Natural Remedies for Joint Pain in Dogs

| Modified on Dec 12, 2022
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Like their human friends and caregivers, dogs can experience joint pain. Joint pain in dogs is most often caused by arthritis, though hip dysplasia, obesity and Lyme's disease can also cause joint pain in dogs. Natural remedies for dogs with joint pain include apple cider vinegar, dietary changes, and habitat changes.

If you do not know why your dog has joint pain, a diagnosis from a veterinarian will help you to narrow down the best natural cures for your dog. Several of the remedies listed will help with joint pain, irregardless of the cause.

Apple Cider Vinegar

A daily dose of apple cider vinegar for your dog will help to alkalize his body, which can reduce pain. Apple cider vinegar can be added to your dog's food or water bowl each day. Start with about 1 teaspoon of raw and organic apple cider vinegar for each 50 pounds of weight. Some dogs actually enjoy the taste.

Coconut Oil

Because coconut oil is such a versatile remedy, it can be used for joint pain no matter what the cause. It is an easy addition to your dog's diet. Start with 1 teaspoon per 50 pounds of weight daily. You can increase the dose to twice or even thrice a day if it suits your dog. It could cause loose stools, so increase the dose slowly. We recommend that you try to find a brand of virgin coconut oil that is organic and fair trade.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can help with joint pain from arthritis and infections. Small dogs can take 500 mg daily. Medium dogs can take 1,000 mg daily. Extra large dogs can take 2,000 mg daily. If this does not seem to be helping your dog, you can give the dose twice daily. We particularly like this Ester C for Dogs.

Colloidal Silver

If you dog's joint pain is caused by a tick borne disease, colloidal silver is a simple remedy. It is ideal if you have your own silver generator; then you can be liberal with the dose without having a great expense. Because it is tasteless, it is easy to add to your dog's water bowl. For small dogs, add 1 teaspoon to his water bowl each day. For a large dog, add 1 tablespoon to his water bowl each day. If you make your own and are not seeing results you can double or triple the daily dose.

If you'd prefer to buy a bottle of colloidal silver, stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts carry several good brands of Colloidal Silver. You can also find online at Amazon here.

Supplements

There are a number of supplements on the market that are designed to bring pain relief and even healing from joint pain for dogs. Follow package directions for dosing amounts and frequencies. Look for combinations that contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which help with pain, and MSM and hyaluronic acid which can even bring healing to damaged joints.

Dietary Changes

Many dog owners find that high quality dog food makes a big difference in a dog's health. Grain free dog foods and raw diets have helped many dogs with chronic health problems.

If your dog is overweight the dietary changes may help with the extra weight, which in turn can alleviate stress on the joints, decreasing pain.

Habitat Changes

Make sure your dog has a draft free place to rest and sleep, ideally with a dog bed or plenty of blankets or cushion to sleep on. If your dog's living quarters are damp, a dehumidifier can help. Cold, moist air usually makes pain worse. A dehumidifier can help with this issue. If given the opportunity, many dogs will be happy to sleep and rest in front of a fireplace or wood stove. The warm and dry air is comforting to them!

If your dog does not have access to regular exercise, find a way to provide this for him. Strong muscles around the joints will reduce joint stress.

Has your dog experienced joint pain? How did you help him? Please share you story with us! Continue reading to learn what our readers have used to treat their dog's joint pain.




Alfalfa

1 User Review
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Posted by Tony (Tiburon, Ca) on 07/24/2012
5 out of 5 stars

My lab developed pain in her front legs, which her vet said was arthritis. He prescribed anti-inflammatories and pain killers which worked really well. But as soon I stopped, the pain returned. Then I tried Dasequin. That didn't help. Finally I tried alfalfa. I increased the dosage to 2 grams twice a day, the result is miraculous. She is no longer hobbling around. When I took her to the park this afternoon, she was running around with all the other dogs. I remember before I gave her the alfalfa, she was always eating grass. No she doesn't do it. I guess she was trying to self-medicate. The alfalfa has really been a god-send.

Replied by Patricia
(Oh)
12/26/2017

Ok, I have a silly question. Is this a pill form you used? I have a 11 year old boxer that I'm trying to make his last days/years as pain free as possible. Thanks.


Apple Cider Vinegar

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Posted by Moshi (Fremantle, Western Australia) on 07/11/2011
5 out of 5 stars

My friend's shepherd had joint inflammation issues. She started with a very small amount, in drinking water, maybe use a dropper, & increased slowly. ACV is very safe & the main issue will be acustomizing your dog to the taste. Her girl happily drinks her ACV laced water now & is no longer showing any signs of joint pain or inflammation!


