Article: Help for Dogs with Arthritis, Joint Pain & Stiffness
Contributor: Pet Herb

Arthritis in  Dogs
Arthritis Relief for Dogs

Around 1/4 to 1/3 of family dogs suffer from some form of joint pain and stiffness.

Arthritis in older dogs is common, but joint pain can also affect younger dogs.

Common causes of arthritis & joint pain:

Hip dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia

Degenerative joint changes

Old injuries

Long-term joint stresses

Infectious diseases such as Lyme Disease


Symptoms to look for:

Reluctance to climb stairs

Reluctance to walk or to get up from a lying position

Difficulty finding a comfortable resting position

Lack of appetite

Growling or irritable mood

Crying or whimpering

Trouble sleeping, waking often, restlessness

Low energy, easily tired



Your veterinarian can do radiological exams such as X-rays or CT scans to determine if degenerative joint changes are present. Blood tests may also be necessary to diagnose illnesses such as Lyme Disease or other medical concerns.


Treatment Options:

Gaining widespread respect and acceptance for human and pet conditions, acupuncture can be considered for relief of arthritis pain in dogs. Professionals in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, have been treating animals with acupuncture and herbal therapy for over 20 years. Professionally trained in China, a number of Traditional Chinese Medical Doctors (TCMDs) are active in research and development of pet herbal therapy. Based on thousands of years of knowledge, a number of herbal remedies, specific to species, have been developed for dogs and cats.

Herbal therapy can be used on its own, or in combination with your dog's program of physical therapy , swimming therapy, or acupuncture treatment. Herbal remedies can be used, without increasing adverse side-effects, along with veterinarian prescribed medications. This may reduce the need for NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), steroids, or other analgesics, AND their accompanying side-effects.

Heat can help to alleviate stiffness and pain, but you need to be aware of your dog's condition and do not apply heat to an area that is inflamed, or you may worsen the problem. For inflamed areas, try an ice pack for about 10 min on and 10 min off. You can repeat if necessary. Make sure you wrap the ice pack in a towel, especially for sensitive areas or areas with little fat coverage, and never leave it on too long. Tissue damage has been reported with ice packs left on for as little as 30 minutes. It's also not a good idea to use a heating pad on a pet, as it may cause burns. A hot water bottle is a safer idea. Gentle exercise can keep your pet mobile, as long as they don't overdo it. Keep an eye on your furry friend to make sure they don't get too active once they're starting to feel better. You might want to avoid the overwhelming stimulation of the dog park during flare-ups, in favor of a nice easy walk.

Physical therapy may be available in your area, if you live in a major urban centre, and is reported to have positive benefits on pain reduction and function for dogs. Swimming therapy has been shown to be particularly effective for dogs, as there is no impact and the gentle resistance of the water is beneficial for building strength and increasing range of motion without stressing the joints. In addition to the physical benefits, being in water just feels good for many dogs and the positive mental attitude may be worth it all on its own. The only downside is that, in practical terms it can be difficult to find a facility in your area that can accommodate this type of therapy for dogs.


Joint Relief for Dogs