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Natural Anti-Inflammatory for Dogs: The Top 9 Options for Pain-Relief

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It can be hard to watch your perky pup age. As they grow older, they’re more likely to suffer from health issues, including inflammation. In fact, most dogs will suffer some form of inflammation during their lifetimes. Inflammation can arise from an injury, infection, or something more serious like arthritis. For most dog lovers, letting your pup suffer in pain isn’t an option.

But, just because your dog has inflammation doesn’t mean he or she has to live every day with discomfort. There are many things you can do to help ease pain and address the underlying causes. Here, we’ll show you the best options for a natural anti-inflammatory for dogs.

Inflammation in Dogs

Natural anti-inflammatory for dogs: The graying face of an elderly boxer

Inflammation is part of a dog’s normal healing process. When an injury occurs or when your dog gets sick, the immune system dilates blood vessels and sends white blood cells to help support recovery. This results in swelling and inflammation around the affected tissues. While acute inflammation is normal and essential to healing, it can become a problem if it's chronic.

Chronic inflammation can destroy cells and breakdown things like cartilage and synovial fluid that are essential for mobility in dogs. As these compounds break down, dogs may begin to experience pain and discomfort.

Causes of Inflammation in Dogs

Natural anti-inflammatory for dogs: A French bulldog with weepy eyes from sinus inflammation

There are different types of inflammation that can affect everything from mobility to digestion. The main causes of dog inflammation include:

Arthritis is one of the most common forms of inflammation in dogs and is known as canine osteoarthritis. It occurs as dogs age and the cartilage that cushions the bones wears down. Without enough cartilage, the bones grind on one another, causing significant arthritis pain. Other symptoms of inflammation caused by arthritis include stiffness, difficulty changing positions, discomfort when picked up, and constant licking of the joints.

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition that affects larger dogs more than small dog breeds. It’s a condition where the femur isn’t properly aligned with the pelvic socket or where muscles and connective tissue are weak, causing the bones to grind and create inflammation.

Digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease can also cause inflammation that affects your dog’s health. Parasites, infections, and allergies can also cause gastroenteritis, a disease characterized by inflammation in the intestines.

Dogs who have skin allergies also have a higher risk of inflammation. Symptoms of skin allergies in dogs include itching, scratching, fur loss, licking, and redness at the affected area. These itchy rashes can also lead to secondary infections caused when bacteria and viruses enter open sores.

How Is Dog Inflammation Treated?

Natural anti-inflammatory for dogs: an elderly dog on the beach

The best way to treat chronic dog inflammation is to address the underlying cause. Talk to a licensed veterinarian (DVM) to find out your options. A vet may prescribe a prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Rimadyl, Previcox, or Deramaxx. These drugs have side effects, including liver and kidney problems, especially when taken long-term. They may also cause diarrhea, loss of appetite, and upset stomach.

Medications may be the best option if your dog has severe inflammation. For mild to moderate inflammation, making lifestyle changes, or using natural remedies can help ease symptoms. Here are some of the best natural anti-inflammatory options for dogs.

The 9 Best Options for a Natural Anti-Inflammatory for Dogs

Natural anti-inflammatory for dogs: A woman hugs her large breed dog

When it comes to natural anti-inflammatory agents, many of them can be found in foods and natural supplements. It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet before treating your dog for inflammation symptoms at home. They can help you craft a treatment plan that is safe and effective using some of the following ingredients.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the best foods that can help joint pain and mobility in dogs. It contains an active ingredient known as curcumin, which studies show can reduce inflammation in humans and dogs. This research shows that curcumin may also eliminate free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and tissue damage that may lead to inflammation.

Turmeric is particularly useful for dogs with arthritis. Before giving your dog turmeric, talk to a doctor to determine the proper dosage. You’ll also want to monitor your pup for signs of stomach discomfort as this ingredient may cause digestive tract upset, resulting in nausea or diarrhea.

2. Glucosamine

Glucosamine is a nutraceutical — or a natural compound — that is used to help offer pain relief for dogs suffering from dysplasia and arthritis. This compound helps synthesize the building blocks of cartilage, easing the breakdown of the connective tissue that protects bones.

Glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin sulfate, a compound made of sugars that plays a key role in preventing compression in the joints. These two compounds are often recommended by veterinarians to help ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs.

You can find glucosamine and chondroitin in supplement form. There are also glucosamine dog treats, chews, and powders that can be added to your dog’s food.

