Watching your dog suffer from increasingly debilitating joint pain can be a heartbreaking experience. We all love our dogs, and it’s distressing to know that every step or movement is uncomfortable.
The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your dog’s joint pain. While your dog’s weight, diet and pain medication are all important, supplements can also improve joint health.
Joint supplements contain substances used to form cartilage, joint fluid and other parts of the musculoskeletal system. Whether your dog is already showing signs of joint pain or you want to reduce the chances of problems in the future, joint supplements are a relatively easy way to make a difference.
If you’ve researched joint supplements, you probably already know that there are many products available. Each supplement makes different claims and there is a huge range of prices. This can make choosing the best supplement for your dog difficult.
The ingredients in each supplement can also cause confusion. Some of the most common ingredients include glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin and omega-3 fatty acids. While you don’t need to know the biological reasons why these supplements are important, it’s useful to know the effects they provide.
To help you choose the right supplement, we’ve researched and reviewed three of the top joint supplements below. We’ve also provided an overview of three of the most common ingredients – fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin – and how they can improve your dog’s joint function and health.
Does Fish Oil Improve Dog Joint Health?
Fish oil contains omega-3 which can fight inflammation. This makes it an effective supplement for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
The great thing about fish oil is that it’s not just a folk remedy – it’s proven to improve joint health.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association showed that dogs with osteoarthritis that were given omega-3 showed a significant improvement in as little as six weeks compared to dogs that received a placebo. After 12 weeks, the effects of omega-3 were even more noticeable, with the dogs finding it much easier to walk without pain.
We’ve written a full article about omega-3 and how it can improve your dog’s joint health. You can read it here (ADD LINK).
How Does Glucosamine and Chondroitin Improve Dog Joint Health?
Glucosamine and chondroitin have been used to treat human joint problems for several decades. The supplements are now commonly used to treat arthritis in both dogs and cats. While supplements can’t repair structural damage in your dog’s joints – this type of damage is not affected by nutrition – glucosamine and chondroitin can help stimulate the production of cartilage.
Aside from arthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin can also have a positive effect on the health of dogs with hip dysplasia. This condition causes extreme wearing of the cartilage in the hip joints. If your dog suffers from hip dysplasia, talk to your vet about whether glucosamine and chondroitin may help.
The cartilage in a dog’s joints, which cushions the joint and aids smooth movement, is constantly being remade. As a dog gets older it becomes harder to create new cartilage. Glucosamine supplements provide the basic materials for new cartilage to be formed. Chondroitin has a similar effect but acts to reduce the rate at which cartilage is destroyed.
In short, glucosamine and chondroitin can be effective at improving your dog’s joint health. These ingredients can be found in most dog joint supplements (see the reviews below) and help to promote healthy cartilage formation.
Flex Pets Joint Solution
Which I am grateful for.
Joint pain is not a pretty subject.
We’ve lost a few beloved family members to it.
My grandmother loves larger dogs. And, all too often, these breeds suffer from debilitating joint pain.
We’ve seen some benefits with Glucosamine in the past. But never to the point where it saves their life.
Eventually, even with the best medicine available, we find that we have to put the poor babies down to save them from the constant pain.
So hopefully that explains a little why I am so excited about Flexpet. Flexpet is — to my knowledge — the only pain relief formula that has been clinically proven to help with joint pain.
The ingredient list is everything you would expect and hope for: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Bromelain. But now, with the new CM8® formula, we have a new tool in our arsenal against our pet’s pain.
We’ve seen relief from a lot of the other products I review on this page, but none of them were enough to save our babies. And frankly, the jury is still our on Flexpet, but it’s exciting to see Veterinarians working hard to come out with new solutions for us.
H3 Essentials Glucosamine for Dogs
The H3 Essentials supplement contains glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 and a substance called MSM. MSM is a chemical found naturally in animals and plants that are commonly used for joint pain and inflammation. Aside from these primary ingredients, H3 Essentials also provides vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-6 and a substance called Yucca Schidigera.
The combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM means that the H3 Essentials supplement provides excellent protection for your dog’s cartilage. Extra ingredients, including vitamins and omega-3, are also proven to reduce inflammation and ease your dog’s pain.