Apple Cider Vinegar, Turmeric

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Posted by Peace (Uk) on 04/11/2014
5 out of 5 stars

ACV + Turmeric for Arthritis in Dogs.

About 2-3 years ago, I took my border collie cross to a vet with a joint specialism. He was pretty negative. He told us that our dog had an arthritic knee, possibly due to an old injury, and an arthritic hip. He said that our only option was daily pain killers (which, I found out later, can cause death and are extremely expensive.)

At that point, we were already about 6-12 months into trying natural remedies. We'd been using daily c*rtaflex, cod liver oil and green lipped mussel supplements, with a good diet and regular exercise. We'd also cut out tomatoes and potatoes (ie. no more plate clearing.) These had helped to keep him off daily pain killers but we were still seeing a progression in the disease and he was limping more and more, with a lot of stiffness in the evenings.

I left the vet determined to find a solution and went on to do quite a bit of research. Finally, I got our dog into a simple routine which he is still on today (note: he's about 25kg):

Breakfast: 1 tablespoon ACV (organic, raw, with the mother) mixed with quite a lot of water, in his meal (Burns) so the biscuits go soft. (I'm NOT recommending feeding a kibble diet but it's what he likes and it agrees with him.) Adding the water helps to prevent dehydration and dilutes the ACV so, hopefully, it won't damage his teeth.

Dinner: 1 teaspoon Turmeric (organic, ground - like you would cook with) stirred into water and mixed into his meat. (The turmeric makes him smell but he doesn't mind! )

I have discussed all this with my normal (non-joint specialist) vet and she is very positive about it as she can see how well he is.

My dog is now 11 and lives a full, active, happy life. He has not limped or needed any pain killers since he's been on this dietary routine.

He's not fully healed though - his back legs are clearly not full strength and he is sometimes stiff in the evenings after he's been lying down for a while.

Also, we are careful with his joints. Collies are notoriously 'busy' dogs and he would happily run and jump like a nutter if we encouraged him, but we don't anymore. (That was the one bit of useful advice from the 'joint' vet.) Still, he runs about by himself and is clearly very happy. Also, we are lucky enough to live by the sea so in the summer we get him swimming almost every day.

One point: I looked into using ACV with Sodium bicarbonate (which I take myself) but was advised against this by my vet who said that bicarb can cause kidney problems in dogs and cats. (I have read all sorts about this and decided not to take the risk.)


Blackstrap Molasses

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Posted by ArtsyWench (Las Vegas, NV) on 04/28/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I have a 9 year old, 88lb, female Akita. She stopped eating, was listless and had trouble getting up. Since she had cancer a couple of years back, we rushed her to the vet fearing the worst. $1700 in vet bills later, nothing was found (bloodwork, catscan, xrays, stool samples, urine samples, the works). So the doctor thought maybe she had a case of cold weather joint pain or arthritis. I wasn't willing to start her on medication until I did some research. A friend told me her dog had the same symptoms and her holistics vet gave her Blackstrap Molasses, (and this site backed it up) so I tried it and within 2 doses (24 hours) she was up and around... now only 2 weeks later, she's pulling me up hills on our walks.

I give her a tablespoon in the morning and another tablespoon at night... and if I miss a dose, I can tell. So, I don't know if it's doggie crack or what, but she is very close to being back to her young self.

Replied by Ann
(Gatineau)
01/22/2021

Can you tell me which product you got, is it a oil, or, can I find this on amazone


Eggshells

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Posted by Ron (USA) on 12/12/2022 18 posts
5 out of 5 stars

A general cure-all for joint issues & bone weakness / aiding broken ligaments & bones to heal in all animals (incl. humans). Eggshells can be used to treat the following:

  • Joint repair after accidents.
  • Muscle soreness, aches, charlie-horses
  • Hip displaysia
  • Arthritis
  • Damaged discs and joints
  • Skin irritation & itching (yes calcium deficiency can cause this)
  • Patchy hair

Eggshells - Brown ones. Why? Eggshells contain chondroitin, glucosamine, collagen, & world's most highly bioavailable calcium. Did you know the body (humans too) lose about 1-2% COLLAGEN PER YEAR IF NOT MAINTAINED THROUGH DIET? There goes your skin & hair & joint cushions! Take eggshells instead. Only thing missing in eggshells is MSM, and eggs themselves contain natural sulfur agents, so literally you have everything you need for joints in a whole egg. Shells also contain over a dozen trace minerals like boron. Stop buying expensive joint supplements. Guess what? Most of them; they're made from leftover eggshells & egg products!

