In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of arnica for dogs and check out how you can make use of this treatment for your own pet.

arnica flowerArnica is actually a sunflower with bright yellow flowers and opposing leaves on the stem. Most arnicas have a satisfying aroma, existing as they do in the mountainous regions of North America.

The plant is a perennial that blooms in the second year of growth and is among the first flowers to bloom in early spring. Arnica is also known as Leopard’s Bane.

Arnica is usually used for dogs with muscle aches, strains and other associated injuries. It has also been used on dogs with emotional stress and can even aid in the rehabilitation process after dogs have experienced brain or spinal cord injuries.

Therapeutic Use

In most applications, the whole flower is used. It comes in the form of a pellet, tablet, gel or cream.  Some things to keep in mind when administering Arnica or any homeopathic medicine; it’s not that same as administering a traditional medicine and it’s important to understand this:

1. MORE IS NOT BETTER and upping the amounts of pellets DOES NOT increase the dosage or do any good.

2. Dosage and dosage frequency is not determined by how much your dog weighs. It is determined by your dog’s symptoms, frequency of the symptoms and the category in which they fall (recent, seasonal, chronic).  Typically 3 pellets are considered a dose, but this really depends on the dog’s condition and what the problem is.  It can be anywhere between 1-3 pellets depending on the severity.

3. Example: Arthritis is known as a chronic condition, meaning it has made a home in your dog’s body.  The typical dosage for chronic conditions is one dose 3 times daily. Remember, one dose is generally considered 3 pellets.  While 6C is considered low potency; 30C is considered in the middle when it comes to potency and seems to work well for arthritis.

4. Another example: If your dog hurts his leg running, etc., this would fall into the the category of “recent” category.  3 doses of 30C every 4 hours for two days would be good in this case.

  • ARNICA DOSAGE: DO NOT GIVE WITH FOOD. FEED ARNICA 15 MINUTES BEFORE OR AFTER FOOD. Dosage: 3 pellets equal one dose (Dr. Elliot recommends giving 2-3 pellets at a time,  which again are considered one dose).
  • ADMINISTERING TO YOUR DOG: The pellets do not have to be swallowed by the dog.  The trick is getting them into your dog’s mouth without touching them. The pellet dispenser lid twists and so that you can get the amount of pellets you need. Using the lid, drop the pellets into the mouth.  If possible, you want to try and get them around the mucous membranes and allow them to dissolve.  So, place below the front teeth on the gum line, or in the jowl pocket of the cheek.  They will dissolve but it takes awhile. Dr. Elliot also shares a great idea of crushing the pellets and placing the powder into your dog’s mouth. If that doesn’t work, try this: once you’ve crushed the pellets, place the crushed arnica pellets into one tablespoon of distilled water and stir. Now place one teaspoon directly into the dog’s mouth.  Save the other two teaspoons for later. Give your dog another teaspoon of the water every four hours until you see improvement.
  • The gel and cream forms are applied topically to any areas of the body where the dog has experienced trauma.  Arnica has been used to treat everything from sore muscles to bruises and sprains. Arthritis symptoms have also been alleviated with topical application of arnica gels and creams.
  • Directions for applying arnica to sore muscles, joints and sprains: It’s important to remember that arnica creams are used for closed-tissue injuries only. The infusion of arnica gel or cream should be applied directly to the skin itself and not the fur of your dog. After moistening the skin with arnica tincture, gel or cream and wrap the area in gauze or cloth. Secure it so that it can’t be taken off. Repeat this up to four times daily. If the condition worsens after 2-3 days, see your dog’s holistic vet.

Dr. Weil recommends mixing one tablespoon of arnica tincture with a pint of spring (or purified) water. Using gauze or a sanitary pad, dip it into the mixture and apply it to the bruised area or sore arthritic joint.

Click Here to Buy Homeopathic Arnica

Preventative Measures

As mentioned, arnica shouldn’t be applied to open wounds. This is because it works quickly to stimulate dilation and circulation of peripheral blood vessels, which can actually increase the blood flow of an open and bleeding wound. Applying arnica gels or creams to open wounds can also slow the natural coagulation process.

