Arthritis in Pets, Dogs & Cats

Causes   Natural remedies   Complementary care

While some pets may develop joint disease in the first half of their lives, signs usually do not appear until the latter half of life, which varies depending on your pet's breed. Dogs are more susceptible to arthritis than cats (arthritis affecting more than 25% of dogs). However, many cats do suffer from arthritis also. Arthritis is a condition resulting from the loss of viscosity and lubrication in the joint in part due to bone on bone contact (Osteoarthritis), and/or chronic inflammation such as in the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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Complete Product List

Very Important
Nutritional Support for Dogs & Cats 9.07ozNutritional Support for Dogs & Cats 9.07oz
General nutritional support for pets.
Very Important
Ultra EFA for Dogs and Cats 16 ozUltra EFA for Dogs and Cats 16 oz
Essential fatty acids for dogs & cats
Dog-Gone Pain (DPG) 60 chew

Rx Essentials for Cats 4 oz

Rx Essentials for Dogs Powder 8 oz

Common Causes of Arthritis in Pets

  • Diet. Diets high in carbohydrates can contribute to chronic inflammation. Most commercial foods are too high in carbohydrates. Feed your pets a high quality food that is high in protein, has moderate fat amounts and is low in carbohydrates. Diets that contain too much fat will cause the animal to grow too fast and put excess strain on their joints, especially in large and giant breed puppies.
  • Ligament, tendon, or muscle disease, e.g., ruptured anterior cruciate ligament
  • Fractures involving the joint
  • Genetic malformation of bone structure that creates a misalignment of joint structures, trauma or infection to joint surfaces, torn supporting ligaments or tendons
  • Developmental disorders, e.g., hip or elbow dysplasia
  • Congenital disorders
  • Dietary and hormonal disease, e.g., hyperparathyroidism, obesity
  • Metabolic disorders, e.g., diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative joint disease - osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory joint disease, e.g., progressive polyarthritis
  • Degenerative spinal joint disease, e.g., intervertebral disc disease
  • Canine Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease. This is caused by the chronic deterioration of the cartilage that surrounds the joint. As the cartilage wears away, the body lays down calcium deposits on the ends of the bones causing joint pain, discomfort and limiting the range of motion of the joints.

Note. Along with medications and natural remedies discussed below, other factors that can help reduce arthritis pain include:

  • Obesity if needed, begin a weight loss program
  • Exercise make sure the pet gets regular gentle exercise (toned muscles can compensate for weakened joints). Swimming is one of the best exercises if your pet is agreeable to this.
  • Environment note that cold, damp weather can aggravate arthritis, as can living in a basement environment. Some arthritis can actually be worsened by heat.

Herbal Remedies for Dog & Cat Arthritis

  • Add Omega 3 fatty acids to your pet's diet in the form of fish-oil pills for a powerful anti-inflammatory
  • Glucosamine Sulfate with Chondroitin Sulfate - as a guideline, a starting dose of 1000-1500 mg of glucosamine is recommended per day for a 50-100 pound dog. This dose is then lowered after 4-8 weeks. Chondroitin is often added to supplements containing glucosamine; 800-1200 mg of chondroitin is recommended per day for a 50-100 pound dog.
  • MSM. Research has shown that MSM has a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Animal studies have found MSM helps to maintain normal articular cartilage.
  • Sea Cucumber. It is believed that these organisms contain substances which inhibit harmful prostaglandins involved in causing pain and arthritis, and they are also rich in essential nutrients including chondroitin and mucopolysaccharides.
  • Nutritional supplements containing enzymes and antioxidants have been shown to reduce inflammation, promote healthy joints, increase circulation and support immune function
  • Shark cartilage. In one study, 80% of dogs showed improvement when treated at a dosage of 750 mg/5 kg of body weight for 3 weeks.
  • Bovine cartilage. Like shark cartilage, bovine cartilage is high in glycosaminoglycans which can help the body repair damaged joints. The recommended dose of bovine cartilage is 200 mg/25 pounds of body weight.
  • Green-lipped mussels (Perna mussels) helps to repair cartilage as they are rich in glycosaminoglycans, vitamins and minerals.
  • Bromelaininhibits inflammatory compounds and reduces pain.
  • Boswellia is an anti-inflammatory which allows for increased blood supply to the joints to help stimulate repair.
  • Vitamin C is important in the production of collagen which is needed for soft-tissue support for joints.
  • Zinc, selenium and manganese help the body utilize antioxidants.
  • Common homeopathic remedies include: Caulophyllum, Lithium Carb., Rhus Tox., Bryonia, Hecla Lava, and Actaea Rac.

Comments on Recommended Products

Mega Flex OR Nutriflex are important. See sidebar for products discussed here.

  • Mega Flex is a cost-effective formula for clients with dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. It is a designed to nourish and support connective tissue for healthy, flexible joints and comfortable movement. The formula features glucosamine sulfate, a critical precursor of synovial fluid and a necessary nutrient for rebuilding cartilage and improving joint function. Research studies at leading institutions have shown that glucosamine sulfate has a low molecular weight, thus enabling it to easily penetrate the villa of the small intestine and be utilized by the articular cartilage tissue. Also includes MSM and sea cucumber, referenced above.

    Mega Flex recommended dosage:
    1 heaping tablespoon for very large dogs (over 100 lbs.)
    1 level tablespoon for large dogs (75-100 lbs.)
    2 teaspoons for medium dogs for medium dogs (50-75 lbs.)
    1/2 to 1 teaspoon for small dogs and cats (0-50 lbs)
  • OR: Nutriflex for Dogs & Cats. This product contains helpful ingredients: glucosamine sulfate, bovine tracheal cartilage, boswellin, sea cucumber curcumin, ginger, yucca, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese and copper.

    Dosage: Three ChewTabs for every 30-60 lbs. of body weight, twice daily for the initial 4-8 weeks. After two months, some animals can have this usage reduced by one-half or more.

Ultra EFA OR Pet Omega are important See sidebar.

  • Ultra EFA is a highly potent fatty acid blend featuring a high-grade marine lipid concentrate rich in the Omega 3 constituents EPA and DHA.

    Dosage: 1/4 teaspoon for each 15 lbs. of body weight daily to twice daily. Always start your pet with a smaller amount than is recommended in order to adapt it to the bioactive oils in the highly potent formula. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a dosage that would best suit your pet's condition.
  • OR: Pet Omega - Suggested daily use for dogs and cats: one capsule for every 20 lbs. of body weight. For larger dogs you add capsule to food. For smaller dogs and cats, puncture capsule and apply oil directly onto food or serve by itself.

Also helpful ...

Also recommended are some mild pain relief and and general nutritional support.