Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
Green-lipped mussel for dogs: A key ingredient in joint and mobility support
Next article

Green-lipped mussel for dogs: A key ingredient in joint and mobility support

Green-lipped mussel & osteoarthritis treatment: How one of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatories works

Are you concerned about your dog's mobility and joint health? Dive into this blog to get a better understanding of the health benefits of green-lipped mussel for dogs and how it can help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Mobility is the key element in keeping our canine friends healthy and happy for many years to come. Thinking back to my first dog, Skai, I was so grateful he was able to go hiking with us in the mountains even at the age of 15.

But while he seemed unstoppable, eventually stiffness and aches started to set in. Seeing your dog slow down is tough for any pet parent as mobility is everything for them — it's joy, freedom, and life itself.

Fortunately, there are natural ways to support your dog's mobility and increase their lifespan, one of them being the Perna mussel or green-lipped mussel.

In 2009, a study called An evidence-based systematic review of green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus)(1) confirmed that New Zealand green-lipped mussel provides a clinically significant positive treatment effect on osteoarthritis (joint inflammation). 

This study included a review of nine clinical trials, focusing on the effects of green-lipped mussels on OA pain and mobility, but also confirmed that green-lipped mussels improved gastrointestinal symptoms in OA patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) that are widely used in human and veterinary medicine. These drugs are known to cause gastrointestinal, kidney, and liver side effects, resulting in a deeper imbalance in the body.

But that's not all, what makes green-lipped mussels so beneficial for dogs and people lies in the powerful nutrients it contains. 

What makes green-lipped mussels so unique?

A recent study conducted by a Japanese research team focused on the compounds behind the green-lipped mussel's positive effects on joint health, pain management, and mobility — the bioactive glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)(2).

Marine invertebrates such as mussels are a rich source of these highly sulfated and rare glycosaminoglycans. Perna canaliculus is one of the best sources produced on a large scale in New Zealand. 

The glycosaminoglycans from the green-lipped mussel, primarily chondroitin sulfate (CS) and heparan sulfate (HS), exhibit several notable biological effects:

  1. Encouraging nerve growth: Certain chondroitin sulfate chains, especially those with a specific type of sugar pairing (GlcA-GalNAc(4,6-O-disulfate)), have been found to help in the creation of connections between nerve cells. This discovery hints at possible uses in the fields of neurology and regenerative medicine, where promoting nerve growth and repair is needed.

  2. Joint health and osteoarthritis treatment: Chondroitin sulfate is commonly used for its potential benefits in joint health, particularly in the treatment of osteoarthritis. It is believed to contribute to the maintenance and repair of cartilage, the connective tissue that lines and cushions joints.

  3. Anti-inflammatory properties: Both chondroitin sulfate and heparan sulfate possess anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial in reducing inflammation in cases of arthritis.

  4. Tissue homeostasis (stability) and cell proliferation (creation and growth): GAGs play critical roles in cellular phenomena like cell proliferation, cell adhesion, differentiation, and tissue homeostasis.

Another study, this time analysing the effects of a diet enriched with green-lipped mussel in dogs with osteoarthritis(3),  observed that there was a significant increase in Omega-3 fatty acids levels in their blood after 60 days. The owners also reported improvements in their dogs' pain and activity levels after switching to this diet. 

Why I chose to add green-lipped mussel to JointButter

For those of you who have missed the latest news, JointButter, our new product and the world’s first fermented joint and mobility support supplement for dogs, has now been added to our product line up.  

I have researched countless nutrients, herbs, and superfoods for many years in order to come up with the best possible formula that would make a clear difference for our dogs' joint health and mobility.

That's how I came across the green-lipped mussel and its powerful anti-inflammatory and joint-repair properties. The glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) from Perna mussels have a unique structure and bioactivity, making it a popular ingredient in canine and human mobility formulas.

While I've also added chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine to JointButter, the addition of a whole-food source of GAGs from Perna mussels significantly boosts the potency of the supplement and increases the spectrum of available glycosaminoglycans. 

How are green-lipped mussels raised and harvested? 

Produced exclusively in New Zealand, green-lipped mussel production involves several steps.

Seeds are first collected and planted in a hatchery. Once they hatch into larvae, they attach themselves to rocks, long ropes, and other hard surfaces.

Once attached, a transformation into juvenile and consecutively into adult mussels follows. Green-lipped mussels are ready to be harvested in 26 to 48 months.

A note on the sustainability of green-lipped mussel production

When formulating JointButter, my team and I didn’t just focus on the quality and science-backed efficacy of the ingredients we selected; we also paid close attention to their environmental sustainability. 

The regions where Perna mussels are harvested are under the stewardship of the producers in a successful collaboration with Mussel Reef Restoration Trust and Revive Our Gulf Foundation.

Green-lipped mussel for dogs FAQ

  • Are green-lipped mussels good for dogs?

Yes, green-lipped mussels or Perna mussels contain glycosaminoglycanssuch as glucosamine and chondroitin that help reduce inflammation in the body, repair and protect the cartilage, and promote optimal joint health in dogs. 

  • What are the side effects of green lipped mussel?

There are no known side effects to supplementing your dog's or puppy's diet with green-lipped mussels. However, if your dog has an allergy to shellfish, it's best to try  this ingredient in small amounts when starting this supplement. 

  • Is green lipped mussel better than glucosamine for dogs?

Green-lipped mussels naturally contain a powerful mix of anti-inflammatory and joint-protective nutrients, including glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin and glucosamine, which supports cartilage repair and  joint mobility. 

  • Is green lipped mussel better than fish oil?

Fish oil is not considered to be the same as Perna Mussel due to different nutrient profile. In addition, fish oil is generally unsustainable option due to overfishing. Heavy-metal concentration should also be a concern if you want to protect your dog's health.

  • Is green-lipped mussel harvest sustainable?

Green-lipped mussel supplements are considered safer for the planet and your canine companion as their harvesting is overseen by the Mussel Reef Restoration Trust in New Zealand.

Article references:

1. ”Green-lipped mussel review" by Catherine Ulbricht and team. PMID: 22435354 DOI: 10.1080/19390210802690191

2. "Bioactive glycosaminoglycans study" in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Volume 612, 5 July 2022, Pages 50-56; Ayumu Mubuchi and team.

3. "Effect of a diet enriched with green-lipped mussel on pain behavior and functioning in dogs with clinical osteoarthritis" by Pascale Rialland, Sylvain Bichot and team. Can J Vet Res. 2013 Jan; 77(1): 66–74.

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.



Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping