Are there any adverse effects of giving my dog a supplement containing glucosamine with chondroitin?

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While glucosamine is generally well tolerated by dogs, every dog is different—so what may work well for your neighbor’s dog may not necessarily work well for yours. Glucosamine, however, is generally beneficial for dogs with arthritis and other joint problems, so when given under the supervision of a veterinarian, it can have more positive effects than negative.

Just like people, though, there can be some side effects, even though it’s unusual. These include:

  • GI Tract problems
    Your dog might experience diarrhea, vomiting and gas. Sometimes there may even be diminished appetite. This can sometimes be alleviated by reducing the dosage or giving the supplement with food.
  • Allergic reactions
    If your dog is allergic to shellfish, he could have a reaction to these ingredients. Watch for shortness of breath or rashes.
  •  Concerns about diabetes
    There have been some studies on people pointing toward an increased resistance to insulin, but they have been inconclusive. Prevention is key here, so have your dog’s blood glucose level monitored regularly, if you do put it on glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Other side effects
    This is extremely rare, but the glucosamine and chondroitin combination can mimic the structure of heparin, a substance that is often administered to treat and prevent blood clots. So there is a very minimal risk of increased bleeding. In addition, your dog may experience a little drowsiness. As always, discuss that, as well as any other concern with your vet—and be sure to tell him or her about any medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), supplements and vitamins so as to avoid any drug interaction.

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