This page is dedicated to pain relief therapies for dogs who need relief due to Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Hip-Dysplasia.

Choose Your Dog’s Pain Meds Very Carefully

Our goal was to provide the different options of pain medicine (both prescription and non-prescription) and of course natural therapies for arthritis and joint pain in dogs.

Start Naturally FIRST…

We recommend that you first try one or both of the all natural supplements and alternatives that can be used safely and indefinitely for your dog.  You can often combine some of the natural supplements and treatments.

If you haven’t already read our article Using Gelatin Protein for Your Dog’s Pain, you really need to read this before using anything else: Click here to read!  

Natural Supplements & Cost Effective Treatments

All Natural Supplements for Arthritis

Cost Effective Alternatives & Other Therapies

MaxxiFlex contains many of the individual ingredients that dog owners tend to look for in a pain supplement such as Glucosamine HCL, Chondroitin Sulfate (bovine source), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Fructooligosaccharides, Bio Active Whey, Devils Claw Extract, Phellodendron Tree Extract, Cetylated Fatty Acids, Phenylalanine, Bromelain, Calcium Ascorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid).

It also contains some excellent inactive ingredients including turmeric which is known to help with pain.
Every living creature on the planet needs iodine and we don't mean the table salt found in grocery stores. Selena Naturally Celtic Sea Salt contains iodine in its most natural form.

Dogs typically respond very well to celtic sea salt which can help with so many different issues including and especially arthritis.

Add 1/4 teaspoon to 1 quart of filtered water. Don't give your dog more than 1/2 teaspoon in a quart of water daily. Most dogs wiling accept 1/4 tsp in their water, but not more than that.

The salt can also make a difference for dogs with thyroid issues.
Elk Velvet Antler is another excellent alternative for dogs with joint pain. It naturally contains Chondroitin, glusocamine, hyaluronic acid and collagen which are just four powerful elements found in the antlers of Elk.

Chondroitin, glusocamine, hyaluronic acid and collagen are just four powerful elements found in the antlers of Elk.
Hydrotherapy is a great alternative for dog pain relief in addition to other supplements. Check around your local area and see if anyone offers it. Holistic vets usually offer this.
HyaFlex is another great all natural product that works by maintaining & replenishing viscosity (fluid thickness) that pads the joints. Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best natural remedies available for dogs with any kind of hip or joint pain.Essentials Oils (aka Raindrop Therapy)and Acupuncture Therapy worked very well for our Doberman Jenna.

Hot steaming towels combined with essential oils and it worked for her for 6 months at a time. She loved going to see her holistic vet to have this done.

You can also learn how to massage your dog yourself and do this part at home.

Prescription & Over the Counter Medicines

Over The Counter Meds for Acute (Temporary) Pain

Prescription Drugs for CHRONIC (Persistent) Pain

Aspirin such as Ascriptin or any COATED Aspirin can be used for mild pain relief at 10mg per pound twice daily for no more than 3-5 days is recommended by Dr. Jon Geller, DVM. He also recommends no more than 500mg. twice daily for a dog weighing 60lbs.

Keep in mind that if used long-term, even aspirin can cause digestive upset, stomach ulcers and cause internal bleeding.

Symptoms of internal bleeding would include a black stool and vomit that resembles coffee grounds. Should you see these symptoms, stop the aspirin IMMEDIATELY and take your dog to the vet!

NEVER give any type of ASPIRIN to CATS without speaking to a vet first.
NSAID's can work great for pain relief for awhile before having to up the dosage even more. They also come with some pretty heavy duty risks. Etogesic, Metacam, Deramaxx, Rimadyl, Previcox, Zubrin, Flunixin are the standard meds prescribed for dogs with Arthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease), Hip Dysplasia and Spinal Arthritis. While these drugs can quickly help, they also have SEVERE side effects. Blood tests MUST be done prior to and at 6 month intervals to check for kidney/liver damage.

