Glucosamine is one of the major building blocks utilised in the body’s synthesis of the lubricants and shock absorbing mechanisms necessary to maintain and restore healthy joint performance.
Glucosamine supplementation enhances the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and proteoglycans, which are essential for rebuilding joints and supporting synovial fluid which lubricates the joints. Collagen is a protein found in fibrous tissues such as tendon, ligament and skin, and is also abundant in the cornea, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, the gut, and intervertebral discs.
Dog owners who want to supplement with glucosamine will need to find a quality supplement but there is some confusion between which is better: pure glucosamine or glucosamine HCL or Sulfate?
“Pure glucosamine is very “hygroscopic” and degrades (breaks down) rapidly when exposed to moisture or air. To avoid this, glucosamine needs to be bound to a stabilizer to be sold commercially. The sulfate and the HCL forms are two of the most common “agents” that glucosamine is bound to to ensure its stability. After glucosamine is bound, it is stable and will not degrade before it can get to the store shelf. This is why you never find “just” glucosamine and instead find Glucosamine Sulfate or Glucosamine HCL.
When considering supplementing a dog with glucosamine, dosage is important. Dosing is determined by body: 500 mg per 25 lbs of weight. Because glucosamine is generally considered safe, there should be little concern of overdose. For acute injuries, glucosamine can be given at a triple dose for one week. For dogs who have been diagnosed with arthritis, many vets advocate a double dose for life.
Dogs generally need to be on glucosamine for the rest of their lives, because cartilage degeneration can recur within months of stopping the supplement.