Treat Arthritis in Dogs Naturally

Help slow the progress of osteoarthritis with alternative therapies for dogs.


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When it comes to osteoarthritis in dogs, natural and alternative therapies are safer and can be just as effective as commonly prescribed drugs, according to Allen M. Schoen, DVM, adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Mass., and author of Kindred Spirits (Broadway Books, 2002).

"Drugs may relieve pain, but they also can cause further degeneration of your dog's joints and health," Schoen explains. Non-steroidal drugs, such as Rimadyl, can damage the liver, while steroids may cause muscle atrophy, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney disease, and Cushing's disease. "My goal is to maintain joint health and overall health, in addition to relieving pain and inflammation," he says, adding that a combination of natural and alternative therapies yields the best results.

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate: Daily glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate help protect and lubricate joints, says Schoen. It may take four to six weeks before you see results. Injections of Adequan, a liquid form of glycosaminoglycans, can produce improvement more quickly.
OthersSupplements: Daily doses of vitamin A, E, and Ester-C, as well as MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), help the arthritic dog. The mineral selenium acts as an antioxidant.

An essential fatty acid supplement from fish oil or flaxseed oil works as an anti-inflammatory. Cetyl myristoleate is an up-and-coming joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory.

  • Acupuncture: Schoen highly recommends acupuncture for dogs with arthritis. It increases circulation to the muscles and joint capsule, which provides more oxygen and slows cell degeneration. It also relieves painful muscle spasms; increases leg strength by stimulating nerves and muscles; and releases endorphins to make the dog feel better, he explains. Acupressure can help your dog between sessions.

  • Herbs: Boswellia, an herb, and devil's claw are both anti-inflammatories, while alfalfa provides basic building blocks for the joints. Schoen also uses a variety of Chinese herbs.
  • Physical therapies: Schoen recommends an exercise program of frequent short walks, daily stretching, and massage for canine arthritis sufferers. If available, try physical therapy, swimming, Tellington Touch, trigger-point therapy, or underwater treadmill exercise at an animal rehabilitation center.

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Alison   Norwalk, Connecticut

5/4/2016 4:29:31 AM

Lots of good information in this article. One thing that hasn't been included is the use of dog braces to help manage arthritis pain and discomfort. Depending on where the arthritis is, a knee or hip brace can be used to increase circulation to the area, and provide that extra needed support for the weak joints. When looking for braces it's important that the brace doesn't completely immobilize the area, since this can lead to loss of muscle mass and actually cause more problems down the line.

For my arthritic dog we bought the Ortocanis dog knee brace for the arthritis in her knee. We use it on days of heavy activity or whenever I feel that she seems to be in more discomfort. The material is flexible neoprene and doesn't bother her at all. After some time using it, I can say that I have 0 complaints. Going to look for supplements now to add to her diet and hopefully she can be as close to pain free as possible!

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Jenn   King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

8/21/2014 6:21:18 AM

THank you for this article. I had never heard of using alfalfa! I will add that to her new diet! I found a totally natural way to help my pet at I started these a couple months ago and my Dixie went from barely getting up to go potty to now she runs up the stairs! She even doesn't realize she is get something to help her she just sits up and begs for her little treats every morning! We were at the point where the vet suggested surgery or the Rainbow Highway and I wasn't prepared for either :( But I've never been so glad to find a supplement.

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megan   somewherein, OH

6/24/2008 11:31:06 AM


John 3:16

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