Best Joint Supplements for Large Dogs

Because large dogs get joint problems at a higher rate than small dogs there are many joint supplements for large dogs on the market.

What to buy can be confusing and like most products, some of them are better than others. When you look for a joint supplement you should look for the following ingredients because these are the ones that can actually help.

Glucosamine hydrochloride

Giving glucosamine to your dog can help protect and stimulate the joint cartilage.

This supplement can take a while to reach therapeutic levels in your dog’s system, but once it does it can help to reduce pain in dogs that are suffering from arthritis.

For healthy dogs who don’t have joint pain, you can use a glucosamine hydrochloride supplement on a dog as young as 8 weeks old to help prevent joint problems down the line.

The typical dose should be front-loaded at the rate of 30 mg per pound of your dog’s body weight for about 4 weeks. After that, you can reduce the dose to 15 mg per pound. Your vet can help you with specific dosing instructions for your particular dog.

SPECIAL NOTE: It is important that the supplement you are using is glucosamine hydrochloride (read the label) and not glucosamine sulfate. Glucosamine sulfate is not proven to be effective in dogs.

Omega-3 fatty acids

This is an ingredient that can be used for dogs of all ages. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, support joint lubrication, and can reduce the pain of arthritis. This type of fatty acid is also beneficial for your dog’s skin, kidneys and heart.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many dog supplements and can also be found in high-quality dog food. However, the amounts that are in these formulations aren’t usually enough to give your dog a benefit.

To get enough omega-3 fatty acids to be beneficial you should consider a krill or fish oil supplement for your dog. You want a balanced supplement that has both DHA and EPA in it.

Avoid flaxseed oil, as it only contains ALA and is not optimal for a dog joint supplement.

These supplements can go rancid quickly, so be sure to store them in an opaque container in the freezer. This will keep them fresh for a longer time.

ASUs (Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables)

ASUs give a boost to the effectiveness of both glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate, so supplements that contain all three ingredients can be quite effective.

Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables help protect cartilage by reducing inflammation and stimulating the healing response after cartilage has been damaged.

This is a supplement that will protect existing cartilage but will not help once there is no cartilage left in the dog’s joints.

Chondroitin Sulfate

This supplement works by stopping the enzymes that can destroy cartilage. Dogs that are over 8 weeks old can take this supplement, but it doesn’t work in dogs that no longer have cartilage to protect.

This is a supplement that is not easily absorbed by dogs. If you can find a version with a formula that is easier to absorb it will have a better effect.

By itself, the typical dose should be front-loaded at the rate of 30 mg per pound of your dog’s body weight for about 4 weeks. After that, you can reduce the dose to 15 mg per pound. Your vet can help you with specific dosing instructions for your particular dog.

When you give a compound supplement that contains chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and ASUs together the individual doses are lowered because of how well these ingredients can work in tandem.

Cannabidiol (CBDs)

In recent years CBD oil supplements have made big headlines for both humans and dogs so it can be difficult to separate the reality from the hype.

CBDs work by reducing both inflammation and pain. It does not prevent or treat your dog’s cartilage. Its main purpose is to help with inflammation and pain.

This is a supplement that is more beneficial to older pets than to younger dogs that have currently healthy joints.

A 2021 study showed that CBD can reduce inflammation in dogs.

There are many dog joint supplements on the market that contain CBD oil. You can also buy CBD oil as a stand-alone product.

Since there are no long-term studies yet on CBD for dogs – and much of the hype is anecdotal – it’s especially important to check with your veterinarian before using a CBD product for your dog.


Turmeric is a spice that you might already have in your cupboards at home. This spice is known to be anti-inflammatory and is a common ingredient in supplements that are formulated for large dog joint protection.

Other Supplemental Ingredients That Can Support Joint Health

There are also a few ingredients that you can add directly to your dog’s food as supplements that can help protect their joints.

Cooked Sweet Potato

This is a stand-alone item that you can feed your dog to help protect your joints. Just remember that you should NEVER feed your dog raw sweet potato.

The sweet potato should be peeled and cooked and added to the dog food.

Sweet potatoes work to help with joints because they contain the ingredient beta-cryptoxanthin, which prevents joints from getting inflamed in the first place. If your dog has constipation they can also help to gently relieve it.

Coconut Oil

It seems like everyone and their brother is shilling coconut oil these days. But the reality is that coconut oil is full of the types of fats that reduce inflammation.

You can add a spoonful to your dog’s food daily and/or rub it directly into their skin where they are feeling pain.

Always Check With Your Vet

Of course, always talk with your veterinarian about what is best for your dog and your specific situation. Your dog may have different problems and sometimes joint pain can be the sign of a larger health issue.

Regular veterinary visits are important to keep dogs in good health and can help to spot joint problems early so that they have the best possible chance of being treated.

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