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By Danika Miller, Copywriter

The Best Joint Supplements for Pets

After researching 71 joint supplements for their safety certifications, quality of ingredients, and consumer feedback, we found four supplements for your pets. Whether your furry friend would prefer a jerky treat or a powder supplement, there’s something out there for them. We recommend consulting with your veterinarian before giving your pet any kind of supplement.

The 4 Best Joint Supplements for Pets

Cosequin DS Maximum Strength Plus MSM

Best
Overall

Cosequin DS Maximum Strength Plus MSM
Cosequin DS
A chewable tablet with great customer reviews and three effective ingredients.
Pros
Consumer Labs certified
Chewable tablet
Beloved by consumers
Effective ingredients
Cons
For dogs only

Why we chose it

Consumer Labs certified

Of our two quality certifications, Consumer Labs was more selective (they only endorse about 8 products). Their list of tested and approved products typically undergoes a more rigorous quality check. The Cosequin DS made that exclusive list by containing the number of ingredients it claims on its label, and for not exceeding potentially harmful amounts of any ingredient (like lead in glucosamine). Because of this endorsement, we’re confident that Cosequin DS is a safe and high-quality product.

Chewable tablet

The Cosequin DS is a chewable daily tablet. Most customers report their canines easily take the supplement either on its own or buried in an enticing treat like peanut butter. Each day, dogs that weigh 15 lbs. and under should take half a pill, 16-30 lb. canines should take one tablet, 31-60 lbs should take two tablets, and dogs over 60 lbs. Should take three chewable tablets. This is just for the first 4-6 weeks of use; after that, the supplement switches into long-term maintenance mode and the dosage and frequency will reduce.

Beloved by consumers

The Cosequin DS Plus with MSM has earned 4.5/5 from over 4,000 reviewers. Because there are no guarantees that joint supplements work, this kind of positive feedback and loyal customer base is a great indicator of success.

Effective ingredients

Cosequin has three key ingredients all working to improve your dog’s joint health; glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium chondroitin sulfate, and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). Glucosamine helps stimulate the growth of cartilage cells while chondroitin sulfate inhibits cartilage-destroying enzymes. Together, the two ingredients have been shown to decrease joint inflammation. MSM is a source of sulfur, a necessity for collagen production (and maintaining healthy inflammatory response). Some supplements have just one or two of these ingredients, but Cosequin combines all three for a higher likelihood of success.

Points to consider

For dogs only

Despite being only for canines, we named Cosequin DS “Best Overall” because it was safe, effective, and appreciated by pet parents more than any of our other contenders. The dosage amounts for this chewable tablet are a bit too high for most felines, so pet owners looking for a cat supplement will have to try one of our other cat-friendly picks. Some other products we researched work for both animals, but if your home hosts an older cat and dog with joint pain or inflammation, you’ll have to buy two separate supplements for them.

Dogswell Hip and Joint Jerky

Best
Treat for Joint Health

Dogswell Hip and Joint Jerky
Dogswell
A healthy jerky treat that will support joint health.
Pros
Consumer Labs certified
Treat form
Great ingredients
Cons
Occasional use

Why we chose it

Consumer Labs certified

The Dogswell Hip and Joint Jerky is our second pick that was certified by Consumer Labs. Like we discussed earlier, Consumer Labs is the most rigorous certification for quality and safety of ingredients. In its review of Dogswell Jerky, Consumer Labs noted it contains no wheat in its ingredient list. We liked that too, as it cuts down on unnecessary fillers and carbs.

Treat form

Dogswell serves its supplement in the form of a dog treat, a bacon-shaped jerky that canines are sure to devour. Some customers on Chewy.com warn that the treats can be hard to break into smaller treats for smaller dogs.

Great ingredients

We loved the great list of ingredients that Dogswell offers. Its 9 ingredients support joint and overall health with additions like vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, and clean protein from hormone-free chicken. Like Cosequin, Dogswell uses glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joint function. Typically, biscuits and treats for dogs will use wheat, grain, and soy fillers and artificial flavors. You won’t find any such additive with the Dogswell jerky.

Points to consider

Occasional use

Because the Dogswell supplement is a jerky treat, it’s higher in calories than our other tablet choices. It’s formulated for more occasional use as a joint-friendly treat you give your dog a few times a week. Depending on your dog's size and joint discomfort, you may need a regular daily supplement in addition to the jerky.

BIXBI Organic Pet Superfood Daily Dog & Cat Supplement

Best
Natural Joint Supplement

BIXBI Organic Pet Superfood Daily Dog & Cat Supplement
BIXBI
All-natural and organic ingredients make this our favorite supplement for both cats and dogs.
Pros
Organic ingredients
For cats and dogs
Powder form
Cons
Less effective ingredients

Why we chose it

Organic ingredients

Bixbi uses natural antioxidants and superfoods to tackle inflammation and eliminate toxins, and contains seven ingredients in its formula: organic cordyceps, organic reishi, organic agaricus blazei, organic coriolus versicolor, natural eggshell membrane, organic shiitake, and organic maitake. Most of its formula is organic mushrooms and Bixbi assures, “These aren’t the mushrooms you associate with the 60’s and acid rock. These are carefully selected, organically grown mushrooms.” The natural eggshell membrane will theoretically support joint health in a similar way to chondroitin.

