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Natural Remedies for Joint Pain in Dogs

cbd for natural joint pain relief
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    Joint pain affects many dogs, especially as they become older and become more prone to developing arthritis and other joint conditions, to which we are often searching for natural remedies for joint pain in dogs. The lack of proper cushioning in the joints causes your dog’s bones to rub against each other causing great discomfort and pain. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for arthritis in canines. However, there are a number of natural remedies for joint pain  in dogs that can help manage the condition. 

    What Are Some Natural Remedies for Joint Pain in Dogs?


    Photo Credit: NaturVet

    Glucosamine is the most common type of supplement for natural joint pain relief in dogs. It’s a naturally occurring compound in both human and animal’s bodies but the supplement helps keep up with cartilage health. It reduces pain and stiffness in arthritic joints by reducing inflammation, inhibiting cartilage loss, and improving cartilage repair making it one of the most popular natural remedies for joint pain in dogs.


    pug swimming in a pool
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    Hydrotherapy is defined as “the use of exercises in a pool as part of treatment for conditions such as arthritis or partial paralysis.” Hydrotherapy with underwater treadmill work essentially allows for rehabilitation and exercise by taking the weight off of the compromised joints and allowing movement that would otherwise be painful or impossible. The viscosity of the water actually increases the work that the muscles are doing at the same time. There are three main types of hydrotherapy for dogs:

    1. Pool-based: During a pool-based hydrotherapy session, a dog is placed in a life jacket with a handle on top for the therapist. The therapist supports the dog in the water and allows them to swim while holding them up. Depending on the strength of the dog, they may also let it swim on its own. This can be done in a regular pool or a specially designed hydrotherapy tub.
    2. Underwater Treadmill: In essence, there is a treadmill belt that can be adjusted in a tiny tank of water filled with warm water. The therapist walks alongside the dog on the treadmill or may be harnessed in. This type of hydrotherapy can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each dog.
    3. Whirlpool Therapy: Whirlpool treatment is similar to a jacuzzi for dogs, and it helps to ease pain caused by medical conditions or surgery. The water level is altered once the dogs are harnessed and lowered into the whirlpool. The damaged muscles are then massaged with a heated jet stream. 


    beagle with acupuncture needles
    Photo Credit: Fear Free Happy Homes

    In acupuncture, needles are inserted through bundles of nerves into the body tissue, where blood vessels converge. Acupuncture improves blood circulation to the nervous system by stimulating and releasing anti-inflammatory and analgesic hormones making it an ideal natural remedy for joint pain relief in dogs. Applying pressure to the acupuncture point at the selected effect is comparable to inserting needles.

    The technique requires inserting a fine needle into the dog’s body at certain points, called acupuncture points, where nerves and blood vessels converge. These points are located at so-called meridians, where energy channels transmit energy throughout the dog’s body.


    cbd for natural joint pain relief
    Photo Credit: Health Magazine

    Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical molecule present in both humans and animals that is part of the endocannabinoid system. Non-psychoactive cannabinoid produced from cannabis or hemp. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) gives you a “high,” while CBD doesn’t. In order to not have THC, CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana. The majority of CBD products do not contain THC and if they do, they are purchased from a cannabis dispensary. 

    Some research and anecdotal data suggest that CBD may be useful in treating joint pain, making it an intriguing natural remedy for joint pain in dogs. CBD for dogs started out as simple oils but with the market expanding, there are many different types of CBD products available. Some of these include CBD treats, CBD-infused broth, and so much more. 


    jack russel sitting behind a plate of tumeric
    Photo Credit: Organic Facts

    Turmeric is widely known as a spice rich in antioxidants. The active ingredient, curcumin, possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It’s believed to work more effectively for joint pain and stiffness than conventional pain medications. In addition, turmeric has  less gastrointestinal side effects than other pain medications, making it a great natural remedy for joint pain in dogs. Turmeric can be found in various forms including powder, liquid, capsules, and chewable tablets. 

    Laser Therapy

    dog getting laser therapy
    Photo Credit: Pawsh Place

    Laser therapy is a non-invasive photobiomodulation therapy to help in the rehabilitation of different conditions. Laser therapy uses light as a way to increase blood circulation and stimulate cell regeneration. It’s been used on humans for decades but laser therapy has been used on dogs in recent years. It essentially promotes healing while reducing inflammation and pain. There’s two types of laser therapy:

    1. Cold Laser Therapy: treats the surface of the skin
    2. Hot Laser Therapy: treats deeper tissues

    When it comes to how many treatments a dog needs, this is dependent on the type of laser as well as the condition or diseases and whether it’s chronic or acute. The average amount of treatments is about two to three times a week for two to three weeks and then this reduces depending on the outcome. Conditions that are both acute and painful likely undergo more frequent treatments. If a dog has just had surgery, they might have their first treatment before the dog has woken up.

