Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Linda Richard
A dog with joint issues is a sad but not uncommon sight. Encountering this may lead you to liquid glucosamine for dogs – what is it and how does it work? Is this some weird commercial drug or an actually natural and healthy food supplement? Does it really work? Also, how can you find a good brand, and are there food-based alternatives? We’ll address each of these questions below.
Table of Contents
What Is Liquid Glucosamine For Dogs?
Liquid glucosamine for dogs or oral glucosamine is a food supplement often prescribed by vets for dogs with joint issues. Glucosamine is a perfectly natural chemical compound that’s produced by your dog’s body. It’s the compound responsible for the upkeep of healthy joint cartilage – the soft stuff between the bones that keeps them conjoined and mobile.
As dog’s age, however, their natural production of glucosamine decreases, and the joint cartilage starts thinning out, leading to joint problems.
Why Does Your Dog Need Glucosamine For Dogs?
It’s estimated that roughly one in five dogs experiences joint issues in their life, usually hip or elbow dysplasia or arthritis. Lab Retrievers are certainly not exempt from this statistic nor are most of the other popular pet breeds of today.
Obviously, there are ways to try and avoid such joint problems as much as possible – a good, nutritious diet, adequate, regular, and measures exercise, as well as routine vet checkups. With water dog breeds like the Labrador Retriever, swimming is an excellent exercise for joint health, for example.
Even if you do everything right, however, there is still some risk of joint problems, especially in the dog’s older age. In those cases, many vets recommend liquid glucosamine for dogs and other supplements to try and slow down or even partly revert the progressions of the joint issues.
Some vets even recommend using liquid glucosamine chondroitin for dogs as prevention after a certain age. The simple idea being that as the dog’s body slows down the production of glucosamine, you can help it along the way via oral supplements.
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Does Liquid Glucosamine For Dogs Actually Work?
This all sounds nice and perfectly intuitive but does liquid glucosamine for dogs work or is this just another one of those pseudo-scientific crazes that seem good to the uneducated but aren’t really substantiated in science? The answer is a bit so-so.
There are rat model studies and rabbit studies that clearly show the observable effect of healing cartilage damage through oral glucosamine. At the same time, however, even those studies show that the actual regeneration of cartilage isn’t all that significant even with a major intake of liquid glucosamine.
Additionally, the studies show that damaged cartilage absorbs glucosamine better which sounds good. However, there are two problems with this:
- The fact that damaged cartilage is shown to absorb glucosamine better and be somewhat affected by it doesn’t change the fact that the regrowth isn’t significant.
- This also means that taking liquid glucosamine for dogs as a purely preventative supplement is not all that effective since non-damaged cartilage is even less affected by orally-taken glucosamine.
So, can giving your pooch liquid glucosamine for dogs be effective against arthritis or hip dysplasia? Potentially, slightly. However, it doesn’t seem to be the ultimate panacea some vets make it out to be.
Is Liquid Glucosamine For Dogs Safe?
How about potential health drawbacks? Does liquid glucosamine for dogs pose any health risks? Well, once again, there’s a lot of inconclusive information about that. It does seem like a lot of that depends on the brand and type of glucosamine you get. Keep in mind that a lot of the liquid glucosamine you can buy isn’t actually naturally sourced. Instead, it’s lab-created which means that its true effects and side effects depend on how it’s been made. Here are the main factors to consider:
- Getting the right dosage seems to be important but there is no reliable data concerning what’s the proper dosage per pound of dog weight or for the severity of the joint problems.
- Whatever the perfect dosage is, it definitely seems that most liquid glucosamine supplements contain way too much glucosamine, especially if they are prescribed just for prevention. This can lead to glucosamine toxicity which isn’t fun.
- Some brands of liquid glucosamine for dogs can contain too much lead, especially many of those made in China. Other unlisted additives are also possible.
- The opposite of glucosamine overdose is also possible as some brands actually contain much less of this compound than what’s advertised.
- Dehydration and glaucoma are also risk factors with glucosamine supplements.
Naturally, we are talking about very low risks here. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are approved for production and distribution after all, so such risks are not dissimilar to the standard minimal risks of any medication. However, they are noteworthy given the fact that the positive effects of oral glucosamine are questionable in the first place.
What Is The Best Liquid Glucosamine For Dogs?
Finding the best brands of liquid glucosamine for dogs can be difficult, even if you ask vets. That’s because many vets are given commissions by pharmaceutical companies to recommend certain supplements and medications regardless of their actual quality – pretty much the same thing human doctors do. So, information on this can be spotty but some brands we’d recommend include Nutramax Cosequin, Nutriline, and Paramount, at least as of 2022.
Are There Dog Foods Rich In Glucosamine?
For some actually natural and good sources of glucosamine, you’d do well to consider just feeding your dog the right food. A lot of dog owners are not fans of preparing their dog’s food themselves but this is a good idea if you want to guarantee its quality. In regards to glucosamine, here are some examples of foods that are rich in this compound:
- Bone broth
- Chicken feet
- Lamb, goat, and beef trachea
- Beef knuckle bones
- Pig or ox tails
- Green-lipped mussels
- Shellfish shells
- Most animal bones with cartilage chunks attached to them
Even if you prefer to feed your dog commercial food, you can still give some of the above as the occasional dog treat.
So, Liquid Glucosamine For Dogs – Is It A Good Idea?
It might be if push has come to shove. Even in the case of arthritis or hip dysplasia, it’s usually still better to go with NSAID medications (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). However, picking a good brand of liquid glucosamine for dogs probably won’t hurt either. If you’re thinking of it as a purely preventative measure, however, we’d really recommend simply adjusting your dog’s diet instead.
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