Do large breed puppies need glucosamine? The short answer is not usually. Most of the time you should wait until a dog is 12 months old and their bones have stopped growing to give them joint supplements.
But some breeds that are prone to joint problems like hip dysplasia can start taking glucosamine at 8 weeks old.
If you think that your puppy needs glucosamine or another joint supplement before they reach a year old, you should consult with your vet to make sure it’s safe for your dog.
Glucosamine Can Help Delay and Treat Arthritis in Dogs
Glucosamine is a treatment that has a good amount of evidence that shows it can effectively treat arthritis pain, the ability to bear weight, and lower severity of arthritis in dogs.
A study published in the Veterinary Journal in 2007 showed that after 70 days, dogs had significant pain relief from glucosamine.
Response to treatment was based on subjective evaluation by participating veterinarians who recorded their findings at each visit. Dogs treated with Glu/CS showed statistically significant improvements in scores for pain, weight-bearing, and severity of the condition by day 70.
That’s good news if you have a large or giant breed dog as many of these breeds are subject to hip dysplasia and arthritis.
Is Glucosamine Safe for Puppies?
Glucosamine is safe for most puppies that are over 8 weeks old, but veterinarians usually recommend that you wait until puppies are one year old before taking joint supplements.
When giving ANY supplement to a dog under one-year-old check with your vet first to make sure it’s safe.
What Type of Glucosamine Should You Give a Dog?
According to PetMD, the type of glucosamine that you should give a dog is glucosamine hydrochloride and not glucosamine sulfate.
The glucosamine hydrochloride type has been shown to have benefits for dogs’ joints and cartilage. This is an amino sugar that is produced in dogs’ bodies naturally. It helps to stimulate the growth of the cartilage cells that protect the joints.
Consider Adding Chondroitin and MSM
The supplement chondroitin when added to glucosamine can have an added protective effect.
Chondroitin is a supplement that helps to promote elasticity and water retention in cartilage. When you add it to the glucosamine you can increase the benefit of the supplement.
MSM can work in conjunction with glucosamine and chondroitin. It helps to reduce inflammation and block pain signals.
Many widely available dog supplements combine these three ingredients. Some of them even come in chews, which are easier for most dogs to take than a pill.
How Much Glucosamine Should You Give a Dog?
The general rule of thumb is that you should give your dog 30 milligrams of glucosamine hydrochloride for every 2.2 pounds (one kilogram) of your dog’s body weight. This is a loading dose that you do for four weeks.
After four weeks you should cut the dose in half and give 15 milligrams of glucosamine hydrochloride for every 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of your dog’s body weight.
What Large Breeds Are Affected by Joint Problems?
One of the reasons that you might want to consult with your veterinarian on giving a puppy glucosamine is if you have a large breed dog that is more prone to joint problems.
The AKC says that hip dysplasia – a type of joint problem – can occur in small dogs, but is more common in large breeds. That includes breeds like:
- German Shepherds
- Saint Bernards
- Great Danes
If you have a breed on this list or if you know that the genetics of your specific dog has a history of joint issues, including hip dysplasia, you may want to talk with your vet about starting your dog on joint supplements like glucosamine when they are puppies.
How to Choose a Glucosamine Supplement for Your Dog
If you decide to give your dog a joint supplement you will find that there are a lot of them on the market.
The first thing you should look for is the list of active ingredients. You want to make sure that you are giving your dog glucosamine hydrochloride and not glucosamine sulfate.
Good quality supplements should be made from cold-press extrusion and should be made in the United States.
It’s a good idea to get a joint supplement that has more than just glucosamine. A well-rounded supplement will also have chondroitin and MSM.
The Importance of Quality Puppy Foods in Joint Protection
All puppies need to have quality food, but it’s especially important for large and giant breed dogs that have intense nutritional demands.
One of the things you can do to protect your dog’s joints as they age is to make sure they have high-quality food as puppies. This gives their bodies the best possible chance to develop properly. There are breed-specific puppy foods as well as puppy foods that are developed with breed size in mind.
Getting food that is specifically engineered for a large or giant breed can help your puppy to develop the strongest joints possible.
The Importance of Exercise in Dog Joint Health
All dogs need exercise and puppies usually need a lot of exercise.
Exercise has many benefits for both you and your dog. A dog that is well exercised is likely to be a healthy weight and not have extra weight pushing on its joints.
When puppies exercise, they build strong muscles and cartilage that will help support their joints as they age.
While it’s impossible to say exactly how much exercise a large breed puppy will need, a good rule of thumb is that you should exercise your dog for a total of about 60 minutes every day.
This can mean going for a walk, playing catch, or taking them for a swim.