arnica for dogs and how to use itArnica is well known among those of us who practice holistic and natural healing for ourselves and our pets.  It’s popularity mostly comes from it’s healing power for pain.This amazing herb should be included in every dog owner’s first aid kit.  Our article will teach you how to safely apply Arnica for your own dog.

Therapeutic Use for Dogs

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.

Use Pure Arnica from Boiron Which Comes in Pellets, Cream or Gel

*NOTE: Instructions and dosage below…


1. MORE IS NOT BETTER and upping the amounts of pellets beyond the typical dosage DOES NOT increase the dosage like it does with traditional drugs.

2. Arnica dosage for dogs 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.  A dose can be anywhere between 1-5 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 up to 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.  If it’s a stubborn injury, you can give 5 pellets every 4 hours for three days.

Dosage and Instructions of Arnica for Dogs

1. 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.

2. ADMINISTERING TO YOUR DOG: The pellets do not have to be swallowed by the dog.  While some say you should never touch the pellet, others claim it makes no difference.  If you want to avoid touching the pellets, the dispenser lid twists and drops the pellets into the lid.  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.

3. ARNICA  DOSAGE FOR DOGS: 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).  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.

4.  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.

instructions on using arnica for dog pain

 Preventative Measures

As mentioned, Arnica should NOT 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 oil 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.

PLEASE READ: NEVER use arnica creams or gels around the eyes or mouth areas.  According to this article from Dr.  Greg Tilford, you must take precautions to not allow your dog to lick off any creams or gels since preparations of Arnica can be toxic when consumed internally.  He states that this is even more important if internal bleeding and/or inflammation are present.

NEVER apply arnica prior to any surgical procedure.

Reasons to Use

For sore muscles and bruising, the best use of arnica can be in it’s topical form  CAUTION THOUGH: as stated above, TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO LICK THE CREAM OR GEL OFF.  READ THE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES ABOVE BEFORE APPLYING!  

This herb has dramatic and demonstrable effects in the time period immediately after injury occurs when using the gel, cream or oil by 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 and if unsure, talk to your vet before applying.

The History Behind the Herb Called Arnica

Arnica 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.

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Showing 221 comments
  • Diane

    I have a 13 year old pit bull with spondylosis on 3 vertebrae in his lumbar. One is very large and likely pinching the disc/nerve causing him to have less control of his hind legs. I tried Rimadyl but it made his condition far worse and gave him some pretty bad side effects at 1/4 of the recommended dosage. I have used ice to help reduce the pain and it helps. We are trying cold laser treatments. They seem to help but getting him in and out of the car negates some of the benefit. He is now 65 lbs down from 70 in the last 3 weeks. He still seems interested in life. I don’t have a holistic vet available in my area. Any suggestions on how I can make him more comfortable?

    • janie

      Hi Diane:

      I’m sorry to hear about your old boy.

      I would definitely look into our Nerve Tonic and Myelin Sheath for the spine. Both can be found here.

      Not sure what you’re feeding, but I definitely make sure it’s a good home made diet. If he’s losing muscle mass, include natural whey protein isolate as well.

      I hope this helps.


  • Cara

    Hi. My 14yo yorkie has arthritis and is suddenly unable to stand on all 4s. The doctor has prescribed tramadol and galliprant. Since I have been a frequent user of arnica for myself and my kids over the years…I was wondering if pellets,cream or gel could help him be more comfortable. Thank you for any info.

    • janie

      Hi Cara:

      Did the arthritis just suddenly come on? Did it shift from one leg to another or is it simply in the hips?


  • Melissa Rademaker

    Would arnica help with trauma to the tooth? My dog’s upper canine appears slightly discolored and I’d rather avoid surgey as her kidney levels appear to be in the upper range of normal. I’m concerned what the affect of the anesthesia may have on her kidneys. Her conventional vet actually said to leave it as is since its not infected and she shows no signs of pain. She’s going to a board certified dentist in a few weeks to get a second opinion. I’ve read that most vets say not to use the “wait and see approach” so I’m torn.

