Dasuquin VS. Cosequin : Which Joint Supplement Is Best for Your Dog?

Dasuquin VS. Cosequin

When dealing with joint supplements there are a lot of things to consider about what’s on the market.

You want to be sure you are getting the right concentration and quality of the active ingredient for your dog.

Of the top products, I have used are those made by Nutramax. In studies, going back as far as 2002 they have been consistently high quality and beneficial products. In the course of discussing the value and purpose of the supplement, I’ll delve into Dasuquin vs. Cosequin.

In this in-depth comparison review, first we’ll cover the top 4 joint supplements on the market:

Cosequin DS plus MSM maximum strength
Cosequin Soft Chew Maximum Strength with MSM plus Omega 3
Dasuquin with MSM Chewable
Dasuquin with MSM soft chew

Let’s begin with:

Why should I consider using a joint supplement at all?

Let’s start with the most basic question, why bother? What do joint supplements do? This depends entirely on what it is. There are a lot of different things out there that act as a supplement.

In the following sections, I’ll review some of the ingredients and what they do. The plan is to provide the body with things to make it healthier. How vague and almost silly that statement sounds explains why the supplement market is huge and hard to navigate.

Effective joint supplements improve the thickness of joint fluid and the health of cartilage so that they wear down more slowly and decrease pain.

Our Rating:


Price Range: $$

This product contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and msm as the primary active ingredients. There are some flavorings to make up the tablet so if you have allergy issues it’s a good idea to look the whole ingredient list over.

Both cartilage protecting and anti-inflammatory activity is present in this supplement. This means it will slow down the development of arthritis as well as decrease the pain of active arthritis.

The supplement comes in the form of a dry flavor tab which some dogs will eat right out of your hand, but it can also be given as a pill or hidden in some other food. Refusal to take it is not extremely common in my experience.

Nutrimax labs has excellent quality control testing of this supplement to guarantee you are getting what you pay for. Also the company has good customer support if you run into problems or are unsure about any aspect of the product and need to call them to get some answers.

what we like about it What We Like About It:

  • Lab tested and confirmed high quality supplement
  • A multicomponent product to improve joint health with minimal side effects.
  • The flavor tab form is generally well accepted by dogs.

what we dont like What We Don’t Like About It:

  • Does not contain omega fatty acid supplement.
  • Tabs can be hard to get in your dog if they don’t like them.

The Woof on the Street...!

the woof on the street

Paws Up. A happy parent found these results.

Our dog was on anti-inflammatory meds at $60 a month from the vet.! I started our 9 year old 90lb Newfoundland mix on these hoping to replace what we were doing. . She had some very dark days before this supplement. She is now running around after our 9 month old boxer! She is at about 75/80% and we are thrilled. Be patient! It takes time for it to get into the system, but it works! All smiles here. And I smile when she gets up to greet me at the door. She wasn’t even wanting to get up to eat before this. I highly RECOMMEND.

Paws Down. For some pets, it doesn’t go all the way. (Side note: New stomach-friendly anti-inflammatories have arrived.)

“I bought this supplement for one of my aging pups…a 10 year old lab mix. We tried a prescription anti-inflammatory, which caused an immediate improvement, but his stomach couldn’t handle it. So a friend of mine recommended this. He’s been taking it according to the directions for about 2 months. It does seem to help a bit. Haven’t noticed as much of an improvement as the prescription meds made, but since he can’t tolerate the prescription ones …this is better than nothing. Hopefully, he will continue to improve. He does like the taste and happily devours them.”

Our Rating:


Price Range: $$

This product contains the standard glucosamine, chondroitin, as well as MSM and Omega 3 Fatty acid supplementation. The combination giving a well rounded cartilage preserving and antiinflammatory effect.

The different ingredients in the product work throughout the body, not just the joints. Decreasing inflammation in a joint will also decrease pain. Decreasing inflammation in the skin lowers itching in dogs with dry skin especially.

The form is a soft chewable which would be a great treat to many dogs. In some cases this may make giving the supplement daily easier, which helps us to be more consistent. None of us like to force our dog to do something they don’t like every day.

Side effects are rare, occasionally dogs get upset stomach with any food/supplement. When this happens it’s best to avoid using supplements with that flavoring and fillers. This may be confusing sometimes and your veterinarian may be able to help you as well.

what we like about it What We Like About It:

  • The multiple supplements help protect cartilage from breaking down.
  • The antiinflammatory effect decreases pain and cartilage injury.
  • Addition skin and coat health from omega fatty acid.

what we dont like What We Don’t Like About It:

  • Some dogs won’t eat chews and they are hard to get down if not voluntary.
  • Some people feel they have a strong fishy odor.

