5 Best Dog Longevity Supplements

5 Best Dog Longevity Supplements

Note: This examination of the best dog longevity supplements is our fifth in a series on life extension for dogs. We’ve already covered dog dental health, dog diet, dog exercise, and dog medical tests and procedures. Our last two pieces in this series will include a comparison of the best dog longevity products, and an overview guide to dog life extension.

“The number of dog supplement products out there that claim longevity is a lot. The number that can prove longevity is zero.”

That’s what Nick Sinclair, founder of dog supplement company LeapYears, told me when I spoke to him over video while researching for this article.

Unfortunately, after digging through all the research myself, I think when it comes to extending maximum lifespan for dogs he may be right.

While there are many promising supplements and drugs for dogs under development—and medications like rapamycin being tested—when it comes to hard scientific proof that a specific compound will make your dog live longer there’s just not much out there yet.

Life extension drugs for dogs

That said, there are still several supplements and medications that may extend your dog’s lifespan in certain circumstances and with certain medical conditions, such as cancer.

There are also a few supplements that may improve and even extend your dog’s healthspan, if not their lifespan.

Let’s take a look at each of those, below.

Note: Save the Dog Aging Project!
One of the best sources for research studies on dog longevity has been the Dog Aging Project, an NIH-funded study of over 45,000 dogs that’s already provided landmark insights into how to make dogs (and eventually people!) live longer. Unfortunately, as of publication in 2024, NIH is threatening to pull the funding for this crucial scientific endeavor. Please help save the Dog Aging Project by signing this petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/support-the-continuation-of-the-dog-aging-project You can also donate directly to the project here: https://give.uwmedicine.org/give/?source=doggie
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How I picked the top life extension drugs and supplements for dogs

I used just two criteria for selecting this list of supplements and drugs for dog longevity:

  1. Must have some studies showing either lifespan or healthspan extension (I counted studies showing lifespan extension in the case of age-related diseases like cancer).
  2. Must have studies showing it is safe for a dog to take long-term (at appropriate doses).

These criteria precluded a lot of popular dog supplements, including those meant to improve appearance (like shininess of coat), and those meant to treat an acute condition like diarrhea or anxiety.

I’ve broken up the below list into dog supplements which you can buy over-the-counter, and dog longevity drugs which require a prescription from a veterinarian.

Best dog longevity supplements

Before we get into the individual supplements, first: a word of warning.

Unfortunately, the pet supplement space has a lot of low-quality products, some of which may even be dangerous to your dog.

For instance, last year the maker of an omega-3 supplement for dogs had to recall dozens of product lines because of reports of vitamin A toxicity.

safety of supplements for dogs
Just the good stuff for me, please and thank you.

Because pet supplements do not fall under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) they are less regulated than human dietary supplements, so it’s important that you do your own research to check on the safety and quality of any supplements you plan on giving to your dog.

Luckily, there are some simple things you can look for to determine if a supplement is quality or not. 

Check that a supplement has at least one or more of the following:

These will at least provide assurance the supplement was made in an audited facility and meets certain manufacturing and quality standards.

Additionally, it’s worth double-checking the dose recommendations provided by any supplement maker, as these can be miscalculated.

A tool that can help you calculate any dog supplement dose based on a combination of your dog’s body surface area (BSA) and an equivalent human dose is here:

Ok, now on to the good stuff.

1. Fish oil/omega-3 fatty acid

In terms of life extension supplements for dogs, the most, and most-convincing, studies I found revolved around fish oil.

Fish oil, and specifically the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which it contains, seems to have a number of health benefits for dogs (and for humans too…).

It appears to lower inflammation, improve cognitive health in puppies and in aged dogs, protect against osteoarthritis (including at pretty high doses), and protect the kidneys of dogs with renal disease.

But, importantly for this article, it also seems to extend the lives of dogs suffering from cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and from cancer.

For instance, a 1998 study of 28 dogs with heart failure found that those given fish oil supplements for eight weeks had lower levels of IL-1 (a protein associated with inflammation) and that “reductions in IL-1 predicted survival.”

A trial from 2000 of 32 dogs with lymphoma found that the dogs fed a therapeutic canine diet of fish oil and arginine had both increased disease free intervals and increased survival time (by about three months).

Fish oil for dogs cancer
Dogs with cancer survived longer on the experimental diet with fish oil.

Several analyses and reviews seem to support these individual studies.

A 2021 systematic review noted, “Dogs diagnosed with chronic heart failure and lymphoma and cats with allergic dermatitis also seem to benefit from supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids.” 

A 2011 review concluded, “In dogs, evidence has accumulated regarding beneficial responses with dietary inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids or their provision for inflammatory conditions such as atopy and some renal disorders as well as cardiovascular problems, hyperlipidemias, and osteoarthritis.”

