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10 Best Joint Supplements for Puppies

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Dog Health By Kelsey Leicht 20 min read June 23, 2022

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Best Joint Supplements for Puppies

Owners typically consider joint supplements for adult dogs and seniors, but these body boosters can also be helpful for puppies. From large breed babies to puppers prone to joint issues later in life, joint supplements for puppies can do a world of good in some cases.

But, with so many supplements on the market, it can be hard to weed out the fluff from the real deal.

Below, we’ll share some of the best joint supplements for puppies and explain how these can help your canine.

Quick Picks: Best Joint Supplements for Puppies

  • #1 Nutramax Dasuquin [Best Soft Chew Joint Supplement for Puppies]: One of the most popular joint supplements around, veterinarians and pet parents alike rave about these soft, palate-pleasing chewables.
  • #2 LEGITPET Liquid Glucosamine for Dogs [Best Liquid Joint Supplement for Puppies]: Getting your picky pupper to chow down on her joint supplement is easy with this tasty, bacon-flavored liquid option.
  • #3 VetIQ Hip & Joint [Most Affordable Joint Supplement for Puppies]: Keep your budget and your puppy’s joints in good shape with these affordable chews that are offered in wallet-friendly large-count packages.

What Are Joint Supplements?

Joint Supplements for Puppies

Joint supplements support your pup’s frame by fortifying the cartilage between joints and helping to repair these cushioning tissues after activity or exercise

Different joint supplements contain different active ingredients (more on this in a minute), and some differ in their intended purposes. For example, some try to prevent joint problems before they occur; others are designed to help repair already damaged joint tissues; and some seek to accomplish both goals

Joint supplements are most often offered to adult dogs and seniors, but they can also be used with puppies (provided that your vet gives you the green light to do so — ALWAYS consult your vet before initiating any supplementation regimen). 

By introducing them early on to your puppy, you’re setting her up on the right track for lifelong mobility and wellness.

The Trickle-Down Benefits of Joint Supplements

It is important to note that by supporting your pup’s joint health, you’re not only helping her avoid pain and reduced mobility, but you’re also helping support her health in additional ways.

For example, by preventing joint pain, your pooch will be more likely to enjoy adequate daily exercise. And this, in turn, will help keep her weight at a healthy level and provide the myriad mental benefits running, jumping, and playing yield.

Joint Supplements: Active Ingredients 

Joint supplements for dogs

Joint supplements generally contain any of several key  active ingredients, which often help with everything from inflammation to cartilage repair. Some joint supplements include one or two of these active ingredients, while others take a multi-pronged approach to joint wellness and include several. 

These are the most commonly used active ingredients in joint supplements:

Glucosamine

Glucosamine (also called glucosamine sulfate) is a compound that aids in cartilage regrowth. It can be artificially formulated in a lab or derived from natural sources, such as shellfish. Because cartilage allows for the smooth, pain-free motion of joints, it’s vital that you keep it plump and happy, so your canine can move and groove without issue.

Chondroitin

Chondroitin is a substance mainly obtained from cow cartilage. Like glucosamine, it helps support and protect the cartilage in your dog’s joints, helping them to avoid some of the wear and tear four-footer joints often suffer over time. Chondroitin is an excellent supplement for puppers who work, play, or exercise hard.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

Methylsulfonylmethane (often abbreviated as MSM) is a compound derived from natural sources (such as shellfish) or manufactured in a lab. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a common ingredient in canine supplements. Anti-inflammatories like MSM are great for dogs who are tough on their joints or suffer from pain-related conditions.

Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)

ASU are chemicals extracted from avocado and soybean oils that contain healthy fats and vitamins that combat inflammation and swelling. ASUs are ideal for dogs prone to injury, those already dealing with aches and pains, or pups who work their bodies hard through play or tasks.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats with anti-inflammatory properties. Most commonly derived from fatty fish (such as salmon), omega-3s also aid in skin and coat health along with brain and eye development in puppies. Use as a supplement aside, omega-3s are an important part of any canine diet.

Green-Lipped Mussels

These mighty mollusks are renowned for their anti-inflammatory abilities. Harvested in New Zealand, green-lipped mussels are rich in fatty acids and joint-health staples like glucosamine and chondroitin, making them a one-stop shop for improving your dog’s mobility and comfort. These are an excellent addition to most doggy regimens.

