Your dog will have a difficult time having a paw-some day if he is suffering from arthritis. Besides having trouble moving around, his overall quality of life will also become significantly affected when he is afflicted with this debilitating disease. Interestingly, there are actually natural remedies for arthritis in dogs that you can go for. And the best thing about it is that it’s highly likely that you’ve already got these natural remedies stored in your kitchen or pantry.
As you go along this blog post, my team and I at Zumalka won’t be just walking you through the factors that cause dog arthritis, but also give you the lowdown on the symptoms that you need to keep an eye out on.
What is dog arthritis?
Dog arthritis is a condition where the joints become intensely inflamed. While arthritis in dogs can affect any joint of your canine family member’s body, it usually distresses the knees, back, elbows, and hips. It is also referred to as “osteoarthritis.”
Depending on its type and severity—which is measured in “stages”—this condition can cause anywhere from stiffness to sharp, prolonged bouts of pain when moving or lack of mobility at all. These stages are described as follows:
Stage one is where the arthritis in dogs is still very minor and there is only a minimal amount of discomfort when moving
Stage two is where the dog arthritis already causes a slight stiffness whenever the joints are moved after being stationary for a long period
Stage three refers to the phase where there is already a significant damage in the cartilage and moderate pain is experienced when walking or running
Stage four pertains to severe cartilage damage and will cause a lot of pain even during the slightest movement
Now we’ve got that covered, let’s tackle the common causes of dog arthritis…
What causes arthritis in dogs?
There are (5) common causes of dog arthritis, which we’re going to briefly examine below:
If your canine family member is overweight, the pressure exerted on his joints will significantly increase over time. This triggers extra wear and tear on the joints and causes inflammation, which can bring about the onset of dog arthritis sooner or later.
As a dog gets older, his body’s abilities to repair joint wear and tear significantly decrease. Subjected to continuous day-to-day stress, there will come a time when these joints eventually get seriously damaged and become prone to inflammation.
The onset of aging-related arthritis in dogs may vary, but it typically occurs between (6) to (8) years in larger breeds. As for medium and smaller pedigrees, they may go through the same when they reach the age of nine (9) years and older.
Congenital or developmental factors
Dog arthritis can be caused by congenital or developmental factors. This means that a dog may have inherited this condition or an abnormality in the development of his joints occurred while growing up. This makes him more vulnerable to arthritis in dogs in his later years.
Moreover, developmental and congenital-related dog arthritis is usually observed among specific breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors.
Infection in the joints
The joints in a dog’s body can be susceptible to inflammation whenever he is suffering from a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection. Additionally, the joints that are commonly affected in this scenario are those found in the back, knees and elbows, which are the usual spots for nicks, bites, and scratches.
Joint damage due to trauma
When a dog goes through a traumatic injury that affects his limbs, there is a very small chance that they may not heal properly. This will eventually cause instability in the joints, which can lead to arthritis in dogs.
Next on our agenda is finding out the symptoms of arthritis in dogs…
How can you tell if a dog has arthritis?
Here are the symptoms that could indicate if your canine family member is suffering from arthritis:
Excessive licking or biting on a specific area of his body
Stiffness or wobbliness in movement
Unwillingness to move or play
Lethargy and weakness
Sudden changes in mood
Crying or moaning when touched, especially on the affected areas
Now let’s talk about the different types of dog arthritis…
While dog arthritis is a general term that refers to the joints becoming intensely inflamed, there are actually different types of this health issue. Let’s have a quick walkthrough on what these are below:
Immune-mediated polyarthritis refers to a type of arthritis where a dog’s immune system abnormally attacks and fights off its very own joints and the tissues surrounding them. This is usually caused by a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection.
Rheumatoid Dog Arthritis
Rheumatoid dog arthritis is a type of arthritis where the immune system confuses the body’s proteins as foreign invaders—such as pathogens and parasites—and attacks them.
While rheumatoid dog arthritis is a bit similar to immune-mediated polyarthritis, what distinguishes one from the other is that the former specifically causes damage to the cartilage and eventually impairs the joints.
Septic Dog Arthritis
Septic dog arthritis is characterized by the infiltration of bacteria inside a joint after a traumatic injury. This bacterial infiltration can also take place after a surgical procedure involving the joints or possibly spread from a different infected area of the body through licking and chewing.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a very rare type of arthritis that is similar to immune-mediated polyarthritis where a dog’s immune system abnormally attacks and fights off its very own joints and tissues mistaking them for foreign invaders. However, what’s very alarming about systemic lupus erythematosus is that it can also cause damage to the vital organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, brain, blood vessels, and the heart.
So what natural remedies can you go for when it comes to dog arthritis? Let’s check them out…
Natural remedies for arthritis in dogs
The following are the best natural home remedies for the symptoms of the joints becoming intensely inflamed that you can likely find in your kitchen or pantry:
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that alfalfa is abundant in an organic compound called cinnamic acid that is seen to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that cinnamic acid can even help keep the onset of inflammatory disorders at bay.
To use alfalfa as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, you simply have to mix in a couple of pinches of dried alfalfa in your dog’s food and you’re good to go. Blueberries
According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), blueberries contain loads of anthocyanins that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that can help ward off health issues like diabetic retinopathy, arthritis, and the degeneration of connective tissues.
To use blueberries as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, add in a few pieces to your dog’s meal. Just make sure you don’t give more than a handful of blueberries to your canine family member per day.
As revealed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), celery is a rich source of a compound called luteolin, which has been seen to have the ability to hold back inflammation-causing enzymes like COX-2.
