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Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU) for Dogs: Big Benefits for Osteoarthritis (Vet Answer)

Written by: Dr. Emma Chandley BVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

avocado oil on white wooden

Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU) for Dogs: Big Benefits for Osteoarthritis (Vet Answer)


Dr. Emma Chandley  Photo


Dr. Emma Chandley

BVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Avocado or soybean unsaponifiables are a natural supplement derived from avocados and soybeans. They contain several useful compounds, including fat-soluble vitamins and phytosterols. It has been suggested that there are benefits of using avocado/soybean unsaponifiable products in dogs with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and discomfort in dogs, and recent studies have shown that the use of Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables offers some relief for our canine companions.

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables should not be viewed as a cure-all for osteoarthritis in dogs, but they can be useful tools in managing clinical signs, therefore improving your dog’s quality of life. Owners who are looking for natural ways to improve and support their dogs’ health can benefit from a discussion with their vet about which supplements would be best for them to use.

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What are Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables?

There are thought to be several benefits for using Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables for dogs with osteoarthritis. It is believed to reduce inflammation and manage pain associated with osteoarthritis. This may potentially provide relief for dogs and improve their mobility.

It is believed that the substance can protect cartilage by supporting its development and slowing down its degeneration.

The dog’s joint function and mobility are thought to be improved when the inflammation and pain are reduced.

Products that contain Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables that are specifically manufactured for dogs include:
  • Dasuquin
  • Cosequin

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables should be stored in a cool and dry environment. They should be kept at a temperature below 25°C (77°F). They should not be kept in hot or humid environments such as a bathroom or shower room, and should always be stored away from direct sunlight as exposure to light can accelerate the breakdown of the beneficial compounds.

The container used to store the supplement should be tightly sealed after each use to prevent exposure to moisture and air. An environment that is too moist may affect the potency and consistency of the supplement.

Soybean oil in a bottle with green pods and leaves
Image Credit: spline_x, Shutterstock

How Are Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables Given?

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables are available as tablets, chewable tablets, liquid, or soft capsules. It is recommended they be given with food and water. Capsules are the most common method, especially for larger dogs. If your dog will not swallow capsules, you can try to open the capsules and sprinkle the powder onto their food or mix it into a soft treat.

They can also be bought in a powdered form; some owners prefer this as it can be mixed into food without their dog realizing.

The liquid form can easily be stirred into a dog’s food or water. It can be slightly more difficult to ensure they are receiving the full dose as they will need to drink the whole bowl of water, so this is a less accurate way of dosing.

What Happens if You Miss a Dose?

If you happen to miss a dose, this is unlikely to cause any harm to your dog. However, to achieve optimal effectiveness, it is important to be consistent with dosing and give the correct amount recommended by your vet at the appropriate frequency.

If you do miss a dose, give the next dose as soon as possible. If it is time for the subsequent dose to be given, the forgotten dose must be missed. Never give a double dose as this can lead to overdosing and can have unwanted side effects.

If you are struggling to remember when to medicate your dog you can set reminders for yourself. This can be on a mobile phone or a note on a calendar to prompt you to medicate your dog. Another tip is to store the medication in a designated location that is readily accessible. This will help you to avoid forgetting to give the dose.

Potential Side Effects of Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables

dog not eating its food
Image Credit: Daria Lixoveteckay, Shutterstock

In general, avocado/soybean unsaponifiables are a very safe supplement for dogs. As with all medications, there are some potential side effects. It is important to remember that these side effects are usually mild and infrequent.

The most common side effects include:
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Mild diarrhea, loss of appetite, and occasional vomiting may be seen. These clinical signs are usually self-limiting and will resolve on their own in a couple of days.
  • Skin problems: Some dogs can experience itchy skin and skin inflammation and irritation. Again, clinical signs are usually very mild and some owners may not even notice them.
  • Allergic reactions: Less commonly seen, some dogs will experience allergic reactions. This can present as facial swelling, breathing difficulties, hives (raised areas) on the body, and skin lesions, among other things. This can become very serious and will require immediate veterinary attention. It is an extremely rare occurrence.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are avocado/soybean unsaponifiables safe for dogs?

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables are generally considered to be safe for dogs, but they may not be suitable for all dogs, depending on the individual circumstances. Consult your vet if your dog has any pre-existing health conditions, (especially allergies or gastrointestinal upset) if they are pregnant or nursing, or if they are currently on any medication. Your vet will be able to advise you on the risks and benefits for your dog.

How long does it take for avocado/soybean unsaponifiables to work in dogs?

These supplements have a cumulative effect, so it can take up to 8 weeks to see the full effects take place. Owners must be aware of this before starting and be patient and consistent with their dosing.

Are there any alternatives to avocado/soybean unsaponifiables for osteoarthritis in dogs?

There are many alternative treatment options for osteoarthritis in dogs. Some will prevent the disease from progressing as fast, while others will help the dog cope better with the clinical signs. Weight management and maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the strain on the joints. Regular exercise will promote joint health and good mobility and pain relief will make your dog more comfortable. There are other supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin which may also support joint health.

doberman pincher exercise
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock

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Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables are a promising natural supplement that can help in the management of osteoarthritis in dogs. While not a cure, the supplement is thought to be able to reduce pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. This can improve your dog’s quality of life.

Owners must consult their vet first before adding in any supplements as some dogs will not be suitable patients. It is feasible that the use of these supplements in conjunction with other management strategies can help owners navigate the challenges of osteoarthritis and enable their dogs to feel more comfortable.


Featured Image Credit: TanyaLovus, Shutterstock

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