If arnica is used too long, redness and irritation can result and dogs may lick or chew where it was applied. Abrasions and lesions have also been reported, so discontinue use if you see any of these signs on your dog’s skin.

Internal applications of arnica can result in stomach irritation and digestive problems if used too long. Throat irritation and mouth ulcers can also result, especially when arnica is used at a higher dosage than recommended. Other possible side effects include vomiting, diarrhea and even organ failure.

NEVER use arnica creams or gels around the eyes or mouth areas.

arnica applications

Reasons to Use

The best use of arnica is in its topical form to help alleviate sore muscles and bruising. It also has dramatic and demonstrable effects in the time period immediately after injury occurs, helping to cut down on symptoms of pain and strain in dogs.

As with all of the herbal treatments we’ve been discussing, you should monitor your dog’s reactions to arnica in any of its forms.  When using arnica for dogs, don’t overuse it and always follow any written instructions to ensure your best friend’s safety and well-being.

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Showing 71 comments
  • Cathy Reese

    Hi-I just found this forum and I hope you can give me some advice about dosage amount and method for arnica. My dog is 12 years old and has very bad arthritis in all of her joints but the most trouble is with her left elbow. She is an 82 pound(down from 89 pounds) Shephard/Rott pound puppy. She had reacted badly to Rimadyl (liver ALT elevated) so I’ve taken her off of it and am trying T-Relief Arnica+12 as recommended by the new vet. I’ve been mashing up 2 tablets and mixing it with her food. She is also on fish oil, milk thistle, turmeric and a vet-precribed 1-TetraDeconal capsule.
    Thanks for any advice you can give me.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Cathy:

      I’m sorry about your old girl’s problems. You can give Arnica for immediate relief, but it shouldn’t be given long term. With Arnica pellets (or any homeopathic pellet) it’s best to drop the tiny pellets between the front teeth and lip to dissolve. Here’s a page that shares excellent detail on how to administer typical homeopathic pellets, but T-Relief tablets for dogs aren’t homeopathic pellets. They are more like pills, but that page should give you ideas on how to do it. Straight Arnica is usually recommended for short term use, but again, I don’t know about this particular product.

      My recommendations for long term would be Lubrisyn which contains Hyaluronic Acid and works very well. My husband used this for his knees. He was told he would need surgery, but after using hyaluronic acid, he didn’t need to. His knees are good now. I would combine the Lubrisyn with Dr. Christophers Bone & Tissue formula and would give 8 daily (4am and 4pm) for at least three months. Your dog won’t overdose on them and this can help heal any bone and tissue problems. You can also add Dr. Christophers Bone & Tissue ointment to her elbow area and cover it, so that she doesn’t lick it off. Use it several times daily. Again, it’s very safe for her. Using both will help her to heal much faster Cathy.

      I also recommend you look at diet. Please read my article on raw food for older dogs and read the comments from others. Avoid vaccines (get a waiver from your vet for Rabies) and avoid chemical heart and flea and tick products completely.

      I don’t know the quality of the milk thistle that you purchased, but it does matter. I always recommend a GOOD milk thistle product like this one from Pet Well Being to help get her liver numbers back in check.

      Lastly, I have no idea what 1- TetraDeconal is used for or why he prescribed it.

      Hope this helps.


  • Amber

    Hi, just wanted to know how much I should give my 8 lb pup. He recently jumped off the bed and hurt his knee. I believe the Dr. said he has tendonitis. He gave me a prescription of Rimadyl but I’ve heard all these horrible things about it and I’m worried about any long term side affects. Any help?

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Amber:

      I would recommend use the Arnica Cream or Gel and apply it directly to your dog’s knee area or where ever he had trauma to his leg. REMEMBER, arnica should NEVER be applied to open wounds. Rub the cream or gel directly into the skin. Don’t just rub it into the fur. You have to get it to the skin. Wrap the area with gauze or cloth and secure it on the leg (not TOO tight). Repeat this process up to 4 times a day for 3 days. See how he does. You can also give 1-2 of the pellets (6c for a dog his size) between the teeth and gums 3-4 times a day as well for 3 days.


