Hip dysplasia is a condition common in large dog breeds. It occurs when the femur bone and hip socket don’t fit together properly. The hip joints become unstable, which can cause cartilage to deteriorate. Hip dysplasia can lead to canine osteoarthritis and negatively affect a dog’s quality of life. It can also be emotionally difficult on pet parents.
Fortunately, there are supplements for dogs with hip dysplasia that can act as preventative care by supporting overall joint health. But pet parents should be wary — pet supplements (like most human supplements) are widely unregulated. That’s why we searched the market for trustworthy brands and had our team of experts evaluate each of our recommendations based on the ingredients they contained, the science behind them, and so much more.
Our picks for hip dysplasia supplements
Our top pick
Joint supplement for large breeds
Nutramax Dasuquin Soft Chews Joint Supplement
Nutramax Dasuquin Soft Chews Joint Supplement is our top pick for several reasons. For one, it includes well-researched, proven ingredients to boost joint health, even for large dogs. These supplements have also been through clinical trials, making them a trusted pick. And these aren’t supplements you’ll need to hide in a handful of shredded cheese to get Fido to eat them — dogs love the meaty smell and taste of these soft chews.
- Smell. The treats have a strong, meaty smell that our dog reviewers loved.
- Ingredients. The ingredients, including avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) powder, boswellia serrata extract, and green tea extract, are beneficial to joint health.
- Consistency. The soft chews are consistent in size, shape, and color.
- Palatability. Our dogs happily gobbled up these chews.
- Clinical trials. Yes, these joint supplements have gone through clinical trials.
- Packaging. The supplements come in a resealable bag.
What our vet thinks
Betterpet vet Dr. Erica Irish recommends these supplements and even gives Nutramax Dasuquin to her pup Dozer. She approves of the brand’s track record in making trustworthy pet health products and likes the ingredient list, which is full of items that help with joint health.
Our natural pick
Organic chicken chews
Native Pet Relief Supplement for Dogs
Native Pet Relief supplements are made with just six ingredients that have been shown to improve joint health. The treats are organic, and our four-legged reviewers enjoyed the smell and taste. While we aren’t sure if these have been clinically tested, our vet loves the ingredients in these air-dried chews.
- Smell. Our product reviewer noted that these chicken chews have a mild scent dogs love.
- Ingredients. The ingredients include green-lipped mussel, a great ingredient for joint health, as well as chicken bone broth for collagen, organic chicken, natural polyphenol blend, natural tocopherol, and organic coconut glycerin.
- Consistency. The treats were all similar in shape, size, and color.
- Palatability. Our dogs loved the taste of these air-dried chews.
- Clinical trials. Clinical trials for this brand are unknown, but all of the individual ingredients have been clinically tested.
- Packaging. These supplements come in a simple, easy-to-read container with a resealable lid.
What our vet thinks
Dr. Irish approves of green-lipped mussel, which she notes is a safe and effective ingredient that’s also a good source of omega-3s and glycosaminoglycans.
Backed by science
MovoFlex Joint Support Soft Chews are made by vet- and pet parent-trusted company Virbac. Our vet likes the ingredients, and both Dr. Irish and our product reviewer like that Virbac runs clinical trials for their products. While these treats are backed by science and enjoyed by our doggie testers, they are a little more expensive.
- Smell. The treats have a unique scent that the dogs were interested in.
- Ingredients. The supplements are made with BiovaFlex (egg shell membrane) with the addition of Zanthin, Virbac’s form of astaxanthin, as well as hyaluronic acid and boswellia serrata.
- Consistency. The soft chews are consistent.
- Palatability. The dogs enjoyed the taste of these soft chew supplements.
- Clinical trials. Virbac runs their own clinical trials, but whether or not third-party trials were conducted is unknown.
- Packaging. These supplements come in a round container with an easy-open lid.
What our vet thinks
Dr. Irish likes the ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and boswellia serrata, and the fact that these supplements work well for dogs with dietary restrictions, including sensitivities to gluten, shellfish, salt, and sugar. She does note that these treats aren’t suitable for dogs with chicken allergies, though. Dr. Irish also likes Virbac, as it’s a trusted company that makes products using scientific data and clinical trials.
Best for pups with allergies
A vegetarian glucosamine blend
K9 Vegetarian Glucosamine
Looking for a liquid supplement? K9 Vegetarian Glucosamine is one of the only liquid joint health supplements our vet has seen on the market. Our product tester likes this vegetarian option for dogs that are allergic to animal proteins.
