The Top 4 Arthritis Treatments for Dogs

Arthritis treatment for dogs is very important for your pet in order for them to enjoy a happy and mobile lifestyle. Arthritis is a painful degenerative joint problem resulting from long-term stress or old injuries, or the result of a disease such as Lyme disease.

Symptoms include:

  • limping
  • reluctance to move around
  • yelping or whimpering
  • difficulty getting up or lying down
  • irritability due to pain

While steps toward prevention are always the best way to handle arthritis, sometimes it develops anyway. Always ensure your dog is active and is getting a healthy diet and maintains a good weight to help prevent arthritis.

There are several types of treatment to help manage arthritis in dogs. The 4 best and most widely used treatments for dog arthritis are:

1. Adequan Injections

Adequan injections are a non-pill treatment for arthritis, similar to the supplement glucosamine. The injections contain a protective cartilage (polysulfated glycosaminoglycans) which lubricates the joint to reduce inflammation and pain by limiting friction.

Adequan is considered one of the current best and reliable treatments due to the high volume of arthritis cases it has helped. It minimizes pain, but takes it a step further and also helps to rebuild cartilage in the injured joint. Adequan is, however, one of the most expensive treatments, and often used for the most severe cases, or as a last resort if other options don't work.

2. Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements are much slower-acting, and may need to be used in addition to other medications for pain relief, however many have proven to be extremely effective in handling cases of arthritis. As an added benefit, because they are all-natural, there are no risks of side-effects as with other medications.

Neutroceuticals are a common arthritis medicine for dogs. They have been shown to halt destruction of joints, and sometimes even repair the cartilage damage. Examples of Neutroceuticals include:

  • Glucosamine
  • MSM
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Chondroitin Sulfate

Green Lipped Muscles are a newer treatment, but have been shown to slow destruction of cartilage. It is more commonly used in addition to diets, such as if your dog is suffering from arthritis due to obesity and needs relief while the weight is shed.

SAM-E (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) is a synthetic substance that stops the inflammation in joints responsible for causing deterioration of cartilage in joints. Another bonus is that SAM-E is shown to be excellent in getting rid of pain.

3. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can be administered for quick pain relief and typically come in pill form. (Zubrin is a tablet that dissolves on the tongue.) NSAIDs can be purchased without needing to obtain a prescription from your veterinarian.

  • Rimadyl
  • Etogesic
  • Metacam
  • Deramaxx
  • Zubrin
  • Previcox

Potential side-effects include:

  • vomiting
  • bloody diarrhea
  • ulcers
  • kidney damage
  • liver damage
  • possible death

Ibuprofen is not on the list of dog-safe NSAIDs, and is toxic to a dog's kidneys.

4. Analgesics

Analgesics are pain relievers which do not double as anti-inflammatories. However, the drawback is that analgesics should be used only for short-term to encourage your dog to get up and move around, and should not be considered a long-term treatment.

Analgesics are typically combined with anti-inflammatories because the analgesics are simple pain relievers with no anti-inflammatory properties.