Posted on: July 5th, 2022

Nutraceutical research has become very popular over the last decade or so. There are countless studies on how nutraceuticals may help certain conditions or overall health in humans. We can now add dogs to the club of species that may benefit from specific nutraceuticals.

Research into potential canine nutraceuticals has been primarily focused on osteoarthritis-related symptoms. Initial results from studies have shown promising results that will require further research.

Canine Nutraceuticals

The existing definitions for what a nutraceutical is are fairly loose–and these definitions only apply to nutraceuticals intended for humans. Nutraceuticals must feature a dietary ingredient intended to help maintain normal health and functioning in some way.

Research into canine nutraceuticals has included studies on how specific dietary components can help with osteoarthritis. The main nutraceutical ingredients used in recent canine studies include common ingredients.

Plant Oils

Extracts from the oils of specific plants have recently been researched to see if they provide any value with regard to helping manage symptoms of canine osteoarthritis. A common extract currently being researched is avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU).

ASU is a vegetable extract composed of approximately ⅓ avocado oil and ⅔ soybean oil. Research into ASU has indicated it is effective in modulating inflammatory signals and preventing cell deterioration in joints.

Dogs involved in recent ASU nutraceutical trials have shown decreased levels of early-onset osteoarthritic cartilage.


Other research into canine nutraceuticals for osteoarthritis has included collagen supplementation, specifically undenatured type II collagen (UC II). Collagen is a protein responsible for joint and skin health. UC II is a specific collagen supplement isolated from chicken sternums.

UC II has been reported to help the immune system with inflammatory issues. Studies have shown that UC II works best when supplemented with glucosamine and/or chondroitin.

Recent studies have also noted that UC II has great clinical potential as supplement dosage is unaffected by the size of a dog. More research is needed to see how multiple supplement approaches work and how effective they can be when fighting canine osteoarthritis.

Canine Nutraceutical Research

As canine-related nutraceutical research continues, new types of supplements and other products may start to hit the consumer market. Like human nutraceuticals, however, canine nutraceuticals won’t be subject to the same level of FDA regulations.

Researchers and doctors worry that some novel canine (and other animals) nutraceuticals may make false promises or even be potentially harmful. Seeing positive results in a dog or other pet is difficult for an average pet owner to detect, so it is important that pet owners discuss supplements used on their pets with their veterinarians.

The opportunity for nutraceuticals to help our furry companions get better and better as more research is conducted. And, like with nutraceuticals for people, talking to your dog’s veterinarian can help you understand what nutraceuticals may help the most.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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