Pet Arthritis Treatment Options

There are two types of pet arthritis: degenerative and inflammatory. Arthritis is a very painful condition and can adversely change the quality of your dog's life. As soon as you suspect that your pet is suffering from arthritis, you should conduct a vet check and explore the various treatment options that can bring relief from the suffering endured by your pet.

Degenerative Arthritis

Degenerative arthritis is also known as osteoarthritis and is caused by the wear and tear of joints. Elder dogs, larger dogs, overweight dogs and working pets are more susceptible to this condition. Similarly, dogs suffering from other illnesses such as diabetes are at greater risk of developing arthritis.

Inflammatory Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis or septic arthritis can result from inflammatory joint disease. Septic arthritis is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is caused by a weakened immune system and, in most cases, is hereditary in nature.

Symptoms of Canine Arthritis:

  • Limping
  • Lameness in the limbs
  • Stiffness in the limbs
  • Swollen joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reluctance to climb stairs or play
  • Increase in weight
  • Depression 
  • Behavioral changes

Treatment Options                                                      

There is no cure for arthritis, but care and treatment can improve the dog's quality of life. Lifestyle management changes can also be highly beneficial to dogs suffering in pain. The first change should be dietary modification that focuses on weight reduction. As the dog loses weight, the stress on his joints is also reduced, resulting in less pain.

Changes in Diet

It's best to stop feeding commercial dog food to an arthritic dog. Fresh, raw foods and a diet rich in certain fatty acids can help strengthen the immune system and reduce the pain endured by the dog.


Prescription medicines that relieve pain and anti-inflammatory drugs help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs are most beneficial, but should never be given without prior vet approval because dogs metabolize NSAIDs differently and correct dosages should be administered. Corticosteroids are also used to alleviate the symptoms. However, prolonged use of both these types of medicines causes kidney problems and ulcers.

Physical Therapies

Chiropractic therapy can increase the strength and mobility of the dog's joints and help relieve the pain and inflammation present. Daily massage also helps reduce inflammation of the joints and increases blood circulation. Heat therapy can be used to reduce pain and inflammation, while acupuncture may be performed to improve neurological function and relieve the discomfort. Pet owners can also choose to use water therapy to control arthritis. It is a therapy in which the dog is gently exercised in water. This helps to strengthen the joints and increase mobility.

Magnetic Therapy

Magnets are placed at specific points on the body to relieve pain, increase circulation and increase mobility.

Laser Therapy

The arthritic area is exposed to photon beams to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.


Glucosamine and chondroitin are beneficial in managing and even preventing the onset of arthritis in older dogs. It's best to use liquid glucosamine, as powdered glucosamine is quickly broken down by acids in the stomach and rapidly eliminated by the body. Liquid glucosamine, on the other hand, isn't broken down and ends up in the dog's joints where it can prove beneficial. Chondroitin inhibits enzymes that can damage or break down cartilage and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

Making changes in your pet's diet and routine can help him to cope with the arthritis and allow him to live a fairly active and fruitful life.