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Joint Supplements for Dogs

Joint supplements for dogs contain active ingredients that support joint health and ease discomfort.

May 10, 2024 4 min read
Joint Supplements for Dogs

It can be tough to watch your dog struggle to walk, run, and play. Unfortunately, it’s common for dogs to develop joint pain and stiffness, especially as they age. Joint supplements are a type of dietary supplement formulated to support healthy joint health and mobility.

Today, you can find these supplements in a variety of forms, from chews and capsules to tablets and powders. Let’s explore the varieties of joint supplements on the market and how they can improve your pup’s well-being.

Components of Healthy Joints in Dogs

Before you can truly understand the purpose of joint supplements for dogs, you must know what constitutes a joint.

Joint Cartilage

Cartilage is a type of connective tissue located between the bones. Over time, healthy joint cartilage can wear down or become damaged, leaving the bones without any soft “padding” to dampen the effects of standing, running, and jumping.

Connecting Bones

The joint is made up of a series of bones. How these bones are shaped during your dog’s early development plays a critical role in their long-term stability and integrity.

Synovial Fluid

Synovial fluid provides lubrication between the joint cartilage and bones, enabling the bones to easily glide across one another. The cartilage can suffer wear and tear when there is inadequate fluid, increasing your dog’s risk of arthritis.


Along the sides of the joint are connective fibers known as ligaments. The ligaments of a joint attach from one bone to the next to prevent them from moving out of place.

Each of these components is important as they allow your pet to maintain healthy mobility. Joints affected by age, disease, or injury can lead to decreased mobility, pain, and chronic inflammation.

Active Ingredients in Joint Supplements for Dogs

When shopping for canine joint supplements, carefully read the labels to determine the active ingredients. Some of the most common include:


Glucosamine is a vital building block for cartilage growth and recovery. This naturally occurring compound is made of glutamine (an amino acid) and glucose (a sugar), which are essential for maintaining healthy joint function. While dogs create glucosamine naturally in the body, it can deplete over time, requiring supplementation. This active ingredient helps lubricate the joints, reduce inflammation, and improve overall mobility.


It’s common to find chondroitin as an active ingredient in dog joint supplements, often alongside glucosamine. Chondroitin inhibits the destruction of cartilage components and promotes healthy cartilage production. It can also help relieve joint pain and aid in prevention, which is why many vets prescribe chondroitin as a maintenance drug for dogs at high risk for joint inflammation.


CBD is commonly used for its anti-inflammatory properties. This active ingredient is a natural compound found in hemp and marijuana. It is commonly recommended for pets that suffer from chronic joint pain and dogs with arthritis. When shopping for joint supplements that contain CBD, ensure that the product is specifically made for dogs and does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a type of psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis plants.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits for dogs. They can contribute to healthy brain development in puppies, promote heart health, and strengthen the immune system. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation caused by arthritis. As many dog foods and treats do not contain adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, choosing a joint supplement with these “healthy fats” can help with joint problems. Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Green-Lipped Mussel

Found in many joint supplements, green-lipped mussel (GLM) contains molecules called glycosaminoglycans that help lubricate cartilage, joints, and tendons. GLM contains a variety of nutrients designed to support joint health, such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. It can conveniently be found as a powder to mix with your pet’s kibble or wet food.

Benefits of Joint Supplements for Dogs

As most joint supplements for dogs take time to fully work, some pet owners may contemplate their effectiveness. However, consistent use according to the manufacturer’s instructions can lead to positive results for the majority of pets.

There are several key advantages to giving your dog joint supplements, starting with reduced joint pain. If your pet is experiencing discomfort in the joints that makes it difficult for him to move without pain, a joint supplement can help provide relief.

Active ingredients found in canine joint supplements can also aid in joint health. Many of these ingredients promote the repair and recovery of cartilage and tendons, which aids in overall joint health.

Finally, joint supplements can help improve your dog’s mobility. When pain, inflammation, and stiffness occur, it can be difficult for your pet to retain full movement of his core and limbs. Joint supplements can help your pet return to the physical activities he once enjoyed.

When to Contact Your Veterinarian

It’s always wise to speak with your vet before starting your dog on any new medication or supplement. Your vet can recommend an effective type of supplement and provide guidance on a safe dosage. It’s also important to have your vet monitor your dog’s joint condition and ensure that progress is being made over time.

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