Skip to main content

What kind of joint supplements should you be giving your aging dog?

When our fur babies aren’t as sprightly as they used to be, a canine joint supplement may help. These vitamins use special ingredients that help soothe achy joints and slow down joint aging. Senior dogs in particular will benefit most from a supplement with joint-boosting ingredients like glucosamine and collagen.

Read on to discover which supplements might be best for your pet — but remember to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any type of medication or supplement.

Old back dog lying on grass
Brett Jordan/Unsplash.com

Chondroitin sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate is at the top of the ingredient list of many canine joint supplement brands. This compound is a crucial part of cartilage assembly and function. It preserves water content and elasticity, making joint action comfortable. If possible, choose a supplement with a label “low-molecular weight chondroitin.” This type is more easily absorbed by the body to extend cartilage cell life and joint fluid availability.

Glucosamine hydrochloride

Glucosamine hydrochloride, or simply glucosamine, is also an integral part of cartilage. Moreover, it helps your pet produce more joint fluid, which gets harder and harder to do as they age. Note that larger dogs in particular might need to supplement early on to prevent joint damage and severe arthritis in the future.
Nevertheless, while large dogs are more prone to hip and joint problems due to their size, even smaller breeds can experience arthritis.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

MSM helps cells regenerate and recover from free radicals. When taken as a canine joint supplement, it offers pain relief and calms inflammation.

Turmeric

Choose a turmeric-infused supplement for extra pain relief. Turmeric reduces inflammation, thanks to a compound called curcumin. This ground root also acts as an antioxidant and antibacterial compound, which is helpful if your pet is experiencing other health issues, too.

A multipurpose plant, turmeric is also popular for human consumption to heal everything from stomach irritation to rheumatoid arthritis. Fortunately, pets can reap these benefits, too.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Two common omega fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They prevent and reduce inflammation, thus providing some pain relief. Whenever possible, choose fatty acids from wild-caught fish, which are more potent than their farmed counterparts.

You might also choose omega-3 triglycerides sourced from fish or flaxseed oil.

Mussel extract

The scientific name for this supplement is Perna canaliculus, but you’ll often see green-lipped mussels (GLM) on the packaging or list of ingredients. Green-lipped mussels contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DHA, and eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). The latter helps reduce pain and inflammation by blocking compounds that promote these negative side effects.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) and vitamin E

Both HA and vitamin E act as antioxidants that slow down the aging process. HA is a compound found in the human and canine body that lubricates joints. It also acts as a shock pad to prevent bone-to-bone contact. As a supplement, HA supports absorption of other ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is an effective pain reliever. It reduces inflammation and swelling throughout the body. This all-over inflammation reduction slows down arthritis. Moreover, it reduces negative side effects of arthritis and joint issues like pain and irritability.

This may help your dog get a little more physical exercise painlessly.

Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU)

This substance helps encourage cartilage growth and prevents cartilage deterioration. Additionally, ASU offers pain relief by keeping inflammatory chemicals away and protecting connective tissue. This is especially helpful for dog knees where there is the most damage.

Note that ASU is most effective when combined with key supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.

Collagen

Collagen is a protein found in skin, joints, teeth, muscles, and bones. For the purposes of canine joint supplements, collagen is essential for healthy cartilage. Common collagen sources are chicken skin and fish. Research shows that collagen supplements help pets with osteoarthritis move better.

It prevents joint decline by blocking chemicals that break down collagen, helping dogs stay active and flexible.

Big white dog being petted
Alexandre Debiève/Unsplash.com

When it comes to our fur babies, we’ll do anything to make sure they’re happy and comfortable. As they age and become less mobile, they might experience arthritis and joint pain. Fortunately, there are many different canine joint supplements you can try to help your pet stay cheerful and playful. Consider a combination of supplements on this list today to protect your dog’s joints.

Editors' Recommendations

PawTracks
How many hours a day do dogs sleep? It depends on their age and breed
Ever wondered how much your dog should sleep? Here's what to know
Golden retriever sleeping in bed with owner

There are a few things dogs all have in common, but most importantly, they love to snooze. Every dog's sleep schedule is different, though. Some seem to be asleep all the time, while others are ready to go at the crack of dawn for a morning walk. Because of all these differences, it can be tricky to determine how much sleep is the right amount for your beastie, or if your dog might be lying around too much. And should you be concerned that he's napping more because he's sick or bored?

There are lots of questions -- we know -- so we're here to help you solve them all. You'll learn the answer to, "How many hours a day dogs sleep?" and more. Don't stress -- we'll help you figure it out!

Read more
Why do you often find your dog with their tongue out? Here’s what vets say about the ‘blep’
This behavior may be cute, but what does it really mean?
A German shepherd puppy sticks out their tongue

There's nothing cuter than a "blep" but what does it mean? Whether you first heard the term blep on the internet (it is meme-worthy, after all), or are learning of it for the first time, you're in for a treat. Bleps are positively adorable. The term started gaining online traction in the late 2010s, though it's no less popular today. The common canine behavior it's based on, however, is a habit as old as time: sticking out a tongue. Yep, a dog with its tongue out is enough to break the internet!

It's pretty dang cute, after all, but it's not always easy to figure out why a dog's tongue is sticking out. Don't worry though, pet parents — this is a great place to start. This is everything you need to know about bleps and what they mean.

Read more
How can you tell how old a dog is? Easy ways to figure it out
Here's how professionals can tell how old a dog is
An elderly golden retriever stands outside in the sunshine

If you have a dog, then it's almost certain you've heard the cliche that one dog year equals seven human years. As it turns out, that's not actually how dogs age. Our pups mature faster than we do during the first few years of their lives. But what does that mean for aging and maturity? It may surprise you to learn that your canine companion is actually closer to a 15-year-old than a 7-year-old by the time he celebrates his first birthday.

Adopting a puppy makes calculating your dog's age a whole lot easier, but adopting an adult dog may require a bit more detective work on your part. Unfortunately, most shelter dogs have incomplete medical histories, and they may not have records of how old the dogs are. This means that you'll have to figure it out for yourself, but that might be easier said than done. That's why we've put together this helpful guide on how to tell how old a dog is, full of tips from professionals to help you understand your dog's age.

Read more