12 Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Dogs You Should Know 2023

May 4, 2023by Suzie Cyrenne

Believe it or not, there are a number of natural anti-inflammatory for dogs that you can use when your pet is suffering from pain and discomfort. And the best thing about these all-natural options to give a dog to relieve pain is that you’ve probably got them in your kitchen or pantry right now. 

Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly believe, reaching for "conventional" anti-inflammatory drugs like prescription medications isn't your only recourse to control pain and treat inflammation in dogs.

Make sure you follow along because I'm going to walk you through some alternative therapies gathered straight from Mother Nature's medicine cabinet in just a few moments. Let’s kick things off by finding out what canine inflammation really is…


What is Dog Inflammation?

dog with red irritated skin

Inflammation takes place when your dog's immune system detects “intruders” such as bacteria, viruses, as well as foreign objects, among others, that somehow found their way inside your dog's cells, system and body tissues.

Once the immune system detects these intruders, it directs the blood vessels to dilate and sends white blood cells—your pet's natural infection fighters—to the affected area to get rid of the problem. 

The physical manifestations of dog inflammation commonly include soreness, swelling, pain, and heat emanating from the affected area. Depending on the severity of the inflammation in dogs, there may also be loss of function in the affected area of the body. There are even extreme cases where inflammation can result to kidney failure or liver failure!

When these manifestations occur, your dog could be in for moderate pain or even severe pain that can last for a long time. This is the reason why knowing which natural remedies to use is essential so you can help ease your dog's pain and discomfort immediately.

For the next part of our discussion, let's go over the indicators of dog inflammation...


What Does Inflammation Look Like on a Dog?

dog with skin inflammation

There are five (5) usual indicators to look out for when it comes to dog inflammation and they are as follows:

  • Redness on the affected area 
  • Emanation of heat from the affected area
  • Tenderness or soreness of the affected area
  • Presence of swelling or lumps in and around the affected area
  • Loss of function in the affected area

If you notice three (3) or more of these signs, chances are your dog is in pain and will require an immediate approach in reducing inflammation. Just to emphasize how serious canine inflammation is, there are even cases of dogs suffering from very severe pain that they already require physical therapy sessions.

Now we’ve got that covered, let’s talk about the causes of dog inflammation…


What Causes Dog inflammation?

There are six (6) common causes of inflammation in dogs, which we’ll briefly describe below:



Injury is the most common cause of dog inflammation. When your pet's goes through injury, such as a wound or a splinter, white blood cells are dispatched to the affected area to get rid of any bacteria, fungi, viruses, as well as foreign objects.

This is basically your pet's body's response to the unwanted visitors. However, depending on the severity of the injury, such as in cases where orthopedic surgery is involved, your dog may also experience chronic pain.



Infection causes inflammation by activating your dog's immune system’s response to repair damaged tissues. I'd just like to point out that infection is not a type of inflammation. However, inflammation is an indicator that there is an infection in your pet's body.

Apart from setting off chronic inflammation, some infections can even result to kidney disease and heart disease, not to mention other serious health problems.


Genetics and old age

Genetics can trigger dog inflammation if your pet has inherited certain biological characteristics like being prone to hip dysplasia as well as nervous system issues that can lead to acute inflammation. As for old age, senior dogs are most likely to experience inflammation due to their weaker immune response.


Environmental factors

Environmental factors like pollution and exposure to chemicals can potentially trigger canine inflammation. A common example of this is a dog constantly getting in contact with household cleaning agents such as detergents, bleach, degreasers, abrasives, as well as sanitizers.

Apart from a decreased appetite and digestive problems, this frequent contact with chemicals can also wreak havoc with your pet's organs and can even trigger kidney damage or liver damage in the long run.


Food allergies

Inflammation is caused by food allergies when your dog’s immune system identifies a particular type of food, such as chicken and shrimp, as an “intruder.” Aside from experiencing pain, some of the more prominent effects of this type of inflammation include congestion of the airways, platelet function and blood flow issues, joint pains as well as diarrhea and constipation.

Additionally, studies in veterinary medicine show that including plant-based foods in your pet's diet can help relieve pain and inflammation. This is because a number of dog-safe natural foods are anti-inflammatories. Doing so also helps keep liver damage at bay while easing pain in dogs.


Metabolic diseases

If your dog is suffering from metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity, he could be prone to inflammation due to the sudden changes in his cellular and hormonal activity, particularly those supporting platelet function, overall skin condition, ideal blood flow and the body's natural responses to reduce inflammation.

