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What is MSM for dogs: health benefits and when to use it
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What is MSM for dogs: health benefits and when to use it

Unlocking Joint Health: The Benefits of MSM for Dogs

Looking for ways to reduce your dog’s joint pain and inflammation? For many years now, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has been at the forefront of many joint and mobility supplements for dogs as a joint-protective agent to help prevent painful joints and injuries.

What is MSM?

It's a naturally occurring sulphur compound present in every living organism as an essential building block of collagen, cartilage and bones. MSM also supports the bodys natural detoxification process, helping to neutralize and remove toxins from cells and maintain optimal organ and tissue health.

Research has shown MSM is capable of strengthening the structural bonds of connective tissue and significantly improves joint health which makes it a key ingredient, especially for growing active and senior dogs.

So, how can your dog benefit from MSMs anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties? Are there any side effects? Can dogs get MSM from their food only, or do you need to give them a joint supplement?

Ill focus on answering all of those questions and more in this blog, let’s dive in.

What is MSM methylsulfonylmethane?

You may find it interesting to learn that MSM is a source of bioavailable sulphur produced by oceanic plankton. When it dies, it's released into the atmosphere leading to the formation of dimethylsulphide (DMS), which then oxidizes to produce MSM.

When it rains, MSM is absorbed by plants which in turn enters the food chain.

Once MSM enters the system it is converted into two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine, which help to reduce oxidative damage and support the production of proteins and enzymes.

The research behind MSM and its importance in your dog’s health

Sulphur is a cornerstone nutrient for countless biological functions in your dog’s body, including tissue repair as well as hair, skin and claw health as it helps to reduce inflammation and eliminate toxins.

Supplementing your dog's diet with MSM, a highly bioavailable form of sulphur, also provides the building blocks essential for healthy bones, joints, and ligaments.

In contrast to side-effect causing drug-based products, MSM can help protect or improve your dogs mobility without the undesirable side-effects.

A summary of health benefits of MSM in dogs

While MSM has been mainly researched for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, the benefits go beyond joint health, also showing promising results in the treatment of some types of cancers.

  • A natural anti-inflammatory and joint pain relief

Research shows that MSM inhibits several inflammatory markers, reduces joint pain and regulates the immune response.[1.1] MSM also lowers the release of inflammatory substances after heavy exercise[2] ,  and speeds up the recovery.

  • Cartilage and bone formation

A study on cell cultures and zebrafish has shown that MSM boosts cartilage growth and supports the early development of bone cells[3] which makes MSM important in growing puppies and young dogs.

MSM also inhibits bone degradation which highlights the potential in preventing osteoporosis and promoting tissue regeneration.

Another study has found that MSM significantly increased jaw bone density by stimulating the production of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells)[4] which again highlights its potential in the treatment of osteoporosis.

  • Improves nutrient absorption and detoxification

MSM plays a dual role in cellular health by neutralizing and cleansing toxins from cells[1.2]. It also enhances the absorption of nutrients by increasing the permeability of the cell membrane.

  • Inhibits cancer cell growth

One study has shown that MSM may have the potential in fighting colon cancer by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death)[5] .

Another study confirmed that MSM reduced the growth of liver cancer cells[6] and decreased the size and number of liver tumours.

How to ensure your dog is getting sufficient amounts of MSM

While leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, meat, and poultry are all foods that contain small amounts of MSM, it is practically impossible to provide your dog with therapeutic levels of MSM from diet alone.

Also, because food sourced MSM is unstable and sensitive to heat and processing, the most effective way to incorporate MSM into your dog’s diet is through high-quality canine supplements.

What is the best MSM supplement for your dog?

There are many dog joint supplements containing ingredients with anti-inflammatory, chondroprotective and antioxidant properties, including MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, ginger and boswellia, however, there is a wide range of quality, purity, and potency of ingredients.

I realize many joint and mobility supplements are not based on clinical experience and research which is oftentimes why they may not work for your dog.

