old dog standingIf you are wondering, what is glucosamine and chondroitin, you probably don’t have a senior dog. Glucosamine and chondroitin is used to help alleviate painful joints in our wonderful senior dogs. They can also be used for spinal disc injuries and following joint surgery.

As our dogs age, they can develop arthritis in their joints, just as humans do. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are some things we can do to help lessen the pain and improve mobility.


Cartilage in your dog’s joints helps them move smoothly. As your dog ages, the cartilage begins to break down causing arthritis, especially in the legs and hips.

Adding glucosamine and chondroitin as a supplement to your dog’s diet can encourage the growth of new cartilage, aide in the repair of damaged cartilage and increase hydration in the joints.

Symptoms of arthritis can include difficulty using stairs, limping, trouble getting up or lying down, pain when touched, walking slower and not wanting to play as often or intense.


Glucosamine is a natural substance, a sugar and an amino acid, that works by reducing inflammation and helping the body to repair damaged cartilage that cushions the joints.

It’s a popular treatment for arthritis in dogs, humans, horses and other animals. It comes from the shells of shrimp, lobsters and crabs or it can be made from plant sources in laboratories.


Chondroitin is often used in conjunction with glucosamine, helping to keep the cartilage tissue hydrated. The body’s production of chondroitin can not keep up with the dog’s needs as they age. Therefore supplements are needed. It is obtained from shark or cow cartilage.

old dog faceSide Effects

Although there have been very few studies, a few side effects have been observed. When giving your dog a new supplement, start on a day when you will be home and you should watch for side effects. Most dogs won’t have any side effects.

Do not give this product to your dog if they are diabetic, as it is a sugar-based substance. Talk to your veterinarian about your concerns. You can reduce the side effects by giving the supplement with food.

  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Allergies, especially shellfish
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia


You can find glucosamine and chondroitin in treats, tablets, pills, powder and liquid form made especially for dogs. Do not give your dog medications or supplements made for humans.

Most senior dog foods include glucosamine and chondroitin in their formulas. I have found that many senior dog foods do contain glucosamine and chondroitin, but my dog also needs a supplement.

Once you start giving your dog supplements, you will need to continue the supplements for the rest of your dog’s life. If you stop giving the supplements, your dog’s symptoms will reappear.

Freckles basset houndMy Experience

My dog will be 11 years old in April 2017. I switched her to a senior food at 7 years old. When she was 9 years old I noticed she was slower getting up from a nap. Her joints were getting stiff.

She was starting to walk slower and not jumping as much as she did before. Yes, my Basset is a jumper. She loves flying through the air and she looks so funny with those long ears!

I talked to her veterinarian and put her on a supplement. In a few weeks I saw a great improvement and she began walking and jumping as before. I give it to her in the form of a treat which she loves. You can check out her favorite treat here.

It’s important to talk to your veterinarian before placing your dog on any supplement, especially if your dog has special health needs. This supplement is not for all dogs and every dog will not have the same results.

If your senior dog has stiffness in their joints, they are limping, jumping less or just moving slower than they once did, talk to your veterinarian about supplements to help improve their joints, and reduce swelling and pain. If you need to find a veterinarian click here.

What has been your experience with a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement for your dog? Leave a comment below or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.