3. Massage and Accupressure

While massaging your dog won’t help treat the underlying problem causing the inflammation, it can help offer temporary pain relief. Try gently massaging your pet’s sore areas in a circular motion. You can also take your pup to a chiropractor who can perform deep tissue massage to help relieve pain. 

Additionally, acupressure — a technique where pressure is applied to specific points to relieve pain — can help treat symptoms of inflammation and pain in a dog's joints.

4. Yucca

Yucca is a root vegetable that is native to Central and South America. Also known as cassava, it’s commonly used in animal feed and alternative medicine. Yucca contains ingredients known as saponins, compounds that may help reduce blood pressure and joint inflammation.

Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog yucca. This ingredient may help with inflammation, but it can also cause stomach upset over time.

5. Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids may help with inflammation. Dozens of studies show that pets who get omega fatty acids tend to have better outcomes in terms of chronic inflammation.

Fish oil supplements are not the best choice if you want to give your pup omega fatty acids. That’s because fish often contain high amounts of toxins such as mercury and arsenic. These chemicals can cause serious, adverse health effects in dogs. Instead, look for phytoplankton supplements for dogs, which have omega fatty acids without the dangerous toxins. 

You can also look for a joint supplement formulated to support overall dog joint health. You can find mobility chews for older dogs or advanced formulas to help ease the symptoms of chronic inflammation in dogs.

6. CBD Oil and Hemp Oil

CBD or cannabidiol and hemp oil are non-psychoactive products derived from the marijuana plant. They don’t contain any THC so pet owners don’t have to worry about their dogs getting high. The main difference between the two is that CBD is made from the leaves and flowers of the plant while hemp oil is derived from the plant seeds. 

You can find CBD and hemp oil in the form of creams, supplements, and dog treats. These ingredients may help decrease pain symptoms and reduce stress, resulting in a happier and more mobile pup.

7. Weight Management

Excess body weight can increase the stress on joints, causing increased pain and reduced mobility. Make sure your dog maintains healthy body weight, especially if his or her inflammation is caused by hip dysplasia or dog arthritis. Regular exercise can help your pup stay within a target body weight. If you’re not sure what constitutes a healthy weight for your pet, talk to your veterinarian.

If your dog is in a lot of pain, it can be hard for him or her to get exercise. In these cases, try choosing low impact exercises for your dog. Instead of going for long walks, try taking several short and slow walks. Swimming is also a great activity that doesn’t put as much stress on the joints as hiking or running. You can also play gentle ball games at home on carpeted surfaces.

8. Physical Therapy

Like in humans, physical therapy can help ease inflammation and pain in dogs. It’s particularly beneficial for arthritic dogs and dogs who have medical conditions that affect mobility. Talk to your veterinarian to find the best pet physical therapist in your area. Depending on your dog’s situation, you may need to work with a specialist who understands your pup’s underlying condition.

9. Address Allergies

If your dog’s inflammation is caused by allergies, the best treatment plan is to remove exposure to allergens whenever possible. In most cases, this type of inflammation is acute, rather than chronic. If your pup’s inflammation is related to a skin allergy from food sensitivity, try using a limited ingredient diet (LID) dog food to remove the most common allergens. These include chicken, beef, and dairy.

If the inflammation is related to an outside allergen, try to limit contact as much as possible. If seasonal allergies like pollen are the offenders, try walking your dog early in the morning or late in the evening when pollen counts are lower. If the problem is fragrance, avoid burning candles or incense in your home.

Support Your Pup With PetHonesty

Natural anti-inflammatory for dogs: A woman squeezes a dog's face

Dog’s may suffer from chronic conditions that lead to inflammation and serious ailments such as arthritis and dysplasia. Nothing is more painful than watching your furry friend suffer. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help improve mobility and ease your dog’s pain. 

Talk to a veterinarian to see what's causing your dog’s inflammation. Work on keeping your pup’s weight in a healthy range to avoid exacerbating inflammation symptoms. Use massage, NSAIDs, and natural pain remedies to help soothe discomfort.

We offer a wide range of mobility products to help support your dog’s body and joint health. Try our Turmeric Curcumin Chews made with turmeric, fish oil, flaxseed, coconut, and pumpkin. These ingredients may help reduce inflammation and soothe pain. Our Omega Salmon Chews contain vitamins plus omega fatty acids, ingredients that may help support joint health.

You can also try our Hemp Mobility Chews, which feature a blend of hemp oil, glucosamine, MSM, and turmeric. It’s a tasty treat your dog will love, plus these natural compounds may help get your dog active and healthy again.