Dasuquin vs Cosequin: What’s the Difference? (Vet Answer)

Last Updated: April 22, 2021

petkeen vet approved graphicAs dogs and cats age, the function of their joints can start to suffer. Osteoarthritis and DJD (degenerative joint disease) are common complaints of older dogs and may be seen in the hips, stifles (knees), or other joints in the body. Cosequin and Dasuquin are both nutraceuticals, a type of supplement which aims to provide nutrients to promote cartilage function and healing and help with the symptoms of joint problems and canine arthritis.

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Joint Problems in Dogs: A Quick Overview

Osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease are common in dogs, as are hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, especially with certain breeds. The joint cartilage provides a strong shock-absorbing cushion and is present where two bones meet to form a flexible joint; the synovial fluid (joint fluid) works as a lubricant to keep everything moving smoothly. As dogs age, or when damage or disease affect the joint, the cartilage can become pitted and gritty, and less synovial fluid is produced.

If you have noticed your dog or cat is starting to slow down or is showing symptoms of joint disease you may be wondering if a joint supplement would be appropriate to give, and which to choose. In this article, we will compare Cosequin and Dasuquin to help you to decide which might be suitable. Of course, in the first instance always consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and discussion before starting any new supplement or treatment.

Overview of Dasuquin

Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Chewables

Dasuquin is a joint supplement available for dogs in both soft chew and tablet form, it aims to improve joint health using its active ingredients. The cat version of Dasuquin comes in either soft chews or sprinkle capsules. Dasuquin for dogs contains glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), and ASU (Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables). Dasuquin for cats also contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and ASU- with the addition of manganese.

What are the active ingredients of Dasuquin?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are produced naturally in the body as they form part of the structure of cartilage. It is thought that providing these in supplement form can boost repair of the cartilage. MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is a naturally occurring substance that is added to Dasuquin for its anti-inflammatory properties. Arthritic or diseased joints will be experiencing inflammation, MSM aims to counter this in order to improve function and reduce pain. ASU or Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables are added to Dasuquin to protect cartilage and support joint function- it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

How do I give Dasuquin to my pet?

Dasuquin is usually easy to give to your dog, they will often take it as a treat directly from your hand, although the tablets can be hidden in food or another treat if needed. Cats will usually readily accept the sprinkle capsule as it can be added to their usual food. If your cat doesn’t always finish his food you could provide a smaller meal with Dasuquin first, ensuring it has all been eaten before providing the rest of the meal. Dasuquin is given daily to both dogs and cats.

How quickly might I see my pet’s condition improve?

It will take around 4 weeks for the supplement to be “loaded” into your pet’s system. After about 4-6weeks you might start to see a change or improvement in your pet’s symptoms. Changes in activity levels may be subtle at first.

What can Dasuquin be used for?

Dasuquin is commonly used to help pets suffering from osteoarthritis, a common complaint of aging. Other conditions could include joint problems such as hip dysplasia, after orthopedic surgery or joint injury. However, if your dog is suffering with joint problems you should first consult with your vet to determine if Dasuquin will be suitable. Always tell your vet before starting any supplements, as they can interact with medication your pet is already on.

Pros
  • Available in soft chews and chewable tablets which should make them easy to give.
  • Contains the additional ingredient ASU from avocado and soybean which is thought to further reduce inflammation.
  • Manufactured by a well-known company.
  • Available for both dogs and cats.
Cons
  • The addition of ASU causes digestive upsets for some dogs.
  • A small number of dogs may suffer from a soy allergy, making Dasuquin unsuitable for them.
  • Often more expensive than Cosequin.

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Overview of Cosequin

Cosequin Maximum Strength Joint Supplement Plus

Cosequin is another big name in the nutraceutical market, available in a range of formulations for dogs, cats, and horses. Cosequin contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Some versions also have additional Omega 3. Cosequin is available as a soft chew, sprinkle capsule, or chewable tablet. For dogs, there is the option of a mini version of the soft chew which may be easier for the toy breeds to accept. For cats, a sprinkle capsule is available in one size only.

What are the active ingredients of Cosequin?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are the active ingredients in Cosequin- they are added to aid in the repair and maintenance of cartilage. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is added for its anti-inflammatory effects. Some versions of Cosequin for dogs come with the addition of Omega 3.

In what formulations is Cosequin for horses available?

Cosequin for horses is available as a powder, tablet, or pellet to feed. The standard formulation contains glucosamine and chondroitin with the option of a different version which contains Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU), and hyaluronic acid (HA).

How do I give Cosequin?

Because Cosequin is available in a range of formulations it is usually possible to ensure your pet readily accepts the supplement. Dogs may accept the chew as a treat, or the tablet form can be hidden in a favorite treat. For cats and fussier dogs, the sprinkle capsules can be added to their normal food. Horses can be offered the supplement in a small treat or mixed in with a small amount of hard feed.

woman giving dog Cosequin Maximum Strength Joint Supplement Plus

What can Cosequin be used for?

