Herbal Relief for Arthritis in Dogs

Herbal Relief for Arthritis in Dogs

Are you seeking natural alternatives to pharmaceutical dog arthritis medications? Look no further! Treating arthritis in dogs naturally is becoming more mainstream every day for the following reasons:

  • Risk of side effects of Western medicines
  • Cost of Western medicines
  • Personal experience of the client
  • A multi-faceted approach to pain relief
  • Dogs with ailments that prohibit the use of Western arthritis drugs i.e. kidney or liver disease

When considering all of the natural ways to help dogs with arthritis, you must first set your expectations. If you expect an herbal to work as a Western drug, you will be disappointed. Herbals are not and do not work like Western drugs. Herbals are gentle and do not provide pain relief as quickly as pharmaceuticals. Unlike Western drugs, you will not notice an immediate improvement. You will notice an improvement over time, generally three to four weeks.  

Herbals: Few Side Effects

This fact is the reason why herbals are becoming so popular as natural remedies for dog arthritis pain. For example, let’s say you have a mixed-breed 6-year old dog that weighs 100 pounds. Your dog has subtle arthritis of the right front elbow due to an old injury. Like any pet owner, you want to make your dog comfortable. You want your dog to run, jump, play and live a somewhat normal pain-free life. If you purchase a Western medicine, the cost will approach $100.00 per month. If you purchase an herbal medicine and it works half as well as the Western drug and costs half as much, I bet both you and your dog will be happy. If your dog is six years old, considering his expected lifetime, you will spend thousands of dollars trying to keep him comfortable by using Western medicine. Why not use the herbal medicine initially and then, as he ages and arthritis progresses, consider adding a Western drug to the treatment protocol? This approach minimizes the risk of side effects, costs less, and gives your dog pain relief. Everyone comes out a winner.

Pet Parents Want to Use Herbs and Want Their Pets to Use Herbs Also

This scenario is the second reason why clients seek natural remedies for canine arthritis – cost! Clients often tell me: “I got acupuncture for my lower back! It really helped me!” And, occasionally a client will tell me: “I tried acupuncture for infertility and I never got pregnant.” This describes two different scenarios with two different results. People often seek natural arthritis relief for dogs because of their own personal experience with natural solutions. If people experience positive results from natural treatments, then they extrapolate those same results and presume those same treatments can and will benefit their pet. Once again, displays another reason for the surge in holistic treatment for dog arthritis. The best way to approach arthritis treatment in the middle-aged dog follows these three simple rules:

Rule #1:  Tailor Treatment to Clinical Signs

For example, let’s say you have two dogs, Stella and Fluffy. Stella is intermittently limping on her front leg. The pain is not really debilitating, yet more in the category of nagging. Stella can still get around pretty well but may have trouble going up and down the stairs or jumping up on the bed. In this scenario, Stella may benefit from herbal medicine and injectable glucosamine. With this treatment, the risks of side effects are minimal and the treatment will provide some relief, maybe 100% resolution of the lameness. In contrast, Fluffy, an older geriatric dog, nods his head and winces in pain with every step. Fluffy may require more aggressive treatment than Stella. Fluffy may need to be treated with NSAIDs or NSAIDs combined with other medicines. Stella and Fluffy both have the same disease – arthritis. But, arthritis manifests in different ways in their individual bodies. Each dog needs to be treated differently, with each having a different treatment tailored to each dog’s clinical signs.   This approach is both effective and safe. Next, consider the second rule.

Rule #2:  Know Treatment Expectations

This rule depends on the use and function of your dog. For instance, herbal medicine may help Stella navigate the stairs and jump up on the bed. But, if Stella were a competition dog, then herbal medicine alone may not be strong enough to allow Stella to function at a high level. The success or failure of arthritis treatments depends on you and your veterinarian identifying the expectations of the chosen treatment.

Rule #3: Consider Alternatives

Many older dogs have both arthritis and significant organ deterioration. This scenario has skyrocketed the use of natural remedies. Liver disease and kidney disease are the most common internal organ dysfunctions in older dogs. So, what is the best treatment approach for the older dog with crippling arthritis and increased liver or kidney enzymes? Ideally, prescribing medicine that doesn’t affect the kidneys or liver would be great. The only problem is most Western arthritis drugs (NSAIDs) are metabolized via the kidney or liver. Your hands are tied. You are stuck between a rock and a hard place. How do you choose? This scenario is again a decision for you and your veterinarian to make depending on the rules above. (I prefer Adequan and Eastern herbal medicine in this situation.) In the best interest of your dog, the best treatments are tailored to the individual patient according to the presenting signs, while meeting the owner’s expectations, and minimizing the risks. Bottom line, it is up to you – the pet guardian – to weigh all of the pros and cons and determine which treatment is best for you and your pet.

Powerful Tools for Dog Arthritis Challenges

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

Easy Dog Arthritis Hacks:

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When I first graduated from veterinary school, I thought I knew it all. I thought I knew everything about animals. Anatomy, physiology, drugs, surgery – learning about