Green Lipped Mussel for Dogs Versus Alternative Anti-Inflammation Ingredients

If you like seafood, you’ve probably eaten a mussel or two in your day.

But did you know you can use the green lipped mussel for dogs, too?

They provide your furry friend with many of the same benefits that they do for you, including reducing joint inflammation and providing a healthy dose of omega-3s.

That doesn’t mean they’re the end-all, be-all when it comes to promoting joint health, though. Many ingredients can reduce pain and inflammation in your dog’s joints, from MSM to NSAIDs to fish oil and more.

So, which one is best for your pooch then?

Let’s find out!

Below we’ll discuss the pros and cons of a variety of ingredients, including green lipped mussel powder, that are commonly used to promote dog joint health. Then, we’ll give you the final verdict on which ingredient is best.

Ready to brave the unknown? Then let’s dive in!

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What is Green Lipped Mussel for Dogs?

green lipped mussels

Though the name green lipped mussel may make you think of a mussel putting on lipstick (at least, it does for us), this mussel doesn’t have actual lips.

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Rather, its name comes from the green edges that outline its deep brown shell. And it’s more than just good-looking.

According to a 2002 study, green lipped mussels can reduce pain and swelling/inflammation in dogs suffering from arthritis. That’s because green lipped mussels contain a particular type of omega-3 fatty acid known as ETA.

ETA binds to the enzymes that cause inflammation in your dog’s body, thereby acting as an anti-inflammatory.

As such, green lipped mussel powder for dogs may reduce your dog’s need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which can have some unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.

As a result of these benefits, green lipped mussel powder is often used as an ingredient in joint supplements.

Green Lipped Mussel for Dogs vs. MSM/Alternatives

From green lipped mussels to MSM to NSAIDs, there are several ways you can reduce inflammation in your dog’s body and keep him feeling happy as a clam.

We’re going to discuss some of the pros and cons of each of these approaches below.

Pros & Cons of Green Lipped Mussel for Dogs

We already discussed one of the biggest pros of the use of the green lipped mussel for dogs above: this type of mussel acts as an anti-inflammatory due to the omega-3 fatty acids it contains.

But did you know the fatty acids in green lipped mussel powder have other benefits as well? These fats not only support your dog’s joint health but also promote the health of your dog’s heart, brain, and coat.

Additionally, a green lipped mussel supplement for dogs provides your pup with glucosamine and chondroitin:

  • Glucosamine – repairs damaged cartilage.
  • Chondroitin – prevents cartilage breakdown.

And green lipped mussels have minimal side effects in pups. Of course, if your dog has a shellfish allergy, you should avoid any supplements that contain the green lipped mussel as an ingredient.

Pros of Green Lipped MusselCons of Green Lipped Mussel
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  • Minimal side effects
  • Not environmentally sustainable
  • It accumulates heavy metals that are fat-soluble and can be passed on to your pet.
  • Insufficient and immeasurable levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Unfortunately, despite the benefits of Green Lipped Mussel, the negative environmental consequences of mussel farming may outweigh the positives. 

That’s because mussel farming can wreak havoc on marine ecosystems. A paper published by the New Zealand Department of Conservation discusses some of these negative impacts, such as habitat loss and litter from farming equipment.

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If you’re trying to find an anti-inflammatory that doesn’t have harsh environmental repercussions, continue reading about some alternatives below.

Overall Grade: 7/10

Pros & Cons of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

msm

Another great active ingredient commonly found in joint supplements is methylsulfonylmethane.

But we like to shorten it to MSM. Because who the heck wants to say methylsulfonylmethane every time?

MSM is a type of sulphur that maintains the health of your dog’s cells. This antioxidant is often found in foods like fruits and vegetables and helps your dog rid his body of the free radicals that can cause inflammation.

In other words, MSM is a great active ingredient to use if you’re trying to reduce pain and inflammation in your dog’s body, such as those symptoms caused by conditions like dog arthritis.  

Another huge bonus of MSM? It is an effective, shelf-stable, and sustainable alternative to green lipped mussel powder.