  • Bubbasmom

    Hi, my Chihuahua is 15 Y/O and weighs 4.2lbs. Has HORRIBLE Arthritis. Vet put him on Galliprant which I hate to give as I like more ” natural” safe alternatives for my lil man.

    Have tried joint supplements but they don’t seem to help him.

    I would like to try the Arnica on him. What dosage and how many times per day should I give? Thanks!

    • janie

      I sent you a private message Bubbasmom!


  • Stephanie Hom

    Hi there, have you ever used Arnica for an ear hematoma? My dog is yeasty and has bad allergies which we are addressing through raw diet. He has been scratching his ear vigorously and shaking his head which has caused a hematoma. We are currently eating raw with golden paste, kelp, and sauerkraut as supplements. He is on Seresto right now so we are doing milk thistle as well. I live in the South with 2 dogs and a cat and could not stay on top of natural flea/tick prevention/deterrent well enough so we are only on chemical during the summer.

  • Shirley

    Hello Janie,

    Can you please tell me why it is important that Arnica Montana 30C Pellets should only be administered to a dog within 15 minutes of eating or drinking water? I was instructed to give my dog three pellets twice daily for 7-10 days after having dental work with a bladder infection. I was instructed to give my dog these pellets “with or without food”. My Chihuahua would consume a high volume of water immediately after ingesting these Pellets with home made wet food. Within a two week period he became lethargic, was stumbling on his feet and laying on his back with his feet up in the air. I was then instructed to stop “all” meds. He then suffered three brain seizures and was unable to stand or walk. As a result he had to be euthanized. Prior to this, he had no history of these symptoms. Can you please offer your opinion so I can put some closure to this and may help others from suffering a similar heart breaking situation. Thank you!

    • janie

      Hi Shirley:

      I am so sorry to hear about your tragic loss. That’s terrible. Was he taking any other medicines? What about flea and tick products around the same time or vaccines?

      Homeopathy medicines such as Arnica are typically very safe. The rule of thumb for taking homeopathy meds is that it will either work in three days or it won’t. Sometimes they are prescribed longer than the three days as in your case. Homeopathic pellets are very diluted and typically contain such small amounts of arnica to cause any health problems.

      My concern would be more concerned with the anesthesia and the surgery Shirley. Read some of the stories here and the complications that dogs had after the anesthesia.

      I really wish I could of more help. Again, I’m so very sorry for your loss.


      • Shirley

        Hello Janie,

        Thank you for your response. In answer to your question – the only meds that my dog was prescribed at the time of taking Boiron ARNICA 30C was Hypericum Perforatum 30C, Baytril 50 mg, in addition to Western Bladder Pellets 30C for bladder health.

        Over the years my dog had previously been placed under anesthetic on more than one occasion and typically recovered quickly as he did after this recent dental work. His pre-op bloodwork was normal with the exception of an x-ray which revealed a highly suspected bladder infection. It was only after he was prescribed ARNICA 30C eight days after the dental work was performed that he developed the previously described symptoms. His bloodwork performed two weeks after he started taking ARNICA 30C suggested organ failure.

        It was only after taking ARNICA 30C my dog suffered three consecutive brain seizures. During the third episode he was unable to stand on his feet and appeared to be paralyzed from the neck down. My dog was also in respiratory distress. As a result he was euthanized at an Emergency Vet Hospital 16 days after taking ARNICA 30C.

        BOIRON the maker of ARNICA 30C states on their Website that these Pellets should only be administered under the tongue 15 minutes before or after ingesting food and water. Additional research comments from other reliable sources indicates the same. It is also commented from a very reliable source with respect to the dillution ratio for ARNICA 30C as follows: – “although it seems counterintuitive, the more diluted the substance, the stronger the remedy”.

        In consideration of the foregoing information my two questions to you are as follows:

        1. Did the “high volume of water consumption” before and immediately after my dog consumed his home-made wet dog food increase the toxicity of ARNICA 30C which was absorbed through the lining of the stomach combined with food and water as opposed through the membranes under the tongue with no food or water for atleast 15 minutes?