Boswellia serrata

Boswellia is an herbal extract with purported anti-inflammatory properties. Derived from the Boswellia serrata tree of India, Africa, and some parts of the Arab Peninsula, it’s a favorite in natural healing circles that has shown some promise for treating lameness and pain in dogs in a 2004 study by Swiss veterinarians. Generally, Boswellia is included in conjunction with other joint-friendly ingredients in supplements.

The best active ingredient for your puppy depends on her unique needs, with anti-inflammatory ingredients working best for dogs suffering from pain or inflammation, while joint-supporting ingredients are better for preventing injury or soreness over time. 

Just be sure to ask your vet which ingredients — if any — would work best for your puppy.

The 10 Best Joint Supplements for Puppies

There are tons of canine supplements available today, but we’ve retrieved our top picks for the best joint supplements for puppies. Check them out and see which might suit your sweet puppy’s needs.

1. Nutramax Dasuquin Soft Chews

Best Soft Chew Joint Supplement for Puppies

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Nutramax Dasuquin Soft Chews

Nutramax Dasuquin Soft Chews

An American-made, beef-flavored chew featuring joint-supporting glucosamine, chondroitin, and more.

About: Nutramax’s Dasuquin Soft Chews are time-test favorites for dogs, pet parents, and vets. They’re a solid choice for protecting your puppy’s frame with a broad blend of active ingredients to prevent and treat joint inflammation and breakdown.

Features:

  • Beefy flavor entices doggos
  • Each soft chew is bite-sized 
  • Vet-recommended supplement
  • Made in the USA with internationally-sourced ingredients

Options: Offered in a 64-count package for dogs less than 60 pounds and a 150-count package for dogs over 60 pounds.

Active Ingredients (Per soft chew):

  • 600 milligrams glucosamine hydrochloride
  • 400 milligrams methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  • 250 milligrams sodium chondroitin sulfate
  • 45 milligrams avocado/soybean unsaponifiables powder (ASUs)
  • 20 milligrams Boswellia serrata extract
  • 16 milligrams green tea extract

Inactive ingredients: Glycerin, Lecithin, Mixed tocopherols, Natural flavor, Rosemary extract, Silicon dioxide, Soy protein isolate, Starch, Vegetable oil

Pros

  • Soft chew is perfectly sized and easy to crush over your pup’s food (if necessary)
  • Widely trusted brand that’s recommended by veterinarians 
  • Contains a great mix of joint-supportive ingredients

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • Not every puppy is a fan of the flavor

2. Zesty Paws Ancient Elements 8-in-1 Bites

Best Tasting Joint Supplement for Puppies

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Zesty Paws Core Elements 8-in-1 Chicken Flavored Chews

Zesty Paws Ancient Elements 8-in-1 Bites

A bite-sized joint supplement made with a trio of joint-friendly ingredients and offered in three palate-pleasing  flavors.

About: Zesty Paws’ Ancient Elements 8-in-1 Bites protect your pupper’s joints with a trifecta of frame-boosting active ingredients fashioned into one yummy chew. Available in three delicious flavors, your puppy can party with peanut butter, check out chicken, or broaden her horizons with bison.

Features:

  • Molded into small, heart-shaped chewable bites
  • Each tub contains 90 chewables
  • Suitable for all ages, breeds, and sizes, per the manufacturer
  • Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients

Options: Available in bison, chicken, and peanut butter flavors. Also offered in chicken mini bites for small dogs and chicken advanced formula for seniors.

Active Ingredients (Per Soft chew):

  • 200 milligrams glucosamine HCI (vegetable-derived)
  • 100 milligrams MSM
  • 75 milligrams chondroitin sulfate (bovine-derived)

Inactive ingredients (Bison flavor): Amaranth flour, Beef bone broth, Coconut glycerin, Flaxseed, Millet flour, Mixed tocopherols, Natural flavors, Palm oil, Pumpkin, Quinoa flour, Sorghum flour, Sunflower lecithin, Tapioca flour

Pros

  • Most dogs love the taste
  • Available in non-chicken flavors (something that’s occasionally hard to find)
  • Pricing isn’t too steep

Cons

  • Ingredient list might be an issue for dogs with sensitivities
  • Animal-derived glucosamine is better absorbed by canines

3. PetLab Co. Joint Care Chews

Best Pork-Flavored Joint Supplement for Puppies

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Joint supplement for puppies

Petlab Co. Joint Care Chews

A small, soft chew made with green-lipped mussels, salmon oil, and glucosamine, and flavored with palate-pleasing pork.

