As our dogs age they may experience joint pain and stiffness, from deficiencies or injuries. This can affect their ongoing mobility and quality of life. Left unaddressed, this often silent pain can worsen.
Luckily, there are many joint supplements available for dogs which can help improve joint health and alleviate discomfort.
In this article we’ll take a look at the best joint supplements for dogs in Australia, but first let’s consider common ingredients found in joint supplements. Some can be bought cheaply and added to your dogs regular diet as a preventative or aid.
Common Ingredients in Joint Health Supplements for Dogs
Take a look at the ingredients for any commercial joint supplement (for dogs). Most will include a few of the below:
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements commonly used for joint problems in dogs, and are what your vet will likely discuss if your dog is diagnosed with a joint condition. They are often used together as they have complementary effects on joint health.
Glucosamine is a natural substance found in cartilage. This helps cushion and protect the joints. Joint problems in dogs, such as osteoarthritis, are often characterised by the breakdown of cartilage, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Giving your dog glucosamine can help support the formation and maintenance of healthy cartilage.
Chondroitin is another natural substance found in cartilage – the stuff which helps give it the elasticity and shock-absorbing properties. Chondroitin also has anti-inflammatory properties which may help reduce inflammation, therefore reducing joint pain and stiffness.
Numerous studies have investigated the potential benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint problems in dogs, including studies into the benefits for canine osteoarthritis. Other research has suggested the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin can be effective as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which is further evidence this combination can reduce joint pain and inflammation in dogs.
Some premium dog foods contain glucosamine and chondroitin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of healthy fat which are essential for the health of dogs and humans alike. For a dog food to be “complete and balanced” they must contain a minimum amount of omega-3 to support this nutritional requirement.
Omega-3s are found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as fish oil supplements and some plant-based sources like flaxseeds and chia seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have numerous health benefits, including for joint problems in dogs. A great deal of research has been conducted in this area, for both humans and dogs.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce inflammation in joints, alleviating joint pain and stiffness. When it comes to osteoarthritis in dogs, the pain is often caused by inflammation within the joints, which is why Omega-3s can really help.
In addition to anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 fatty acids also play a role in maintaining the health of cartilage, the “cushion” which protects the joints. A diet which is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids (or from a poor quality source) may lead to the breakdown of cartilage – this can contribute to joint problems and pain.
It is important to note the quality of omega-3 inclusions varies greatly in dog foods, with some premium brands using a combination of ingredients (both fish and plant-based) to support your dogs joints. It’s therefore more likely a dog will develop joint problems on a poorer or cheaper brand of dog food.
Green-lipped Mussels (or sometimes Blue-lipped mussels from Australia)
Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) is a type of shellfish native to New Zealand. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are essential for brain function and heart health. Green-lipped mussels also contain chondroitin sulfate, which is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that can help reduce joint pain and improve joint mobility.
For many years Green-lipped mussels have been used to treat arthritis in dogs, and many premium brands of dog food from New Zealand such as ZiwiPeak and K9 Natural include them in their formulas as a preventative to joint problems.
It’s worth mentioning Blue-lipped mussels as an alternative, as premium Australian dog foods such as Eureka (similar to ZiwiPeak) contain the blue variety instead as these can be locally sourced.
Blue-lipped mussels (Mytilus edulis) are found in many parts of the world, including the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America, Europe, and Asia. Like green-lipped mussels, they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other nutrients. However, they are not as well-studied as green-lipped mussels in terms of their potential health benefits.
Both green-lipped and blue-lipped mussels are nutritious and offer health benefits, but more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of blue-lipped mussels.
Turmeric, a spice commonly used in cooking, has gained a lot of attention for its potential health benefits in both humans and animals. One area of interest is the potential to help alleviate joint problems in dogs.
The active ingredient in turmeric is “curcumin”, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Joint problems in dogs, such as osteoarthritis, are often characterised by inflammation, which leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the production of certain enzymes which contribute to inflammation in the body – this is why turmeric may help reduce joint inflammation and pain in your dog.
In addition to the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, they may also have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which may contribute to the development of certain diseases and conditions, including joint problems in dogs, but also cancer. By reducing oxidative stress, curcumin may help protect joint cells from damage and slow down the progression of joint problems.
