by hip dysplasia to some degree [1].

Learn more about arthritis in dogs.

Given the prevalence of joint issues among our canine companions, adopting a proactive stance on their health is not just advisable—it's essential. Combining a blend of premium-quality supplements into your dog's regimen can be a game-changer.

Such proactive measures are designed to bolster joint health, mitigate inflammation, and decelerate the wear and tear on their joints [2]. Remember, when you’re considering which supplements to add to your dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to consult with your vet or a dog nutrition professional.

Identifying Joint Pain Symptoms

Recognizing joint pain early can make a significant difference in managing your dog's comfort and mobility. Symptoms of joint pain include [3]:

  • Difficulty standing up or sitting down

  • Limping or favoring one leg

  • Frequent slipping while moving

  • Irritability

  • Decreased activity levels (or lethargy)

  • Visible swelling around the joints

  • Whimpering or vocalizing when moving

Top 5 Joint Supplements for Dogs

Several key ingredients are known for their joint-supporting benefits. Here’s a rundown of the top joint supplements for dogs:

1. Glucosamine

Glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage. In supplement form, it helps to repair and rebuild joint cartilage, offering relief from joint pain and improving mobility.

Unlike other anti-inflammatory medications, studies show that glucosamine is safe for long-term use. This makes it perfect as a preventative supplement since you’ll likely start using proactive measures sooner and for longer periods of time [4].

Glucosamine isn't just preventative; it's also a helpful supplement for existing conditions. By boosting glucosamine levels, dogs with arthritis can significantly benefit, experiencing reduced pain and improved weight-bearing capabilities [2]chon.

2. Chondroitin

Chondroitin is another supplement that plays an essential role in maintaining the health and resilience of your dog's joints. It complements glucosamine, and is also naturally present in cartilage.

Chondroitin helps to keep joints cushioned by ensuring the cartilage retains water, which is crucial for its ability to absorb shocks during activities like running or jumping. Additionally, chondroitin contributes to slowing down the degradation of cartilage, providing relief for dogs suffering from joint discomfort or conditions such as osteoarthritis.

The combination of chondroitin and glucosamine is particularly effective, promoting the repair of damaged cartilage, improving joint function, and alleviating pain. This synergistic effect makes them highly recommended supplements for supporting joint health, especially in older dogs, large breeds, or those already exhibiting signs of joint problems [2].

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful nutrients that offer a wide range of health benefits for your dog, including enhancing your dog’s joint health. These essential fats are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can significantly reduce joint pain and improve mobility in dogs, especially those suffering from conditions like arthritis [5].

By reducing inflammation, omega-3s help to maintain healthy joints and can even slow the progression of joint damage.

Aside from their joint health benefits, omega-3 fatty acids also support your dog's overall well-being. They contribute to a lustrous coat, healthier skin, improved heart health, and better cognitive function [5]. This makes omega-3 supplements a comprehensive health booster, addressing everything from joint discomfort to general health and vitality.

The most common sources of omega-3s include fish and plant-based oils, namely krill oil, camelina oil, and flaxseed oil.

Dive into more reasons to feed your dog essential fatty acids.

4. Green-Lipped Mussels (GLM)

GLM is a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids—all of the powerful supplements we’ve already mentioned [4]!

Many dog owners swear by green-lipped mussels and say it’s particularly effective for reducing joint pain and inflammation. You can either feed it to your dog in powdered supplement form or fresh!

5. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

Methylsulfonylmethane, commonly known as MSM, is a naturally occurring compound known for its benefits in improving joint health in dogs. MSM is a form of sulfur that helps maintain strong and healthy connective tissues, which are crucial components of joint structure. It plays a significant role in reducing inflammation, which is often a source of joint pain and discomfort in dogs, especially those with conditions like arthritis.

By supporting the body's natural ability to repair and form connective tissues, MSM can enhance flexibility and mobility, allowing dogs to move more freely and with less pain. This is particularly beneficial for aging dogs, active breeds, and those recovering from joint-related injuries [2].

Incorporating MSM into your dog's diet, whether through supplements specifically designed for joint health or a well-balanced diet, can play a vital part in ensuring your furry friend's joints are supported, allowing them to lead a more active and comfortable life.

Key Factors to Consider When Looking for Joint Supplements

When selecting a joint supplement for your dog, consider the following [6]:

  • Ingredients: Look for supplements containing the key ingredients listed above.

  • Certification and Safety: Choose products from reputable manufacturers that have undergone third-party testing.

  • Formulation: Consider your dog’s size, age, and specific health needs when choosing a supplement.

Another important factor is palatability. Ensure the supplement is in a form your dog will willingly take, whether it's chewable tablets, liquids, or powders.

Keep Your Dog’s Joints Happy!

Incorporating the right joint supplement into your dog’s diet can significantly improve their joint health and overall wellbeing. By understanding the benefits of each type of supplement and choosing a product that meets your dog’s specific needs, you can help ensure your furry friend stays active and comfortable for years to come.

Another reminder: It’s important to always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplement to ensure it’s appropriate for your dog’s health situation.

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About Sarah

Sarah is a marketing specialist with a passion for anything creative! Her openness to working across industries and job opportunities has allowed her to gain enormous amounts of experience in graphic design, video production, and written content creation. Animals have a special place in her heart as she grew up with cats and now owns her own Alaskan Malamute. She has spent the last couple of years in Vancouver working with different companies within the pet industry and gained valuable knowledge about the ins and outs of the (alternative) pet food industry, supplementation, and various training methods. When she’s not digitally creating content for pet lovers to consume, she’s out eating great food, dancing at drop-in classes, or exploring the beautiful Canadian scenery with her fur-child Miso.