The H3 Essentials supplement is delivered as a chicken-flavored treat. This makes it easy to feed to your dog. It’s also a soft treat, so it’s suitable for older dogs that may have teeth problems. There are approximately 80 chews per bag and the company recommends two chews per day for a dog weighing up to 30lbs.
H3 Essentials has received strong reviews from dog owners, with an average rating of 4.6 stars. Reviewers report “noticeable results” after using a single bag. Others say that their dog loves eating them.
If you’re looking for a complete joint supplement for your dog, H3 Essentials is one of the best options. It is one of the few tablets to contain the three major joint health supplements – glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3. The downside is that there are relatively few chews included in a bag.
Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM for Large Dogs Review
The Nutramax Dasuquin joint supplement is designed to provide full joint support to dogs weighing over 60 lbs. 150 tablets are included in each bottle and the recommended dose is only one per day after an initial “loading” period.
During the loading period, your dog should be given two tablets per day.
As you’d expect, the Nutramax Dasuquin includes both glucosamine and chondroitin. The supplement also includes extra ingredients such as MSM, ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables) and green tea. The inclusion of ASU is a major advantage compared to other supplements such as H3 Essentials, as it has been used to reduce inflammation in people with osteoarthritis.
Unlike the H3 Essential supplement, Nutramax Dasuquin doesn’t contain omega-3. If you decide to buy this supplement, we recommend buying fish oil separately for greater inflammation reduction. Considering a large number of tablets – a single bottle of Nutramax Dasuquin can last up to 150 days – the supplement still provides excellent value.
Reviews of the Nutramax Dasuquin have been very positive, with the supplement receiving an average of 4.7 stars on Amazon. Many reviewers write that the product has worked well for their dog and provided a fast improvement.
There are some reviewers who write that they haven’t noticed an improvement, but this is likely due to the underlying cause of pain rather than an issue with the supplement.
Nutramax Dasuquin comes as flavored easy-to-chew tablets so you won’t have trouble feeding them to your dog. If you own a large dog then Nutramax Dasuquin is a great option.
Pet Naturals Hip & Joint Tablets (Extra Strength)
The Pet Naturals Hip & Joint supplement contains a mixture of ingredients to promote cartilage growth and reduce inflammation. The supplement includes glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, sulfate manganese, and vitamin C. These combine to create stronger connective tissue and healthier joints.
Like the Nutramax and H3 Essential supplements, Pet Naturals tablets are soft and tasty. If you’ve ever tried to feed your dog medicine that doesn’t taste good, you’ll know how important this is!
The company recommends feeding one tablet each day to dogs between 25lbs and 75lbs. Larger dogs may need two or three daily tablets. 120 tablets are included in the bottle, which is considerably more than alternatives such as the H3 Essentials supplement.
Reviewers of the Pet Naturals supplement love the product. There are a number of stories of rapid improvements in joint pain and function after using the product.
Pet Naturals, however, doesn’t contain omega-3. If you want a single tablet that provides complete joint protection, we recommend the H3 Essentials. For basic joint protection, which can easily be supplemented with omega-3 using a separate tablet, Pet Naturals provides great value.
Joint supplements are a proven way to reduce inflammation and promote healthy joint function. While they can’t perform miracles, they can provide a noticeable effect on the comfort of a dog with joint conditions such as arthritis.
Joint supplements are also recommended for younger dogs to delay the onset of joint pain.
All three of the joint supplements in this article provide high-quality support for your dog’s joints. If we had to recommend one, it would be the H3 Essentials supplement.
While it may be more expensive per dose, it provides more comprehensive joint support with the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids. If your dog suffers from arthritis or general joint pain, H3 Essentials can provide excellent results.
This doesn’t mean the other two supplements should be overlooked though.
For larger dogs, Nutramax Dasuquin is the obvious choice as each tablet provides a bigger dose of each ingredient. The supplement also includes ASU, which isn’t present in the other options.
The Pet Naturals supplement has fewer ingredients but provides excellent value for money, making it a good choice for those on a tight budget.