*Although your dog might feel better, DON'T get too relaxed when your dog is on these medications.
Tylenol should only and I repeat ONLY be administered to dogs under the supervision of a veterinarian. It does not reduce inflammation and therefore would NEVER BE RECOMMENDED for any type of hip or joint pain in dogs.Tramadol is yet another analgesic that is used for treating moderate to moderately severe pain. My lab was on this for a couple of years after her surgery. Often used for arthritis/hip-dysplasia and considered safer by many vets than NSAID's. Inexpensive.
NEVER give IBUPROFEN! Should your dog get a hold of it accidentally, take him to the vet/emergency clinic IMMEDIATELY!Adequan aka "polysulfated glycosaminoglycan" is an injectionable substance and similar to Glucosamine. Often prescribed for Osteoarthritis. It lubricates the dog's joint and reduces inflammation naturally and reduces friction. It rebuilds cartilage in the damaged joint. My doberman was on this for Osteoarthritis for several months. It was a last ditch effort for us to help our girl and although it helped, I think it was a little to late when we tried it. It is expensive, but has very little side effects.

Many dog owners choose to rely on steroids such as Rimadyl, Etogesic or others for their dog’s pain relief.  But, these products are not only very expensive, but NSAID’s are VERY dangerous.

Your dog must be monitored very closely when on these drugs, due to liver failure which can happen quickly.

There are many things that you can do to help ease your dog’s pain and the best place to start is with a natural treatment program combined with regular exercise and an orthopedic bed made for dogs which can help to take pressure off of already sore and painful joints.

I can’t overstate the importance of nutrition and supplements. If you’re dog has been eating garbage food for years, has been unknowingly and unintentionally poisoned by chemical and spot flea treatments, plus routinely vaccinated — DIET and SUPPLEMENTS ARE CRITICAL to rejuvenating your dog, as well as avoiding these as well.

Why You Should Take Control of Your Dog’s Pain and Not Rely on Your Dog’s Veterinarian for Relief

Don’t put your dog’s overall health in the hands of his or her veterinarian — take control of how your dog feels from the inside out and this includes feeding your dog correctly. For more help, see our cookbook recipe page.

Commit to providing the necessary changes with regards to nutrition, supplements, exercise and of course, love.  Then, witness how much better your old friend feels.

Unfortunately, prescription drug companies play a large part in the different drugs that veterinarians push and it’s not always what’s best for our family pets.  Our dogs are a integral part of the family and providing comfort for them is just as important as any other family member.

Don’t Exclude Exercise

Many dog owners tend to think that they shouldn’t exercise their dog when the dog is suffering with joint issues such as arthritis, hip pain, etc.  But, this is not true.  You SHOULD provide exercise in small doses.  Take your dog for several short walks vs one long one.

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Showing 30 comments
  • Kathreen Miller

    It was a great article.We should feed our pets with food that is best suited for them.Supplements are very essential for treatment of dogs from various health issues.I have been using supplement like pet bounce for dogs for my 11 years old dog who was suffering from joint pains.It turned out to be very effective as it is a natural pain relief for dogs.

  • Melissa D

    We have a 5 year old male Great Dane that we got 2 years ago. At some point before we got him, one of his rear legs was broken right above the joint that corresponds to our ankle. In fact, the break was so close to the joint that his then-vet said there was nothing that could be done.

    Our vet has him on the following prescription medication:
    * Neurontin – 2 capsules 2 times per day (300 mg each capsule)
    * Tramadol – 9 tablets 3 times per day (50 mg each tablet)

    He also has some allergies. We have him on the following OTC meds and vitamins:
    * Glucosamine – 2000 mg per day
    * Vitamin E – 800 IU per day
    * Magnesium – 800 mg per day
    * Purethentic Omega-3 Support – 2 softgels per day
    * Vitamin A – 2400 mcg per day
    * Vitamin D3 – 1000 IU per day
    * Benadryl – 20 tablets per day (25 mg each tablet)
    * Claritin – 10 tablets per day (10 mg per tablet)

    Our vet recommended the Benadryl and Claritin, and I conducted weeks of online research to obtain what vitamins to give and at what doses.

    The problem is that he’s still having difficulty getting up and down. He also shakes a lot in his back legs. We can’t walk him because he’s in worse shape for 2-3 days after a walk.

    What do you guys recommend?

    • janie

      Hi Melissa:

      That seems like an awful lot of synthetic drugs for him between the pain pills and the allergy pills. This can NOT BE GOOD for his liver!!! Wow….

      I would urge you to look into acupuncture, water therapy and a brace for him. Acupuncture when done on regular basis can be a big help. Same with water therapy. I would also call check with OrthoDog on their braces and see what they would recommend.

      If he is going to stay on all these drugs, you absolutely must detox him and support his liver on a regular basis.

