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Nutraceuticals for Canine Arthritis Treatment

We have already discussed the causes of canine arthritis, its progression, how to detect its first signs in your dog as well as strategies to delay its onset ranging from adequate nutrition, regular exercise and physical therapies such as swimming or canine massage. 
For all of these issues, please read our recent posts on "Dealing with Canine Arthritis" and "Canine Massage Therapy".

For the purpose of this article, we will take a closer look at Nutraceuticals that promise to assist with the relief of canine arthritis and joint care issues. 

What are Nutraceuticals?

The term “Nutraceutical” is derived from the terms “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”, and was originally defined as a “food that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease”. This definition becomes much more vague and more open to interpretation once it is used commercially...

In essence, there is no definitive definition of a Nutraceutical. A vague definition is that it is any dietary ingredient, including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino aids, and substances including enzymes, metabolites or organ tissues, which are included in a product, fed by mouth, and may provide some health benefit. 

It is worth noting that nutraceuticals are not subjected to the same testing and regulations as pharmaceuticals, and this is one of the reasons why there is a lot of skepticism around the subject of their benefits and efficacy. And with this definition in mind, it can't be surprising to realise that there are a variety of different dietary supplements and nutraceuticals which are used, and claim to be of benefit in treating or alleviating clinical symptoms of arthritis in pets.

Common Nutraceuticals used to treat Arthritis

In this article, we will take a closer look at the more common ones used to treat arthritis in pets and how these claim to work:

1) Glucosamine

Glucosamine Sulphate is considered one of the building blocks of joint fluid and cartilage in joints. It is a naturally occurring compound, and is often extracted from crab, lobster, or shrimp shells. It has been proposed that the product has a benefit in both alleviating pain, and modifying the cartilage structure in arthritic pets. 

Certainly these effects have been measured in people suffering osteoarthritis, so it could be assumed that it’s equally effective in pets. However, it should be noted the appropriate dose and body condition for pets to receive the benefits of this supplement, aren’t defined to any accurate degree at this stage.

2) Chondroitin Sulphate

Chondroitin Sulphate is a substance that is naturally found in the connective tissues of animals. It is a common supplement for pets showing signs of osteo-arthritis, and the results are again vague. Some studies prove a benefit in reducing symptoms of pain and reduced mobility, whilst others show less promising results. And once again, the most effective dose rate isn’t obviously known.

3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are poly-ununsaturated fatty acids, of which 2 types (EPA, DHA) are found in marine, fish oils, and reportedly play a large role in treating and alleviating pain associated with arthritis in pets. Omega 3 Fatty acids are necessary physiologically for an animal’s normal metabolism, and are called essential fatty acids. As they cannot be produced in the body, they have to be supplemented via their diet.

Multiple studies have proven a health benefit in using Omega-3 oils to treat arthritis, by reducing the inflammation in the joint, and alleviating the symptoms of pain and reduced mobility, associated with this disease.

4) Green-Lipped Mussel Extracts

Green-lipped Mussel is a shellfish, often sourced from New Zealand. The extract from this food source, contains a combination of Glucosamine, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and a variety of minerals. It is proposed that the product can alleviate pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. Once again, there really isn’t a lot of evidence to support the claims, and the question you need to ask, is whether your pet is getting an appropriate dosage to make a difference.

Often, commercial products are comprised of a combination of the nutraceuticals mentioned above, in addition to other ingredients. 

What are some common commercial Nutraceuticals in Australia?

#1. Ceva Animal Health - Joint Guard

Joint Guard for Dogs is a formula containing key ingredients that have been shown to work together to maintain healthy joints in dogs. 
It contains purified Glucosamine Hydrochloride which is the raw material for new cartilage growth plus an easy-to-absorb form of Chondroitin Sulfate to help reduce ongoing cartilage damage. 

Joint Guard also contains MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), an organic sulfur compound that is claimed to reduce pain and inflammation.

Available in three pack sizes: 200g, 400g and 750g.

RRP: from $53.35 (200g) at

#2. Glyde Mobility Chews

Glyde Mobility Chews can help maintain healthy joints and cartilage and may also aid in the improvement of joint health and function in dogs.

The chews contain three ingredients in a one-of-a-kind TREATment: 
  • NZ green-lipped mussel provides clinically proven anti-inflammatory efficacy and is a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, protein, glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Glucosamine HCl increases protective joint fluid
  • Chondroitin which helps rebuild cartilage.
Glyde Mobility Chews contain no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives and no shark cartilage. The soft, heart-shaped chews are easy to break and guaranteed 100% palatable.

Available in 2 pack sizes (30 or 60 chews) from your local veterinarian or online vet stores.

RRP: from $38.95 (30 chews) at

#3. Nature’s Answer - Pernaease Powder 

This a 100% natural joint health supplement for dogs composed of a combination of three freeze-dried marine extracts: green shelled mussel, shark cartilage and abalone – with no added fillers or chemicals. 

These extracts provide a natural source of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3 fatty acids and a range of important minerals. Pernaease Powder is registered as a veterinary medicine in Australia with a claim for providing relief of arthritic symptoms in dogs. 

Nature’s Answer Pernaease Powder is palatable to most dogs and is simply sprinkled on the food once a day. It comes in two convenient pack sizes – 125g and 250g and is available through your local pet store, produce store or vet clinic.

#4. PAW Osteosupport - Joint Care Powder for Dogs

This is a natural green-lipped mussel powder Perna128®, manufactured using lower temperatures for a highly concentrated product.

It contains high levels of Omega 3 (EPA, DHA & ETA) providing joint care relief plus a natural source of glycosaminoglycans (Chondroitin 6 Sulfate) that are key nutrients required for cartilage production to aid joint care.

Osteosupport comes in a convenient capsule which provides a daily dose ready to give to your dog: most dogs take it sprinkled over their food. 

Available in two pack sizes: 80 and 150 capsules.

RRP: from $50.95 (80 capsules) from 

#5. Technyflex Canine

This is a natural product for dogs that may relieve sore and inflammed joints and arthritic symptoms. 

The product is derived from 100% Enriched NHNZTM  green-lipped mussel (meat only, not the shell) from New Zealand. 
It is also high in Omega 3s and 6s and contains GAGs (glycosaminoglycans), minerals and vitamins. 

Technyflex Canine is available as a powder (100g-200g) or capsules (80 or 240 pack). 

RRP: from $39.95 (80 capsules) at


So where does this leave us? We have come to the conclusion that all of the above mentioned Nutraceuticals may or may not provide a health benefit in treating arthritis in pets. And assuming they do, what dose rate is necessary to achieve the desired effect? 
To our knowledge, there really isn't a good answer to this question.

Should you therefore supplement your arthritic pets with Nutraceuticals? 

Personally, I think there’s enough information out there to suggest it may make a difference, but not enough information to feel 100% confident you are appropriately treating you pet with the correct combination of supplements, and dose rates. 

So, frustrating as it is, it comes down to a personal choice. If you think it makes a difference, then certainly give it a go. In my opinion, any product which alleviates your dog's arthritic pain, to any degree, is worth pursuing. 
What are your thoughts?

ImportantThe information provided in this article is for general information only and is subject to change. Always verify the accuracy of the above first with your primary care veterinarian or in the case of a product, by reading packet and prescribing information before administering it to your pet. The specific needs and circumstances of your pet have not been taken into account.

ADL does not endorse or recommend any of the products mentioned in this article and they are listed for information purposes only. 

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