How Good Are Green Lipped Mussels For Dogs?
Like humans, our canine friends can often benefit hugely from supplements to their diet. Omega 3 is known for giving our pups luscious Farrah-Faucet like locks that wow everyone at the dog park. Probiotics create a harmonious gut environment (and everyone knows that healthy digestion is the key to life). (1)
Today we are chatting about green-lipped mussel for dogs, which is doing the rounds in the dog-owning community as some kind of “miracle supplement”. But what really is green-lipped mussel powder? What are the true benefits for dogs? Or is it all just a pipe-dream?
What is Green-Lipped Mussel Powder?
Green-lipped mussel powder is exactly what it says on the tin. The schmancy Latin moniker for this species of New Zealand mussel is Perna Canaliculus. These kiwi mussels are characterised and recognised by their bright green “lips” rounding the edges of their perfect shells. New Zealanders have long known the secrets of green-lipped mussels as it has been a staple part of the Maori diet for centuries.
A study even showed that the Maori’s owed their prevention of inflammatory diseases like arthritis and asthma to the consumption of these colourful molluscs (2).
From there, the rest of the Western world caught on and has been manufacturing green-lipped mussel powder ever since.
Green-lipped mussel powder is now consumable in pill form or powder form. For dogs, we mainly use the powder form, as good luck forcing a supplement tablet down your pup’s throat!
Green-Lipped Mussel Benefits
The bare bones of it are that green-lipped mussels are jam-packed with nutrients.
“They may also possess anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting enzymes and proteins that produce inflammation and pain. Similarly, green-lipped mussels contain chondroitin sulphate, a component of connective tissues like joints and bones that may reduce inflammation in the same way.” - Dr Gavin de Walle, Healthline (3)
All of the healthy fatty acids and joint-loving goodness makes the powder an excellent supplement for arthritic or elderly dogs. Large dog breeds are most prone to joint issues and hip dysplasia that can severely affect their quality of life. (4) This superfood powder can support their inner skeletal system and cartilage due to the matrix of glucosamines (the most important of which being chondroitin sulphate).
Related: Green Lipped Muscles Are Found In Our Number 1 Rated Dog Food - Petzyo.
In summary, the benefits of giving green-lipped mussel powder to your dog are:
- Increasing your dog’s mobility by reducing joint pain
- Protects and strengthens your dog’s cartilage
- Strengthens your dog’s bones
- Boosting your dog’s immunity as it is packed with nutrients
- Prevents arthritis in the future (if your dog does not yet have it)
But Does Green-Lipped Mussel Powder Work?
I feel your scepticism. I was sceptical too. You are not the only person to think that supplementation just creates expensive pee. In this case, however, dear reader, I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
A 2007 study was conducted to show if there was any solid evidence that green-lipped mussel powder could work on dogs with moderate to severe arthritis. (5)
They took a sample of 45 dogs who were both formally diagnosed with osteoarthritis via radiography X-rays and suffering from medium to extreme chronic pain. These dogs were then split into three different groups:
- To be given green-lipped mussel capsules consistently for 4 weeks
- To be given Carprofen consistently for 4 weeks (a popular pain and inflammatory medication for pets)
- To be given a placebo consistently for 4 weeks
So what happened?
Well, 80% of the dogs reportedly improved in 4 weeks of treatment on the chronic pain index. 66.7% improved on the Veterinary mobility index. They also found that there were no side effects to the dog’s consumption of the product.
Those results are impressive for an all-natural supplement.
They found that the carprofen had better results of reduced pain and increased mobility but Carprofen is known to have many nasty side effects.
“Side effects in dogs include gastrointestinal upset, such as mild vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and temporary lack of appetite, as well as tiredness.” - Rania Gollakner, DVM, from VCA Hospitals (6)
And those are the “mild” side effects. It gets much scarier from there.
The fact that green-lipped mussel powder works so effectively for dogs and with no clear side effects makes it a much more attractive option to dog owners of elderly or lame pups like you and me.
Green-Lipped Mussel For Dogs: Miracle Supplement?
So is green-lipped mussel extract all it’s cracked up to be? It appears so!
This simple khaki green powder can give your pup a new lease on life by reducing pesky joint pain and support their bone health. Full of nutrients and antioxidants, this mussel powder is a great investment for any dog owner worried about their arthritic or elderly dog. It is also a great preventative measure for young dogs to improve their bone health and reduce the likelihood of developing arthritis later in life.
Not at all! It has been scientifically proven to be safe and has no visible side effects. You should, however, be cautious not to give them too much simply because it takes a toll on the body to be overloaded with any supplement in large doses.
That said, just because there are no found reactions from dogs who consume green-lipped power, it does not mean that it is an impossible outcome. Your dog may be allergic to the powder itself or some additive the manufacturer may have put in for preservation purposes. If you do see any adverse effects after starting your dog on green-lipped mussel extract, consult your vet for expert advice.
From the study we discussed, you can see that within just 4 weeks there was a dramatic decrease in pain for the dogs in the study. That said, green-lipped mussel powder is quite the speed demon when it comes to relieving inflammatory and arthritic symptoms.
Generally, you should see an improvement within 10 days on the highest dosage. The dose can then drop to a half dose and your dog should still feel the benefits.
This is a tricky question to answer. While your dog can’t overdose on green-lipped mussel powder, there is a point where it ceases to be useful. Expensive pee as you might say.
The ideal dose that most vets recommend is 20-40mg per pound of your dog’s body weight per day for 10 days. It is then advised to reduce the amount to a half dose once the pain is under control.
So the dose of green-lipped mussel for dogs by weight is (7):
- 0-10 pounds: 200mg
- 11-25 pounds: 400mg
- 26-50 pounds: 800mg
- 51-75 pounds: 1,200mg
- 76+ pounds: 2,400mg
This may increase or decrease depending on the severity of your dog’s condition and how effective the powder is working for them.
It is always best to consult your veterinarian for accurate guidance and also enquire with the manufacturer.
- Reisen, J. May 4, 2020. “Four Popular Dog Supplements”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved May 15, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/popular-dog-supplements/
- Ulbricht, C., Chao, W., Costa, D., Nguyen, Y., Seamon, E., & Weissner, W. (2009). An evidence-based systematic review of green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of dietary supplements, 6(1), 54–90. Retrieved May 15, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/19390210802690191
- Van De Walle, G. February 1, 2021. “Green-Lipped Mussel Supplements: All You Need to Know”. Healthline. Retrieved May 15, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-lipped-mussel
- “Hip Dysplasia in Dog”. February 07, 2020. AKC Staff. AKC. Retrieved May 15, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/hip-dysplasia-in-dogs/
- Hielm-Björkman, A., Tulamo, R. M., Salonen, H., & Raekallio, M. (2009). Evaluating Complementary Therapies for Canine Osteoarthritis Part I: Green-lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus). Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 6(3), 365–373. Retrieved May 15, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem136
- Gollakner, R. “Carprofen”. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
- Scott, D. January 28, 2020. “Green Lipped Mussels For Dogs: Replace Those Harmful NSAIDs”. Dogs Naturally Magazine. Retrieved May 15, 2021. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/green-lipped-mussels-dog/