How Effective Are Arthritis Supplements for Dogs?

There are many arthritis supplements available which make claims all the way from helping to curing your dog’s condition. Which ones can do the most good for your dog and which offer less effectiveness? Find out here which ingredients to look for in effective arthritis supplements.

The Basics

Arthritis is a chronic disease which affects the connective tissues between joints and can be caused by joint degeneration, immune system disorder, overuse or Lyme disease. It is a painful, progressive disease most often found in the hip joints of dogs, although it can occur in any joint in the body.

Arthritis is generally a secondary condition to injury, malnutrition (particularly mineral imbalances or inadequate protein), genetic factors or infection. It is primarily found in middle age or older dogs, but even young puppies can have arthritis due to hip dysplasia. Left untreated, arthritis can lead to the loss of function of the affected joint.

Symptoms of Arthritis

The most common symptom of arthritis in dogs is lameness.

The dog might:

  • seem weak in one or more limbs
  • avoid putting all her weight on a limb
  • refuse to use a limb altogether
  • experience morning stiffness, pain or discomfort after heavy exercise or the more painful, debilitating forms of crippling arthritis

Limb paralysis or lack of sensation, intense pain and a hot or swollen joint indicates a need for immediate veterinary evaluation.

Treatment with Supplements - Repair

The goal in treating arthritis with nutritional supplements is not only alleviating the pain, but repairing the damaged joints.

Treatments to use are:

  • Chondroprotective agents, such as glucosamine, chondroitin and glycosaminoglycans, such as Green-lipped mussel, will help heal damaged areas and increase joint lubrication.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, will support the rebuilding of tissue in affected joints.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduce inflammation in muscles and joints.
  • Antioxidants will help eliminate free radicals, which can further damage the joints after injury.
  • The minerals zinc, selenium and manganese, along with the vitamins A, C and E, will help the body utilize antioxidants.

Alleviating Pain                               

Supplementing your dog’s diet with herbs and other homeopathic ingredients will help reduce the pain associated with arthritis.

Arnica is excellent as a beginning treatment for any painful condition. This is often the only remedy needed for painful injuries or conditions.

Bryonia is used for joints that are swollen and hot, and painful when pressure is applied. It is also very helpful for pain that seems to worsen with movement.

Tumeric and ginger are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Both of these spices can be sprinkled right on your dog’s meal and are especially beneficial for older, weak dogs.

Causticum will assist with pain in the joints and nighttime restlessness.


In addition to the supplements listed above, increasing your dog’s mobility will help alleviate pain and strengthen the arthritic joints. Increasing your dog’s willingness to exercise with specific range-of-motion exercises, massage and hydrotherapy will greatly benefit arthritis patients. These added treatments will compliment the benefits of nutritional supplements and speed the healing of affected joints.

By incorporating the correct alternative therapies, such as nutritional supplements and physical therapy, and addressing any underlying health problems that may be contributing to your dog’s condition, you can help manage your dog’s arthritis effectively.