      I hope this helps.


  • Samantha Press

    Isn’t Rimadyl nonsteroidal?

    • janie

      Rimadyl is a non steroidal drug, yes. This means it is an anti-inflammatory. Very, very, very dangerous on the liver and kidneys when used over and over and long term.

      There are safer ways to eliminate pain naturally.


  • Kathreen Miller

    Dog joint pain is, unfortunately, an all-too-common occurrence. While large breed dogs are the population most affected by joint issues, research indicates that 20% of all dogs will suffer from some form of arthritis during their lifetimes.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for responding Janie! I was looking over his doctor visit papers and it also indicates he has a small liver and heart. His tumor is located in his abdomen. It is unfortunately cancerous. He is fed Purinas Moist and Meaty. He doesn’t take any medications regularly as far as I am aware.


  • Rachel

    Hello there! I had a question and thought I might try it here. My mom has a dog, a golden retriever mix and he has a tumor that causes him to have episodes of vomiting and pain. These episodes usually last about 12 to 24 hours. The tumor is unfortunately inoperable and the only thing that can be done for him is to make him comfortable. At the time he was diagnosed the vet said he might have a year left but he’s been going now for three! Much to our relief as he is much loved by our family. The vet once gave him Tramadol. We are wondering if there is a over the counter pain management pill we may be able to give him that wont cause issues? I’ve been doing a lot of reading and am a little confused as to what might be the best thing when he is having one of these episodes.

    Thank you so much! -Rachel

    • janie

      Hi Rachel:

      Is the tumor a fatty tumor or is it a cancerous tumor? Where is it located by the way?

      What are you currently feeding him as far as food and supplements, medicine, etc.


      • Rachel

        Thank you for responding Janie! I was looking over his doctor visit papers and it also indicates he has a small liver and heart. His tumor is located in his abdomen. It is unfortunately cancerous. He is fed Purinas Moist and Meaty. He doesn’t take any medications regularly as far as I am aware.


        • janie

          Hi Rachel:

          You’re welcome and my pleasure. Diet plays a huge role in cancer and any disease really.

          I urge you to take off of Purina Moist and Meaty please. Would your mom be willing to cook for him? This is the best diet for cancer. She can easily use my cookbook which includes recipes for the crock pot and most are no more than 5 ingredients (if that). He needs whole, real foods. You can see the book here. Home Cooking for Sick Dogs

          On page 19 in the book it will also share the supplements I recommend.

          I think this would be the best place for you to start. DIET is so vital to cancer patients. Please let me know if you can feel the lump and it it is hard or soft. I would also include Vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate daily. It must be buffered and sodium ascorbate is. BUT, you absolutely must move slow with Vitamin C because it WILL cause diarrhea. I would work up to a level teaspoon daily. Start slow and 1/8 teaspoon for 4 days, move on to 1/4 teaspoon for 4 days, then 1/2 teaspoon for 4 days and finally a teaspoon. Divide the dosage in half giving half with each meal. If he seems okay, but develops diarrhea later even after he’s been on it for awhile, back down the dosage of Vitamin C. This is the brand that I recommend: Bulk Supplements Sodium Ascorbate By the way, this is not in the cookbook Rachel.

          Last, I would also include (not in the cookbook) Bentonite Clay to remove toxins from the blood. This is critical to cancer patients. Bentonite Clay MUST be added to WET food. So add it to his home cooked meals. He would need 1/2 tablespoon in the am and the pm with his meals. Again, do it slowly until you reach the 1 tablespoon daily. This is the only brand I recommend and use: Earths Natural Clay for Pets

          I hope this helps.


  • Jill

    Hi, I am trying to help my 12 ½ year old collie with pain. We had x-rays taken and he has severe arthritis connecting 2 of his vertebrae together. Other than that the x-rays and blood test show that he is in great condition. He, thankfully, does not have hip dysplasia, but his back end is very weak because of the arthritis in his spine. One vet recommended Carprofen, tramadol, trazadone, and gabapenten. Another vet recommended just the carprofen 1.25 tablets once a day and gabapenten 3 times a day. I give him turmeric capsules – 2 in the morning and 2 at night; 4 fish oil caps morning and night, powdered MSM, powdered digestive enzymes to help with diarrhea. He is still waking up whining in pain in the middle of the night. He’s been drinking a lot of water lately and I wonder if that could indicate kidney problems due to the carprofen. I am considering applying arnica gel to the spot on his back where the arthritis is, and wanted to know what you would recommend. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much, Jill

    • janie

      Hi Jill:

      I ‘m so sorry to hear about your old collie boy. It’s heartbreaking to hear him crying out in the night, I’m sure.

