Posted by Pet Honesty on

Your 2019 Comprehensive Guide to Hip and Joint Discomfort for Dogs

Table of Contents

Pomeranian Auggie used to just climb right up into bed with his owners. But one day, he just couldn’t do it anymore. They had to get special stairs to help him up.

Chihuahua Tony once laid with his tail in a bowl of water for hours. Why? Because it hurt too much to move.

And then there’s the story of Paisley. This rescue was viciously attacked at a dog park as a puppy, giving her permanent joint damage. She couldn’t even run anymore.

Can you imagine that — a puppy unable to run and play due to joint discomfort?

Whether it’s due to an attack or simply aging, the effects of joint discomfort on your dog are real. They’re severe. And they’re often tragic. 

Vets and pet product manufacturers know this. And there are all kinds of treatments available. 

Injections. Medicines. Supplements.

But what works? What does more harm than good? What are other natural options to help?

We cover everything you need to know in this Comprehensive Guide to Hip and Joint Discomfort for Dogs.

Table of Contents:

  • How Do I Know if My Dog Has Joint Discomfort?
  • How to Help Your Dog With Joint Discomfort
  • Is There a Home Remedy for Joint Discomfort?

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Joint Discomfort?

As your dog ages, symptoms tend to appear gradually. Signs to watch for include:

  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Getting up slowly or stiffly
  • Joints that are stiff or swollen
  • Less active and less interested in activities they used to enjoy
  • Limping or standing with a leg off the ground
  • Reluctant or unwilling to run or jump
  • Struggling to stand, sit, or lie down

It’s not always easy for owners to spot an issue in their dogs. That’s why regular veterinary visits are so important. Your vet will note behavioral differences you may have overlooked.

How to Help Your Dog with Joint Discomfort

Okay, you’re confident joint discomfort is the problem. Now what? Should you medicate? Use natural remedies? Make changes around the house?

Possibly all three - to an extent. 

There are many treatment options available. Unfortunately, none work as a magic bullet to completely solve the problem. Plus, every dog is unique. They respond differently. 

That means you’ll probably need to engage in some trial and error to see what works best.

Let’s go over some of the most common treatment questions and options.

Can I Give My Dog Advil, Baby Aspirin, or Other Human Medicines for Joint Discomfort?

Absolutely not. Human medicines have been formulated for — you guessed it — humans. Many human medications can result in serious medical issues, including organ failure and even death.

Never give human medication to your dog. 

Are There Joint Discomfort Medications My Dog Can Take?

A number of them, actually. Carpofen, Etodolac, Meloxica, and Rimadyl for dogs to name a few.

You won’t find them on the shelves of your local pharmacy or big box store though. They are prescription-strength joint discomfort medications specifically designed for dogs. That means you need to consult a vet before you can get them.

This is a good thing though, because only a veterinarian is trained to determine the proper medication and dosage based on your dog’s individual health history.

Are There Medical Options for Joint Discomfort Beyond Giving My Dog Medication?

Certainly. Let’s look at a few...

However, this isn’t an option for many dog owners because of the timeline (six injections over three weeks) and prohibitive cost.

 Class IV Therapeutic Laser Treatment for Dogs

Also called low-level laser therapy, cold laser therapy, this new treatment option uses lasers to stimulate the flow of blood through tissues. It was used on humans for about 40 years before it started to be used on dogs.

Canine Massage

Massages stimulate the blood flow, which can greatly help muscles that are atrophying. 

Many areas of the country have certified canine massage therapists. Some will even share their techniques so owners can do them at home.

If you have trouble locating one near you, reach out to a local canine massage program. They can put you in touch with a qualified professional.

Canine Acupuncture

Some veterinarians and dog owners recommend acupuncture for dogs suffering from joint discomfort to relieve the symptoms. You’ll need to find an acupuncturist with specific experience working with dogs.

Like with canine massage therapists, if you have trouble finding a professional, locate a nearby training program and ask for a reference.

What about Supplements for Dog Joint Discomfort?

There are many supplements that say they help with joint discomfort. But in truth, relatively few have actually been found to provide any benefits.

Most of them contain some combination of chondroitin, glucosamine for dogs, and MSM. Those ingredients alone aren't always the most effective or powerful at helping joint issues, AND most supplements contain nasty fillers that are counterproductive and actually can further degrade your dog's health. Even the ones that work may vary in their effectiveness based on a number of factors.

That’s why we worked with top pet experts to come up with PureMobility. These chews are veterinarian-formulated and GMP-certified with zero toxic fillers, made with natural ingredients and a taste that dogs can’t get enough of.

Most importantly, they are proven to work. 9 out of 10 customers report improvement in their dogs after they started using the chews.And studies on Green Lipped Mussel, a main ingredient in PureMobility chews, have reported a 75% reduction in joint discomfort symptoms and a 98% reduction in swelling. It has even been shown to bolster movement by helping to rebuild tissue and joint cartilage.

 Learn More About Advanced Hip + Joint Chews 

Is There a Home Remedy for Dog Joint Discomfort?

There are many ways you can help your dog cope with symptoms at home.

  • Providing bedding that is padded and comfortable
  • Eliminating cold drafts and dampness
  • Getting carpeting (including on stairs), and/or rugs
  • Using ramps instead of steps or jumping
  • Warm compresses (take care they’re not too hot though!)
  • Exercise (swimming is a great one that doesn’t put extra weight on your dog’s joints) 


Camille Arneberg and her dog
Camille is a co-founder of Pet Honesty and VP of Pup Parent Education. After watching her own family dog suffer from joint issues for years she became passionate about improving dogs' quality of life. With the help of a team of veterinarians and dog nutritionists she now helps educate other dog owners about the small but powerful things they can do to positively impact their dogs' health and wellness! She lives in Austin, TX and loves cuddling puppies, being outside and reading.