That review also contained a handy fish oil dosing chart for various dog diseases, based on a 22lb dog:

salmon oil for dogs doses

Just make sure to adjust the values based on your dog’s weight in kg, and don’t exceed the maximum NRC (National Research Council) recommended safe upper limit because there could be adverse effects for getting the salmon oil for dogs dose wrong.

2. NAD+ boosters

Supplements like NMN that can boost NAD+ (a key molecule in cell metabolism that decreases as we age) have been targets for anti-aging research in humans for some time now. It seems inevitable that such supplements would eventually make it to the pet market.

And they have, with my casual research turning up no fewer than eight different companies offering some variation of an NAD+ booster for dogs. These include:

But while there are some promising studies in humans and other animals, including many currently ongoing, none of these supplements had yet had a clinical trial in dogs to evaluate healthspan or lifespan extension.

(Though I was able to find one study showing supplementation with an NAD+ booster seemed to improve symptoms of muscular dystrophy in dogs.)

However, one new study has just entered the pre-print phase (meaning it has not yet been pre-reviewed, so take these results with a grain of salt) which seems to show possible healthspan benefits for dogs of taking a supplement targeting NAD+.

LeapYears, Nick Sinclair’s pet supplement company, recently funded a six month study of 70 older dogs at North Carolina State University tracking the impact of their supplement on the dog’s cognitive health and physical activity.

leapyears NAD supplement for dogs

The pre-print results seem to show that the supplement at higher doses improves the cognitive function of older dogs at the three month mark. The study’s authors state, “the proportion of dogs that improved in frailty and owner-reported activity levels and happiness was higher in the full dose group than other groups.”

That said, the study didn’t seem to have statistically significant results on the dogs’ mobility or cognition at six months. Some folks, including SkepVet blog proprietor Brennen McKenzie, don’t agree with the study’s conclusions, finding the presented evidence too weak to support them.

The supplement has been shown to be safe, however, with Nick Sinclair telling me they tried up to a 30x dose in a test of 16 elderly dogs and found no adverse effects. The LeapYears parent company, Animal Biosciences, states their tests found the LeapYears “oral formulation is absorbed, present in the bloodstream and available to cells.”

Additionally, Nick mentioned that, based on their NAD blood test, the LeapYears team found a window of dosing: if it’s too low or too high it’s not as effective. He stated, “It doesn’t drop off, it plateaus. After that you’re just wasting your money.”

3. Green-lipped mussel

This dog supplement, for osteoarthritis, is more in the healthspan extension than lifespan extension camp, but it does have a fair amount of research backing up its benefits.

Several studies have found positive results with green-lipped mussel for dog arthritis, and a 2012 meta analysis found three out four studies showed a statistically significant benefit for the supplement.

While there doesn’t seem to be as large an effect as salmon oil, it may still be worth supplementing with, especially for large and giant breed dogs more prone to joint disorders.

Honorable mention: Glucosamine

This one is a somewhat controversial pick because the research on glucosamine for dogs is pretty conclusive that it doesn’t do what it’s prescribed for, which is improvement of joint pain and osteoarthritis.

Basically, every recent meta analysis, plus study after study after study, conclude glucosamine does not help with joint pain or osteoarthritis symptoms in dogs (or in humans, for that matter).

However, it’s an incredibly safe and well-tolerated supplement in dogs, and there is a lot of emerging research in humans that shows that, while glucosamine is not a benefit to joints as once thought, it may be an effective longevity pill.

glucosamine supplement for dog longevity
Not old enough to drive himself…yet.

For instance, people with genetically higher levels of glucosamine appear to live longer, and several epidemiological population studies have found regular glucosamine intake is associated with lower mortality and longer lifespan.

Plus it seems to extend lifespan in other animals, including roundworms and mice, possibly by mimicking caloric restriction. Caloric restriction can extend dog lifespan, as we covered in our dog longevity diet piece, so it’s reasonable to think that a supplement which acts on the same cellular pathways may do the same.

Honorable mention: Astaxanthin

This is another somewhat controversial pick, since there is only one study I could find showing positive longevity-related results for astaxanthin in dogs.

However, it’s an interesting study, because it’s focused on age-related mitochondrial decline in dogs. 

The study found that 20 mg of daily astaxanthin given to dogs “improved mitochondrial function in blood leukocytes, most likely by alleviating oxidative damage to cellular DNA and protein.”

Given that another study found mitochondrial health to be a key determinant in different lifespans across dog breeds (longer-lived breeds had better mitochondrial health) it seems reasonable to think astaxanthin may increase dog lifespan by improving mitochondrial health.

Astaxanthin has also been shown to increase lifespan in several other animals, including in a landmark study by NIH’s Interventions Testing Program showing an average lifespan extension in male mice of 12%.