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The only minor downside to MSM is that there are rare instances where some dogs may occasionally experience side effects, including shortness of breath and fatigue. As such, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet before feeding your dog a new supplement.

Pros of MSMCons of MSM
  • More sustainable than green lipped mussels
  • Antioxidant
  • Reduces pain and inflammation in dog’s body
  • Affordable
  • Some side effects possible

Overall, MSM is a solid option for dog owners trying to find an environmentally sustainable and effective way to reduce any pain and inflammation their dog may experience.

Overall Grade: 9/10 

Pros & Cons of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs)

If you’ve ever had a headache, you’re probably already familiar with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Motrin and Advil.

Well, dogs can benefit from taking NSAIDs as well; however, unlike humans, NSAIDs must be prescribed by your vet. You should never give your dog an over-the-counter NSAID made for humans, as this can be incredibly toxic for your pup.

Some of the different NSAID’s your vet may prescribe are listed below:

  1. Carprofen
  2. Deracoxib
  3. Meloxicam
  4. Firocoxib

As their name suggests, NSAIDs help reduce inflammation in your dog’s body. They are a tried-and-true way to alleviate pain.

Unfortunately, however, they come with their own set of side effects, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Damaged stomach lining
  • Ulcers

And some of these side effects can end up being pretty serious, such as kidney failure and even death. Thus, it’s a good idea to limit how long you feed your dog an NSAID to avoid some of these more extreme side effects.

Pros of NSAIDsCons of NSAIDs
  • Sustainable
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Must be prescribed by a vet
  • Some more serious side effects are possible
  • Can be expensive

NSAIDs are a reliable option for treating pain and inflammation. They are also sustainable and somewhat cost-effective. However, due to their potentially serious side effects and the fact that they must be vet-prescribed.

Overall Grade: 7.5/10

Pros & Cons of Fish Oil

fish oil

Just like the green lipped mussel for dogs, fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids not only reduce inflammation but also support brain and skin health.

And if you’re worried about your pup getting sick, fish oil can also provide an excellent boost to his immune system.

Similar to green lipped mussel powder for dogs, fish oil has minimal side effects. Generally, the only time your dog will experience side effects from fish oil is more of fish oil intolerance or overdose (rather than a full-out allergy).

Side effects may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Itchy skin
  • Oily coat

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, please speak with your vet right away.

Because fish oil is sourced from fish (who would’ve thought!), this supplement also has similar negative impacts on marine ecosystems as those created by farming green lipped mussels.

Pros of Fish OilCons of Fish Oil
  • Contains omega-3s, which help reduce inflammation
  • Also benefits brain and skin health
  • Minimal side effects
  • Affordable
  • Potential fish oil intolerance or overdosing
  • Sourced from fish (sustainability concerns)

The potential for intolerance and sustainability concerns are the biggest downside of fish oil, just like the green lipped mussel for dogs. As such, this ingredient comes in at the same B-rating as its bivalve cousin.

Overall grade: 7/10 

Pros & Cons of Raw Food Diet

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. Well, they’re good for your dog, too!

A raw food diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is a great approach for dogs who are suffering from joint inflammation and pain. There are numerous benefits of a raw food diet when it comes to dog health since you can completely customize your dog’s diet.

In particular, if you’re approaching a raw food diet to reduce inflammation, you might choose to feed your dog the following:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Broccoli
  • Berries

And you also want to think about what foods not to feed your dog. That’s because certain foods, like grain, can cause inflammation. Even if you’re not pursuing a raw food diet, it never hurts to minimize the amount of grain your dog eats by choosing kibble that has as little grain and other fillers as possible.

The main downside of the raw food diet is the level of planning required to maintain your dog’s health. This is definitely the most time- and energy-intensive approach to reducing inflammation in your dog’s body.

Pros of a Raw Food DietCons of a Raw Food Diet
  • Can help reduce inflammation if planned right
  • Increases fibre intake for pup
  • Requires a lot of planning
  • Must ensure your dog is receiving adequate nutrients
  • Expensive  

Before trying a raw food diet, be sure to share a conversation with your vet to ensure your dog will be receiving all the nutrients he needs each day.

