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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best hip and joint supplements for dogs

Last Updated September 2019

Many senior dogs suffer from the aches and pains of arthritis, just as some older people do. The inflammation and damage to a dog’s joints are generally revealed in the form of limping, stiffness, or reluctance to do things the dog once did without complaint, such as going up and down stairs, chasing a ball, or jumping into the car. While there’s no cure for arthritis, there are certainly ways to relieve the discomfort it causes. A good hip and joint supplement might not restore your dog to puppyhood vigor, but it can help reduce the pain and bring back some friskiness to the loyal and fun companion you love.

We’ve investigated the market for these supplements and included several recommendations here of products we think stand out from the rest. If you’d like to learn more about hip and joint ailments in dogs and how these supplements can help, read on.

While arthritis is a common condition in older dogs, a good hip and joint supplement can help relieve the discomfort.

Key considerations

Arthritis in dogs

While there are different types of arthritis, the most common by far in both dogs and humans is osteoarthritis, sometimes abbreviated as OA. This unfortunately widespread condition is often considered an inevitable part of aging, although it doesn’t strike every senior dog.

OA is a complex disease, but basically, it involves the slow, wear-and-tear damage of the cartilage that cushions the bones in joints, such as the hips and spine. As the cartilage wears away, it allows bones to rub together, creating a great deal of pain, stiffness, and inflammation. In advanced OA, the bones can develop small spurs or chips, leading to even more inflammation and damage inside the joint.

While arthritis can develop in any joint, it’s especially common in the back and hips of dogs. Although many people brush off the early symptoms of arthritis as their dog “just showing its age,” the dog is really indicating that it’s in pain. Common signs of arthritis in dogs include the following:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Less interested in walks or outings
  • Reluctance to use stairs
  • Refusal to jump onto the couch or into the car
  • Walking slowly and stiffly, especially in the morning
  • Limping or refusing to walk more than a few steps
  • Irritability, depression, or unusual aggression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Crying
  • Showing signs of pain when touched on affected areas of the body
  • Accidents” inside the house

 

Vet formulated and approved

Developed by a veterinarian with more than three decades of experience in treating dog joint and bone problems, including arthritis, VetPro Complete is loaded with powerful ingredients that help relieve your dog’s discomfort and bring back his enthusiasm for life, walks, and fetch. Includes omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, too.

Treatment of canine arthritis

While severe arthritis calls for a trip to the veterinarian for prescription-strength pain and inflammation relievers, there are many over-the-counter supplements you can give your dog to help treat minor arthritis discomfort or help ward off the condition. Here are some of the most common — and effective — ingredients you’ll find in OTC hip and joint supplements for dogs.

Glucosamine: One of the most studied supplements for arthritis pain, glucosamine is naturally produced in the body and helps maintain the integrity of the cartilage cushions inside the spine, hips, and other joints. As a dog (or human) ages, production of glucosamine tends to drop, leaving cartilage susceptible to wear and tear. A good supplement helps restore the normal level of glucosamine and repair damaged cartilage. Shellfish is the usual source of the glucosamine found in supplements.

Chondroitin: Another natural substance found in bone and connective tissue, chondroitin is usually combined with glucosamine in OTC supplements because the two ingredients work synergistically to reduce arthritis symptoms. Chondroitin slows the progression of arthritis by fighting off enzymes that destroy cartilage. Supplemental chondroitin is generally sourced from animal cartilage.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fish oil and other foods, omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce joint pain.

Turmeric: This bright yellow-orange spice has benefits that go far beyond the kitchen. Turmeric is another anti-inflammatory that helps reduce swelling, pain, and cell damage.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): MSM is another compound produced naturally in the body, as well as in many fruits and vegetables. While studies are not entirely conclusive, MSM does seem to help relieve pain and inflammation in connective tissue and joints. It’s often included with glucosamine and chondroitin.

Hyaluronic acid: Yet another substance found naturally in the body, but decreasing with age, hyaluronic acid helps lubricate the joints to keep them moving smoothly and painlessly.

Cannabidiol (CBD): Found in hemp and cannabis, CBD is not the psychoactive ingredient that gets you high. Instead, this compound is said to have strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities.

EXPERT TIP

Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is crucial for relieving painful strain on the hips and spine.


Staff  | BestReviews

Hip and joint supplement features

While a good canine arthritis supplement should contain one or more of the above ingredients, there are a few other things to look for:

Appeal: First, the supplement needs to appeal to your dog. That isn’t usually too much of a problem because the majority of dog hip and joint supplements are flavored with meat or other foods that dogs love, and the supplements have a chewy, treat-like texture.

Affordability: The supplement needs to be cost-effective. Most dog vitamins and supplements are dosed based on a pet’s weight, meaning that the heavier the dog, the more capsules in a dose. If you have a large-breed dog, take that into consideration when choosing a supplement.

