One of the saddest parts about being a dog owner is watching them suffer from arthritis. Whether the result of a medical condition (like hip dysplasia) that makes them prone to arthritis, the breed, an old injury, or just old age, arthritis can strike a dog at any age. If you notice your dog walking stiffly, having trouble getting up from a sitting or lying down position, or hesitance jumping on the bed, there’s a good chance your dog is suffering from arthritis.
My top recommended supplements for treating arthritis in dogs
While every dog responds differently to treatments, these are the supplements I’ve narrowed down to be the most effective for helping relieve arthritis pain in my dogs over the years. Some worked better for the dog at age 10 then they did for the dog at 12, and trying to get one product that works well for more than one dog is sometimes a challenge, but these are the ones I’ve had the best luck with (in no particular order).
Nutramax Cosequin DS plus MSM – https://amzn.to/2JIAIpM
Liquid Health K9 Level 5000 Glucosamine Chondroitin Opti MSM (word of caution about this product…although I had very good results using it a few years ago, four of ten recent reviewers within the last 2 months, as of this post, report inconsistent product being received. The manufacturer responded to those unhappy reviewers asking to be contacted about a replacement bottle, but it still concerns me enough that I want to mention it. This might be one that you save for last to try until the reviews go back to being consistently positive.) – https://amzn.to/2JYHpAp
The Missing Link Ultimate Hip & Joint – https://amzn.to/2yjW082
VetriScience Laboratories Glycoflex 3 Hip & Joint – https://amzn.to/2MzHxYD
Top Dog Health GlycanAid-HA Advanced Joint Supplement – https://amzn.to/2JS41lT
Depending on why your dog is having stiffness, one of the above may work better than another. I recommend reading the reviews and seeing if others are treating the same issue you are needing help with. If you have a really picky eater and want the easiest and most effective, I had very good luck with Missing Link. It’s in a powder-like form, that you can add to wet, dry, or raw food and although none of my dogs were ever really picky, they never balked at eating it, like one or two did occasionally with the tablets or chews.
Alternative treatments for arthritis in dogs
While using a supplement can really help a dog experiencing arthritis pain, there are other things you can do in addition to or as a starting point to help your dog. Here are the most common alternative treatments for arthritis that are getting very good reviews.
Chiropractic – Like people, pets can also benefit from an adjustment to get things back in alignment and moving freely. I’ve read numerous reports both in books and online over the years from those who have seen amazing transformations in dogs with arthritis and other health issues after a treatment. You can find a local pet chiropractor here, http://www.animalchiropractic.org/avca-doctor-search.htm
Laser Therapy – This is another popular alternative treatment for arthritis (as well as other injuries/ailments) that helps fight inflammation and increase blood flow to the damaged area. Many vets now do it in-house, but if yours doesn’t, you can do an online search or use this link to find a holistic vet that can help, https://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/. Dr. Becker, a well-known veterinarian that bills herself as a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, wrote an article specifically about laser therapy that has some good information about it here, https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/12/27/dog-arthritis-laser-therapy.aspx
Acupuncture – Touted for its pain relieving abilities among other health benefits, acupuncture, which has been around for centuries, is another alternative health treatment for arthritis that has gained in popularity recently. While not typically the best one and only method of treating arthritis, it may be helpful, especially if you don’t have easy access to chiropractic or laser therapy. Here’s an article I found written by a veterinarian that seems to somewhat begrudgingly admit that acupuncture works, https://www.petful.com/pet-health/acupuncture/. Please, for the love of cake, ignore the part about keeping your pet on their prescription meds for arthritis while undergoing acupuncture. Prescription meds for arthritis killed one of my dogs, so that’s why the title of my post isn’t ‘Prescription medications for arthritis in dogs’. If acupuncture is something that you are interested in checking into, an online search should help you find a local practitioner.
Golden Paste – This inflammation fighting paste is made of an oil like olive oil or coconut oil, turmeric powder, and freshly ground black pepper. There’s a Facebook group (currently with over 266k members) for it with thousands of success stories. Aside from being messy, golden paste is a good, cheap place to start or an easy addition to your arthritis treatment protocol. Note: If you aren’t aware, turmeric stains like or worse than kool-aid. I’ve had the best success getting it off (of MOST things) with castile soap and the magic eraser. Also, I bought a candy mold thinking that is the best way to dispense it, and honestly, because it stains so bad, including your fingers and nails, you really want to handle this stuff as little as possible. I recommend putting the paste in a Ziploc bag, cutting off the corner, and making little globs on some wax paper. Freeze the globs, then remove them from the wax paper and store in a container in the freezer. Depending on the size of your dog, you may even want to halve the recipe the first time you make it, as it does make a lot. Here’s a good brand of turmeric that you can even buy in a smaller quantity if you want to try it without committing to a large bag: https://amzn.to/2ym9KPr. You can get all the golden paste details including the full recipe with instructions and dosing amounts here, http://turmericlife.com.au/turmeric-recipes-golden-paste/.
Other tips for helping your arthritic dog
In addition to these supplements and treatments, keeping your dog at a healthy weight (this really makes a difference), making sure they get exercise, and providing them with an easily accessible supportive dog bed to take the pressure of their aching hips and joints will all help. While the orthopedic dog bed I have owned for over four years and is still in like-new condition is no longer available, I found this one that is very similar, has very good reviews and is reasonably priced, https://amzn.to/2tgDKqo.
Treating arthritis, unfortunately, like most things, isn’t a one size fits all endeavor. What works best for one dog may not work for another and some of these treatments aren’t cheap, or even available everywhere. Although hard to imagine, there are those that let their dogs suffer from arthritis either intentionally or out of ignorance. I hope in this day and age of Facebook sharing, Pinterest pinning, and even the less popular e-mail, anyone reading this article who knows someone with a dog suffering from arthritis and not getting any or the right treatment for it, passes this potentially life-changing information along.
To see why I’m so opposed to prescription meds for arthritis and so many other ailments, and one of the reasons why I started this blog, read this post, http://savingcatsdogsandcash.com/previcox-killed-my-dog/.
I’m always watching for and researching new medical treatments for my pets and myself and actually have a couple of things I’d like to try in the future when finances allow. To stay informed on my latest finds and other pet health related posts, be sure to sign up for my newsletter.