Next up, I'll walk you through the symptoms of dog inflammation …


What are the Symptoms of Dog Inflammation?

The following are the indicators of inflammation in dogs that you should keep an eye out for:

  • Constant licking of a particular part of the body
  • Swelling in and around the joint areas like the ankles, shoulders, and elbows
  • Sudden change in mood
  • Lethargy or lack of playfulness
  • Stiffness in movement
  • Lack of appetite

Now let’s have a rundown of the natural dog inflammation remedies that I was telling you about earlier...



Natural Anti-Inflammatory Options You Can Use When Your Dog is in Pain  

Interestingly, there are a number of natural pain relievers that you can give your dog when inflammation strikes. The next time inflammation in canines gets in the picture, you don't have to get your hands on anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDS or other medications just yet.

Here’s a list of the alternative anti-inflammatory medications that you can give a dog when this health issue pops up:


#1: Dried Comfrey

Research shows that comfrey is rich in rosmarinic acid that helps in pain relief. This organic compound is also observed to be a promising component in producing FDA-approved nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and OTC pain meds. 

To use comfrey as a natural pain medication, combine this dried herb with a bit of water until it forms a thick paste. Directly apply the mixture on the affected area of the body. Besides helping control pain, comfrey also keeps skin stay in tiptop shape.

It is recommended that you wrap the affected area in gauze to avoid the dried comfrey from being knocked out of place. Leave it on for a few hours and replace as soon as the mixture is already dry.


#2: Hawthorn Berries

As reported by ACS Publications, hawthorn berries are loaded with phenolic compounds that seek out inflammation-causing free radicals while also displaying bactericidal and gastroprotective properties.

To use hawthorn berries in lieu of over-the-counter medication, lightly crush them up until the juices come out. Liberally apply the juices on the affected area as a topical ointment for pain control.

However, while hawthorn berries can stimulate beneficial activity similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, it is crucial that you first check if your pet is taking hypertension or cardiovascular medications for dogs. This is because it can also lower the blood pressure while dealing with pain and inflammation.


#3: Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has an active component called capsaicin, which has been seen to provide pain relief and help with pain control akin to over-the-counter treatments like anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDS. These conventional pain meds are often used to alleviate chronic pain.

To use cayenne pepper as a natural dog ibuprofen, combine it with a bit of vegetable or sunflower oil until it forms a paste. Lightly massage this paste onto the affected area as a topical ointment.

Be extra careful not to get this paste on your pet's eyes, mouth and nose since it can have a spicy kick and will inadvertently add to your dog's pain. You can wrap the whole thing in gauze just to be extra safe.


#4: Spirulina

The algae spirulina contains an antioxidant called phycocyanin as well as fish oil like Omega-3 and Omega-6 , which help get rid of free radicals that not just set off pain and inflammation, but also prolong their effects.

To use spirulina as an alternative for a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, mix in a couple of pinches of this algae with your dog’s meal. You can also add a dash of spirulina in your pet's water for the same application.


#5: Fatty Fish 

According to the Harvard Medical School, fish oil—which is abundant in fatty types of fish like mackerel, anchovies, herring, trout, tuna, and salmon—is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which have been seen to help alleviate the effects of inflammation.

To help treat pain in dogs during inflammation with fish oil, integrate these fatty fish in your pet's regular diet. However, make sure you only cook the fish plainly without any flavoring or seasoning.  Get rid of the bones while you’re at it, too. Grilling, steaming, or baking works best for this application.


#6: Turmeric Powder

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which helps intercept pain signaling molecules in a dog's cells. It has also been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties like those found in over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

To use turmeric powder as an alternative for pain meds, add a pinch or two of the same to your dog’s water. You can also mix a small amount of turmeric with your pet’s meals. While turmeric powder is effective when it comes to pain relief, just make sure you don’t add too much since turmeric powder can have a peppery bite when ingested in large quantities.


#7: Yucca Bark and Roots

A scientific study reveals that yucca contains a high amount of polyphenols, which can suppress the formation of inflammatory agents, such as nitric oxide, in the system. This root vegetable is also seen to help improve oxygen circulation that not just speeds up pain relief, but also assists in physical therapy.

To use yucca as a natural alternative for pain medications, lightly mash its bark and roots using a mortar and pestle to form a paste. Directly apply the mixture on the affected area of the dog’s body.

It is very important to remember that you need to securely wrap the affected area with a gauze to prevent your dog from licking on the mixture. Reapply once it becomes dry. 