  • Danielle Walraven

    My 11 year old Italian Greyhound has kidney disease and has hurt his neck again. In the past the vet has given him pain Meds and it got better. I do not want to put chemicals in his system anymore. Can I use the arnica? Will it damage his kidneys anymore?

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Danielle:

      Arnica should be fine for your dog’s kidneys. I don’t know of any precautions with regards to the kidneys. Two of my favorite products for pain and I like to give in combination are Lubrisyn which lubricates every joint in the body with Hyaluronan Acid (naturally found in the body).

      I combine it with Zyflamend which is an amazing herbal blend that is designed to reduce inflammation. Excellent reviews. Zyflamend is made for people, but holistic vets recommend it for dogs as well. You can read the reviews here. If you decide to purchase Zyflamend, follow the instructions and give one a day for two weeks and then proceed to two if necessary. You might only need to stick with one. Just watch how your dog responds when you give two.

      I also hope that you are feeding your old friend a home cooked diet vs a prescription diet Danielle. Kibble is always bad whether your dog has a disease or not.

      Hope this helps.


      • Brenda

        I have a 6 y.o. American bull/jack Russell and we were playing and he as the vet said did something to his ACL, I spoke with friends and they told me about arnica. It seems to be working some although I have only given it to him for 1.5 days. The vet also prescribed him demerex for inflammation. We are taking him tonight for a second opinion to another vet. Possibly laser treatments. Anything else we can do for our baby we will.

        • janie knetzer

          Hi Brenda:

          Sorry to hear abut your little guy. Personally, I wouldn’t use Demerex, I would purchase Zyflamend which is a WHOLE FOOD supplement with excellent herbs that target inflammation throughout the body and repair the inflammatory response. If it’s an ACL injury, I also recommend using Dr. Christophers Bone & Tissue formula to heal the ACL. You can also apply the Bone & Tissue salve (very hard, use a butter knife to scoop it out and then rub on), but you may have to cover the leg so that he doesn’t lick it off. It will defeat the purpose if he licks it. :)

          Both of these should help your little guy even without laser treatments.


  • Bobbi

    My lab, 10-12 years best guess, our vet says closer to 12, has very bad hips with very little muscle tone and a solid limp on his front right shoulder. He was a bit more active than usual on Sunday and tripped while walking, now his back right leg at hip is worse than ever. He struggles to stand. We are thinking he may have tried to over compensate for a sore front leg? Will arnica offer some relief? He takes 100mg of Quellin, two SynoviG4 supplements daily, as well as fish oil. We feed him Orijen grain free food mixed with a bit of raw duck and green beans twice daily. (When we adopted him in November he was 20lbs overweight and still tops the scales between 95-100) The beans help fill him up and we know extra weight is his enemy. Any and all advice appreciated. There are only so many pills…

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Bobbi:
      Awe, I’m so sorry about your big old boy. There are several things that I would recommend you do for him at this point. You can use definitely use Arnica on him for pain and I would give 3 times daily using 30c pellets (3-4 each time).

      However, for ongoing care, I would build muscle mass by including whey protein. However, DO NOT use cheaper versions that contain soy, additives and other junk.

      For his arthritis, I would include two products Bobbi: One is called Lubrisyn and it contains Hyaluronan Acid which is naturally found in the body, but diminishes with age. This is especially helpful for replenishing it and helping with joint and connective tissue problems. It will help with pain as well. My husband used it on his knees when he was told he would have to have surgery and it worked so well that he doesn’t need it anymore and his knees are great.

      The second is called Zyflamend which is actually a WHOLE food supplement that works by targeting inflammation and building a healthy inflammation response in the body. While the product was created for people, dogs can take it as well. I would give your little guy one a day WITH FOOD. It includes an entire array of healthy whole foods. MUST be given with food. I would give him two a day. One in the am and one in the pm.

      Hope this helps.