The Woof on the Street...!

the woof on the street

Paws Up. Quality matters according to this pet parent.

“I’ve had my dog on joint supplements for almost 2 years, and I have avoided Cosequin because of the price. However, I have now learned that you get what you pay for. This may cost a little more than others, but it is consistent and I have complete confidence that what is on the label is actually in the product. My dog has no trouble gobbling it up (then again, he’s a pig so I wouldn’t take that into much consideration). I don’t think I will use anything else from now on.”

Paws Down. Not every pet loves it.

“I haven’t been giving it to my dogs long enough to tell if it helps much, but my lab HATES the fish taste. The mixed-breed will eat it. I’ve been breaking up the semi-soft pills and hiding them in the dog’s food. Sure can’t use them as treats the way I’d planned to. That’s why few stars.”

Our Rating:


Price Range: $$

This product contains glucose, chondroitin, msm with the addition of ASU and omega fatty acids which are on the ingredient list as EPA and DHA. The ASU is an additional component to reduce inflammation. The benefit of adding additional ingredients is that the body is a living system and the more ways that we manage inflammation the better the result is. Think about it like, if you go out in the rain with a raincoat, you won’t get completely wet, but if you have a raincoat and an umbrella, you’ll stay even dryer.

It comes as a dry flavor chew tablet that some dogs will take as a treat but it is usually manageable for those picky dogs to either give directly like a pill or hide it in a treat.

There are rarely side effects with the most common one being a mild GI upset. This is a digestive issue for some dogs and if it happens you need to use a different type of product with different flavorings usually.

what we like about it What We Like About It:

  • Strong anti-inflammatory combination of multiple ingredients give a better result.
  • Advanced joint cartilage support with the addition of ASU
  • It’s made by a company with a good quality track record.

what we dont like What We Don’t Like About It:

  • Occasional GI upset due to avocado
  • Rare allergy association with soy.

The Woof on the Street...!

the woof on the street

Paws Up. Some pet owners feel the extra is better.

“These are great for older dogs that have joint issues. I have a German Sheppard (Dusty) that’s 12 yrs. and 3 months old. He’s been on Dasuquin with MSM for about 4 years now. They’re a bit pricier than the Cosequin or Cosequin DS (double strength) but worth it. I tried to step down (last year) to the Cosequin’s and I noticed the difference in Dusty within a few weeks.”

Paws Down. Some pet owners didn’t see the extra.

” I switched from Cosequin for my old man golden retriever just to try this. He has some hip dysplasia and other back end issues, including damaging his ACL a couple times. The Cosequin worked great but I’m always trying to find the best for him so I thought I’d try this. It might be because he was on the stronger Cosequin and is a little more advanced in his issues, though not bad… but I felt like he went backward a little bit, if anything. It certainly didn’t give any positive improvement. Plus, he would gobble up the Cosequin like a treat and I had to put this pill down his throat, he hates it so much. I’m glad it seems to work for a lot of dogs but didn’t do anything for mine”

Our Rating:


Price Range: $$

This contains glucose, chondroitin, msm with the addition of ASU and omega fatty acids (EPA/DHA). The combination of cartilage protecting ingredients and antiinflammatory ingredients gives your dog a lot of help for their joint disease.

The flavored chew is easier with food motivated dogs to simply give as a treat. I have found in most cases the easier it is to get your dog to take a product the better the chances that they really get it every day. Regular dosing is very important for supplements to work to their full effect, just like medications. Many dogs will be sitting and asking for it at treat time.

The company has a good reputation for making quality products with proper safety and efficacy testing. This helps to assure your dog gets the greatest benefit.

The more flavorings in the chew slightly increases the change of GI upset for dogs that have dietary sensitivity.

what we like about it What We Like About It:

  • The combination of ingredients provides multilayer joint protection
  • Easy medicating for food motivated dogs.
  • Excellent company quality control

what we dont like What We Don’t Like About It:

  • Hard to pill if the dog doesn’t want to take it on their own.
  • More flavor ingredients to consider in the case of allergy.

The Woof on the Street...!

the woof on the street

Paws Up. Ease and success for some pets.

“Our 5 yr. old Schipperke mix, Spock, has luxating patellas in his rear legs. We’ve tried several different products, as he is a rather picky pooch and after a few weeks will pick around the glucosamine–even if we mix in wet food. The tablets are a pain to crush up every single morning. It’s been two months now and he is still gobbling it down with his breakfast.

What a difference! Spock bounces around the house, wanting longer and longer walks and more time chasing his favorite toys. Now we can barely keep up!

This is the only product I will be recommending for dogs with similar issues in the future.”

Paws Down. Tasty chews don’t temp everyone.

