Arthritis in dogs is a debilitating disease which attacks the cartilage in the joints.  This happens when there is no longer enough cartilage covering the bone, exposing the nerve endings that are found beneath the cartilage.

The pain can be so severe that it can immobilize the arthritic animal, significantly diminishing the animal’s quality of life.

This very painful condition is called “bone to bone” contact.

Unfortunately, there is still no cure. Your plan should be to provide relief from pain and inflammation—so that the animal can live a normal life as possible even with the disease.  Physical therapy for your dog should also be included.

However for the effective management of these symptoms, prescription meds such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are often used. NSAIDs are potent and can provide instant relief; nonetheless, these drugs are known to cause the development of ulcers, blood thinning, kidney failure, and even death.

Because of the many dangers that come with the use of NSAIDs (or even other prescription meds), more vets are now advocating for the importance of early diagnosis. When the disease is still in its early stages, the symptoms are not yet severe and therefore can be addressed without the use of dangerous prescription meds.

The Holistic Approach on Dog Arthritis Treatment

The holistic approach on health has become quite popular as more and more people are becoming wary of what they put inside their bodies. Those who practice the holistic approach believe that medicine should not be focusing only on managing the symptoms of the disease; rather, healing the body should encompass a person’s overall well-being.

The holistic approach does not rely on drugs or invasive procedures such as surgery. The approach is more preventive and is more concerned with healthy changes in lifestyle. Thus, the holistic approach espouses the concept that a healthy body and a sound mind are the best tools a person can have in fighting a disease.

In veterinary medicine, the approach is slowing catching up. This is especially apparent in the treatment of dog arthritis. Vets are now teaching their clients the importance of taking a pro-active role in their dog’s health.

In a holistic dog arthritis treatment, vets emphasize the importance of weight management, proper nutrition, and exercise. Dietary supplements, which contain natural ingredients, are favored over drugs containing synthetic substances.

A Simple Three-Step Program towards Holistic Health

  1. Talk to your vet. Everything and anything that could have a significant effect on your dog’s health should start with a conversation with your vet. Going holistic means changes in your dog’s diet and lifestyle, your vet can help you make sure that these changes are safe and properly done. Your vet can also refer you to experts in pet holistic health.
  2. Choose pet products carefully. The holistic approach prefers natural and organic products. This means doing some research on pet products and reading labels thoroughly.
  3. Keep your pet happy. The holistic approach is not only concerned with your dog’s physical health, a dog’s mental and emotional needs should also be met. Food should never be equated with affection, and exercise does not have to be a chore. One way of keeping your dog happy is to approach physical activities with your dog as opportunities for you to bond and have fun with your pet.

You can find more helpful tips for relieving your dog’s pain here.

The above article was written and shared by Dr. Christopher Durin, Veterinarian who actively works with arthritic pets. Besides being a skilled surgeon, Dr. Durin strives to use a healthy blend of treatments that provide comfort for pets from this painful disease.

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Showing 14 comments
  • Kelly Da Silva

    Hi Janie,
    Great info on here thank you. Our English Staff is only 4 years old and has Arthritis around his spine and Bridging Spondylosis. Very rare for such a young dog. I believe a bone spurs must of touched a nerve which caused great pain. Its been a month and we have been weening him off the Steroids (anti-inflammatory) as he is so young i dont believe medication is the best approach. I will start with Tumeric and work out other natural ways as the Vets are really not helpful with anything other than Medication. Any other natural products you can recommend would be great. I have already incorporated veggies into his diet and he eats very clean with fresh chicken and beef.

    • janie

      Hi Kelly:

      Thanks for your kind words.

      When did you last vaccinate him for rabies? Does he have any other symptoms?


    • janie

      Private email sent to you Kelly.


