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Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM for Pets Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

Glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and Boswellia supplements for pets compared in this review

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21st Century Essential Pet Adult Hip & Joint

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Cosequin DS Maximum Strength Plus MSM

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Dogs Well Happy Hips - Chicken Recipe

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Liquid Health Naturals K9 Glucosamine

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NaturVet Advanced Care ArthriSoothe-Gold - Level 3

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NaturVet Joint HealthAdvanced Care - Level 3

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NutriVet Hip & Joint Paw-Gel for Cats - Salmon Flavor Gel

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Pet Naturals® of Vermont Hip + Joint - Dogs & Cats

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Summary



  • Do joint supplements help pets? Based on preliminary evidence, glucosamine and chondroitin may help reduce symptoms of degenerative joint disease in dogs and cats. Boswellia may also help, as an anti-inflammatory. MSM may help with muscle soreness. (See What It Does).
  • What did CL's test of joint supplements for animals find? One product contained only about three-quarters of its listed glucosamine and chondroitin and it was not possible to test another.
  • Which joint products are best for pets? Products that passed CL's tests of quality are noted as "Approved" in the Results Table below, where they are also compared. Approved products which also provided high-quality ingredients at lowest cost — indicating superior value — are noted in the last column of that table. Among these, CL selected a Top Picks for Dogs and a Top Picks for Cats.
  • How much joint supplement to give your pet?
    • Glucosamine and chondroitin: These may be used separately, but most supplements contain a combination. For a 25 lb. pet, a typical daily dose is 500 mg glucosamine hydrochloride and 400 mg chondroitin sulfate.
    • MSM: An optimal dose has not been established.
    • Boswellia: In dogs, 400 mg of Boswellia extract per 10 kg body weight (22 lbs.) has been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness. Taking Boswellia extract along with fatty foods may enhance absorption. Note that if only Boswellia resin is listed, it is likely less potent than Boswellia extract, and extracts can vary in AKBA (a boswellic acid) concentration from about 2% to 40% -- although the amount of AKBA is rarely listed on labels.
    Dosage for these each of these ingredients should be adjusted depending on the weight of your pet (see Dosage in the ConsumerTips™).  
  • Safety and side effects of joint health products for animals: Most of these ingredients can cause some gastrointestinal upset, such as nausea and diarrhea and, although generally safe, some can interact with drugs, trigger allergies, or cause other side-effects. MSM may have an aspirin-like effect and shouldn't be used by pets already taking blood-thinning drugs, unless medically supervised (see Concerns and Cautions).


You must be a member to get the full test results for joint health supplements for animals along with ConsumerLab.com recommendations and quality ratings. In this comprehensive review of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and Boswellia supplements for joint health in dogs and cats, you'll get test results and quality ratings for eight supplements (including four that passed our voluntary Quality Certification Program). You'll learn:
  • Which glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and Boswellia supplements for dogs and cats passed or failed ConsumerLab.com's testing and review and CL's Top Picks
  • What glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and Boswellia can and cannot do for joint pain and arthritis in dogs and cats
  • Price comparisons to help you find the best joint supplement at the lowest cost for your dog or cat
  • How much AKBA (a key compound) is actually in Boswellia supplements for pets, since labels usually don't say -- and why it is important to know
  • The dose of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and Boswellia generally used to treat arthritis in animals
  • Potential side-effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and Boswellia in dogs and cats

Also see our separate report on these types of supplements for people.

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