  • Tim

    I just ordered the ligaplex11 for my dog. The vet believes soft tissue injury after she came up lame on hind leg. He moved it every way possible and then some. Everything seemed tight but he was wanting 400 for x-rays and said the soft tissue wouldn’t show up. (we knew that) Then he started talking surgery. Would prefer not going the surgery route so started reading about natural ways. You highly recommended this product for this type of injury. My question is how much to administer. She is approximately 40 lbs and 11 years old. She is active even at her old age and never noticed her hurting it. Any advice would help.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Tim:

      Besides the Ligaplex II, I would definitely combine it with Zyflamend. I often recommend combining it with Lubrisyn as well, but either will do. However, in this case, I would use the Zyflamend in the event that she has any inflammation since that is what this product targets. This product helps a lot and I would keep your old girl on it indefinitely. It includes so many excellent herbs that target inflammation anywhere in the body, and this is a good thing!

      With regards to Ligaplex dosage, I would give a 40lb dog a loading dose of 3 daily for a week. I would give 2 in the morning and 1 in the evening. Then back the dosage down to 2 a day. One in the morning and one in the evening for 8 weeks. Again, I would give the Zyflamend as well (one a day WITH FOOD).

      This should help. It would be nice to hear back from you to let me and other readers like yourself, know how it goes for your old girl.

      Take care Tim and hope this helps. You can also use Arnica for the next several days until you receive the Ligaplex II. Arnica is very helpful for pain.


  • Linda

    Hi Janie,

    Wow, you are so awesome to continuing to post responses to an older article!
    Here’s my question, I have a 6 month old Cobberdog who weighs about 38 pounds. She has been limping for about 4 weeks. We’ve had her to the vet twice and films show nothing. Guessing it is just soft tissue. She is on house restriction and no playing.
    So I went to the (one and only) health food store and the only arnica they had is 30x. I gave her 1 tablet 4 times yesterday, but now I’m worried about the dosage. (Of course, she just wants to swallow it, but I keep it away from food.) It’s only been 1.5 days, but there is no improvement.
    Thoughts? and Thanks!

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Linda:

      Lol, thank you! It’s one of my pet peeves. I feel slighted when I go to someone’s blog and ask a question and never get a response; so I like to make sure that I don’t do that here. :)

      Lots of owners seem to be having these problems lately. I just responded to someone right before you and what I recommended would be the same for a soft tissue injury. I recommend a few products and you can choose yourself. One is Dr. Christopher’s Bone & Tissue and the other is Ligaplex II. You can use either Linda. Either is safe for your youngster, but don’t expect immediate results. The product repairs tissue and this takes time. I would give 3 a day of either and double up with Lubrisyn though. This will help to speed up the process Linda.

      These should help with any long term issues that could cause problems if left untreated or treated incorrectly.

      Hope this helps!


  • Brenda Penner


    I have had to go with the laser treatment for Porkchop, he is still taking the arnica but is really doing a lot better. He has had 2 laser treatments already, I thank you so much for your help with this medication.
    I will keep you informed on his progress.

  • Sandy P.

    My black lab has had dry cracked elbows for a couple years now. He loves to lay on the cool floors no matter how many beds I lay around inside and outside. Recently, one of those elbows has developed into a Hygroma… Wondering what the form of arnica, liquid, cream/gel or tablet, ALL of them and what the dosage would be? Hoping for any guidance in treating my 8 yr old boy.

    Thank you. Sandy

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Sandy:

      Arnica can help with pain, but I’m not sure it’s what you want for your dog’s Hygroma. The reason I say this is because the pain is going to be continuous unless you try and eliminate the hygroma. I know the elbow is a tough area to soak, but you may be able to figure a way to do it. Add 1/2 cup Epsom salt to very Warm water, not scalding hot, but as warm as he can tolerate. Some how soak for 10-15 minutes twice daily. I would definitely include something to protect the elbows Sandy; that’s really the key. I’ve never used these protectors from Canine Angels, but they seem to work really well and are cheaper than other brands.

      Best of luck to your boy.


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