NOTE: Calcium / eggshells powder MUST be dosed with vitamin C, and magnesium, and optionally a few other things - see DOSE METHOD below.

Preparation

  • Save & Rinse used eggshells as you cook your breakfasts daily.
  • Use warm water, and air dry them on a dish towel.
  • Be sure not to discard the inner shell skins
  • I have never gotten sick this way. I and my pets take them daily.
  • Bake in over @ 250 for 20 minutes if paranoid about bacteria.
  • Grind them in an electric coffee/ spice grinder for 60 seconds.

Alternatively; you can soak the shells in apple cider vinegar for a few weeks until they're completely dissolved and dose the eggshell-vinegar decoction. I don't do this. Do your own research on that method.

Dose Amount

On average: 1 tsp of powdered eggshells contains 900mg calcium

  • Check how much calcium is already in your dog's food
  • Calculate your dog's daily recommended allowance of calcium
  • According to the NRC, healthy adult dogs generally require 50 mg of calcium per kilogram of body weight. In pounds; it's ~ 22.5 mg per 1 lb of body weight. For example, a 5 kg dog (about 11 lbs.) needs 250 mg of calcium per day, a 25 kg (about 55 lbs.) dog needs 1250 mg per day, and a 50 kg (about 110 lbs.) dog needs 2500 mg per day.
  • I generally disagree with that much calcium. Too much can cause calcium deposits, and displaysia of the hips.
  • As dogs age, they need less calcium or you cause arthritis, adjust down 25-50%
  • Considering all the above, you should get a rough idea of how much eggshells to add to your dog's food. Watch over the coming weeks, and adjust.
  • A good rule of thumb is you want to see the dog's front ankle & shin areas where paws bend to meet the legs be closer to stiff & straight, while standing up on all fours. You don't want there to be too much of a bend or bow here, between the ankle and the paw. If the dog is a healthy weight and you see a pronounced bend, they are calcium deficient. See youtube videos or search images for reference.

DOSE METHOD

  • Eggshells are great, but they need extra things to help the body absorb, or else the dog's joints will just get calcified and stiff, and you can actually CAUSE HIP DISPLAYSIA & ARTHRITIS this way, by having too much calcium and too little calcium absorbing nutrients in the diet.
  • Dump eggshells in feedings, preferably spread over the dog's meals evenly throughout the day.
  • Add Magnesium. A good rule of thumb is a 2:1 calcium-to-magnesium ratio. (Need 500mg magnesium crystal-powder for around 1000mg calcium. Note; 1/8 tsp or 500 mg powdered magnesium chloride generally contains about 50-60 mg of actual magnesium. If you gave 500mg of actual magnesium, that would be too much and cause profuse diarrhea)
  • Magnesium Oxide will be very similar dosing
  • Add Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate form ONLY)-A good rule of thumb is a 2:1 calcium-to-Vitamin C ratio - About 500 mg, or 1/8 tsp Vit C per 1000 mg Calcium
  • Vitamin C given regularly during the first 2 years of life are critical in preventing hip displaysia later on in life. But it's never too late.

EXTRAS - highly recommend the boron - these will help bone growth & marrow health & disc gel to recuperate

  • Hyalauronic Acid (dissolve 1/4 tsp + 1/4tsp sea salt in a 16 oz bottle of water & refrigerate; will take an hour to dissolve the gelatin) - take a big capful per day in the dog's food
  • Boron (dissolve 1 tsp in 16 oz bottle water or pint mason jar) - take 1 tsp of the water per day
  • Organic Sea Kelp Granules - They contain calcium, magnesium, iodine & many other micronutrients that help quite a bit with arthritis and hip displaysia. 1 tsp per day for big dogs.

I have a 70 lb (32kg) adult dog. So she needs approx 1500mg calcium daily.I give her approx 1000mg instead.

She gets 1/4 tsp eggshells 2x a day in her food, which is homemade so it has no calcium to begin with. So she gets about 450mg per day, but she gets 400 mg more calcium from 1/2 tsp Boswellia powder I give her, an Ayurvedic tree resin from the Frankincense tree.