Several studies have investigated the potential benefits of turmeric and curcumin for joint problems in dogs. One study found that a curcumin supplement reduced joint pain and improved mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis. Another study found that a combination of curcumin and black pepper extract (which enhances the absorption of curcumin) improved joint function in dogs with osteoarthritis.
While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of turmeric and curcumin for joint problems in dogs, the current evidence suggests it to be a safe and effective way to alleviate joint pain and inflammation.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring compound found in certain foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. You’ll find MSN in some of the commercial joint supplements for dogs in Australia.
MSM is a source of sulfur, which is considered an essential nutrient for joint health. Sulfur is involved in the formation of connective tissue, such as cartilage, which helps cushion and protect your dogs joints. Joint problems are often characterised by the breakdown of cartilage, which leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. The benefit of giving your dog MSM is it should support healthy cartilage.
In addition to its role in joint health, MSM has anti-inflammatory properties. Research has suggested MSN helps reduce inflammation, therefore reducing pain and increasing mobility.
Several studies have investigated the potential benefits of MSM for joint problems specifically in dogs. One study found MSM supplementation reduced joint pain and improved mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis, and another study found a combination of MSM and glucosamine (see above) was more effective than either supplement alone.
When we consider the above ingredients and how they benefit a dog with joint problems, along with the research available, we can see why most joint health supplements use a combination of the above to effectively help your dog.
My Top Picks for Joint Supplements for Dogs (in Australia)
The below recommendations take into account the benefit of combined ingredients of these joint health supplements, along with researching consumer feedback (both positive and negative).
Based on that, these are what I consider the best joint supplements for dogs in Australia:
#1 Top Pick: Sasha’s Blend
Sasha’s Blend is a natural joint supplement made from 100% pure and natural marine concentrates. This includes green-lipped mussel, abalone, and marine cartilage. These ingredients should work really well together to reduce inflammation and support healthy joint function.
The joint supplement is available in a powder form which you can add to your dog’s food. I find this works best with freeze-dried foods like Frontier Pets and Woof as the water you add helps mix in the powder to ensure your dog eats it, but it’s easy to add to any food.
Sasha’s Blend is expensive, but it’s the best joint supplement you can buy for your dog based on ingredients and consumer feedback. If you want the best, this is very likely the choice for you.
#2 Pick: Antinol Rapid
🛒 Antinol Rapid is available to buy from Vet Supply.
In most dog communities you’ll find Antinol to be the one most people have success with. You’ll find it to be the most common supplement recommended by vets for arthritis and joint support.
Antinol Rapid is a joint supplement made from a special extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel and Antarctic Krill. These ingredients contain a full spectrum of omega-3 fatty acids and also antioxidants.
Consumer feedback is very positive for Antinol Rapid with a very noticable improvement in joint health for many.
Another great benefit of Antinol Rapid is they come as soft gel capsules which are easy to give to your dog. If they’re not keen on the capsules, a little bit of peanut butter (100% peanuts) on the capsule will do the trick. You can buy GREENIES “Pill Pocket” treats, but peanut butter is cheaper and probably better for your dog.
Antinol Rapid is a good choice for you if you want a high quality joint supplement that is affordable, and recommended by vets.
Another commonly recommended joint supplement by Australian vets is 4Cyte, which you’ll find a little further down.
#3 Pick: 4Cyte for Dogs
🛒 4Cyte for dogs is available to buy from Pet Circle.
This supplement contains a unique combination of ingredients, including Epiitalis (their own “ingredient” which I believe is patented), green-lipped mussel, abalone, and marine cartilage.
Like Antinol Rapid, 4Cyte is commonly recommended by vets to support arthritis and joint health.
4Cyte for Dogs comes in a packet of granules, and you can use a tool to easily get the right dose for your dog.
The only issue I’ve found with 4Cyte is I’ve seen a few mentions (on reviews) that their dog had a reaction, but this seems to be very uncommon and in any case not severe. On the flipside I have known many people to have great success with this joint supplement.
4Cyte is also used as a joint supplement for horses. I believe the formula is the same for both dogs and horses, which means the only difference would be dosage.