“Got these for my aging lab that was 15 years old. I had used Dasuquin with her before but it was pills not the chews. I thought these would be a better option, but she doesn’t like the taste so I still have to use peanut butter to get her to eat them. I see a difference though, on days that I delay in giving it to her or am running late there is a noticeable change in her mobility. I am going back to the tablets though, they are smaller, easier to store and cheaper per unit since I have to use a masking agent anyway.”

What Do Dasuquin and Cosequin Do?

How These Supplements Can Help My Dog?

I’ll answer that questions by breaking down the different component in the products above. The actually contain a number of beneficial agents.

The advantage of multicomponent supplements is they work against the disease from many directions which generally gives a more pronounced benefit.

Every ingredient plays a roll, let’s take them one by one:

Fatty Acids

One of the foundation supplements are omega fatty acids also often referred to as DHA/EPA, or omega 3’s and 6’s.

It’s beautiful how they work, fundamentally they are anti-inflammatory. When the body builds inflammatory products they are not all the same. When omega fatty acids are supplemented they build a less damaging inflammatory product at the end.

This may sound odd to people, but part of the purpose of inflammation is to hurt, it’s telling us to stop what we’re doing. Unfortunately with chronic problems like a joint disease not getting up and walking around is no good, so we want that inflammation to be less destructive.

Skin allergy/itching are an inflammatory condition and the use of omega fatty acids do two things for those conditions. They decrease the irritation and itching as well as improve the protective coating the skin makes for itself so it doesn’t dry out so much. So a big bonus for those big retrievers among others with sore hips and itchy skin.

The two huge benefits of changing the inflammatory profile:

Decreased tissue damage

The inflammatory products that the body makes are damaging. This is why when we have an injury we take anti-inflammatories. They reduce the damage to tissue and reduce pain. So when we add the supplement and end up with a less damaging product then the tissue is healthier.

Less side effects

Most of us have heard about things like being careful about too much aspirin because it will hurt our stomach.

Most ‘drugs’ have side effects because in addition to the treatment effect that we want there is a side effect due to the ‘drug’ altering something in our body. In the case of aspirin it cuts off the inflammatory cascade, but in that process, it interferes with the production of a protective chemical for our stomachs.

Because omega fatty acids build a better product from the ground up there is no cut-off, therefor no dramatic side-effects. In actuality, there aren’t any documented side effects, though we always keep our ear to the ground for problems.

Both Dasuquin And Cosequin contain the same active ingredients:

Glucosamine (Hydrochloride)

This is an interesting supplement. Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of healthy cartilage. Cartilage is part of the shock absorber of the joint system. Healthy cartilage protects bone, decreases pain and long term damage. This idea is understandable to all of you out there who have chronic degeneration in their knees and have talked about ‘bone on bone pain’.

So what’s the controversy? When we consume a product like glucosamine we digest it, meaning we break it down. So does the body really rebuild it? Does it really directly affect the joints? This has been a difficult thing to prove scientifically. What many of us have seen as doctors though is patients who take these supplements tend to do better.

(Sodium) Chondroitin (Sulfate)

This is the same idea as glucosamine except for one thing. Chondroitin is a very big molecule. What this means is that it is very expensive to make. There is a distinct reason why quality supplements containing chondroitin are significantly more expensive than the ones just containing glucosamine. Once again though, scientific evidence is hard to generate. Many of my patients for over 20 years have shown improvements on these supplements.

What Is MSM in Dasuquin and Cosequin?

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

This works as an anti-inflammatory. It works in a similar way to aspirin, but it’s less potent and therefore less side effects. This component is fairly straightforward in terms of ‘drugs’ we understand.

There are Only 2 Key Differences Between Dasuquin and Cosequin

ASU (Avocado/Soybean unsaponifiable)

This is another agent that helps to maintain and heal cartilage.
In humans, this has been shown to significantly decrease the breakdown of cartilage (Arthritis Foundation ) It has been tracked in humans for safety and has an excellent track record.

Dogs are not people and caution must always be taken when using data between species, but this does show good data as to why Nutramax went down this road of research.

Nutramax’s data shows an increased strength against inflammation with the addition of ASU. (www.dasuquin.com/nmx/dasuquin_charts.pdf )

After learning about the different components, let’s go through together, how to choose the best supplement for your dog?

After years of research and discussions with pharmacologists I have learned a lot about supplements.

One of the most important facts to me is that supplements are not regulated by the FDA like what we commonly refer to as ‘drugs’. Supplements are actually considered food and the standards of proof are much looser than and FDA regulated drug. What this means in the general sense is that if an FDA regulated drug says it contains 500mg of a product, then it must.
For a food supplement says it contains 500mg of a supplement then 5mg or 10mg is passable or minimally tested. Many of the inexpensive supplements on the market are made with low quality ingredients and varied concentrations.