For cats and dogs

Because Bixbi Joints supplement is formulated for both dogs and cats, you can buy just one product for all your furry friends. And because it comes in a powder form, you can control the dosage amounts for any size pet. Depending on your pet’s palate, you can mix it into wet food or sprinkle it on dry. Customer reviews claim the powder is fine enough that most animals don’t notice it.

Points to consider

Less effective ingredients

Its all-natural formula has less clinical evidence of being effective in tackling joint pain for animals. Ingredients found in our other favorites, like glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin, have more direct evidence of influencing cartilage growth and inflammation than Bixbi’s all-natural mushroom concoction. There’s no harm in trying it out, and consumer reviews report positive effects.

Hyaflex for Cats

Best for
Cats

Hyaflex for Cats
Hyaflex
This two-ingredient liquid supplement is especially feline-friendly.
Pros
Formulated for cats
Just two ingredients
Cons
More expensive

Why we chose it

Formulated for cats

Hip and joint issues are more common in dogs than cats, but that doesn’t mean that our feline friends don't experience joint inflammation and pain, too. We appreciated that the Hyaflex supplement was formulated especially for cats. Many supplements account for pets 10lbs or more, but cats rarely exceed 10 lbs in weight. Hyaflex breaks it dosage amounts up by 1-5 lbs (½ dropper), 6-10 lbs (¾ dropper), and 11+ lbs (1 full dropper).

Just two ingredients

Hyaflex hosts the smallest ingredient list of all our picks, with just two ingredients — hyaluronic acid and saline. Hyaluronic acid is a natural gel that works to lubricate joints and muscles. As animals age, their bodies struggle to produce enough hyaluronic acid on its own, and thus supplementing can help improve joint health and mobility. This formulation is also great for pets with allergies, especially to fish or seafood as those are very common components of joint supplements.

Points to consider

Expensive

At about 80 cents per serving, Hyaflex is our most expensive joint supplement. Our other favorites come in at 20 to 40 cents per serving (making Hyaflex at least double the price). While you can’t put a price on your pet’s health, it’s a point to consider when shopping around for the best supplement. If your cat is five pounds or less, you’ll be splitting servings in half anyways.

Guide to Joint Health

The best way to combat joint issues is to prevent them

Weight management

Keeping your pet at an ideal body weight for their size and breed can help prevent joint issues. Being overweight will put more pressure on their joints and make mobility difficult over time. It can cause inflammation and eventually arthritis. No joint supplement can battle the strain that being overweight will put on your pet’s joints, so encourage exercise and take your pet for daily walks whenever possible – but be careful not to overdo it. Dr. Mark Brucker, D.M.V, of Acute Care Veterinary Clinic in Augusta, GA cautioned exercising your pet in moderation, as “overexertion can exacerbate arthritis pain.”

Healthy diet

Part of maintaining that healthy weight, and encouraging the production of natural body processes, is feeding your pet the best food. That means frontloading protein-based formulas (no mystery meat here), and avoiding preservatives or harmful ingredients. Part of that healthy diet is portion control. It’s best to measure out your pet’s food, rather than let them graze at will during the day from an always-full bowl.

Comfortable cushioning

Dr. Brucker told us that “Sleeping on hard surfaces can [also] exacerbate arthritis.” To combat this, he says to encourage your pet to sleep on a thick bed or cushion. For example, if you see your pet settling down for a nap on the hardwood kitchen floor, simply scoot them over to the plush rug.

Be proactive

If your pet is especially inclined to joint issues like hip dysplasia, be proactive in your prevention. You could consider starting your dog on healthy supplements and vitamins before they actually experience severe symptoms. Chat with your veterinarian about preventative healthcare for your pet.

Joint Supplement for Pets FAQ

Should I ask my veterinarian for joint supplements?

Yes! We highly recommend you consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any kind of supplement. Individual health profiles will influence whether a joint supplement is a good idea for your pet. A prescription drug may actually end up being the best method. A veterinarian can also advise ways to ease your pet’s joint pain, help walk you through signs the supplement is working, and recommend products that will work for your individual pet.

How can you tell if your pet has arthritis?

There are a few signs that could mean your pet is experiencing pain from arthritis. For example, if they generally move about in ways that are significantly slower than their typical behavior. Or perhaps they no longer enjoy going for walks or avoid playtime. Other signs include: grumpier demeanor, inability to settle in one place, limping, frequent licking or biting in joint areas, and loss of weight. Consult your veterinarian as soon as you start to notice a few of these symptoms.

Do joint supplements for work for pets?

The medical community hasn’t developed a robust profile of evidence to guarantee joint supplements will work. Some ingredients, like glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate, do have more evidence than other joint healthy ingredients. Many pet owners and veterinarians claim they can help, and with a healthy ingredient list there’s no harm in trying it.

The Best Joint Supplements for Pets: Summed Up

Cosequin DS Maximum Strength Plus MSM
Dogswell Hip and Joint Jerky
BIXBI Organic Pet Superfood Daily Dog & Cat Supplement
Hyaflex for Cats
Best Overall
Best Treat for Joint Health
Best Natural Joint Supplement
Best for Cats
Price
$35
$27
$28
$24
Number of servings
132
N/A
60
30
Form
Chewable Tablet
Jerky
Powder
Liquid
For
Dogs
Dogs
Both
Cats
Certifications
Consumer Labs
Consumer Labs
NASC
NASC
Number of ingredients
10
9
7
2

More Pet Reviews

We’ve spent years researching formulas, interviewing veterinarians, and finding the best for pets. Check out our other pet-related reviews:

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