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Joint Care for Dogs. Preventative Diets For Dachshunds (or any Breeds) with a Predisposition to IVDD

Just about any veterinarian you meet will recommend glucosamine to support your dog’s joints … especially if they are getting a little stiff or achy with arthritis. But have you thought about some preventative measures you can take before you see these signs? These same preventative measures can also decrease your dog's chances of getting IVDD, & if they do, help to speed up recovery. The best news? It's all-natural & easy to do!

Joint Support & Prevention the Natural Way for Dogs

Most vets have a product to sell you … a supplement. If your dog is starting to lose mobility, your vet may even suggest an injectable source of glucosamine. A simple Google search will serve you up hundreds of supplements or ‘treats’ that are formulated to ease pain & increase mobility. But there is a catch with all of them. They are super expensive & a lot of the time contain very little of the good stuff! There are better ways to give your dog glucosamine & fortify their joints & connective tissues like ligaments & tendons.  But before we go any further, what Is Glucosamine?

What is Glucosamine for Dogs?

Glucosamine is actually a combination name made up of glutamine (an amino acid) and glucose (a sugar).Your dog’s body naturally produces its own glucosamine. It’s a substance that helps create molecules that form the cartilage of your dog’s joints. As your dog ages, their body produces less glucosamine. So their joints can stiffen up and lose their shock-absorbing cartilage. There are three common forms of glucosamine:

Glucosamine sulfate: this is the most common type of glucosamine used in osteoarthritis supplements … and the one that’s been most thoroughly researched. It’s extracted from the shells of shellfish, but more commonly is produced synthetically in a lab. The body needs sulfate to produce cartilage.

Glucosamine hydrochloride: also known as glucosamine HCL. It also comes from shellfish shells, but doesn’t contain sulfate. It’s more concentrated than glucosamine sulfate … but some studies show it’s less effective for joint issues.

In joint support products, glucosamine is often combined with other ingredients like chondroitin or MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). These ingredients together can help maintain the cartilage in your dog’s joints.

What Does Glucosamine Do?

Glucosamine is a natural anti-inflammatory. This makes it a very popular supplement for people and pets with joint pain or stiffness. It can help improve mobility and range of motion. It can help slow the aging process in your dog’s joints.

Glucosamine is naturally produced within the joints, where it combines with collagen to produce and repair cartilage. This is often low in dog diets that do suffer from IVDD, basically the ‘rubber-band’ like soft tissues lose their strength & ability to repair the cellular damage that occurs in normal day-to-day activities. 

With the aging process, your dog’s body makes less glucosamine. This means their cartilage deteriorates, leaving less cushioning in the joints. There’s also less lubricating synovial fluid … which is why your dog’s joints might be getting a bit “creaky” as they get older. So it’s a good idea to give your dog glucosamine, especially as they age. But what’s the best way to do that without reaching for expensive supplements? Joint care for dogs the all-natural way!

Glucosamine from natural sources … bio-availability.

Bio-availability refers to the amount of any nutrient that gets digested and delivered to the cells that use it. When you give glucosamine supplements, your dog doesn’t absorb all the nutrients as a lot of the time they are synthetic.

The good news is … the glucosamine your dog gets from natural supplements and food is absorbed fast. So their body can use it right away, because it’s “just food,” their bodies know what to do with it. It takes much less natural glucosamine to be effective, compared to a synthetic supplement. Glucosamine and Joint Support for dogs the cheaper way!

How Much Glucosamine Do Dogs Need?

Dogs need about 500 mg of glucosamine per day per 10kg of body weight. But don’t bother adding up the grams of glucosamine your dog gets through their food. Just feed some of these foods regularly and they’ll get plenty of natural glucosamine.

For example, beef trachea is mostly cartilage, which contains about 5% glucosamine. A 50-gram piece of trachea will provide your dog with over 1400 mg of glucosamine. Or take another food, chicken feet … just one chicken foot contains about 400 mg of glucosamine. 

Natural foods high in Glucosamine

Green-Lipped Mussels

Green-lipped mussels contain high levels of glucosamine. Research has proven that they reduce arthritis symptoms in dogs … and they’ve been well researched and proven to reduce arthritis symptoms in people and animals. 

Green-lipped mussels are rich in glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs). Some especially important GAGs are chondroitin sulfate & hyaluronic acid. You’ll see both of those in a lot of arthritis supplements. But they’re naturally found in green-lipped mussels, so this means these mussels can provide powerful help for your arthritic dog.

Green-lipped mussels are from New Zealand so it’s hard to find them fresh, but they are available at a good fishmonger. You can buy green-lipped powder supplements for dogs. We love a brand called 4Cyte and use it in our girls’ food as an added supplement, but they do get at least 3 mussels per week as well. 

Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM)

NEM is the natural thin membrane that’s on the inside of an eggshell. The eggshell membrane contains naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans that help maintain cartilage and synovial fluid that protect your dog’s joints. Next time you crack open an egg, consider giving the entire shell ground up and sprinkling over their food. 


Trachea is made up of cartilage, which is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin. The beef trachea is the easiest to find, but some raw dog food suppliers have lamb, goat or kangaroo trachea. Most dogs will enjoy chewing on whole raw trachea … or you can give them dehydrated as a crunchy joint support treat. 

Chicken Feet

Chicken feet are loaded with natural glucosamine. And they make a delicious crunchy snack or can be part of your dog’s meal. Some dogs like eating them still frozen. And don’t worry about the toenails – they’ll go down fine! You can also feed other poultry feet such as duck or turkey.

Shark Cartilage for dogs

Shark Cartilage is basically comprised of two things: Calcium & Glucosamine all wrapped up in a fabulous teeth-cleaning chew. Just brilliant as they are a by-product of the human fishing industry. 

Oxtails Or Pig Tails

Tails are made up of cartilage surrounded by some meat. Cartilage is 5% glucosamine. So oxtails (beef) or pig tails are another good way to give your dog a healthy meal with plenty of glucosamine.

Beef Knuckle Bones for dogs

Beef knuckle bones have lots of cartilage … and dogs love gnawing on these big bones. A good knuckle bone can provide hours of entertainment … and it’s a valuable source of glucosamine.

Shellfish Shells

Shellfish shells contain glucosamine too. As mentioned earlier, many laboratory-made supplements contain glucosamine extracted from shellfish. So you can give your dog glucosamine by giving a natural source – shellfish shells. 

If you buy prawns with the shells on, you can feed them to your dog. Simply pop the shells, heads and all into a blender with some water. Serve it over their food, I like to pour it into ice-cube trays & freeze portions. You can also make any shellfish shells into a glucosamine-rich broth by simmering them in water for a few hours.

Bone Broth for dogs

Making a rich, gelatinous bone broth is another wonderful way to give your dog natural glucosamine. It’s easy to make even though it needs to spend 24 hours or so simmering on the stove (or in a slow cooker). Bone broth has countless health benefits, and it’s loaded with glucosamine and other joint-supporting nutrients. Do not be fooled into thinking the Bone Broth you can buy at the supermarket in the stock section will be good for your dog. It is not - Bone Broth and Bone Stock are quite different things, and the supermarket brands Bone Stock products (labelled misleadingly by calling it Bone Broth!) contain far too much sodium, onions & other ingredients that aren’t great for dogs.

So, there you have it - there are many natural ways to give your dog glucosamine for their joints without resorting to synthetic supplements or harmful non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Try a few of these foods to keep your dog mobile & pain-free. Remember, when it comes to joint care for dogs - prevention is far better than cure particularly when it comes to IVDD!

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