        2. Most importantly, did excessive water consumption increase the dilution ratio in excess of 30C which resulted in the sudden death of my male Chihuahua?

        Your opinion would be greatly appreciated! This may prevent a similar devastating and heart breaking incident from happening to another beloved Pet.

        • janie

          Hi Shirley:

          You might want to give Boiron a call if you’re concerned about Arnica playing a role in your little boy’s death. I personally don’t think it was Arnica. One of the side effects of Baytril is convulsions and seizures. Homeopathy medicine above 4C is considered very, very safe and used to compliment traditional medicines or just given by themselves.

          It’s always recommended for any homeopathy pellet to be given under the tongue for quicker absorption and usually 15 minutes before or after eating. It’s a recommendation.

          I wish I could be more help. I’m sorry about what happened to your little guy, it’s terrible Shirley.


  • Rae

    Heya Janie
    Was wondering if you can assist & advice me whether I could give my just about 6yr old rotti who has just had his second ACL hind leg operated & plated on, Arnica & Ruta to assist with the swelling / healing process but has also just been diagnosed with heart failure (not enough blood pumping through) 🙁 Any advice would be much appreciated… Thank you

    • janie

      Hi Rae:

      I’m very sorry to hear about your rotti. Six is still pretty young though. What concerns me is that your boy has CHF at this young age. Can I ask when your dog was last vaccinated and how often he was vaccinated and for what?

      Arnica pellets may help, but quite honestly having just dealt with my own dog with a completely torn ACL on one leg and a slight tear on the the other leg’s ACL, I would go a different route. I did do the surgery on Abby but instead used a brace from OrthoDog and also used a Gelatin Protein made by Great Lakes. You can learn more here. She was diagnosed around Christmas last year and will wear the brace for a year. She no longer needs it all day, but wears it when we walk. She wore it all day for roughly 5 months. I wouldn’t allow her to run, etc. Abby is almost healed I believe. She is completely walking with no pain or limp. I still don’t let her run yet, although she wants to.

      The gelatin will not only help with pain, but will definitely help with the healing process.

      With regards to the heart (I would avoid vaccines like the plague with his condition) adding COQ10 is a must and I would also feed a very high protein diet of meat and greens. NOT kibble or canned junked food. Raw would be best or partially raw anyway. He needs a high protein diet. I would also include Bonnie & Clyde’s Fish Oil and Hawthorn Berry for the heart.

      I hope this helps. Also, avoid chemical flea and tick products and use natural.


  • Donna Brossette

    My Corgi has a torn ACL as well as arthritis in her back. She is 10 years old and the vet wants to do surgery and put an TPLO plate in her leg. She has a TPLO plate in her other leg due to a torn ACL when she was 3 yrs old but due to her age, I am a little hesitant to have her anesthetized. She walks with a limp but at times, she walks and runs perfect when she sees another dog, cat or bird…she has the true Corgi “herding” instinct. My friend recommended Arnica and says she gives her dog 30c 2X a week but I don’t see any option for “liquid” Arnica. Right now I am giving her CBD which seems to help a little. What do you suggest….

    • janie

      Hi Donna:

      I’m sorry to hear about your old girl. I’ll recommend that same things that I do for my own dog that has a partial torn ACL and a completely torn ACL in the other leg.

      Use the Cruciate Care Knee Brace from Ortho Dog here. This will help to keep the knee in position. Keep in on throughout the day and especially when walking.

      Read this article here on using Gelatin Protein for pain. I recommend using Great Lakes Gelatin/Collagen Protein for pain. Give twice daily with meals. It works very well.

      Use the brace and the gelatin for a year. You can give the gelatin ongoing. Our own girl is doing very, very well. Little pain and ready to run after 6 months. BUT, we will not allow her yet. Keep it around a year of watching and monitoring her running and jumping.

      I hope this helps.