Best life extension drugs for dogs

The following life extension drugs for dogs all require a veterinarian’s prescription, but seem to have some solid scientific evidence for dog life extension.

4. Deprenyl/Selegiline

I had never heard of this pet medication before researching for this article, but an informed reader on Facebook pointed me towards it, and I found the research compelling.

According to a 2022 review of anti-aging agents, “The drug [deprenyl] is also the only chemical that has been repeatedly found to extend the lifespan of rats, mice, hamsters and dogs in animal models.”

Deprenyl was originally intended as a drug to treat cognitive dysfunction in dogs, but several studies have suggested it may have longevity effects as well.

The first is a 1997 study on 82 beagle dogs which found that “daily oral administration of 1 mg/kg L-deprenyl prolongs life when begun in relatively healthy dogs 10-15 years of age and maintained for the duration of the individual’s life, but in any event for no less than six months.”

It also seems to combat brain aging, with a 1996 study finding, “L-deprenyl administration improved spatial memory in aged dogs,” but not in young dogs.

Deprenyl dog longevity drug
May not benefit from deprenyl for a few years yet…

And in rats, at least, it seems to have anti-cancer effects (an effect that also seems to have been present in the 1997 beagle study)

A 2006 review concluded, “the drug may at least partially prolong the life span of animals by enhancing immune system function and preventing tumor development in animals.”

5. Rapamycin

Rapamycin is one of the most promising anti-aging drugs out there, having successfully extended lifespan in a number of animal models including fruit flies, roundworms, and mice. It’s even been confirmed by the NIH’s Interventions Testing Program (the gold standard of longevity drug testing since they test at multiple laboratories to ensure replication) to extend lifespan in mice.

In dogs, a preliminary 2017 study of 24 middle-aged dogs (by some of the folks now at the Dog Aging Project, including Matt Kaeberlein), found rapamycin treatment improved measures of heart function while having no clinical side-effects.

They confirmed this with a 2023 study that found no adverse effects from low-dose rapamycin treatment of 17 dogs for six months.

A 2021 study of dog cells suggested “that [rapamycin] treatments may be metabolically beneficial to dogs when started early in life and more beneficial in larger breeds.”

Finally, the Dog Aging Project is currently recruiting for a bigger dog longevity study of rapamycin, called the Test of Rapamycin in Aging Dogs (or TRIAD). If your dog meets the criteria (at least seven years old, neutered, and between 44-120 lbs without an underlying health condition), you should consider enrolling them!

Dog life extension drug honorable mentions

Some other potential dog longevity medications came up in my research, but I couldn’t find enough studies to definitively add them to the main list. You may still find them interesting.

Ongoing dog longevity medicine studies to watch

Several new dog longevity drugs are in the pipeline and clinical trials are underway to test their effectiveness. A few to keep an eye on include:

The dog longevity supplements I plan to give my dog

Kipling, given his large size and breed, is susceptible to both cancer and osteoarthritis. That said, he’s still fairly young (a little over three), so he isn’t yet experiencing age-related cognitive decline or loss of energy.

Given all that, I think my dog supplement plan for Kipling right now is:

I’d love to also give him a low-dose pulse of rapamycin, as it seemed to have a beneficial longevity effect in mice when given for just three months in early adulthood, but I have yet to find a veterinarian who will prescribe it. I did find this “RapamycinForDogs.com” site where it seems you can order rapamycin after a consult with the veterinarian owner, but I can’t vouch for the quality of their product.

As Kipling ages I will likely add in some other dog life extension supplements and drugs, including:

Did I miss any supplements or medications that have studies showing dog lifespan or healthspan extension?

Let me know in the comments!

Note: Save the Dog Aging Project!
One of the best sources for research studies on dog longevity has been the Dog Aging Project, an NIH-funded study of over 45,000 dogs that’s already provided landmark insights into how to make dogs (and eventually people!) live longer. Unfortunately, as of publication in 2024, NIH is threatening to pull the funding for this crucial scientific endeavor. Please help save the Dog Aging Project by signing this petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/support-the-continuation-of-the-dog-aging-project You can also donate directly to the project here: https://give.uwmedicine.org/give/?source=doggie


  1. Laurie Caloren

    Great article. I have been giving my labs quality Omega 3’s for years and my last one passed just short of his 13th birthday. He had hip dysplasia and dementia. My new boy who just turned 2 has been on Omega 3’s since he was six months as well as high quality dog food with salmon (he won’t eat real fish 🙁 ) I often wondered about the effectiveness of glucosamine but will check his food to see if it is an added ingredient.

    1. J.P.

      Laurie, thanks! And while the glucosamine likely won’t help with things like hip dysplasia, it may help with longevity by acting as an exercise/caloric restriction mimetic (at least, if human observational studies are to be believed).

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