Alternative Therapies for Treating Arthritis in Dogs

Treating arthritis in dogs using natural products can provide relief from discomfort and pain. Your pet might also benefit from alternative therapies such as homeopathy, massage and acupuncture. These alternative therapies can be used in conjunction with traditional practice or as standalone treatments to provide relief to your pet.

Canine Arthritis

Canine arthritis is a common joint disease that’s progressive and degenerative in nature. Older dogs and pets that are active are more likely to develop arthritis although dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible to this crippling disease. Arthritis is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage between the bones of moving joints. This deterioration results in inflammation and pain when the affected joint is moved.

Symptoms of Canine Arthritis:

  • Lameness
  • Reluctance to walk, run or climb stairs
  • Difficulty in rising from a resting position
  • Mood swings
  • Crying when touched
  • Lack of appetite
  • Increase in weight
  • Lethargy 
  • Depression

Alternative Therapies for Managing Canine Arthritis

Often, traditional medication isn’t very beneficial when treating an arthritic dog. It’s expensive and not devoid of the risk of side effects such as diseases of the liver and kidneys. Alternative therapies and adjustments in your pet’s diet and environment can help your pet find relief from the constant pain associated with this condition.

Alterations in Your Pet’s Environment

Try to alter your pet’s environment so that he doesn’t need to climb stairs or walk on slippery surfaces as these can exacerbate his condition. The placement of rugs can take care of slippery surfaces. It’s also wise to keep his water and food downstairs.

Diet for Dog Arthritis

Commercial dog food contains preservatives, chemicals and additives that can increase your pet’s chances of contracting arthritis. Raw food and food prepared at home consisting of eggs, meat and lean proteins can help boost his immune system and control his weight. The diet should be a grain free and low carbohydrate diet. Such a diet can help minimize the pain suffered by your pet.

Moderate exercises such as walking and swimming can help increase mobility and strength, and control your pet’s weight. Thus, moderate exercise is vital to the treatment program of arthritis.


Administration of supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate is beneficial to arthritic pets. They work by supplying fluid to the joint cartilage and lubricating them. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E and C reduce joint inflammation. The addition of apple cider vinegar to your pet’s water can also reduce the calcium deposits in his joints and provide relief from arthritic symptoms.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure involve the use of needles and finger pressure on specific joints to increase the production of endorphins and block the transmission of pain signals from the joints to the brain. They are effective in reducing pain, inflammation and swelling of joints that are common symptoms of arthritis in dogs.

Heat Therapy

Hot water bottles or compresses when placed next to the affected joint can provide relief from pain.


Homeopathy, when administered by a professional, is very effective in the treatment of chronic pain.


Massage can manage your pet’s arthritis as it can improve your pet’s blood circulation, increase his mobility and help keep his tissues supple.

You should ensure that your arthritic pet gets plenty of rest in addition to a nutritious diet, moderate exercise and therapy.