  • Kimber

    Thank you for all the comments below. I am looking for a little direction for my dog and the holistic approach sounds like something I need to look into. I have a 7 year old lab. He sprained his left foot around 2 or 3 yrs of age. It fully recovered. However approx the age of 4 to 5 he sprained it again. The injury never recovered. There is a knot on his foot from it. I did have my vet look at it. X-rays showed possible arthritis. I stopped all the ball throwing activities. He was overweight and got him to lose 15lbs. He is a big dog weighing right under 100lbs. He is pretty trim now. It wouldn’t another 5lbs to be shed so I’m cutting back his food again. His activity has increased due to a new pup. I have to give him Norvox 2 a day. If I only give 1 tablet I do notice he can be sore in the morning. I’m wondering if I should cut back to 1 tablet and just let him work out the soreness???? I do give turmeric and do give yucca/liquid on his food. I also was giving some arthritis chew supplement. This is getting expensive and just don’t know what to do. I can’t imagine this is bone on bone arthritis since he isn’t real old yet???? If I’m even providing the right treatment. I would love to receive emails for some suggestions if anyone is interested.

    • yourolddog

      Hi Kimber:

      Sorry to hear about your lab. I’m thinking that the foot he sprained is simply weak and it might help to simply add a brace. Is it the wrist that he sprained? Does he limp? Did he every tear any tendons or ligaments?


      • Kimberly

        Hi Janie, thank you for your response about my 7 yr old lab w/a sprain. I always said it was his wrist versus his foot but someone, not a vet told me dogs don’t have wrists. He does have a very gentle limp with some activity. In fact he is more active now and can be very sore in morning until he warms it up. It never stops him from being active but I do try to control a lot of his activities. Nothing too hard. The vet didn’t tell me anything about ligament or tendon damage so I have to say no. I did forget to tell you that I do put coconut and fish oils on his food with tumeric but interested in trying additional holistic treatment to get him off the norvox. thank you!

        • yourolddog

          Hi Kimberly:

          Not sure about that person that said dogs don’t have wrists? This article on WebMD should clarify that they do indeed have wrists. I would watch the information you get from them. 🙂

          This very same thing happened to one of my own yellow labs, years ago. I believe it was genetic. She was two when I adopted her and had problems with the wrist her entire life. If she would swim, the wrist would bother her. Same with too much running or activity. It could be just weak ligaments, etc. I would support the wrist with a brace (wrap). This is the same wrap I used for “Lulu” which worked well.

          However, I wouldn’t stop there Kim. I would also include Ligaplex to help repair any damaged ligaments or tissue in the wrist area. I would also recommend a GOOD fish oil like Bonnie and Clydes. Feed more meat including organ meat three x a week.

          PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get back to me here and let me know how it goes Kimberly. Your response can help others out there. People stop by here all day long looking for help. Lets all pay it forward.


          • Kimberly

            Thank you so much for the information Janie! I will definitely be adding and switching to what you recommend. I will make sure to report back to you as well as I do believe in helping others. I felt this injury could be due to genetics at one time as my lab “Jameson” his brother got arthritis too so it makes sense. I’ve always said Jameson’s injury was to his wrist and my vet never corrected me. This person was a volunteer at an animal shelter where I volunteered too who told me dog’s don’t have wrists. I was wondering why no one corrected me but him 🙂 Oh by the way, I’ve had Jameson on all raw (meat/veg) for a couple of years but I just recently stopped to due moving out of state but I will get him back on it. Jameson actually gained weight on all raw (meat)diet so I cut back and reintroduced him back to a pretty high quality kibble. He lost weight and has kept it off. So it sounds like I’m getting in the right direction and I’m excited to try your recommendations! Thank you again!

          • yourolddog

            You’re welcome Kim!

  • Lizzie Masako

    Thank you for this article. I have a 15 year old female dog that is showing signs of arthritis. I do not want to give her the typical prescription meds, as I’ve heard they are hard on the liver. I see you’ve written other articles so I will look at them to see if you’ve listed some natural, over the counter supplements that can help with arthritis in older dogs.
    Thank you, Lizzie Masako
    Keep your pets healthy and protected!

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