There seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to baking with glucosamine on whether its potency or composition degrades when exposed to heat. There are a few things to consider when baking with glucosamine, but you can rest assured that if you add it to your next batch of dog treats, you will be helping your dog maintain healthy joints.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is found in the structure of chitin, part of the exoskeleton of crustaceans and the cell walls of fungi, among many other organisms. Because glucosamine is a major component of joint cartilage, adding the supplement glucosamine to one's diet is thought to aid cartilage structure.
Therefore glucosamine is commonly used as a supplement by people suffering from osteoarthritis, where cartilage in the joints can wear away, causing bones to rub against each other and causing severe pain. It can also be helpful to animals suffering from arthritis, but lower dosages must be used.
Glucosamine is usually formulated along with chondroitin, another component of cartilage. The supplement can be found in most food and drug stores, and is most widely available in tablet form. However, if you plan to add the supplement to your next batch of dog treats, you need to look for it in liquid form. You can find a GNC glucosamine / chondroitin formula for dogs at PetSmart.
Studies have shown that glucosamine begins to degrade at temperatures of 375° F (190° C) and above1. Most dog treat recipes call for oven temperatures of 350°, so you should have no problem finding a recipe where you can safely add glucosamine and keep your dog's joints healthy.
The recommended daily dosage is approximately 750 mg of glucosamine for every 50 pounds of body weight.2 That equates to 3 tsp of most liquid glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. Assuming that the typical dog treat recipe will make about 20 large treats, and you feed your dog one per day, you'll want to add 30 - 60 tsp (1/2 cup - 1 cup) to the batch.
By baking with glucosamine, you'll be treating your dog and keeping their joints healthy at the same time!