Ideally, when looking for the best MSM supplement for your dog, focus on a formula that not only contains MSM but has a wide range of mobility and joint supporting ingredients.

It is also important to choose products that are made with high-quality, sustainably sourced ingredients that are fermented for higher potency and bioavailability. This ensures your dog enjoys all the health benefits the ingredients have to offer faster and more effectively.

MSM for dogs-FAQ

  • What does MSM do for dogs?

MSM can support your dog in many ways from reducing joint inflammation and pain, maintaining healthy ligaments and cartilage to protecting cells from toxins and oxidative damage.

  • What foods are high in MSM for dogs?

Unfortunately, fruits, vegetables, and meats don’t provide adequate amounts of MSM, making it impossible to achieve significant changes by providing MSM containing foods alone. This is where a dog joint supplement that contains high quality MSM and other synergistic ingredients can make a difference. 

  • How much MSM should I give my senior dog?

Similar to other herbs and supplements, the MSM dosage depends on your senior dog’s weight, overall health condition and the severity of joint issues. Follow the instructions on the joint supplement label to make sure your dog receives the right dose for their health needs.

  • What should you not take with MSM?

MSM is considered very safe for dogs and people especially when it is blended with other fermented nutrients and herbs.  It is very unlikely that your dog would have negative side-effects caused by MSM, however, your goal should always be to reduce or ideally eliminate NSAID drugs.

  • Is MSM better than glucosamine?  

MSM and glucosamine are often used in similar circumstances but have a different mode of action. While MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help maintain healthy joints, tendons and bones, glucosamine stimulates cartilage growth and helps reduce joint wear in dogs.

Both of these supplements work well in synergy to
enhance joint function and mobility.

  • Is MSM or chondroitin better for dogs?

Chondroitin helps keep your dog's cartilage healthy by retaining water, which slows natural joint degradation and improves cushioning to prevent wear and tear. MSM, on the other hand, aids in reducing joint pain and inflammation, making it easier for your dog to walk, jump, and run more comfortably. 

Choosing a joint supplement that combines not only MSM and chondroitin but also other natural ingredients that help maintain and repair connective tissues and address pain and inflammation is the best choice.


(1.1/1.2) Butawan M, Benjamin RL, Bloomer RJ. Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement. Nutrients. 2017 Mar 16;9(3):290. doi: 10.3390/nu9030290.

(2) van der Merwe M, Bloomer RJ. The Influence of Methylsulfonylmethane on Inflammation-Associated Cytokine Release before and following Strenuous Exercise. J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2016;2016:7498359. doi: 10.1155/2016/7498359. Epub 2016 Oct 23.

(3) Dalle Carbonare L, Bertacco J, Marchetto G, Cheri S, Deiana M, Minoia A, Tiso N, Mottes M, Valenti MT. Methylsulfonylmethane enhances MSC chondrogenic commitment and promotes pre-osteoblasts formation. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021 Jun 5;12(1):326. doi: 10.1186/s13287-021-02396-5.
(4) Aljohani H, Senbanjo LT, Al Qranei M, Stains JP, Chellaiah MA. Methylsulfonylmethane Increases the Alveolar Bone Density of Mandibles in Aging Female Mice. Front Physiol. 2021 Oct 4;12:708905. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.708905.
(5) Karabay AZ, Koc A, Ozkan T, Hekmatshoar Y, Sunguroglu A, Aktan F, Buyukbingol Z. Methylsulfonylmethane Induces p53 Independent Apoptosis in HCT-116 Colon Cancer Cells. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Jul 15;17(7):1123. doi: 10.3390/ijms17071123.
(6) Kim JH, Shin HJ, Ha HL, Park YH, Kwon TH, Jung MR, Moon HB, Cho ES, Son HY, Yu DY. Methylsulfonylmethane suppresses hepatic tumour development through the activation of apoptosis. World J Hepatol. 2014 Feb 27;6(2):98-106. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v6.i2.98.
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.

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