Glucosamine for dogs: how much do you know about it and what is it?
If you’re a pooch parent, you’ll likely have seen the phrase ‘with added glucosamine’ popping up on dog food packaging, suggesting some kind of health benefit… but you still have no idea what this magic stuff actually is.
As always, we’re here to deliver the honest facts. In this post, we explain the glucosamine basics, outline where it’s found, and discuss why it’s a fundamental part of joint care for dogs – as well as a great addition to their diet.
Let’s start with the technical talk. Glucosamine is an amino sugar found in the structure of two polysaccharides: chitin and chitosan. Polysaccharides, simply put, are molecules comprised of smaller monosaccharides – sugars such as glucosamine.
Where do we find glucosamine for dogs?
Glucosamine readily occurs in natural goodies such as bone, marrow, and shellfish, but it can also be made in a lab. You can buy it in supplement form or serve it to your dog via whole foods such as bone broth, powdered krill powder, or green-lipped mussels.
You won’t find any low-quality, artificial glucosamine in our meals. Our recipes for hounds of every age contain Antarctic krill powder, a natural source of glucosamine and a superior supplier of omega-3: this powerhouse ingredient cultivates long-term joint, heart, and brain health in dogs. Alongside krill, you’ll also find green-lipped mussels in our senior recipes: an excellent source of both glucosamine and chondroitin, another joint support hero.
The health benefits of glucosamine for dogs
Like chondroitin, glucosamine is a structural component of cartilage – the tissue that supports joints and cushions the bones – and it’s also found in the fluid around the joints.
Extensive research has demonstrated the crucial role glucosamine plays in fighting and treating joint disease. First, it’s an excellent preventative, especially for active canines, as it aids the maintenance of healthy cartilage sites, keeping joints robust. In particular, it fortifies articular cartilage, the tissue that envelopes the ends of bones where they meet to form joints, reducing wear and tear.
Glucosamine is also a critical component of joint care for senior dogs – and, unlike other medications for joint-related conditions, it comes with minimal side effects.
As hounds get older, their natural levels of glucosamine drop, triggering the slow erosion of joints over time. From here, we see arthritis and joint disease occur, both of which cause painful inflammation in the joint capsule. To combat the ageing process, canines need a diet that makes up for this glucosamine shortfall… but does ‘added glucosamine’ mean the same from dog food to dog food?
Glucosamine for dogs… beware the claims
As we mentioned earlier, ‘added glucosamine’ is now a claim that accompanies commercial pet foods far and wide. However, not all claims are made equal.
You’ll find joint support listed as a benefit on plenty of dog food packaging as these recipes technically include glucosamine. The main issue? Many provide far less glucosamine than your pooch needs to enjoy proper joint support.
When shopping for food containing glucosamine for dogs, your best move is to opt for whole food meals that make glucosamine abundantly bioavailable: this allows your canine to absorb a meaningful quantity from their food fast and efficiently, in its natural form. Fresh, glucosamine-rich foods are also less costly than prescription diets – and just as potent. So, add in those powerhouse ingredients and fill your pooch’s bowl with all that extra goodness.
We hope you no longer feel in the dark when it comes to the glucosamine game. If you have any questions or concerns, drop us a line – we’re a friendly bunch with years of expertise in all things dog and cat.