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Pain Relief For Dogs With Arthritis – Tips On What To Look For

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Pain Relief For Dogs With Arthritis

As they age, dogs can suffer from arthritis just like their owners can, and many dog arthritis symptoms are similar to the ones their owners have.

Some breeds, particularly larger breeds like labs and German shepherds, are especially susceptible to both arthritis and a condition called hip dysplasia.

No one likes to see their friend in pain, so people often seek forms of pain relief for dogs with arthritis.  We will look at a few ways to manage arthritis and also look at dog arthritis symptoms in this article.


So how do you know if your dog has arthritis?  Many symptoms are similar to what humans have, but unlike humans, your dog cannot tell you that he hurts. Watch to see if your dog does any of the following:

  • He might limp or favor one leg over the others.  This might be more prominent when he first wakes up and he limbers up as he moves about.  You might also notice one leg is smaller than the others because of favoring that leg and losing muscle tone.
  • Your dog might have problems hopping up on the sofa or bed next to you, or he might have a hard time navigating steps.
  • His posture might look funny because his spine or his hip is hurting him.
  • Your dog might be chewing or biting the sore joint trying to relieve the stiffness and pain.
  • He might get tired easily and cannot walk or play as long as he used to with you.  Your dog might also be cranky and snap at you if you are petting him and you touch the sore spot.

To be certain your dog has arthritis, your vet will likely take x-rays and do a physical examination.


Though there is a lack of agreement in the scientific community about whether glucosamine and condroitin have any actual effect on joints, there is enough anecdotal evidence that they do provide joint comfort by helping to reduce swelling and repair cartilage that it is worth giving them a try.

There are also methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, and hyaluronic acid that have some benefit for improving joint health.  Check with your vet on where he or she recommends you source your supplements, as your dog should not be given human versions.

Fish oil capsules might also help in providing pain relief for dogs with arthritis because the omega-3 fatty acids are widely recognized for their ability to reduce inflammation.


Dog bedding should be soft and placed low enough that your dog can get into it easily.  Keep it away from windows or doors where he might be in a drafty area.  Some companies make dog steps that make it easier for your dog to get up onto a bed or the sofa, or into the car.  Warm compresses placed on the sore joint while he’s relaxing can feel really good, but be sure they are not too hot so your dog does not get burned.

Massage and acupuncture

Just as we like to have our muscles relax, dogs love a massage to ease the aches they feel from arthritis.  Massage helps with blood flow and clears lymph nodes of congestion, plus if you learn how to do the massage, it helps your dog relax because they are getting comfort and attention from you.  Be sure to find an expert in dog massage because he or she will be familiar with canine anatomy and the proper amount of pressure to use. Humans frequently find relief from pain through realigning chi by acupuncture, and dogs can feel better using this technique, too.  Take a look online for practitioners of the art in your area.  Some will use Chinese healing herbs in combination to maximize the benefits.

Exercise –

Depending on the reason for your dog’s arthritis, you can consider exercise to help keep joints moving. Swimming is a great exercise, and locations are popping up all over the country that specializes in swim tanks for dogs that need to do exercise therapy.  The warm water also feels really good on the achy joints. Maintaining a good weight is also important for controlling dog arthritis symptoms.  Exercise plays a big part in this, as does a good diet.


Care should be taken when giving medication to dogs.  Always consult a vet to obtain the correct dosing information.  Ibuprofen can be toxic and may cause digestive upset.

There is a medication that is part of standard protocol for treating arthritis called adequan.  It helps rebuild cartilage.  It does have two drawbacks – it can be expensive since it is given as an injection twice a week for three weeks, and it can increase bleeding risk.

If you suspect your canine buddy has arthritis, don’t try to go it alone.  Consult your veterinarian for his or her advice and map out a treatment plan together.  With the right combination, your older dog can be feeling much better soon, and the two of you can have many more years of fun together.


Please leave a comment or if you have a question below and I will answer as soon as possible, Thanks


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