4Cyte vs Antinol I hear you ask – as this is probably the most common question about vet recommended joint supplements for dogs in Australia. Consumer feedback is very good for both brands. Perhaps a little better for Antinol on the basis a few dogs have shown digestive upset on 4Cyte. Having researched thoroughly this appears to be rare, which means either Antinol Rapid or 4Cyte will benefit your dog’s arthritis and support their joints.
As a reputable brand commonly recommended by vets, 4Cyte will be a good choice for you if you’re after an affordable yet researched joint supplement.
Final #4 Pick: Joint Guard
🛒 Joint Guard is available to buy at Pet Circle.
Joint Guard is another popular joint supplement worth mentioning as it’s easy to get hold of. This supplement contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, as well as a few other beneficial ingredients. Like Sashas Blend, Joint Guard comes as a powder form you can add to your dogs food.
The 400g tubs may seem expensive, but for an average dog should last around 6 months. To use as a preventative for younger dogs it may last longer.
You’ll see from customer reviews that Joint Guard is very effective, and mostly 5 stars wherever you look.
Joint Guard may suit you if none of the above options suit your needs, or you want a big tub which will last a long time.
Other Joint Health Supplements for Dogs (In Australia)
Below are other joint health supplements for dogs available in Australia. I have little experience with these brands, so if you have please say so in the comments.
These joint supplements are available to buy from numerous Australian retailers, so should be easy to find.
Eureka Joint & Mobility Dehydrated Bone Broth
I feel the Eureka “bone broth” joint and mobility supplement may quickly rise up the charts. They’re a relatively new Australian company who make an excellent range of air-dried dog foods (similar to ZIWI Peak and highly recommended by Pet Food Reviews).
Because the Eureka joint supplement is new I feel I do not have enough information to make it a top pick, but as a huge advocate for bone broth and the many benefits it has for your dog, it’s probably worth trying this anyway.
The Eureka range of dog food and supplements is available to buy from the Eureka website.
PAW Osteosupport Joint Care Powder
This supplement contains a combination of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate, which work together to promote joint health and reduce inflammation. It also contains MSM and green-lipped mussel extract for additional joint support.
Nutra-Life Joint Care Powder
This supplement contains a combination of glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and MSM to support joint health and reduce inflammation. It also contains turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Vetalogica Canine Joint Support
This supplement contains glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as MSM and green-lipped mussel extract. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat.
Blackmores PAW Fish Oil
This supplement contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce joint pain and stiffness. It also promotes healthy skin and coat.
Nature’s Way Joint Restore Glucosamine
This supplement contains glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as MSM and ginger extract to reduce inflammation and promote joint health.
A Final Word about Joint Health Supplements for Dogs
When choosing a joint supplement for your dog, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. They can help you choose the best supplement for your dog’s specific needs and can also advise you on the correct dosage.
With the right joint supplement, you can help your furry friend to live a happy, healthy, and active life.
Joint supplements for dogs are products that contain a variety of ingredients, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, and MSM, which are designed to support joint health in dogs. These supplements are often used to help alleviate joint pain and stiffness associated with conditions like arthritis.
Joint supplements can help to reduce inflammation, promote healthy joint fluid production, and support collagen production in the joints. These benefits can help to reduce joint pain and stiffness in dogs, improving their overall mobility and quality of life.
If your dog is showing signs of joint pain then it’s best to start giving joint supplements to as soon as possible. Joint supplements may be beneficial for any dog from 6 months of age, especially if they are a breed prone to developing joint problems, and especially if joint support is not catered for in their regular dog food. Large breeds and highly active breeds tend to have a predisposition to joint problems, and may benefit from starting joint supplements early.
Most joint supplements are safe for dogs when used as directed. However, it’s important to choose high-quality supplements and consult with your veterinarian before starting your dog on any new supplement, for joints or otherwise.
Below are two excellent articles on joint health in dogs:
- “Pet Joint Supplements” by Dr. Karen Becker. This article give helpful tips and advice for maintaining your dog’s joint health, including nutrition, exercise, and supplements – http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/pet-joint-supplements.aspx
- “How Joint Supplements Help Dogs with Arthritis”. This article, published on the American Kennel Club website, discusses different joint supplements for dogs, their effectiveness, and potential side effects. It’s American based, but includes some really good tips on how to choose the right supplement for your dog – https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/joint-supplements-help-dogs-arthritis/