      I wanted to first ask what you are feeding him? Diet is critical to every condition. It doesn’t matter if you give good supplements and in turn feed a bad diet. It becomes a wash.

      I would definitely include Vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate and you’ll want to start at the lowest dosage and work up to the highest dosage that he can tolerate. This will be based upon what is bowel tolerance aka diarrhea. Too much Vitamin C given in one dose will cause diarrhea, so you need to move slow up to the highest point he can tolerate. Base upon h is breed and size (I’m guessing) I would work towards giving 2000mg of Vitamin C daily. Start with 500mg daily and give 250mg in the am with food and 250mg in the pm with food and build up each week by including an additional 500mg each week until you get up to the 2000mg a day.

      I would also include our Nerve Tonic and Myelin Sheath. Both of these are for the spine. I would also suggest that you include our multivitamin which is way more than just a multivitamin. It includes so many vitamins in the form of whole foods. It also includes glandulars with will be helpful for his kidneys and liver as well as all the other glands and organs in his body. You can read more about the spinal product here: Spinal Cord Disease Products and learn more about our multivitamin here: Daily Multi with Glandulars.

      I would start here Jill along with a healthy, whole food natural diet that contains both home cooked and maybe a little slightly raw. I can help you with this if you need it. Or, you can use any of the recipes in our cook book for him since we’re dealing with pain and not disease such as cancer, etc. Home Cooking for Sick Dogs.

      This should help him Jill.


  • SN

    What a wonderful site. I have a Saint Bernard 8 and getting worse with hip dysplasia and pain in the mid leg joints. She hurts so much her leg shakes quivers and hates any petting or stroking on back above hip area. She is so sweet. I have had her on low dose less than half of what the vet recommends Tramadol. There are many bad stories look them up or the med and write reviews it will give you some info its your job to be educated, anyway regular dose makes her pant badly on it. when your dog does this its causing heart rate to go up or other reactions in the body check with vet about this but also whats the point of a medicine to help them sleep if they are up panting all night. Also these foam beds are nice they also cause the dog not to get up and reposition at night so they are much more stiff in am. try giving dog the med first let it start to work wait 30-60 min then get them up outside and eat. ALSO PLEASE read this many people just do NOT realize any high fat treats cookies and fatty foods from the table are very bad we humans eat are causes of PANCREATITIS for dogs. I saw a article said thankgiving night is the worst day of the year for emergency pet clinics for this. If you have a pet with arthritis and hip problems but you see them lay flat on the ground tummy straight on the floor. you know if they were standing then sit and go down tummy touching the floor straight on like laying down this position is because their tummy is hurting badly if you are giving treats human stuff stop only puppy treats occassionally or boiled chicken or lean fish with it chilled and remove all the fat on top. If you are worried about this please get to vet ask for them to do a pancreatic enzyme profile.This can be life threatening and painful. Hope this helps. a lot of us have pets dont want to take pills so they give something like cheese this is a horrible thing for dogs to eat horrible never give CHEESE its high in fat instead some rice with no butter or anything added with the pill works or just put it down the back of the mouth at the back close the mouth and they should swallow then give a little kibble to get it down completely with water if they want it. Vets sell high grade fish oil please get this it helps alot and msm can be added to a meal and it helps with pain and tumeric just one of each and each meal. Also if the vet hasnt said so try to make sure if your pet is over wt or even a little cut back on the food a little to get the wt down. I hope this all helps do lots of research your pet is precious but also know when enough is enough sometimes that is the hardest decision but help family in this decision watching anyone or anything in pain that is out of control is aweful and your pet will let you know when its time. God be with you all as we love so much these beautiful loving animals who are by our own side when we are sick. Also, please do try many of these good ideas on the site many work wonders and if your vet is not very willing to go into discussion and recommendations and just wants to do surgery ask around find one who truely cares same goes for yourself and your own doctors change if they don’t listen. God Bless SN..

