arthritis in dogs treatment

Your Complete Guide to Arthritis in Dogs Treatment Options

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Jamie Freyer
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission. See our advertising disclosure.
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.
See our advertising disclosure.

Does Arthritis in Dogs Go Away?

Does-Arthritis-in-Dogs-Go-Away

No, arthritis in dogs doesn’t go away. Unfortunately, arthritis in dogs treatment as the condition can’t be cured – only managed. This is because damage to joint cartilage tissue is rarely reversible. 

On a positive note, you can help your arthritic dog live a long, happy life with the right treatments. Good arthritis in dogs treatment aims to reduce arthritis pain and prevent further damage to your dog’s joints. 

What is the Best Treatment for Arthritis in Dogs?

There is no single best arthritis in dogs treatment. This is because every dog is different and will therefore require a unique treatment regimen for the best results. 

Some dogs may suffer from occasional pain and may therefore find the occasional pain killer sufficient. On the other hand, arthritis can make life very difficult for other dogs. Such dogs would require more sophisticated treatment regimens that may involve surgery.  

Different arthritis in dogs treatment options include home remedies like supplements, CBD oil, exercise, and diet and more advanced solutions like pain medication and surgery. In most cases, the best treatment for a dog will be a multimodal approach, in other words, a combination of two or more types of treatment. 

No treatment regimen is the best for all dogs. The key to successful arthritis management is to work with your vet to design a personalized treatment plan for your dog based on clinical signs and the results from blood tests and radiographs. 

What Home Remedy Can I Give My Dog for Arthritis?

What-Home-Remedy-Can-I-Give-My-Dog-for-Arthritis

Dog owners play a big role in arthritis in dogs treatment. One of the ways you can improve your dog’s quality of life is through vet-approved safe home remedies for arthritis. Some of these include:

Joint Supplements for Canine Arthritis

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acids whose anti-inflammatory effect has been scientifically proven. The fatty acids are found in oily fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies but they are also available as supplements. Dogs fed omega supplements may need lower NSAID doses to experience pain relief. 

Glucosamine. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound in joint cartilage. The body produces glucosamine but may sometimes fail to produce enough due to factors like age, genetics, or illness. By supplementing with glucosamine, you increase the concentration of the compound at the joint and improve cartilage mass and quality. 

Chondroitin Sulfate. Chondroitin, similar to glucosamine, is produced by the body but may sometimes be in inadequate amounts. Its main role is to promote water retention and elasticity at the joints. 

Both glucosamine and chondroitin are usually extracted from sea animals like oysters and green-lipped mussels. Green-lipped mussels are a type of shellfish native to New Zealand. The mussels are very rich in both glucosamine and chondroitin and also contain a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

The Honest Paws Green Lipped Mussel Powder is formulated to help your dog live a more comfortable life despite living with joint problems. The powder contains a number of natural and joint-healthy ingredients, including glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, omega three fatty acids, and MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane). Simply use the powder to top your dog’s food and let her eat her way to stronger, healthier joints. 

Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring fluid in the body that is very hydrophilic (water-loving). Due to its water-loving nature, it attracts water to the joint space, promoting lubrication and fluidity of the joint. The acid also has an anti-inflammatory effect which is helpful in slowing the progression of arthritis. 

Turkey Tail Mushroom. This medicinal mushroom has a long list of health benefits, one of which is supporting joint health. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory materials, the mushroom can be of great help in the management of arthritis in dogs. You can give your dog natural whole turkey tail mushroom, but it is also available as a supplement. 

Mobility - Green Lipped Mussel Joint Powder
  • This bacon popcorn flavored Honest Paws Joint Powder uses a blend of ingredients that focus on all-encompassing joint health and support.
  • It works to maintain joint mobility, improve cartilage development, and enhance overall bone and joint health.
  • Green lipped mussel extract contains a nutrient-rich blend of natural proteins, minerals and omega fatty acids.

CBD Oil for Arthritis in Dogs Treatment

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid extracted from hemp or marijuana. CBD, through its action on the receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), is able to have positive effects on the body, two of which are anxiety and pain relief.

CBD relieves pain by lowering inflammation levels in the body. The compound acts upon several receptors and enzymes, resulting in reducing inflammatory compounds in the body. 

When choosing CBD, it is very important to choose a high-quality supplement to reduce the likelihood of side effects like gastrointestinal stress and drowsiness. Also, CBD for dogs has to be extracted from hemp and THC-free. 

The Honest Paws CBD oil is derived from hemp and is designed specifically for mobility purposes. The oil also contains turmeric as a proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb. A few daily drops for your dog will help her with her stiffness, discomfort, and mobility. 

Honest Paws Mobility CBD Oil for Dogs
  • Full Spectrum CBD Oil 
  • Third-Party Tested 
  • Formulated to Relieve Joint Pain and Inflammation

Medications to Treat Arthritis in Dogs

Medications-to-Treat-Arthritis-in-Dogs

NSAIDs. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a class of drugs formulated to aid with pain and inflammation in the body. They are usually very effective in the short-term management of pain but can cause side effects like vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Galliprant. Galliprant is a prescription medication that is given to dogs for pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. The drug is effective for both long and short-term management of arthritic pain.