To use celery as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, slice up a stalk in small pieces. You can either directly feed them to your dog as a juicy and mild-tasting snack or integrate a couple of pinches of the same in his regular meals.
Frontiers in Pharmacology shares that comfrey contains phenolic compounds that are able to weaken and inhibit pro-inflammatory markers such as COX-2, ICAM1, VCAM1, as well as E-selectin.
To use comfrey as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, you can make it into a poultice and apply directly on the affected joints. Alternatively, you can also add it to a warm compress.
According to Arthritis Care & Research, fish oil—particularly the ones derived from fatty fish like salmon, herring, anchovy, mackerel, and trout—have been seen to possess properties that can help inhibit the inflammation of the joints, specifically in rheumatoid arthritis.
To use fish oil as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, you simply have to integrate fatty fish in your dog’s regular diet. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that the fish should only be plainly cooked without any flavoring or seasoning added.
Boswellia or Frankincense Herb
Nature Chemical Biology reports that the Boswellia or Frankincense herb contains a unique acid called boswellic acid that not just weakens the functions of enzymes that trigger inflammations, but also helps transform them into anti-inflammatory enzymes.
To use Boswellia or Frankincense as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, mix in a sprinkle of this herb directly to your dog’s meals. Remember to combine it completely before serving since this herb can have a slight bitter taste if eaten straight.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shares that papaya is very abundant in antioxidants that can help lessen the buildup of inflammatory markers in the body.
To use papaya as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, you can either directly give this fruit to your canine family member as a healthy treat or add it to his meals. Make sure you remove all the seeds first before serving.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), turmeric is rich in a polyphenol called curcumin that has been seen to help manage inflammatory and oxidative issues in the body like hyperlipidemia and arthritis. To use this aromatic spice as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, you can add a sprinkle of finely chopped turmeric directly to your dog’s meals. Alternatively, you can also crush it up and apply the juice as a topical ointment on the affected areas.
Virgin Coconut Oil
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reveals that virgin coconut oil not just possessed moderate analgesic properties, but also helped inhibit the effects of inflammation in the body by blocking the activity of serum alkaline phosphatase.
To use virgin coconut oil as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, you can either directly mix it with your canine family member’s meals or gently massage it onto the affected areas as a topical ointment.
As reported by a study published in the BMC, yucca contains an abundant amount of anti-inflammatory stilbenes, resveratrol, and other polyphenolics, which block the formation of nitric oxide in the body.
To use yucca as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, add ¼ teaspoon of ground yucca root in your dog’s meals per day. Moreover, you can also adjust the amount to ½ teaspoon in medium-sized to large dogs.
While yucca is completely safe for your canine family member, it is not recommended for pregnant, lactating, and dogs suffering from kidney issues.
Now we’ve already got our best natural remedies for arthritis in dogs lined up, here’s a holistic product that you’ll surely appreciate…
A completely natural and high-quality product you should check out
All-natural ARTHRITIS is a blend of homeopathic ingredients that supports healthy cartilage, tendons, and ligaments in the body. It also promotes good joint health for a better quality of life.
This fast-acting product contains completely natural ingredients that provide beneficial effects on the ligaments and joints. To use Zumalka by HomeoAnimal’s ARTHRITIS as a natural remedy for arthritis in dogs, you simply have to give your canine family member a single spray directly in the mouth or in his water per day until the symptoms disappear.
Next up, let’s check out frequently asked questions (FAQs) about arthritis in dogs…
Dog Arthritis F.A.Q.
Does arthritis shorten a dog's life?
The short answer is no. Dog arthritis does not have a direct connection with a dog’s lifespan. In fact, dogs who are diagnosed with this condition can continue to have happy lives if given the immediate and proper care and attention they require.
What is end stage arthritis in dogs?
“End stage” is the term used to describe dog arthritis that has become so severe that the cartilage is already very thin or practically gone. It is also referred to as “stage four” arthritis in dogs.
Should you walk a dog with arthritis?
While this may sound surprising, it is crucial that you still take your canine family member on regular walks even if he is suffering from arthritis in dogs. However, these walks should be generally relaxed and do not encourage high-impact movements like skips, jumps, and dashes as you go along.
It is crucial to keep in mind that the lack of exercise—or its sudden discontinuation—will cause muscle degeneration and can possibly aggravate the discomfort that a dog is experiencing during arthritis by impairing the flow of blood to the joints.
Are there foods a dog with arthritis should avoid?
There are certain foodstuffs that can easily worsen arthritis in dogs like plant-based oils, unhealthy fats such as those found in processed products, and starchy edibles like rice and potatoes.
These things won’t just encourage the fluctuation of blood sugar levels, which can set off inflammation, but also raise the chances that your dog will gain weight if he eats too much of them. The extra weight will just end up putting added strain to the joints, cartilage, and ligaments.
So that pretty much wraps up our quick yet comprehensive guide on the best natural remedies for arthritis in dogs.
If you’re looking to find out more about this health issue, make sure you sign up for our Free Health Advisor Guidance to receive tips and recommendations from our Natural Health Advisors. They can also walk you through the products and treatment options that best fit your animal's health needs.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne co-founded Zumalka over five years ago, and has worked in naturopathic pet medicine for more than six. Day-to-day, she works as the lead manager for the Zumalka staff and specializes in training the team to have thorough knowledge of pet health and the company’s extensive line of naturopathic remedies.
Suzie has gained a lot of experience from years spent in the pet health field and she earned her degree in Homeopathy at the School of Classical Homeopathy in Quebec, Canada, (a partner of the European Academy of Natural Medicine (AEMN) in France).
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