Key Nutrients for Dog Joints and Bones

Vitabiotics | Published: 26/01/2023

Key Nutrients for Dog Joints and Bones Key Nutrients for Dog Joints and Bones

The foundations of an active dog are its joints and bones and maintaining their health with essential nutrients such as Omega-3, calcium and zinc is important for all stages of life and all levels of fitness. Most of the core nutrients needed to support these structures are directly sourced from what we feed our dogs, it is therefore vital that we choose a diet that is nutritionally balanced with the right amounts of important vitamins and minerals. Many owners are now choosing to provide their dog with a daily multivitamin supplement in order to ensure their dog’s diet contains everything they need.

Here are some of the key vitamins and minerals that can support dogs’ healthy joints and bones.


Omega-3 is an essential poly-unsaturated fatty acid and includes EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), making it an important nutrient for dogs. In fact, the use of omega-3 for dogs can help keep joints active and supple. Sources of Omega-3 traditionally come from cold-water fatty fish such as salmon and Mackerel. Omega-3 for dogs can also be sourced from plants, nuts and seeds with Linseed oil being another excellent source.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring remedy known as a chondroprotective agent used for its powerful properties in alleviating pain associated with bone and joint conditions in dogs. It is an amino sugar which is usually derived from shellfish.

Cartilage is what protects our dogs’ joints but this can become damaged. Glucosamine is often paired with another naturally occurring substance known as Chondroitin Sulphate, which plays an integral role as one of the most essential components for cartilage production. When combined with glucosamine for dogs, these two substances working together synergistically to help stimulate cartilage repair.

Zinc and Selenium

Zinc is an important mineral that your dog needs to obtain from their diet as they cannot synthesise it themselves. Zinc helps to maintain a healthy immune system and supports bone mineralisation. It also boasts additional benefits by helping to maintain healthy skin, footpads and a glossy coat making it a real powerhouse nutrient.

Selenium is a trace mineral that also supports a dogs’ healthy immune system as it contains important antioxidant properties.



Calcium is a mineral that plays several important roles within a dog's body, one of the most commonly recognised is its role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

The importance of calcium for dogs extends beyond its roles within the skeletal system. It also serves vital functions for muscle contraction, heart health and in maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Like other minerals, dogs are unable to naturally produce calcium, meaning it comes solely as a nutrient in their diet. Giving a supplement that contains an optimal amount of calcium will help to safeguard these critical body functions.

Ensuring dogs have the right balance of calcium is important during all stages of life and is of particular importance in older dogs.

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Green Lipped Mussel

Green Lipped Mussels are shellfish native to New Zealand, and they contain substances that can have beneficial effects on a dog’s joint health and mobility by keeping the surrounding tissue and cartilage healthy.

As well as the high levels of omega-3 that you would expect to see in fish and shellfish oils, Green Lipped Mussels are unique as they contain mysterious compounds that appear to keep the tissues and cartilage surrounding joints healthy and mobile.

Dog rinning in water with a ball.
Dog rinning in water with a ball.

MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane

MSM, also known by Methylsulfonymethane, is a naturally occurring compound found in small quantites of protein rich foods rich such as eggs, meat, legumes and some green plants and it is sometimes used in dog multivitamins.

Its unique properties help to restore your dog’s biological sulphur to the body helping to improve cellular and organ function. It also has properties which help to reduce chronic inflammation and pain associated with muscular and skeletal disease.

Vitamins A, C, D and E

Just like minerals there are a number of core vitamins that play an important part in your dog’s nutritional needs.

Vitamins A, C and E have important powerful antioxidant properties which help to protect against the harmful effect of free radicals in the body which also helps to reduce inflammation. Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the balance and retention of calcium in the body, helping to keep our dog’s bones and teeth strong and healthy.


Dog running on a field with a toy.
Dog running on a field with a toy.

Take-home message

It is important to remember that dogs, like humans, have individual nutritional needs based on their age, breed, size, and activity levels. Giving your dog vitamins gives owners peace of mind that they are meeting their dogs’ nutritional needs.

When looking for a dog multivitamin always ensure you buy from a good, reputable brand that uses good quality ingredients that target your dog’s health needs.

Meet the Author

 Dr Paul Manktelow

Dr Paul Manktelow

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Paul Manktelow

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Paul Manktelow is a leading veterinary surgeon with 20 years’ experience. In his role as Principal Vet at PDSA he has worked on the front line of some of the UK’s busiest veterinary hospitals. Paul is also a TV and radio presenter, writer, public speaker and podcast producer, educating dog owners all across the UK.

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