Joint Lubricants: The Secret to Dog Arthritis Pain Relief

The Secret to Dog Arthritis Pain Relief

How Do Joint Lubricants Help Arthritis?

Joint lubricants supply the joint fluid with the precursor molecules needed to make more joint fluid.

I use both of these products all the time and often use them together:

  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Adequan

Hyaluronic Acid (Brand Name: Legend) Injectable Joint Lubricants

The first injectable joint lubricant for dog arthritis pain relief treatment is Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid, also called hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is naturally present in the human body.

The body’s connective, epithelial, and neural tissues contain Hyaluronic acid.

Humans Use Hyaluronic Acid Too

Humans take hyaluronic acid orally or by injection for:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Joint disorders
  • Joint instability
  • Metabolic processes associated with aging
  • High body mass index related to obesity and hereditary factors.

Hyaluronic acid has been successfully used for many years to treat horses with joint issues.

In fact, labels for Hyaluronic acid recommend it for use in horses only, not dogs. Hyaluronic acid treatment in dogs is “extra-label.”

Hyaluronic acid stimulates cells to produce more joint fluid when injected, helping lubricate the soft tissue structures throughout the joint.

Joint lubrication not only increases the mechanical function of the joint but also increases the efficiency of removing inflammatory mediators such as white blood cells and plasma proteins.  

The scientific community recognizes Hyaluronic acid therapy:

  • Stimulates the production of healthy joint fluid
  • Decreases cartilage damage
  • Decreases inflammation.

In infield studies with the Legend brand of Hyaluronic acid, clinical improvement was good to excellent in 90% of cases treated intravenously.

I have great success using injectable Hyaluronic acid as a joint lubricant for dog arthritis and joint issues.

Our Standard Protocol

Our standard Hyaluronic Acid protocol consists of the following:

  • A loading dose of one injection per week for three weeks
  • One injection per month afterward as needed.

In our clinic, dogs receive Hyaluronic acid arthritis treatment alone or in combination with one or more therapies.

Treatment depends on the pet’s situation and the owner’s goals.

Hyaluronic acid injections work well in combination with the following:


The second joint lubricant for treating dog arthritis, and the one I prefer, is Adequan.

Adequan is a prescription-only medication similar to the oral supplement glucosamine.

Because Adequan is injectable rather than oral, the medicine reaches the inflamed area faster and more completely than oral medication.

Also, the injectable bypasses the GI tract, meaning digestive enzymes cannot reduce potency.

Here are some of the basics of Adequan arthritis treatment for dogs:

  • Adequan is injected intramuscularly two times per week for four weeks.
  • Adequan begins working approximately two hours and stays in the joint for approximately three days.
  • Signs of improvement are apparent within four weeks.
  • It is the only FDA-approved disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) on the veterinary market.

After treatment with Adequan is complete, many dogs become playful and active again – like when they were younger.

Adequan Attacks Dog Arthritis

The Adequan dog arthritis treatment attacks canine arthritis in four ways:

  • Helps shield the cartilage by binding to it
  • Inhibits catabolic enzymes (Catabolic enzymes break down complex organic compounds into simpler ones)
  • Stimulates the synthesis of collagen
  • Diminishes discomfort while enhancing anabolic activity (Anabolic enzymes aid in building complex organic molecules from simpler ones)

Some other good things about the Adequan treatment are:

  • Lubricates and soothes the joint, which reduces friction. When friction lessens, pain and inflammation lessen too.
  • Works as a kind of “pumped-up” version of glucosamine. Instead of masking pain as NSAIDs do, the Adequan dog arthritis treatment helps rebuild cartilage in the damaged joint.
  • Proven to slow the disease cycle, support tissue repair, and diminish joint and joint fluid damage.
  • Adequan is preferentially absorbed by inflamed joints when injected into the dog’s muscles. With this product, you get therapy instead of mere pain control.

Side effects and warnings of the Adequan dog arthritis treatment include:

  • Do not use in dogs showing hypersensitivity to Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan. PSGAG is a synthetic heparinoid.
  • Do not use in dogs with known or suspected bleeding disorders.
  • No studies have been conducted to establish the reproductive safety of Adequan in pregnant, breeding, or lactating dogs.
  • Use Adequan with caution in dogs with renal or hepatic impairment.

Additionally, scientists observed the following adverse reactions in the clinical efficacy trial:

  • Transient pain at the injection site (1 incident)
  • Transient diarrhea (1 incident each in 2 dogs)
  • Abnormal bleeding (1 incident)

These effects were mild and self-limiting and did not require interruption of therapy. The study looked at 24 dogs treated with Adequan Canine twice weekly for 4 weeks.

Oral Nutraceutical Joint Lubricants

Oral nutraceuticals are highly beneficial as joint lubricants. An excellent example is  PET | TAO Harmonize Joint. It’s a veterinarian-developed product, and I believe it is the best OTC joint lubricant on the market.

The main ingredients in Harmonize Joint are:

  • Glucosamine Sulfate: helps restore damaged fluid and tissue from injury or wear and tear
  • Calcium Ascorbate (Vitamin C): maintains healthy collagen levels, especially helpful for dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia
  • Green-Lipped Mussel: provides anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory effects on connective tissues and associated diseases.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): helps the body effectively use vitamins and nutrients. In addition, MSM decreases pressure inside cells, allowing water and nutrients to flow better inside the cells.
  • Sea Cucumber: helps reduce inflammation in joints, promotes the production of new collagen, lubricates and protects cartilage, and combats oxidative stress.
  • Polygonum: helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, promotes collagen production, and eases pain.
  • Angelica Sinensis: helps reduce inflammation, helps blood circulation, eases pain, and helps maintain hormonal balance.
  • Rehmannia: helps reduce inflammation, protects cells against oxidative stress, tonifies kidneys (in TCVM, kidney health plays a vital role in bone and joint health), and offers analgesic effects.
  • Alfalfa Powder: supplies vitamin K (essential for bones, cartilage, and connective tissues), and helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Manganese Ascorbate: aids in cartilage formation, neutralizes free radicals, and activates enzymes necessary for synthesizing bone matrix and properly utilizing other bone-building materials.
  • Vitamin E (D-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate): helps reduce inflammation, neutralizes free radicals, and helps protect collagen.

More Powerful Tools for Overcoming Dog Arthritis Challenges

You can make many quick and easy changes at home to help you give your dog an edge on easing dog arthritis pain.

  • Learn more about dog arthritis.
  • Try cooking for your dog or feeding high-quality dog food. Home-cooked diets and wet food help keep your pet from gaining too much weight. Less weight means less stress on your dog’s bones and joints. PET | TAO Chill is the ideal choice for arthritic dogs.
  • Ease your dog’s discomfort naturally. PET | TAO Comfort is a blend of Eastern herbs and Western supplements to soothe your dog’s arthritic challenges and make him/her more comfortable.
  • Provide joint support. PET | TAO Harmonize Joint is a blend of Eastern herbs and Western supplements working together to lubricate and restore your dog’s joints.
  • Try Freeze-Dried Kidney Treats. According to TCVM, the Kidney controls the bones and joints and supports arthritic challenges in a “like treats like” manner.
  • Learn more about TCVM Herbal Remedies. Chinese medicine offers many exceptional natural solutions for dog arthritis. Some good examples are:


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