Because of the cost, time required to make sure your dog is receiving adequate nutrition through a raw food diet, as well as the risk of complications if they aren’t, this approach scores a 7/10.

Overall Grade: 7/10 

The Verdict – Which One to Choose?

dog supplement

While you’ll need to make your own determination as to which anti-inflammatory will work the best for your pup’s specific needs, we want to help you narrow things down a bit. Using three criteria, we’ll let you know which of the five anti-inflammatory ingredients we discussed above takes first place for us. 

Cost

Anyone who’s searched for anti-inflammatories knows they can get pricey.

But fortunately, the ingredients and diets on our list are largely affordable. Joint supplements that include ingredients like MSM or green lipped mussel powder for dogs often come at a variety of price points. This means you can choose a supplement that works for your specific budget.

So when we talk about cost, we want to talk about something else beyond a monetary price tag: the price of your time. 

And one of the items on our list is not like the rest when it comes to being time-effective: the raw food diet.

Raw food diets require you to spend quite a bit of time making sure your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs. As a result, this approach to reducing inflammation is the most “expensive” on our list, and one of the other options may be more suitable for your needs if you are prioritizing cost.

Sustainability

Environmental protection probably isn’t something you thought you needed to consider when trying to reduce inflammation in your dog’s body.

But now you know that certain ingredients, such as green lipped mussel powder and fish oil, do far more than just provide your dog with some pain relief.

Like affecting marine ecosystems.

While these ingredients may have the short-term benefit of helping your pup, they have a much longer-term impact that isn’t doing anyone any favours.

So why choose a supplement that includes ingredients that are going to harm the environment, when you could instead pick one that has the same benefits but none of the harm? 

Using sustainability criteria, you should avoid ingredients like the green lipped mussel for dogs and fish oil, and instead opt for natural and sustainable ingredients such as MSM or for vet precribed NSAIDs, which are manufactured in a lab.

Side Effects

dog stomach pain

The last thing anyone wants is for their dog to experience discomfort, especially when you’re feeding him something to reduce inflammation in their body. Talk about counterproductive.

So it makes sense that you’re trying to find an ingredient with as few side effects as possible.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach or a history of ulcers, NSAIDs may aggravate your pup’s gastrointestinal system, especially if they’re taken for a long period of time. 

Instead, choosing a supplement that contains either MSM or green lipped mussel for dogs can be a great option when it comes to minimizing side effects.

And if you go the supplement route, why not choose the option that also happens to be the most sustainable?

(That’s MSM, in case you haven’t been paying attention!)

Final Thoughts

Each of the options discussed above has its pros and cons when it comes to helping reduce pain and inflammation for your pup.

And some of these pros and cons will matter more than others to you, so it’s up to you to figure out what makes the most sense for your pup.

That said, MSM is a clear winner in our eyes:

  1. It’s affordable.
  2. It has minimal side effects.
  3. It’s sustainable.

Plus, there’s an abundance of joint supplements that contain this key active ingredient. This means you can take your pick from many different options to cater to your dog’s unique needs.

Top 5 Anti-Inflammatory Joint Supplements for Dogs

We get that it can be stressful trying to find the right joint supplement for your dog, especially when you have to read supplement label after supplement label to figure out what’s in each product.

So we want to make things a bit easier for you. Read on to find out what our top five anti-inflammatory joint supplements recommendations are.

1. Integricare’s TRI-ACTA for Pets

TRIACTA

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Price $23.99 to $64.99 as of November 2021

First on our list is our favourite supplement, TRI-ACTA for pets. 

And yes, you caught us: we’re being totally self-promotional here. But that’s because our product is one-of-a-kind.

TRI-ACTA for pets contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM to promote joint health and reduce the pain and inflammation that your dog experiences from normal wear and tear. 

Yup, that’s right: you won’t find green lipped mussel for dogs here. We use MSM rather than green lipped mussels to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for your dogs.