Cosequin is most often reached for when treating osteoarthritis. However, it can be used in other circumstances such as joint disease for other reasons (e.g. elbow dysplasia), injury, or after joint surgery. Discuss with your veterinarian whether your pet may benefit from being started on Cosequin.

How quickly can Cosequin work?

Cosequin isn’t a quick fix supplement, it takes around a month for it to build up in your pet’s system. After about 4-6weeks you might notice some changes or improvements in your pet’s condition. If it is beneficial to your pet, then it should be used on an ongoing basis.

Pros
  • Anti-inflammatory MSM can help to decrease joint pain.
  • Additional omega 3 also acts as an anti-inflammatory and can have benefits for the coat and skin.
  • The active ingredients may reduce cartilage breakdown.
  • Sprinkle capsule version available for dogs if a tablet or chew isn’t readily accepted.
Cons
  • Some owners report that Cosequin has a strong odor.
  • Some dogs won’t eat the chew version readily.
  • No ASU compared to Dasuquin.

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How do I know if my dog or cat needs Dasuquin or Cosequin?

dog in bed
Image Credit: Pixabay

Arthritis can be subtle. Often the first change you may notice is that your pet is gradually getting less active over time. Dogs may become less willing to go for their usual walks, or they may be reluctant to jump into the car or climb the stairs. You may notice your dog is visibly stiff, particularly when they first get up.

The onset of joint problems is often more subtle with cats, but you may notice they are less willing to jump up on the sides, play, or climb over fences in the back garden. Cats can appear visibly stiff, but this is often harder to spot.

Changes in the joint health of your pet can lead to significant behavior changes. A pet that is experiencing pain may have a reduced quality of life. Of course, no one would want their furry friend to suffer, and naturally, you may look for solutions to help. A supplement such as Cosequin or Dasuquin can be a useful tool in the fight against joint disease. Nutraceuticals such as Cosequin and Dasuquin aim to not only reduce inflammation but protect the joint cartilage against further damage.

If you are concerned that you are noticing changes in your pet’s activity levels make an appointment with your vet for a check-up with your pet. You will be able to discuss with the vet if a joint supplement may be suitable and beneficial for your cat or dog.

Which one should you use?

Cosequin and Dasuquin have similar active ingredients, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and are available for dogs and cats. Dasuquin has another key additional ingredient; ASU or Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables.

Cost

In many cases, Cosequin is cheaper than Dasuquin. The two supplements are very similar in formulation, except Dasuquin has added ASU. For some pets, Dasuquin will suit them better, and the increase in cost may be worth it.

Flavors

Cosequin and Dasuquin use additional flavors to make the chews, tablets, powder, or capsules palatable for the species involved. For some pets, one brand may be more palatable than the other. If your pet isn’t readily accepting one it could be worth trialing another flavor, formulation, or a different supplement.

Which species are they suitable for?

Dasuquin is available in formulations for both cats and dogs. For cats, there is a sprinkle capsule version; for dogs, there is a soft chew or chewable tablet.

Cosequin is available for dogs, cats, and horses. Dogs have the option of a soft chew, chewable tablet, or sprinkle capsule, whereas the cat formulation is available as a sprinkle capsule. Horse owners have the choice of tablets, powder, or pellets to offer their hooved companions.

Clearly, if you have a horse with stiff or sore joints you will need to use Cosequin, as Dasuquin is not available in a horse formulation.

Sizes available

Dasuquin is available in small-medium dog size (for those under 60lbs), and large dog (for those over 60lbs). The cat sprinkle capsules are available in one size.

Cosequin soft chews are available in a mini dog version (for dogs under 25lbs), which is easier for small breeds to eat, as well as a standard dog size. The cat sprinkle capsule is one size only.

Are there any safety or contraindications when using Cosequin or Dasuquin?

As is the case when starting any new supplement or treatment, consult with your vet first. This is because it is important to get a proper assessment of your pet and diagnosis as to what may be causing their joint problem- automatically assuming arthritis in an aging dog can be disastrous if they have something else going on.

After examining your pet, your vet will take into consideration their overall health and any other medications which they might be taking. Your vet will then be able to advise if Cosequin or Dasuquin could be a suitable supplement to offer your pet. There are certain medications that could interact with the active ingredients in these nutraceuticals, so it is best to seek professional advice from your vet.

Rarely, some animals can be sensitive to certain ingredients in Cosequin or Dasuquin, causing issues such as digestive upset, or very rarely an allergic reaction. If you suspect your pet isn’t tolerating the supplement you are offering, or if you have noticed a potential side effect, always contact your veterinarian for advice.

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Conclusion

Dasuquin and Cosequin are both commonly used nutraceuticals that can be used to improve joint health and function. There are some minor differences in the sizes and formulations offered, as well as the active ingredients incorporated. It may be that one brand suits your pet better than the other, so it might be you need to test the product and see how well it is accepted, tolerated and the improvements in your pet’s symptoms. It is important to give whichever supplement you chose for at least 4-6weeks before deciding if you think it is having a beneficial effect.

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