      YourOldDog Administrator

  • Belinda

    We have a 3-week old puppy who fell and hit his head, apparently pretty hard, on concrete. He was unresponsive for about 5 minutes, and we took him to the vet who told us there was probably damage in his spinal cord or swelling on his brain. She sent us home with synthetic steroids which we have been using twice a day for the last 2 days. He is past the critical point and on his way to recovery, but I would like to switch to a natural product to replace the steroids and to provide probiotics to combat any side effects from them.
    Is arnica the best option? If so, it would probably have to be taken in a tablet or pill form. What is your recommended dosage and for how often? Thanks so much for your time!

    • janie

      Hi Belinda:

      I’m sorry to hear about your puppy.

      I wouldn’t use Arnica for his injuries or recovery. I would look more to Curcumin (turmeric) due to it’s anti-inflammatory and you can read my article here. I would also include vitamin C daily for pain and immunity, but you have to work up to the max dosage or your pup WILL get diarrhea. The dosage for a pup under 25 pounds is 100mg daily. Work up to this slowly and use in the form of sodium ascorbate. If your pup experiences stomach upset or diarrhea, back it down to 50mg instead. This dosage will change as he grows and gets older.

      A healthy kibble free diet is HIGHLY recommended!


      • Belinda

        Thanks, Janie!

        • janie

          My pleasure Belinda.


  • Julia

    Hi Janie,

    Thank you so much for all of this amazing information! I was wondering if arnica can be used after dental surgery? Our Boston terrier that we have rescued has many abscessed teeth that are loose and need to be removed unfortunately. She has had terrible reactions to anti-inflammatory pain medications like Metacam in the past and we generally prefer natural, holistic treatments. I’m imagining there will be open wounds in her mouth and wasn’t sure if that’s one of the situations where arnica pellets are not appropriate?

    Thank you so much!

  • Alicya

    Hi, thanks for the detailed information on arnica usage and dosage for dogs. My dog has hurt his back I’m assuming from his constant jumping up and down from furniture and when he gets excited to go outside he leaps 2 feet in the air… anyway it’s happened before and vet has told us to keep him in a cage for two weeks and only let him out to pee etc…. I’m working on finding a crate because funds aren’t the best. I do have arnica gel and pellets on hand, however my arnica pellets say 6ch (I live in Canada if that helps) would you know how to properly dose that ? Thanks in advance!

  • Jeannie Brown

    I read your article in hopes arnica could be used for my older dogs ear flap hematoma. I have 19 rescues here in Puerto Rico & money is very tight. I’ve already had him to the vet & spent over $200.00 on medicines that didn’t work. My neighbor suggested this along with sulfur but I’m scared to make it worse as I don’t have er money. His flap is bleeding & full of puss. I know it’s infected as it also smells. I’ve had him on cephalexin 250 mg 3 times a day in an attempt to keep the infection at the ear & not enter his body. I have no more money, 19 rescued animals, ALONE to maintain is costing me everything. I have the arnica & sulfur, do I chance it? As I said the flap IS BLEEDING & pussed filled. Please help me, it’s breaking my heart to see him like this for 2 months now.

    • janie

      Hi Jeannie:

      First off, let me start by saying a big “thank you” for what you’re doing with regards to rescue. I understand how hard this is.

      With regards to hematoma’s, you can certainly use the arnica for pain, but the idea is to keep that ear from bouncing all over the place.

      It would be a good idea for you keep on hand since you have so many rescues. It’s fairly cheap and works very well to rid the body of toxins. Look for Bentonite Clay in Puerto Rico or purchase it from the U.S. I recommend Earth’s Natural Clay.

      I would gently absorb any bleeding with a soft warm cloth. Keep rinsing it in warm water. Again, you have to keep that ear in place from bouncing around. See the image I put together for my readers of how to do this. Take an old sweatshirt that’s big enough to slip the widest part of the sleeve over the dog’s head. You’ll need to cut it from the shoulder and then any excess below the widest part of the arm. Use a safety pin to keep it snuggly in place and comfortable.

      Remove it twice a day and again use the clean, warm cloth to blot any drainage.

      Here’s a video from a vet who no longer does surgery on hematoma’s and lets them heal naturally. Healing a hematoma without surgery. I wouldn’t use sulfur on it, but I would get the clay and treat the body for infection.

      I hope this helps.

      hematoma wrap


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