#8: Cinnamon Powder

The cinnamic acid found in cinnamon contains various natural compounds that help inhibit the formation of nitric oxide — a known inflammatory agent and the target of some FDA-approved NSAIDS — in the body.

To use cinnamon powder as a more natural option for anti-inflammatories during pain in dogs, combine a teaspoon of this spice with a bit of water to form a paste. You can also add a bit of vegetable oil to make it extra thick.

Gently massage the mixture on the affected area and cover with gauze to hold it in place. You can also give a dog cinnamon directly in his food, but it is crucial to remember that cinnamon essential oil can have a toxic effect in canines.


#9: Ginger

Ginger contains organic substances like shogaol and gingerol that have been found to suppress substances that trigger inflammation in the tissues. These compounds are also present in some over-the-counter joint supplements and other medications that are formulated to deal with pain.

To use ginger as an alternative for pain medications, lightly mash a thumb-sized piece in a mortar and pestle to extract the juices. Directly apply the juices on the affected area and carefully cover it with a piece of gauze.

Make sure the gauze is secured tightly so your dog won’t be able to lick the ginger juice, which can be rather spicy for your pet’s taste buds. Additionally, ginger has been said to have the same effect on osteoarthritis as chondroitin sulfate.


#10: Dried Meadowsweet

According to the Pharmaceutical Journal, the meadowsweet plant contains a rich amount of several salicylate compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects.

Interestingly, the discoverer of acetylsalicylic acid, Felix Hoffmann, used extracts collected from meadowsweet to produce the ingredient that is now used as a main component in over-the-counter pain medications and other drugs designed to do away with pain.

To use meadowsweet as a natural pain reliever dogs, steep the dried leaves and flowers of this plant in hot water for at least ten (10) minutes. This is to activate their salicylate compounds. Let the whole thing cool down completely. Give your dog a teaspoon of this meadowsweet tea per day until the inflammation subsides.

However, it is important to remember that meadowsweet is not recommended for dogs who are allergic to anticoagulants and salicylates, as well as those suffering from bleeding disorders and kidney issues.


#11: Harpagophytum Roots and Tubers

Harpagophytum, also known as Devil's claw, is seen to contain several natural compounds that possess anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, it's deemed by many pet parents as one of the go-to natural remedies and joint supplements for pet osteoarthritis.

To administer Devil's claw when your dog is in pain, lightly mash the roots and tubers of this plant until it forms a paste. Apply this paste as a topical ointment on the affected area and secure it tightly with a piece of gauze. Reapply when the paste already becomes dry.

While you can give your dog Devil's claw to ease pain, this home remedy is not recommended for pregnant dogs or if your pet is suffering from peptic ulcer disease, gallstones, diabetes and heart issues.


#12: Alfalfa

Studies reveal that the above-ground parts of the alfalfa contain fatty acids and cinnamic acid derivatives, which help reduce the pain and discomfort brought on by inflammation. These organic acids can also be found in a number of over-the-counter pain meds and other supplements.

To harness alfalfa’s benefits in relieving pain and discomfort, use a food processor to grind it up as finely as possible until it has the consistency of thick paste. Gently massage this paste to the affected area. 


A Premium Natural Anti-inflammatory for Dogs Designed for Pain Relief


Zumalka Flamepet
Zumalka's FLAMEPET is specifically designed to promote calm and healthy tissues and skin structures in your dog’s body. This natural product is an excellent solution for multiple symptoms often stemming from inflammation in the tissues.

Besides addressing the usual symptoms of inflammation like swelling, pain, bruising and fevers, FLAMEPET also helps take care of the often overlooked indicators of the same like chronic cough, intense thirst, depression and so much more.

If you’re still having a tricky time zeroing in on a completely natural and high-quality ANTI-INFLAMMATORY support to bring comfort to your canine family member, this product is one you should consider.




Now as for the different types of inflammation, we’re about to discuss them below… 


A Final Word

As a pet parent, giving your dog the quality of life he truly deserves is no doubt a priority. Start really taking charge of your pet's health and wellness right now by checking out our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION.

Our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION is specific to your pet and helps get to the root of his problem instead of just treating the symptoms. It also works well for all types of conditions—especially for pets dealing with multiple, chronic or behavioral issues.


About the author

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.

Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.

Through the guidance of her mother-in-law and fellow natural health expert, Denyse Lessard, Suzie constantly devotes herself to create premium pet products that are aimed at dealing with the root causes of wellness problems and not just their symptoms.

Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.

Find out more about Suzie when you click HERE.

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