If your pup is suffering from arthritis or another joint condition, you may also want to try our maximum strength supplement, TRI-ACTA H.A. for pets. This supplement contains a higher dosage of MSM for pain management, plus hyaluronic acid to lubricate joints.

TRIACTA HA

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Price as of November 2021 $27.99 to $79.99 

Our supplements are all filler-free, contain pharmaceutical-grade components, and are Health Canada approved.

So hopefully, you can forgive us for tooting our own horn here. It’s just because our products really are #1 when it comes to providing anti-inflammatory benefits for your pup.

2. G-Max with MSM Joint Support

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A close second to our own supplements is G-Max with MSM Joint Support.

And it’s easy to see why. In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, this product contains the same four key active ingredients we use in our products:

  1. Glucosamine
  2. Chondroitin
  3. Hyaluronic acid
  4. MSM

It’s also made in the USA and comes with a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.

The downside? This product has lower levels of glucosamine and MSM per serving compared to TRI-ACTA supplements and is more expensive than some of the other supplements on our list.

Price $49.95 as of October 2021

3. Zesty Paws Mobility Bites

Zesty paws mobility

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Another great anti-inflammatory supplement option is Zesty Paws Mobility Bites. It has the active ingredients of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, plus the addition of yucca, which can also promote joint health.

Coming in at an affordable price and containing a high dosage of MSM (400 mg), this supplement packs a punch; however, with the high dose of MSM also comes high amounts of fillers like palm fruit oil and powdered cellulose.

Take note that the supplement doesn’t specify whether it uses the green lipped mussel for dogs or another type of shellfish.

Price $26.97 as of October 2021 

4. YuMOVE Chewable Tablets for Dogs

yumove

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YuMOVE Chewable Tablets for Dogs is a great option if you’re looking for one of the best green lipped mussel supplements for dogs.

This supplement has great reviews and comes at a very affordable price, making it a solid choice for anyone who’s dipping their toes in the water of joint supplements for the first time.

And it contains the key active ingredients of glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid for promoting joint health.

Unfortunately, it does source its chondroitin from the green lipped mussel. For those trying to make a more sustainable choice, another supplement on this list may better meet your needs.

Price $19.99 as of October 2021

5. Turmeric Joint Health Chews

tumeric

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If you’re looking for something a bit more natural, Turmeric Joint Health Chews are right up your alley.

In particular, this supplement would make a great addition to a raw food diet. It contains anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and fish oil, as well as spirulina and pumpkin for additional antioxidant support.

The main downsides to this product are its use of fish oil (not sustainable) and the heavy use of fillers like coconut flour and palm fruit oil.

Price as of October 2021 $25.99

Q&A

Why do other brands continue to use green lipped mussels?

Other supplement brands continue to use the green lipped mussel for dogs because this mollusk is easy to source and provides anti-inflammatory benefits for dogs.

Unfortunately, not all companies are concerned with the negative environmental impacts of the fishing industry. Thus, it’s up to you to do your own research and support companies that are going the extra mile when it comes to sustainability.

Can dogs overdose on green lipped mussels?

Too much of one thing is never a good thing. Always be sure to follow dosing directions very carefully and check with your vet before trying a new supplement. And of course, if your dog has a shellfish allergy, definitely be sure to avoid feeding him a green lipped mussel supplement for dogs.

Summary

We hope you had a whale of a good time reading about the green lipped mussel for dogs. We certainly had a great time sharing what we know about them!

Now you know all about the anti-inflammatory benefits of these mollusks.

And you also have information about more sustainable anti-inflammatory ingredient options, such as MSM.

We know you’ll do your due diligence to find something that works for your dog. Taking a look at TRI-ACTA and TRI-ACTA H.A. for pets can be a great place to start. 

If you’re interested in choosing a sustainable, anti-inflammatory supplement option, find out where to buy our supplements online.

TRI-ACTA for Pets

A proactive approach for developing and younger adult pets to maintain optimal joint health mobility, minimize inflammation and fend off age-related ailments.

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