Glucosamine Overdose in Dogs

By Jean Rabe

Glucosamine is often recommended for aging dogs with degenerative arthritis and cartilage problems. It is a dietary supplement that helps reduce inflammation and retard cartilage damage. There are occasionally some side effects, and dogs can become ill if they get an overdose of glucosamine. However, the problems are minimal.

Glucosamine Tablets

Glucosamine tablets for dogs contain glycosaminoglycans, which aid in building cartilage and in bolstering fluid in the joints. They should not be the only remedy for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, but should be used in combination with mild exercise and weight control. The tablets can include cartilage from cows and sharks and crustacean chitin. Similar tablets are available at pharmacies for people. A typical dose for a 25-lb. dog starts at roughly 500 mg of glucosamine and 400 mg of chondroitin. This is doubled for every 25 pounds of weight. Dosing frequency is typically daily initially, with tablets given less frequently after a few weeks. Consult a veterinarian for recommended dosage based on the dog.

Overdosing Has Minimal Problems

Glucosamine is considered a safe dietary supplement, with little to no side effects. Some dog owners have reported mild stomach upsets and diarrhea. The product package lists dosing recommendations. The tablets are not licensed by the FDA, therefore you should take care when purchasing glucosamine tablets and buy from quality manufacturers. Generic, inexpensive products on the market might not be as effective.

Dogs With Diabetes Should Avoid Glucosamine

Do not give dogs with diabetes pills or food with glucosamine unless approved by a veterinarian. The severity of the dog's diabetes can play a part. Glucosamine can block insulin formation and can trigger insulin resistance. As a result, sugar can build up to dangerous levels. Veterinarians might suggest lesser doses of glucosamine or might periodically monitor a diabetic dog's blood sugar while on glucosamine tablets.

Costly Treatments

The cost of glucosamine tablets and powders might be prohibitive for some dog owners. For example, a 50-lb. dog could take $1.50 worth of supplements a day initially, until the dose is cut back. The dose is typically lowered after the first several weeks as the dog's condition improves.

Where to Buy Glucosamine

Glucosamine tablets for dogs are available from veterinarians, at pet shops, and via many online suppliers. Many are sold under "joint relief" formulas. Consult the ingredients and dosing information before administering them. Some veterinarians recommend glucosamine products from pharmacies which are packaged for human use. Ask the vet for dosing information.