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What Are the Best Non-Prescription Arthritis Treatments for Dogs?

Updated on October 22, 2015
Old dogs are some of the best pets known to mankind, but they may need a little extra care.
Old dogs are some of the best pets known to mankind, but they may need a little extra care. | Source

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Cosequin Joint Health Supplement
Cosequin Joint Health Supplement

Start with supplements early to prevent canine arthritis problems later in life.


If your older dog suffers from arthritis pain, you are probably interested in what methods you can use to help your dog get some relief. Arthritis happens when the connective tissue in your dog’s joints weakens, resulting in pain, stiffness, and inflammation. In the past few years, the safety of prescription arthritis treatment has been questioned, and more and more pet owners are turning to nonprescription options. Depending on the severity of your dog’s arthritis, the top nonprescription arthritis treatment could be a good fit for your dog. You should discuss all the arthritis treatment options with your doctor before making any decisions. This article will give you a general idea of some of the nonprescription treatment options which are available for your pet.

Glucosamine and chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin is one of the most highly recommended nonprescription methods for treating arthritis. These supplements can help your pet repair damaged connective tissue and promote joint lubrication. You can buy these supplements in pill form, chewable treats, or as an addition to your dog’s food. You can also use these supplements as a preventative measure to avoid arthritis altogether. Supplements such as ArthriMAXX, Arthogen, and Arthroflex are all great choices. Glucosamine and chondroitin is one of the top nonprescription arthritis treatments for dogs, and could help your dog win the battle against arthritis.

Anti-inflammatory and pain relief treatments

Aspirin is another top nonprescription arthritis treatment for dogs. This treatment is frequently suggested by vets, but it is always best to consult with your dog’s veterinarian before choosing any treatment methods. You can buy aspirin at your local grocery store, but of course these are human-sized doses, which are not meant for dogs. If you give your dog too much aspirin, this can cause stomach problems and even internal bleeding. If used properly, aspirin can reduce inflammation as well as providing some pain relief. You can help to relieve inflammation by giving your dog omega-3 fatty acids.

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Fitness and exercise

Many dogs with arthritis also struggle with weight gain and low activity levels. Although it is understandable that your dog will not feel like exercising due to pain, weight gain will only worsen the condition. Exercise is also important for fluid circulation, so keeping your dog active can help tissue from deteriorating further. Regular exercise can also be a great way to prevent your dog from losing more mobility. If your dog is less physically active than in the past, adjust its diet to reflect current exercise habits. Discuss your dog’s diet with your veterinarian, especially if the dog is significantly overweight.

Keep warm and comfortable

When your dog is in pain, clearly comfort will be your primary concern. The best possible solution would be that you improve the arthritis, but if this is not possible, you can still make sure your dog is as pain-free as possible. Dogs with arthritis may be awakened periodically with pain during the night. While the dog is immobile this often causes stiffness from lack of movement during the night. Even if you don’t have a dog bed, you can still create a comfortable and soft place for your dog to sleep. If your dog experiences more serious symptoms, you can purchase a special dog bed just for arthritic dogs. These nonprescription treatments in conjunction with preventative steps may help your dog live a longer, happier life.

A veterinarian's overview of canine arthritis


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    • Andreea Cojocariu profile image

      Andreea Cojocariu 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      There is a difference in type of glucosamine chondroitin supplements. Pills and tablets don't have nearly the absorption rate of liquid glucosamine, which has a 80% absorption rate vs pills.

      The quality of glucosamine matters too. You want to look for pharmaceutical grade glucosamine. The only one that I'm aware of is Synflex, but there may be others.

      Good hub though :).

    • Vacation Trip profile image

      Susan 4 years ago from India

      This is a very interesting hub. You have written everything so clearly. Well written hub. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      I give my dogs Dasaquin as they are large dogs prone to orthopedic problems. Last month, my girl has torn her CCL and after a month on it is already showing great signs of improvement. Voted up!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Glucosamine and chondroitin is an excellent non-prescription combo supplement that helps both dogs and humans. My doctor recommended this supplement for my arthritis, and the vet recommended it for my dog. No side effects such as prescription meds cause is the best part, but it also decreases pain. It should be taken every day, as it has a cumulative effect.

      Good hub. Voted Up++