About: Petlab Co.’s Joint Care Chews are bite-sized, boned-shaped porky bits containing an assortment of joint-friendly ingredients, including green-lipped mussels. Perfect for nourishing your little woofer as she grows, these are safe for daily use in your ruffer’s routine (with your vet’s approval) and ideal for dogs who don’t like chicken or beef flavors.

Features:

  • Palate-pleasing pork flavor
  • Each tub contains 30 chews
  • Suitable for pups over 12 weeks old
  • Made in the USA at FDA-registered facilities

Options: Available in 90-count tubs.

Active Ingredients (Per chew):

  • 600 milligrams glucosamine (from shellfish)
  • 150 milligrams omega-3 fatty acids (from salmon oil)
  • 100 milligrams green-lipped mussel
  • 25 milligrams turmeric
  • 23 milligrams calcium fructoborate

Inactive ingredients: Acetic acid, Brewers dried yeast, Coconut glycerin, Dried spray pork liver, Dried whey, Honey, Mixed tocopherols, Molasses, Dried hickory smoke flavor, Pork gelatin, Soy lecithin, Tapioca starch

Pros

  • Most dogs love the taste
  • Great source of naturally-derived glucosamine and fatty-acids 
  • Easily crushed over food if needed
  • Provides a great alternative for chicken- and beef-averse pooches

Cons

  • Expensive, especially for larger puppies or multi-dog families
  • A higher count per tub would be nice

4. PupGrade Joint Supplement

Best Joint Supplement for Puppies Containing Green-lipped Mussels

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PupGrade Joint Support Supplement for Dogs - Natural Glucosamine Chondroitin & MSM Soft Chews for Hip and Joint Pain Relief - Recommended for Hip Dysplasia, Arthritis & Joint Disease - Made in USA

PupGrade Joint Supplement

A green-lipped mussel-based supplement designed to nourish your pup’s joints with natural, grain-free ingredients.

About: PupGrade’s Joint Supplement features more green-lipped mussel content than any other supplement listed here. A natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin, and other joint-supporting compounds, with added meaty flavors like duck, your pup will love to gobble down these soft chewables.

Features:

  • Meaty, soft chew form
  • Your dog will need 1 chew per 25 pounds of body weight per day
  • Veterinarian-designed recipe
  • Made in the USA

Options: Each tub contains 60 chewables.

Active Ingredients (Per chew):

  • 500 milligrams glucosamine HCL
  • 500 milligrams MSM
  • 200 milligrams green-lipped mussel
  • 150 milligrams chondroitin sulfate
  • 25 milligrams ascorbic acid
  • 2.5 milligrams manganese gluconate

Inactive ingredients: Brewer’s yeast, Potato starch, Lecithin, Purified water, Cane molasses, Natural beef protein, Glycerin, Safflower oil, Natural duck flavor, Vitamin E powder, Mixed tocopherols, Sorbic acid

Pros

  • Contains double the amount of green-lipped mussel that most other brands offer
  • Most dogs are head-over-paws for the flavor
  • Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee from the manufacturer 

Cons

  • Longer ingredient list might cause some tummy trouble for sensitive systems
  • Chews are a little larger than others, which may pose problems for pint-sized pooches

5. Active Chews Hip & Joint

Best Glucosamine-Based Joint Supplement for Puppies

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Glucosamine for Dogs Soft Chews

Active Chews Hip & Joint

A chicken-flavored chew packed with glucosamine, preserved through mindful manufacturing methods.

About: Active Chews Hip & Joint contains 1000 milligrams of glucosamine in every serving, ensuring your four-footer’s joints get the support they need. Also featuring proven joint-boosters and anti-inflammatories like chondroitin and MSM along with herbal remedies like turmeric and black pepper, the recipe combats joint soreness from all angles.

Features:

  • Delicious chicken flavoring
  • Made using a no-heat process to protect nutrients
  • Provides support for dogs of all ages
  • Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients

Options: Offered in 90-count and 120-count containers.