So she gets approx. 60% her daily RDA of calcium and all the chondroitin, collagen, glucosamine her joints need.

Added in she gets 1/8 tsp or 500mg vitamin c powder per feed.

She also gets 4-5 drops magnesium oil I prepare myself.

  • It's just 50/50 water & magnesium chloride crystals. In 4-5 drops we have around 100mg magnesium powder, and around 10-12 mg of magnesium. I'm aware I should give more according to the above, but I had to adjust down because this particular magnesium is HIGHLY potent and will cause very loose stool if I go above this amount. Besides; the vitamin C helps absorb the leftover calcium that the lack of magnesium couldn't.

Do not skip vitamin C. If you skip vitamin C, the calcium will hinder Iron absorbtion and your pet will become anemic especially if no red meat is in the diet.

Do not give citric acid / citrate form of vitamin C. You will likely cause great GI discomfort to the dog, which will result in vomiting, pancreatitis and diarrhea.

Recommend also; to buy braces for any injuries your dog incurs. They make IVDD / disc pain full body braces, they make knee braces, hip braces, and hock(dog's ankle) braces. Could save a simple sprain or minor break from becoming a surgery.


Get A Second Opinion

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
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Posted by Connie (Jametown, Nd) on 10/12/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Acer (7 yr lab) sweetest kindest loving companion, started needing help in car, so I took him to are vet, did xrays stated saw nothing on hips or legs, asked if I could view them, she said nope, I shared with her I help Casper (10 yr cocker) in car, get this, she said, he sees ya helpin Casper, so he wants same treatment. No he is independent, I knew she was wrong. 3 weeks no better, he was in pain cryin. I took him back I wanted another xray, no just give him some muscle relaxers.

You guys he was cryin through nite, called back she couldnt see him for 2 weeks. I called another vet that day took him in, they showed me his x-ray, advised me he was in so much pain, his back end and leg was full cancer, the guilty I had for letting him suffer so much pain for so long, trusting are vet. Never ever do that again, I heal them. If I only would have taken him somewhere else.


Heating Pad

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
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Posted by Michael (Concord, Ohio) on 01/15/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I have a five yr. old Jack Russell. He has had surgery on one of his rear legs years ago due to defect in his knee joint. Over the years the best thing other than drugs for the vet to stop the pain and o comfort him was Heat. We moved from Cold Ohio to Naples, Fl. for a few years and he was like a pup again. Laying in the sun and that really helped him a lot. Now due to work we have had to move back to Ohio and the winter is really starting to take it tole on him. In stead of keeping him on meds from the vet we place a heating pad in his bed during the day and really helps him. Believe me, three or four hour of that and he is good to go. Other home made cures other than a good diet just are not going to made much difference. You got a just try the heating pad. It's cheap and it works.


Massage

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Posted by Brent (Phoenix, Az, USA) on 10/22/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Arthritis Prevention for Dogs.

I give my 14 yr old german shepperd a "full" body massage every day - and I believe that probably has a lot to do with the fact that he shows no noticeable signs of Arthritis. I massage him for about 2-3 minutes every night at bedtime - covering every area of his body. His muscles will twitch as tension is relieved and he will moan as it relieves tension throughout his body. I also make sure I get his neck, head and muzzle area. I'm not a vet, but it seems obvious that daily massages will greatly improve the quality of a dog's life. I am sure that the massaging also keeps blood flowing deeply through the joints - preventing the buildup of substances in the joints that cause inflamation.

I also feed my dog "Ezekial 4.9 Bread" and sprouted wheat bread. I would like to see what vets think about that.


MSM

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Posted by Otis (New Paltz, Ny, Usa)
5 out of 5 stars

My German Shorthaired Pointer/Lab mix suffered a torn cruciate ligament in his left knee about 3 years ago. After two operations the joint was badly damaged and the prognosis for mobility fair at best. I've been using msm with him since that time, together with a mostly raw diet, and his recovery has been remarkable. He is now 10 years old, walks/jumps/plays with only a very slight limp, can easily run 10 miles, and shows only mild signs of arthritis on cold mornings. He is clear, sharp and looks great. I would highly recommend using msm with any dog or other animal.

His basic daily mix is: 1/4 tsp. msm, 1/4 tsp. glucosamine, 1 tbsp. spirulina or chlorella - all dissolved in 1/4 cup olive oil. I then mix in his usual raw food (google 'The BARF Diet'). Good luck! Your dog deserves it!