- Smell. This liquid supplement has a mild scent.
- Ingredients. The formula includes bromelain and glucosamine derived from seed oils rather than animals. While we like this option for dogs with allergies, both Dr. Irish and our product reviewer were curious about the bioavailability and efficacy of glucosamine from vegetable sources compared to animal sources.
- Consistency. Because this is a liquid product, consistency is not applicable.
- Palatability. On its own, this supplement is somewhat palatable. But we found that it works best as a liquid topper on top of dog food.
- Clinical trials. Clinical trials for this product are unknown.
- Packaging. Things got a little messy when opening this product. It’s well-sealed, but the liquid spilled out a bit when we removed the inner seal. It was easy to clean up the mess, though.
What our vet thinks
This is one of the only liquid joint supplements Dr. Irish has seen, and she likes its high concentration of glucosamine. She does wonder about the difference in bioavailability for glucosamine derived from plant versus animal sources but would recommend this product for pets that need a liquid alternative or have food allergies.
Most affordable chew
Affordable, effective chew
Nutramax makes our list again with their Cosequin soft chews, which are made with proven, effective ingredients like MSM to support joint health. Our dogs enjoyed the smell and taste of these meaty supplements, and our human team liked the price, especially for a trusted, clinically-tested product.
- Smell. These soft chews have a meaty scent.
- Ingredients. The ingredients include MSM, DHA, and EPA, which have all been proven to support overall joint health.
- Consistency. The treats are consistent in size, shape, and color.
- Palatability. Our dogs loved the taste of these soft chews.
- Clinical trials. Yes, these treats underwent clinical trials.
- Packaging. The supplement bag is well-sealed and easy to open and close.
What our vet thinks
No complaints from Dr. Irish on these supplements. She likes the effective ingredients and Nutramax’s brand reputation. Dr. Irish also recommends this chew based on its affordability.
Our research process
Why you should trust our reviews
- Dr. Erica Irish helped us formulate this list — Our vet evaluated all of the joint supplements on this list. She indicated what she liked and disliked about each product and assisted us in developing these rankings.
- We ordered and paid for these products — None of the products in this guide were sponsored or gifted. We used our resources to purchase and review each supplement objectively.
- We sent them off with our product researcher to test in the field — We sent each supplement off to our expert product reviewer Sara Ondrako, who then evaluated the products on a number of criteria.
- We trialed and tested these products in The Lab — Sara and her pup put each product to the test, evaluating everything from the supplement’s packaging and scent to whether or not the pup was interested in eating it.
How we picked
We scoured the internet to find the most popular and highly-rated joint supplements on online marketplaces like Amazon and Chewy. From there, Dr. Irish helped us narrow down our list. We then ordered the supplements and sent them over to Sara, our product reviewer. Along with her pup, Sara tested each supplement and took notes. We then chose a “top pick,” the product that ranked the highest in all of our criteria.
At first glance
Here’s how each supplement stacks up based on flavor, price, and the amount of product per package.
|Amount of product
|Price per chew
|Native Pet Relief
|MovoFlex Joint Support Soft Chews
|K9 Vegetarian Glucosamine
*price at the time of our review
How we tested these supplements
We worked with our product expert and Dr. Irish to determine a set of the most important factors when it comes to a joint health supplement. When ranking these products, we considered the following:
- Smell. It’s not always easy to get dogs to take supplements, so we looked for options that would smell enticing to most pups.
- Ingredients. One of the most important criteria for us was ingredients. While we praise ingredients like MSM, DHA, and EPA, we wanted to note that glucosamine and chondroitin, often found in joint supplements, are not well-regulated.
- Consistency. We evaluated the products to see if the chews were consistent in shape, size, and color.
- Palatability. Sara’s pup helped us determine whether each treat was intriguing enough to eat. Fortunately, most of the options we tested were given two paws up!
- Clinical trials. Supplements aren’t regulated, so we looked for products that underwent voluntary clinical trials by the brand or a third party.
- Packaging. We took notes about how each of the supplements were packaged, including how easy or difficult they were to open and reseal.
What else should pet parents consider?
Does your dog need a joint supplement?
Some ingredients in hip and joint supplements can potentially interfere with your dog’s hip dysplasia treatment plan. As always, you should check with your vet before introducing a joint supplement (or any other supplement) into your dog’s diet. Joint supplements can help ease the pain of hip dysplasia or, if taken early enough, may even work as a preventative. Either way, you should work with your vet to determine the best option for your pup!