No fillers: The supplement should contain little beyond the active ingredients and the dog-appealing flavor. Watch out for supplements with fillers, artificial colors, or other nonessential ingredients.

Side effects: Keep in mind that while most of these supplements have no side effects, some sensitive dogs may show digestive symptoms such as loose stools or gas. Generally, the side effects will subside within several days, but if not, discontinue the supplement.

Most dogs eagerly take their arthritis supplements because the chews are generally flavored with meat, bacon, or another appealing ingredient.

Dog hip and joint supplement prices

You don’t need to break your budget to buy an arthritis supplement for your dog. Almost all of them are in the $20 to $40 range. Remember, however, that while small dogs might only need one treatment chew per day, large-breed dogs may well require four or more daily chews to provide a sufficient dose of the active ingredients, so keep that in mind when comparing prices.

Inexpensive: Supplements that cost less than $20 generally have fewer active ingredients or a lower percentages of those ingredients.

Mid-range: This is the sweet spot for hip and joint supplements for dogs. Products in the $20 to $40 range generally provide effective doses of well-researched arthritis treatments.

Expensive: As a general rule, canine arthritis supplements that cost more than $40 have exotic or organic ingredients or are more marketing hype than substance.

EXPERT TIP

Check the recommended daily dosage of the hip and joint supplement before giving it to your dog because most are based on a dog’s weight.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Monitor your dog’s weight: Overweight dogs are far likelier to suffer from arthritis pain. Watch your dog’s food intake and feed a healthy diet of balanced dog food, not table scraps.
  • Raise the food bowls: Lifting your dog’s food and water bowls lets your pet eat comfortably without straining the neck and back. There are racks specifically made for this purpose, or you can set the bowls on a small box or footstool.
  • Pad the bed: A soft, comfortable bed with plenty of padding is far easier on an elderly dog’s joints than sleeping on the hard ground.
  • Get a ramp: Arthritis makes it hard for a dog to walk up or down steps or jump up onto the couch, bed, or car. Help your pet out with a ramp made just for dogs.
  • Encourage exercise: Although your furry friend might be slower than before, a dog still needs regular exercise. Go for a daily walk or short swim, but don’t let your pet overexert itself.
  • Try heat: There are heating pads just for dogs, and the warmth is very soothing to creaky old joints.
  • Set out rugs or runners: Stiff, painful joints make it difficult for your dog to keep his balance on slippery hard floors. Make life easier by using small rugs or carpet runners in the areas where your dog spends the most time.
  • Consider alternative therapies: Massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy can all help arthritic dogs feel better.
  • Get medical treatment: While OTC hip and joint supplements can be very helpful, if your dog shows signs of severe pain, it might be time to try prescription medications.

Formulated for your dog’s weight

Unlike most hip and joint supplements for dogs, PawStruck offers three different formulations for small, medium, or large dogs, so you won’t have to feed your big dog four or more treats per day; just one or two is enough. Glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and turmeric will have your dog feeling its best every day.

Other products we considered

While we think the products listed above are some of the best on the market, if your pooch doesn’t care for their taste, or you want to try something else, we also recommend the following hip and joint supplements for dogs. The Pet Faves Healthy Hips and Joints & Immune System Boost is loaded with pain-busting ingredients to help your four-legged friend feel its best, including glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, turmeric, and hemp oil. And dogs love its bacon flavor. Another great choice is VetFlix Hip & Joint. Unlike most supplements for dogs, this is a liquid, not a chew, so it’s easily added to even a picky pooch’s meal. The tincture contains MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and vitamin C.

While there are several ingredients that help relieve the pain and stiffness of arthritis, chondroitin and glucosamine are the most common.

FAQ

Q. Are some dog breeds more susceptible to arthritis than others?
A.
While any breed of dog, including mutts, can develop arthritis as they age, certain breeds are more likely to be stricken with this painful affliction. As a general rule, large breeds, including German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Great Danes, and Newfoundlands are likelier to develop arthritis than smaller breeds. An exception to this is smaller breeds with long backs, such as corgis and dachshunds, both of which are prone to hip and spine problems.

Q. Can puppies get arthritis?
A
. Although most arthritic dogs are seniors with osteoarthritis, there are other types of arthritis and joint disorders that can develop in young dogs, even puppies. If your puppy seems to be in pain, limps, doesn’t want to walk or jump, or seems generally unwell, it’s time for a trip to the vet.

Q. What’s the best way to give my dog his hip and joint supplement?
A.
Most of these supplements are flavored with beef, chicken, peanut butter, or some other ingredient that dogs find delicious, and they come in a chewy, treat-like form, so go ahead and toss your dog a supplement as a regular treat, if you’d like. You can also drop the supplements into your dog’s food if that’s easier.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michelle
    Michelle
    Writer

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