Active Ingredients (Per 2 chews):

  • 1000 milligrams glucosamine HCI (from shellfish)
  • 500 milligrams MSM
  • 200 milligrams chondroitin sulfate (from pigs)
  • 150 milligrams organic turmeric
  • 30 milligrams organic black pepper

Inactive ingredients: Coconut glycerin, Flaxseed, Mixed tocopherols, Natural chicken flavor, Oat flour, Palm fruit oil, Powdered cellulose, Rice bran, Rice flour, Rosemary extract, Sorbic acid, Sunflower lecithin

Pros

  • Contains more glucosamine per serving than most other supplements
  • Pricing is pretty reasonable
  • Pup parents report most canines are fans of the flavor

Cons

  • May contain more glucosamine than the average pup needs
  • Additional flavor options would be better (not every dog likes chicken)

6. LEGITPET Liquid Glucosamine for Dogs

Best Liquid Joint Supplement for Puppies

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LEGITPET Liquid Glucosamine for Dogs - Bacon Flavour with Chondroitin, MSM & Hyaluronic Acid K9 Supplement - Hip and Joint Formula…

LEGITPET Liquid Glucosamine for Dogs

A liquid joint supplement containing the glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM Fido needs with a bacon flavor she craves. 

About: LEGITPET’s Liquid Glucosamine for Dogs packs a wallop of goodness in each squirt with a generous helping of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and more. Designed for maintaining movement and easing discomfort caused by inflammation, its recipe provides a wide range of care for your canine’s joints.

Features:

  • Liquid formula easily coats all dog foods, from kibble to fresh options
  • Delicious bacon flavor
  • Brand offers a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee on every product
  • Made in the USA with US-sourced ingredients

Options: Available in an 8-ounce and 32-ounce bottle with pump.

Active Ingredients (Per ounce):

  • 1600 milligrams Glucosamine HCI (from shellfish)
  • 1200 milligrams Chondroitin sulfate (from beef/pork)
  • 1000 milligrams MSM 
  • 10 milligrams Manganese chelate
  • 7 milligrams Hyaluronic acid

Inactive ingredients: Triple filtered water, Aloe juice, Citric acid, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, Vegetable glycerin, Stevia

Pros

  • Easy to add to your pup’s food
  • Excellent option if you or your dog aren’t a fan of fish oil’s scent/flavor
  • Most owners report dogs are crazy for the flavor

Cons

  • Can be messy, as with any liquid supplement
  • Some pup parents had issues with a leaky pump

7. Strawfield Pets 5-in-1 Multivitamin 

Best Joint Supplement for Puppies With Probiotics

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Dog Multivitamin, Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM, Omega 3, Probiotics, Hemp - 120 Grain Free Chews, USA - Dog Vitamins and Supplements for Coat, Skin, Heart, Immune Support, Joint Supplement for Dogs

Strawfield Pets 5-in-1 Multivitamin

A peanut butter soft chewable made with joint-healthy ingredients and a 5-strain blend of probiotics for gut health.

About: Strawfield Pets’ 5-in-1 Multivitamin helps your puppy play and bounce with glucosamine and chondroitin, while added probiotics keep her belly feeling its best. Made with a 5-strain probiotic mix, each serving is packed with 1 billion colony-forming units (CFU.)

Features:

  • Skin and coat get a boost from flaxseed and krill oils
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Yummy peanut butter flavor
  • Made in the USA with a no-heat process to preserve vitamins and minerals

Options: Available in 120-count tubs.

Active Ingredients (Per 2 chews):

  • 200 milligrams glucosamine HCI
  • 100 milligrams MSM
  • 55 milligrams chondroitin sulfate

Inactive ingredients: Palm fruit oil, Peanut flour, Tapioca flour, Garbanzo flour, Flaxseed, Natural peanut butter flavoring, Apple pomace, Sunflower lecithin, Coconut glycerin, Powdered cellulose, Sorbic acid, Rosemary extract, Mixed tocopherols

Pros

  • Helps protect your growing pooch’s joints and tummy
  • Most pups seem to be fans of the flavor
  • Chewable size is great, even for smaller puppy mouths

Cons

  • Requires more chewables per serving than other supplements (which can get pricey fast!)
  • More flavor options would be nice

8. PetHonesty 10-in-1 Multivitamin

Best Multivitamin Joint Supplement for Puppies

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best joint supplement for dogs

PetHonesty 10-in-1 Multivitamin

A tasty chewable made for head-to-tail health with glucosamine, chondroitin, belly-boosting probiotics, and various vitamins.