(Molecules. 2015 Mar; 20(3):4277–4289. Published online 2015 Mar 6. doi: Discrepancies in Composition and Biological Effects of Different Formulations of Chondroitin Sulfate Johanne Martel-Pelletier, Aina Farran, Eulàlia Montell, Josep Vergés, and Jean Pierre Pelletier Vito Ferro, Academic Editor).

So back to the question, how to pick a supplement? The best guarantee of quality is to work with a quality company.

Nutramax is one of the companies that has consistently made quality products including the Cosequin and Dasuquin line. There is such a thing called third party analysis. A company makes a product and then send portions of it out to an outside lab (third party) for a quality control. When a company does this you have much better assurance that the product is high quality. Yes, it’s okay to ask, I discuss this with companies all the time. The ones that have strong quality control systems in place don’t mind talking about it.

This is an area where I have to put in a plug for your veterinarian. We talk with the companies to try and support the best products for your pets. When it comes to supplements talk with your family pet doctor about what’s best. There is too much out there that isn’t worth your pet’s welfare or your money.

Dasuquin Vs. Cosequin A Quick Comparison

Both products contain glucosamine and chondroitin. There are multiple versions of the Cosequin with omega fatty acids and MSM. Dasuquin contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and ASU and has additional types with the addition of MSM and omega fatty acids.

So the key difference between the two products is ASU and cost. ASU as previously mentioned had an additive effect of protecting cartilage.

  • Cosequin, depending on what you order and the size of your dog runs from about $20 to $60.
  • Dasuquin runs from about $40 to $120.

How long does it take Cosequin to work?

It is designed to work with the body systems and it takes some time for them to be incorporated.

In most cases you will start to see some effects in 4 weeks, with the maximum effect in 8 weeks.

How long does it take Dasuquin to work?

The body has to absorb and process the ingredients into the body tissues and this does take some time.

The product will start to produce some effects in 4 weeks, with the maximum effect in 8 weeks.

What are the side effect issues for Cosequin?

There really have not been any consistent side effects to Cosequin.

The only occasional issue is GI upset if a dog has a food sensitivity to what is in the flavoring or source of the ingredients. This will happen rarely.

What are the side effect issues for Dasuquin?

The ASU contains avocado and soy, the omega fatty acids come from seafood in most cases, though some supplements use flax seed. If there is a soy allergy then you wouldn’t want to choose this product.

Overall these are very safe products to use. I have not had any negative reactions in any patients other than a few rare cases of upset stomach. In those cases this just isn’t the best product for that dog.

Let’s take a look at the dogs that can be helped by these products and in what stage of life they can benefit.

For any dog prone to joint disease I like to start these at a young age, even as low as year 1. These help to prevent and slow the breakdown of cartilage so they do some of their best work before signs of pain appear.

These are the pets like large breeds prone to hip or elbow dysplasia. This generally includes Retrievers, Rottweilers, Shepards, Standard Poodles.

Athletes with knee ligament damage, this is very common in fast muscular dogs of any size.

Any of the giant breeds like Newfoundlands, and Great Pyrenees.
These products are safe throughout a patient’s life time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Dasuquin and Cosequin vegan?

No they aren’t. Some of the components like omega fatty acids come from seafood. The chondroitin comes from a cow source. Additionally to make flavor tabs they may use poultry, pork, or beef sources.

Is this product yeast free?

No, both product lines contain brewer’s yeast.

Is this okay for a diabetic dog?

In general yes. It’s important though when you are treating your dog for any illness that you discuss all supplements with your veterinarian to be sure that your dog’s total health is taken into consideration. There are some supplements that can interfere with medical treatments.

Is this product grain-free?

Though I can find no evidence that they certify Dasuquin and Cosequin are grain-free the ingredient list does not contain any grains. The concern would be fillers that are used to make up the pill and flavoring. It is unlikely to contain enough grain to be any concern.

Our Verdict : The Best Product to Start With?

Our top pick for Best Joint Health Product is the Dasuquin with MSM soft chew. This supplement has the most joint protecting and anti inflammatory ingredients and comes in a tasty treat form that will make giving it to your dog every day easier.

Using small amounts of different types of products increases how well they work by approaching the disease from multiple directions. Also by having lower doses of complementary products we are less likely to see negative side effects.
For dogs that are food motivated flavor chews are wonderful. It makes medicating a treat not a chore. It’s a great place to start if you don’t know how your dog feels about them.

Joint supplements have a huge benefit to our pet companions. It’s often ideal to start them young. Be sure to check with your veterinarian and keep them posted on any supplements you use to give your family member total health care.

One request from Speedy

Dr. Peters put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to the dog parent community. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media networks.

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