Today I want to talk about the bane of my boy’s existence – arthritis.
Just like people, dogs get arthritis.
Usually, arthritis is more commonly seen in older dogs, but certain injuries and illnesses can also contribute to the earlier development of arthritis.
For Jet, his arthritis is due to unilateral hip dysplasia in his left hip (diagnosed at age 2,) aging, and a torn and repaired CCL (ACL) at age 10.
Fortunately, Jet has relatively healthy joints in his shoulders and elbow joints. Unfortunately
Unfortunately, Jet now has a very weak hind end. So, as his mom, I have to do what I can to help him stay
So, as his mom, I have to do what I can to help him stay pain-free and to keep his joints as mobile as possible.
(The picture below is an image of Jet’s x-ray of both his hips and knees. This was taken when he was 10-years-old just after his CCL tear.)
Just a note before we begin, some supplements, medications, and therapies can interact with other health conditions or treatment plans that your dog is under, so it is ALWAYS prudent to consult your vet about any changes in your dog’s routine!
Supplements for Arthritis
There are plenty of supplements available for arthritis but as a pet parent and not a holistic veterinarian, it can be hard to determine which supplements are going to be beneficial for your dog.
Having researched just about everything I can find, I want to share with you the supplements that are most frequently recommended for dogs with arthritis.
Point Pet Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the first supplements to be recommended for dogs that have any kind of joint or mobility difficulties.
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that is found in connective tissues.
Chondroitin is a naturally occurring compound in the body that is found in cartilage and connective tissues.
Sadly, while most people know that these are worthy supplements for joint health, they don’t know the dosage or importance of ratios of glucosamine to chondroitin when supplementing. So, here they are!
Glucosamine should be dosed at around 250 mg per 10lbs of weight of your dog TWICE a day.
Glucosamine and chondroitin should always be given at an optimal ratio of 3:1 for maximum effectiveness.
|Dog Weight||Ratio of Glucosamine to Chondroitin|
|5lbs||125mg / 40mg twice daily|
|10lbs||250mg / 80mg twice daily|
|15lbs||375mg / 125mg twice daily|
|20lbs||500mg / 165mg twice daily|
|25lbs||625mg / 210 mg twice daily|
|30lbs||750mg / 250mg twice daily|
|35lbs||875mg / 300mg twice daily|
|40lbs||1000mg / 330mg twice daily|
|45lbs||1125mg / 375mg twice daily|
|50lbs||1250mg / 415mg twice daily|
*Always begin your dog off with a lower dose and work your way up to a higher dose to avoid gastric upset
MSM is often incorporated into glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.
MSM stands for methylsulfonylmethane and is an organic sulfur compound that helps to reduce inflammation. MSM also helps to strengthen cartilage and joint tissues.
The recommended therapeutic dose of MSM for dogs is between 50mg to 100mg per 10lbs of your dog’s body weight.
It is always best to begin at the lower end of the dosing spectrum and work your way up.
Amazing Nutritionals Turmeric Chews
Turmeric has a good number of health applications for people and dogs, but when it comes to arthritis Turmeric is recommended for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.
You can utilize pet turmeric supplements or sprinkle turmeric on top of your pets food.
The recommended dosing is 1/8 to a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric per 10lbs of body weight per day.
You should always begin at the lower end of the dosing spectrum and work your way up.
You should also be sure that your dog has water available at all times because turmeric can cause constipation without adequate water intake.
Makondo Pets Collagen
Collagen is what is responsible for the elasticity in your dog’s joints and cartilage.
Many raw feeders utilize raw beef products as a way to include collagen in their dog’s diet.
You can supplement collagen in your dog’s diet by utilizing supplement products too.
Dosing on collagen products will vary, so follow the instructions on the product that you opt to use.
See turmeric. Curcumin is a substance that is found in turmeric.
Grizzly Salmon Oil
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids include Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s which are frequently recommended for dogs with joint and mobility difficulties.
Like glucosamine and chondroitin, when you supplement your dog with omega 3’s and omega 6’s, the ratio of these supplements to each other is important.
The optimal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is 1:5.
The recommended dose of omega 3’s is 100mg to 300 mg per 10lbs of body weight of your dog per day. This dose varies depending upon the severity of arthritis in the joints. As always, it is best to start on the lower end of the dosing scale and work your way up.
In keeping with the optimal ratio, the daily dose of omega 6’s is 0.5g to 1.5g per 10lbs of body weight of your dog per day.
The easiest way to supplement your dog with omega fatty acids is through supplementing with whole fish (avoid mercury-rich fish or fresh raw fish that can have flukes like salmon.)
You can also use fish oils on your dog’s food. We use Grizzly salmon oil when possible. (Although a salmon oil, Grizzly Salmon Oil regularly tests the mercury levels in their oil supplements making them safe for dogs!)
Always try to stay on the lower end of supplementation when using fish oils, however, since excessive supplementation can deplete vitamin E!
Vitamin E helps to maintain the elasticity of connective tissues and many people find it beneficial when treating their dog’s arthritis.
Some dog owners include it in their dog’s supplements when treating with fish oil just to ensure that their dog’s vitamin E levels are not depleted.
Vitamin E is usually supplemented in doses of 400IU for smaller dogs and 800IU for larger dogs once per day.
Hyaflex Hyaluronic Acid
HLA or Hyaluronic acid is related to glucosamine and it is found naturally in the fluid in your dog’s joints that helps to keep them lubricated.
There is some question in the canine supplement world as to whether or not oral HLA can be beneficial. Some dog owners prefer to consult their vet about injectable HLA supplements like Hylartin V (this is actually a horse supplement.)
Dosing of HLA varies based on a number of factors including the strength of the product you are using and the other ingredients in the supplement that you choose. Dose according to the supplement that you choose to use.
Wholistic Pet Organics Ester-C
As in people, vitamin C has a wide range of health benefits in dogs, but when it comes to arthritis, vitamin C helps to maintain collagen health.
The recommended dose of vitamin C when supplementing dogs with arthritis varies depending on who you ask. Some holistic veterinarians suggest supplementing arthritis dogs with vitamin C until their bowel is unable to tolerate higher levels – meaning to keep increasing the dose until your dog has diarrhea. This doesn’t jive with me so I am including a measured recommendation instead.
Vitamin C should be supplemented for arthritic dogs as follows: small dogs, 125 to 500 mg. twice daily; medium dogs, 250-1,500 mg. twice daily; large dogs, 500-1,500 mg. twice daily.
Be aware that when you begin supplementing your dog with vitamin C they will likely experience diarrhea. You can limit this stomach upset by starting at a lower dose and working your way up as well as cutting your dog’s dose into multiple doses throughout the day.
Which Supplements to Choose…
When it comes to choosing the right supplements for your dog, the choice is up to you and your dog’s vet.
Keep in mind that the supplements and supplement dosing recommendations in this article are only suggestions based on my research, you should always ask your vet if a supplement and dosing schedule is right for your dog.
For us, we started with glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM when Jet was just 2 years old.
From there we added in fish oil when he was an adult.
More recently, we have added in collagen.
Just remember, whatever you choose, it may often take a few weeks to a couple of months before you start to see any improvement in your dog’s arthritis symptoms. I always recommend at least two months of a new supplement before you abandon all hope.