About: PetHonesty’s 10-in-1 Multivitamin supports your canine’s joints along with her belly, coat, and immune system. Each chewable has fiber derived from ground pumpkin and sweet potato for improving stools as well as omega fatty acids for healthy skin and mobility. 

Features:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Each container contains 90 soft chews
  • Assorted mix of probiotics for digestive health and regularity
  • Made in the USA with US and internationally sourced ingredients

Options: Available in chicken and peanut butter flavor (regular strength), smoked duck (senior), and smoked salmon (max strength).

Active Ingredients (Per 2 chews):

  • 200 milligrams glucosamine HCI (from shellfish)
  • 50 milligrams sodium chondroitin sulfate

Inactive ingredients (Chicken flavor): Oat flour, Palm oil, Natural and artificial flavors, Ground flaxseed, Dried ground pumpkin, Dried ground sweet potato, Sunflower lecithin, Microcrystalline cellulose, Coconut glycerin, Brown rice syrup, Ascorbic acid, Hydrolyzed yeast, Natural chicken flavor and un-hydrolyzed egg membrane, Sorbic acid, Manganese proteinate, Mixed tocopherols, Rosemary extract, Zinc proteinate, Selenium yeast  

Pros

  • Contains a great mixture of compounds and vitamins for nose-to-tail health
  • Small, soft chew is easy for most pups to eat
  • Taste gets a tail wag from most doggos

Cons

  • Not a ton of glucosamine or chondroitin per serving, though puppies may not need as much as adults and seniors
  • Long list of ingredients can be problematic for dogs with sensitivities

9. VetIQ Hip & Joint

Most Affordable Joint Supplement for Puppies

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Puppy joint supplement

VetIQ Hip & Joint

A chicken-flavored, joint-supporting soft chew option that’s offered in large-count bags at an affordable price point.

About: Fortify your entire puppy pack’s joints without breaking the bank with VetIQ’s Hip & Joint, a soft chew that features a mixture of joint-pleasing active ingredients, including glucosamine, MSM, and fatty acids. Available in large-count packages, these small chewies are perfect for any pupperino, whether your woofer is small but mighty or jumbo-sized.

Features:

  • Formed into bite-size morsels
  • Tasty chicken flavor
  • Comes with the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) quality seal
  • Made in the USA with global ingredients

Options: Standard strength comes in 90 and 180-count bags, while advanced strength comes in a 60-count package.

Active Ingredients (Per 2 chews):

  • 600 milligrams glucosamine HCL 
  • 280 milligrams fish oil 
  • 240 milligrams MSM 
  • 210 milligrams krill 
  • 52 milligrams EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • 34 milligrams DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) 
  • 22 international units Vitamin E 
  • 4 milligrams manganese 
  • 2.5 milligrams hrape seed extract 
  • 0.5 milligrams hyaluronic acid 

Inactive ingredients: Acetic acid, Ascorbic acid, Brewers dried yeast, Cane molasses, Caramel color, Dried whey, Mixed tocopherols, Natural hickory smoke flavor, Pork gelatin, Rosemary extract, Selenium, Soy lecithin, Spray dried chicken liver, Tapioca starch, Vegetable glycerin

Pros

  • Pricing is great
  • Broad mix of active ingredients for joint regrowth, nourishment, and inflammation  
  • Most dogs love the taste

Cons

  • Lengthy ingredient list may be an issue for puppies with food sensitivities
  • Doesn’t always crumble well over food if your pup is picky
  • Grape seed extract is an ingredient that gives some owners pause
K9 of Mine Staff Experiences

My dogs take these and love them. My pittie mix Moxie has been on them since she was nine months old, and no matter how rough and tumble she plays on her stocky frame, she barrels around just fine.

The large bag counts are ideal for multi-dog households like mine, and even my ultra-picky pibble princess Maya will scarf these chews down. The chew size is perfect, too, working well for bigger dogs while not being too large for my Chihuahuas.

They’re a solid pick with my pack.

10. Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

Best Fish Oil Joint Supplement for Puppies

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Best Fish Oil Joint Supplement for Puppies

Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

A salmon oil supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids for joint, skin, and coat health that is packaged in a hassle-free pump.

About: Baste your best buddy’s meal in joint-pleasing goodness with Zesty Paws’ Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, it helps your four-footer march to the beat of her own drum while also supporting a healthy coat, brain, and eyes.  

Features:

  • Easily coats your puppy’s food (kibble or wet!)
  • Made with wild-caught Alaskan salmon
  • Brand has passed the National Animal Supplement Council’s quality audit
  • Made in the USA with US and globally sourced ingredients

Options: Available in a 32-ounce pump bottle.

Active Ingredients (Per teaspoon): Salmon oil

  • 850 milligrams omega-3 fatty acids 
  • 425 milligrams DHA 
  • 340 milligrams EPA

Inactive ingredients: Mixed tocopherols

Pros

  • Simple to administer: Just pump on your pup’s food and serve
  • Excellent for skin, coat, and brain health
  • Safe for dogs and cats (great for multi-species families)

Cons

Are Joint Supplements Safe for Puppies?

puppy joint supplement

Because they are usually used on adult and senior dogs, many pet parents wonder if joint supplements are safe for puppies. It’s a reasonable question, but the answer is: Yes — joint supplements are usually safe for most puppies.

However, it’s still imperative that you get your vet’s seal of approval before adding them to your canine’s diet.

This is true of any new supplement, as they can interfere with your pup’s existing medications or health conditions.

When Should I Start Giving My Puppy Joint Supplements?

Most joint supplement manufacturers market their puppy joint supplements for four-footers who’re more than 12 weeks of age. But this does vary from one manufacturer to the next, so be sure to check the package instructions.

Not every puppy will need joint supplements this soon, but others may benefit from starting a joint-supplement regimen early. 

Just be sure to discuss the issue with your vet to develop a timeline that works best for your puppy’s needs.

Signs of Joint Problems in Puppies

Joint issues are often (mistakenly) thought of as an “old dog” problem, but adult doggos in the prime of their lives and puppies can also suffer from them. These can include everything from injuries caused during overly boisterous play to hereditary issues.

Signs of joint issues or pain in your puppy may include:

  • Limping
  • Reluctance to walk or exercise
  • Hesitancy to walk up stairs or climb onto furniture
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Disinterest in play
  • Irritability
  • Frequent falling
  • Strange or unnatural gait
  • Yelping when held or moved
  • Slow to get up or lie down

If you notice any of these symptoms in your puppy, take her to the vet for a thorough examination. Note when the pain seemed to begin and try to think of any recent activities that may be related, such as rough play or running. This can help pinpoint what’s going on.

What Kinds of Joint Problems Affect Puppies?

Joint vitamins for dogs

Sadly, puppies can suffer from a number of joint issues, including:

  • Osteochondrosis: Puppies who develop too quickly may see this deformation in bones and joints, which is why proper breeding and age- and breed-appropriate nutrition are paramount.
  • Hip dysplasia: This disfigurement of the hip joint causes a loose fit of the femur’s ball portion in the hip socket and can lead to everything from an awkward gait to debilitating pain.
  • Elbow dysplasia: This abnormal development of the elbow joint can lead to severe pain and arthritis, even in young dogs.
  • Luxating patella: With this condition, your dog’s kneecap (patella) slips out of place. It can sometimes be manually righted, though a vet should always evaluate the condition.
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: This ailment is most often seen in small breeds and causes a loss of blood supply to the femoral head and eventual atrophy of the hip joint, leading to debilitating pain. 
  • Septic arthritis: This inflammatory form of arthritis is caused by a bacterial infection and is a hallmark of tick-borne illnesses like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease.

Your puppy can also suffer from joint and cartilage-related injuries, including bulging discs, ligament ruptures, and fractures. To prevent these, never let your puppy jump from high surfaces or allow her to slip and slide on hardwood floors.

Down the road, adult and senior dogs can have other joint issues, like: 

  • Arthritis: Also known as degenerative joint disease, arthritis is a progressive disease that causes stiffness and discomfort. Dogs with arthritis lack healthy cartilage between the affected joints, leading to pain, as the joint doesn’t move as easily as it once did.
  • Immune-related arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are two of the most common causes of this painful condition where joints and nearby bones are destroyed.

