Arnica 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 incredible 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.
What are the benefits of Arnica for Dogs?
Arnica is typically used in cases where pain such as osteoarthritis, sprains, muscle aches or bruising are involved.
More is NOT Better Though When Using Arnica for Your Dog …
It comes in the form of a pellet, tablet, gel or cream or oil. Some things to keep in mind when administering Arnica or any homeopathic medicine for your pup; it’s not that same as administering a traditional medicine and it’s important to understand this.
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).
3 pellets are considered a typical 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 whether it’s arthritis, a sprain or muscle pain.
Administering Arnica to Dogs
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. We never had a problem touching the pellets.
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.
Arnica Dosage for Dogs
DO NOT GIVE WITH FOOD. FEED ARNICA 15 MINUTES BEFORE OR AFTER FOOD.
200CK is usually recommended for osteoarthritis inflammation, pain, stiffness and swelling. Give 5 pellets 3 times daily until your dog’s pain is gone. Then stop. Start up again when the pain returns.
If it’s a minor pain such as a slight limp from chasing a ball, Arnica 30C using 3 pellets 3 times a day for two days should work.
We recommend avoiding gels and creams because they are not meant to be taken internally. PLEASE SEE THE PRECAUTIONS BELOW.
Dr. Weil recommends mixing one tablespoon of arnica tincture with a pint of spring (or purified) water for humans, but this is also an excellent idea for using arnica tincture for dogs. Using gauze or a sanitary pad, dip it into the mixture and apply it to the bruised area or sore arthritic joint.
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 Arnica
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.
But because you have to be extremely careful when using gels and creams with dogs and them licking it off, we instead recommend following Dr. Weil’s protocol listed above using the tincture.
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, 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 Arnica Herb
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.
Other references: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs, Dogs & Cats by CJ Puotinen