Benefits of doggie joint supplements
- Lubrication. Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient commonly found in supplements that helps to lubricate sore joints. It also improves the quality of the fluid surrounding the hip joints.
- Pain relief. While early intervention and the use of supplements can lessen your dog’s pain, many vets still recommend additional pain management. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most common treatments used today.
- Cartilage repair. The ingredients found in top supplements help to repair joint cartilage that has been worn down due to hip dysplasia.
Look for these inflammation-fighting ingredients
- Glucosamine. A natural compound found in cartilage, glucosamine has been shown to slow the effects of osteoarthritis and provide pain relief.
- Chondroitin. Chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan that appears naturally in animal tissue and helps to increase a dog’s mobility.
- Omega-3s. These fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect, which can provide pain relief for aggravated joints. They can also be given to your dog in the form of a dietary supplement.
- Hyaluronic acid. Another glycosaminoglycan, this is a naturally occurring fluid that provides joint lubrication.
Dr. Erica Irish
A lot of scientific evidence shows how glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and omega-3s can help dogs with osteoarthritis.
Ingredients to avoid
- Coconut oil. According to Dr. Irish, coconut oil does have some fatty acids, but it’s not as potent as fish oil. Too much can increase your dog’s risk of pancreatitis.
- Artificial sweeteners. Sweeteners such as xylitol can cause severe hypoglycemia, seizures, and even death.
What causes hip dysplasia in dogs?
- Breed. Some breeds — such as German shepherds, Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Fox red Labrador retriever, and golden retrievers — are more likely to develop hip dysplasia than others. This is due to the fact that hip dysplasia is inherited and often shows up in large dogs, though it is still possible for small dogs to develop the condition.
- Age. We often think of joint issues as a problem for senior dogs. But because hip dysplasia is a genetic trait, puppies can start experiencing hip laxity as early as 3 months of age. Unfortunately, hip laxity can go unnoticed and lead to hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis as a dog ages.
- Diet. A healthy diet is important for large breed dogs to maintain a proper weight. Foods rich in calcium may lead to abnormal bone development.
Signs your dog is having mobility issues
Most pet parents know when something isn’t quite right with their beloved pup. Below are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect your dog is at risk for hip dysplasia:
- Limping or bunny hopping
- Stiffness or visible discomfort when walking
- Difficulty standing up
- Loss of muscle mass in legs
- Inability to run or play as normal
When it’s time for Fido to see a vet
If you see some of these signs in your doggie, schedule a vet appointment. Your vet can diagnose hip dysplasia or any form of arthritis. Your vet can also help recommend joint supplements that will work in tandem with your dog’s treatment plan.
Other ways to support your dog’s joint health
Keep your dog at a healthy weight — Extra weight adds strain to sore joints, which can increase pain for your pup.
Provide your pup with low-impact exercise — Keeping your dog active with easy exercises every day can help combat the effects of hip dysplasia. Consider going for a walk on grass or sand rather than concrete. Swimming is another low-impact exercise that many dogs enjoy.
Your vet may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — NSAIDs are often used to treat pain and inflammation. Common options your vet might prescribe include Carprofen, Deracoxib, and Firocoxib.
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Frequently asked questions
What are good supplements for dogs with hip dysplasia?
Joint supplements may help ease pain for dogs with hip dysplasia. Some ingredients to look for include glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, EPA, DHA and ASU. You should also look for a supplement that has been clinically tested.
How can I treat my dog’s hip dysplasia naturally?
Excess weight can contribute to your dog’s hip dysplasia symptoms, so simply shedding a few pounds could be beneficial to your pup’s joints. Additionally, Native Pet Relief supplement contains only all-natural ingredients. Physical therapy is another way to naturally manage canine hip dysplasia.
What can I give my dog for hip dysplasia?
The supplements listed here are a great place to start. Some pet parents might also consider a pain reliever (NSAIDs), in addition to supplements and vitamins.
What vitamins are good for hip dysplasia?
Supplements that contain both glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and omega-3 fatty acids are the most effective at treating hip dysplasia.
Is hip dysplasia in dogs curable?
Unfortunately, hip dysplasia isn’t curable. But it’s treatable through things like supplements, a healthy diet, exercise, and physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.