You can’t prevent every joint issue, as many are hereditary, but you can set your pup up for long-term success by selecting a puppy from an ethical breeder who screens every dog before breeding. Providing proper nutrition, vetting, and exercise are also critical in steering your puppy on the right path.

Which Breeds Are Susceptible to Joint Problems?

Natural joint supplement for dogs

All breeds (big and small) can have joint problems, but the most significant issues are seen with giant breeds, such as:

  • Great Dane
  • St Bernard
  • English mastiff
  • Irish wolfhound
  • Neapolitan mastiff

These mega-sized mutts require specialized feeding and exercise during growth to ensure proper development.

As with any puppy, a large or giant breed puppy should come from parents screened for joint issues with hip and elbow scoring. This is common practice with ethical breeders and vital for these gentle giants’ long-term health.

Other breeds have specific joint issues to watch for, including:

  • German shepherd (Hip and elbow dysplasia)
  • Dachshund (Disc disease, hip/elbow dysplasia, and luxating patella)
  • Pug (Hip dysplasia and luxating patella)
  • Bulldog (Hip dysplasia and luxating patella)
  • Labrador retriever (Hip and elbow dysplasia)
  • Rottweiler (Hip dysplasia)

It’s critical that parents be screened for these conditions prior to breeding to prevent passing on hereditary defects to puppies that can lead to lifelong pain. Ethical breeders won’t hesitate to offer hip and elbow scores for their sires and dams. If they don’t, look elsewhere.

How Can You Strengthen Your Puppy’s Joints?

best joint supplement for puppies

In addition to joint supplements, you can strengthen and support your puppy’s growing joints in many ways. This ranges from everyday activities to long-term maintenance plans. 

The best ways to support your puppy’s joints are:

Provide proper nutrition. 

Helping your dog’s joints starts with providing quality nutrition for optimal development. This means taking the proper precautions when choosing a dog food and selecting one that meets her age, size, and specific health needs.

For example, large-breed puppies (dogs expected to weigh more than 70 pounds in adulthood) have specialized dietary needs to ensure proper development. 

You may be able to find the right food on your own, but don’t shy away from asking your vet for advice if you have a complex canine or if you’re stuck between brands.  

Make sure she gets regular, appropriate exercise.

Another aspect of joint health is mobility.

While physical exercise is important for any dog, you must not overdo it while your pupper is still growing, particularly with large and giant breeds. A daily walk to lock in leash manners and burn off energy is fine, along with general backyard play, but avoid heavy-duty jogging and rough play until your dog is at least 18 months old. Sometimes, you’ll need to wait longer, depending on the breed and your dog’s joint health. 

If you’re unsure about your four-footer and her exercise routine, ask your vet. It’s always best to err on the side of caution – especially while she’s young.

Keep her at a healthy body weight.

We know it’s hard, but try to limit high-calorie treats and never overfeed your puppy. A pudgy pup may look cute to some, but extra weight adds stress to your dog’s joints and can lead to unnecessary wear and tear. This is especially worrisome during puppyhood when your pup’s frame is developing. 

Regular exercise and measured feedings can keep your pup’s weight on track, as can switching to low-calorie, dog-friendly treats and chews like carrots or green beans. That way, your puppy is still getting a reward without overdoing the calories.

Ensure she enjoys comfortable bedding.

Ensure your woof’s joints are getting a chance to recover at the end of a hard day puppying. This means investing in a quality bed, which can be a little tricky if you have a chomp-happy puppy. Select a bed with padding, if possible, but make sure it doesn’t have any tempting tassels or zippers that your pup may gnaw off. Sometimes, spritzing a bed with an anti-chew spray can help.

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Joint supplements can be a great way to set up your puppy’s frame for lifelong health and mobility. Have you tried any of the joint supplements for puppies on our list? Is there another out there that rocks your world? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear.

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Written by

Kelsey Leicht

Kelsey is a lover of words and woofs. She worked with dogs for several years at a boarding kennel as a shift runner and office manager before venturing into the world of writing. She lives with a menagerie of furry and not-so-furry kids, including three dogs, some cats, a grumpy turtle, and her husband. Her favorite type of dog is a happy one.

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