We’ve all seen those joint supplements advertised on TV, but have you ever wondered if they work? Vets have been recommending joint supplements to their canine patients for years because they are safe and they do help improve mobility in older dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, or inflammation of the joints. Here are three vets sharing their favorite joint supplements for dogs that really helped make an impact on their patients’ quality of life.
Dr. Jennifer Coates
One of my top recommendations is Animal Flex, a unique blend of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate that comes in two forms—chewable tablets or powder. The whole tablet provides 1,000 mg of glucosamine and 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate, plus flavoring to mask unpleasant taste. There are no fillers, no wheat or corn ingredients like most joint supplements—only high-quality animal ingredients like fish oil and natural chicken liver flavor. And it’s affordably priced at $15 per bottle (300 doses). I like to recommend one packet daily until your dog seems comfortable, then you can cut back as needed. I also love Bravecto, which prevents fleas and ticks without any messy topical applications. If your dog goes hiking or swimming often, Bravecto could be a great choice because there’s no risk of him ingesting these topical treatments when he licks his fur after getting wet. Also, if you have multiple dogs in your household, consider switching them all over to Bravecto instead of separate topical applications. The cost is only slightly higher than typical flea/tick products and lasts much longer—and it protects against many other external parasites besides fleas and ticks!
Dr. Heidi Houchen
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA and there are so many out there. I am very particular about choosing my brands, because you can never be sure of what you’re getting from supplement companies. In terms of a specific product, I would recommend Vetoquinol’s HA. It’s made up of natural hyaluronic acid and has a proven track record for helping maintain joint health and also preventing or delaying chronic conditions like arthritis. I also like Cosequin ASU; it’s packed with glucosamine sulfate as well as chondroitin, which have both been shown to promote cartilage growth and joint lubrication and mobility. My third recommendation is called Paws Aboard. This is an all-natural formula that contains turmeric, boswellia, ginger root extract and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). It helps reduce inflammation in joints and supports healthy tissue regeneration.
Dr. Sarah Blaisdell
I recommend BioFlex, a supplement that contains glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric and hyaluronic acid. It also has MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), which is an organic sulfur-containing compound that can help joint health. This product is safe for long-term use in dogs with arthritis. Make sure you give your dog plenty of fresh water when you give them supplements! I also like to recommend Dasuquin with MSM because it has both glucosamine and chondroitin and it’s got ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables) which is good to have when giving your dog medications. Another thing to consider is that certain breeds are more prone to joint problems than others—for example, large breeds such as German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers may be more likely to develop hip dysplasia. If you have one of these dogs, especially if they’re not on medication already, talk with your vet about what else might be helpful for them. Remember: there are many different kinds of arthritis and some treatments work better than others depending on what kind your dog has.