Carprofen. Carprofen (Rimadyl) is another type of NSAID for inflammation and pain. While it tends to be more effective than Galliprant, some vets still recommend Galliprant because it has fewer and lesser side effects.

Meloxicam. Some dogs respond better to Meloxicam than other NSAIDs. After assessing your dog, the vet will decide which medication is most suitable. Avoid relying on over-the-counter meds as the sole treatment plan for your dog’s arthritis. 

Dog Arthritis Exercise and Diet Management

Exercise and nutrition can go a long way when it comes to arthritis in dogs treatment and management. 

Nutritional Diet. Feeding your dog with a high-quality, nutritious diet can help manage arthritis progression. Your vet should be able to recommend a high-quality diet, some of which even have added ingredients to help support joint health. 

Proper Exercise. Physical exercise benefits dogs with arthritis by reducing joint stiffness and improving mobility. It also helps overweight dogs achieve healthy body weight. Physical exercise for arthritic dogs shouldn’t be very intense to prevent further degeneration of the joints. 

Cease physical exercise when your dog shows signs of fatigue or pain like limping, lameness, panting, or hesitation. Ideally, talk to your vet in terms of how much activity per day your dog needs and can handle. 

Weight Management. Obesity is a major risk factor for arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. Encourage your dog to lose excess weight to achieve a more lean conformation that minimizes the pressure she puts on her joints. Healthy weight loss is best achieved with a healthy diet and physical exercise.

Physical Therapy Options to Treat Arthritis in Dogs

Physical-Therapy-Options-to-Treat-Arthritis-in-Dogs

Physical therapy is an umbrella term that includes an array of treatment options, from a simple massage to novel laser therapy. Here is a short review of some physical therapy options for arthritis in dogs treatment. 

Massage. Body massage uses the power of touch to induce healing in the body. Massage helps with arthritis by increasing blood flow to the affected joints. Increased blood flow results in an influx of healing compounds and nutrients which can promote joint health. 

You can massage your dog yourself but advice from a professional is highly recommended. There are different techniques, and it is helpful to know which one is best as part of your pet’s arthritis in dogs treatment.  

Hydrotherapy. This is a form of physical rehabilitation that is performed underwater. The water provides higher resistance than air which helps build strength and resilience in the limbs. 

In some cases, equipment like an underwater treadmill is used to improve a dog’s mobility and range of motion. Hydrotherapy can be combined with pharmaceuticals as well as with alternative treatments. 

Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of therapy where fine needles are pricked into the skin at specific points to promote healing in the body. The therapy has been practiced on humans for thousands of years but also shows great promise for dog health.

Acupuncture works by triggering the release of anti-inflammatory substances like endorphins throughout the body. This holistic arthritis in dogs treatment is done by holistic vets with special training. 

Stem Cell Therapy. This type of arthritis in dogs treatment uses stem cells to promote the regeneration of diseased or damaged tissues. Stem cells are basically raw materials. Namely, they have no initial purpose and can transform into any type of cell thus supporting the formation of new cartilage and joint structures. 

Surgical Options for Canine Arthritis

Surgical-Options-for-Canine-Arthritis

There are several surgical arthritis in dogs treatment options. Which one is best for your dog is something you need to discuss with a DVM.

Total Joint Replacement. This is surgical arthritis in dogs treatment where the entire hip joint is removed in dogs with joint health problems like arthritis and hip dysplasia. Joint replacement is not cost-efficient for older dogs. 

During the procedure, both the ball and socket are replaced with artificial components. The ball (femoral head) is usually replaced with a metallic ball while the socket (hip bone socket) is replaced with a plastic socket.

Removal of the Femoral Head. This surgical arthritis in dogs treatment involves the cutting of the head and neck of the femur (the thigh bone). After the surgery, the scar tissue helps to stabilize the joint. 

The surgery is mostly done in small animals since they don’t have as much weight to support. After about three months, a small dog’s hip joint is expected to be functioning as normal.  

Arthrodesis. This is more complex arthritis in dogs treatment option. It refers to a procedure where the two bones at the joint levels are cut and fused together to form one bone. The orthopedic surgeon removes the cartilage at the joint, cuts a portion of the bones off, and joins them.

Arthroscopic Surgery. Arthroscopy is popular arthritis in dogs treatment option as it is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the preservation of joint stability. Plus, it allows the veterinary surgeon to examine the joint cartilage up close.  

Surgery as arthritis in dogs treatment is usually the last resort. This is because it can be expensive and have a higher risk of side effects. Plus, depending on the dog’s age and any comorbidities, surgery is not always the first option. 

How Much Does it Cost to Treat Arthritis in Dogs?

The cost of arthritis in dogs treatment depends on the case. Treating a dog with light signs and symptoms can cost as low as $25 a month for pain medication and joint supplements. 

On the other hand, a dog with severe arthritis may require up to $5000 for a surgical operation and post-operative care. These costs may not be feasible for dog parents unless they have a good pet health insurance plan. 

The One Vet insurance plan is the ideal plan for any dog parent. For less than $1 a day, you can get access to a licensed vet, $3000 per year for vet bills, and cover for all pre-existing conditions. The insurance makes arthritis in dogs treatment accessible to all pet owners.