  • Catherine Pipe

    Hi, my dog had to have surgery to remove bladder stones. Since then he’s been on a special dog food called Urinary SO bt Royal Canin. I guess his calcium levels were too high? It has struvite dissolution and low magnesium on the food container.
    Now he’s eating his own feces and has mild arthritis. He’s been on this dog food for about a year, and just started eating feces a few months ago.
    I’ve been giving him tumeric for the pain. Is this ok for a dog with his condition? And, do you think he’s missing essential nutrients by eating this kind of specialized dog food? Thank you!

    • janie

      Hi Catherine:

      I’m sorry to hear about your dog.

      If I were you, I would dump that food as fast as possible and place him on either a home cooked meal (our crockpot cookbook can help with that and in your case, you can use any of the recipes) or place him on a food such as dehydrated formula’s of Dr. Harvey’s or The Honest Kitchen where you add hot water to it for a meal.

      I would add additional meat to his diet as well. You can intermix the diets as well. Give the dehydrated formula in the morning and homecooked for dinner. Your dog needs to stay hydrated and these types of diets help can help with stone formation.

      I would also include Potassium Citrate to the above diet(s). He’s eating feces because he’s hungry for what he needs Catherine. I also urge you go place him on a good daily multivitamin. Many consider ours to be the best. You can read more about our Daily Multi Vitamins here. If you include either of the dehydrated foods above, you don’t need to include calcium in the diet. But if you just home cook, then I recommend that you purchase our multivitamin WITH calcium.

      I hope this helps you Catherine. It should make a big difference for your dog. Yes, you can include turmeric for his arthritis pain as well. Also, include organic coconut oil daily. I would give him a heaping teaspoon daily.


  • Kathreen Miller

    Thanks a lot for this amazingly long list. My dog is also suffering from joint pains and this topic “Comprehensive Guide for Natural and Prescription Pain Treatment for Dogs” made a huge difference.

  • Saveza Landers

    Is this site still active. Wanted to know what to get for my 13yr old min poodle. She has alot of back pain i give her massages on a reg she loves it. The vet put her on 2 dif meds and she started getting really sick i took her off i trued petflex and i actually saw instant results but nowthey didnt seem to be effective. Any recommendations please will be greatly appreciate it

    • janie

      Hi Saveza:

      Yes, our site is still VERY active…. 🙂

      I’m real sorry to hear about your little old girl.

      Did you read about the Selena Sea Salt option we recommend in the article. Learn more about how this much needed mineral for all living creatures has helped many dogs.Besides the sea salt, I highly recommend our Myelin Sheath and Nerve Tonic Saveza for her back pain.


  • Paula Lasswell

    Wanted to just get another opinion–we have a 8 month old blue heeler/aus shepherd mix–birth defect apparently, x ray showed no bones broken but rescue vet said problem was muscle atrophy, put splint on at 4 months for couple weeks which helped some (was walking on paw but now has it lifted some) now elbow area a problem and our vet took another x-ray and bone didn’t form correctly and basically shows arthritis–she recommended amputation. He uses the limb but has a limp, runs well and doesn’t whimper etc. to let us know it actually hurts. So we are struggling with decision. She gave us the Rimadyl to try for a week–couldn’t see any change in behavior at all. Was just looking for another opinion. Thank you.

    • janie

      Hi Paula:

      I in no way would amputate that leg!!! Is your dog knuckling (knuckling over on the rear paws)?


  • Debbie Caudle

    Thank you!

    • janie knetzer

      My pleasure Debbie!


  • tony balestra

    thanks mare .the asprin helped alot. this morning buster chewed off his bandage and there was no signs of blood it looked realy good and he was licking it.he still walked on it gingerly so i gave him a asprin tonight .how should i treat this. again thank you for your help we are going to order flex pet. ps buster is the closest thing to me as a son.

    • admin

      Hi Tony:
      You are so very welcome, I’m glad that I could help. Buster sounds like a lucky boy to have you as a papa! I would try and keep the nail and toe bandage for as long as he will allow you (5 days or so) just to give it that added support. I would also keep giving him aspirin for no longer than 3 days. The bandage will give him the support he needs on the toe. I don’t know if you’ve ever cut your toe nail down to far – it hurts, but you can get along a little better if you place a band aid around it. The same goes for Buster. I really think the Flex Pet will help Tony and I would love to know if it does once your get him on it. Stories like yours help me to help others who are in the same boat. Let me know if you need anything o.k. 😮


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