    Orthopedic Bed

    german shepherd on an orthopedic bed
    Photo Credit: Fur Haven

    An orthopedic bed can make all the difference for a dog who is experiencing joint pain. The orthopedic foam material helps regulate temperature to keep your dog warm, in return decreasing joint pain thanks to the heat. The foam helps to retain heat to relax your dog’s muscles and alleviate inflammation in the joints. 

    Since an orthopedic bed tends to be firmer and a little stiffer than a traditional dog bed, it makes it easier for your arthritic dog to stand up after laying down. Having something for your dog to stand up on that also provides them support is helpful. A traditional bed that is softer, allows them to sink in without pushing them upwards. 

    Massage Therapy

    yellow lab getting a massage

    A massage can be helpful to a dog experiencing joint pain. Massaging your dog’s muscles near the affected painful joints can bring immediate relief. The stimulation improves blood flow to tissues including the affected joints.  Short sessions with gentle strokes or kneading are the most safe and effective way to massage your dog. Be sure to refrain from directly massaging the joints, as this could lead to even more discomfort and pain. 

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    Pets and the Pandemic: Separation Anxiety

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      It’s no secret that there has been a huge surge in pet adoptions and purchases during the pandemic as people are home more, get lonely, and want the company of a pet companion. A survey by Rover showed that 93% of people who got a “pandemic pet felt that their mental and/or physical well-being improved. The result? An epidemic of pets with separation anxiety. The amount of adoptions has been so great that certain animal shelters started running out of animals! Here are the stats from that same Rover survey:

      • Of the people who adopted in the last year, 53% brought home a dog, 32% a cat, and 14% both a dog and cat.
      • 64% of pet parents adopted (40% from a rescue or nonprofit organization and 24% from another family).
      • 26% of pet parents purchased their cat or dog from a breeder
      sir Patrick Stewart and wife with puppies
      Photo Credit: Charlie Nunn Photography

      Unfortunately, since everyone has been home so often, our pets have gotten used to that. They have gotten used to us working from home 5 days a week and barely leaving the house. Especially in young puppies, this behavior can create separation anxiety for dogs. Separation anxiety is the anxiety or panic an animal feels when separated from their human. This could happen immediately after separation or after a few hours. Rover stated that: 

      • Nearly half of those surveyed (40%) reported they were anxious about going back to in-person work and leaving their pet at home.
      • 20% of respondents have already left their pet during the day to go to work. 
      • 43% anticipate their first commute away from their pet to be between March-June 2021.
      • An outlier 9% think they will continue to work from home past October 2021.
      Brittany spaniel dog looking out a window with chin on window sill looking sad

      How Do I Know If My Pet Has Separation Anxiety?

      Some dogs don’t understand that when you leave, it means you’re coming back due to their cognitive abilities. The most frequent symptoms of separation anxiety are vocalizing, salivation, disruptive behavior, particularly near exits such as doors and windows, urination or defecation indoors/in undesirable places, loss of appetite while alone, self-trauma such as licking or chewing when alone, and attempted or active escapes. Action such as attempting to escape can be very dangerous and result in injury. Please note that this applies to any dog that may have separation anxiety, not just “pandemic pets”.

      boston terrier detroys door

      How Can I Prepare My Pets? 

      After months up to a year of your new dog being by your side, how do you ensure they don’t completely destroy your home when you’re at work or continuously cry and howl?  To start, dogs, in general, need both physical and mental stimulation in order to tire themselves out. This is the first step when it comes to making sure your pet will be fine when home alone. Before leaving, take them for a long walk or play fetch in the backyard. Provide them enrichment puzzles or something like a frozen Kong filled with peanut butter to keep them occupied. Crate training also gives your pets a safe space while you are away while also preventing them from destruction or attempts to escape. 

      dog playing with outward hound puzzle

      You will also want to teach your pet how to be on their own and not freak out when you’re not around and to not even need the tools mentioned above. This is called Independence Training which can be done on your own or with the help of a certified trainer. You can find a certified trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers or Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Independence Training allows the pet to be at ease as the owner leaves or goes out, and to rest without having their owner around 24/7, plus hyper-attachment can be reduced as a result of this. When working on Independence Training, you will want to work on letting your dog nap or relax during the day in a certain location.

      You may also want to provide them a treat or chew in this desired location. Once the pet is comfortable, give positive reinforcement and continue on with what you are doing around the house to show they don’t need to be by your side. Depending on the severity of the separation anxiety, this may need to be done at a slower pace. The Downtime exercise lets your dog develop and sustain the habit of spending time alone. Another part of Independence Training is teaching “go to place” which is effective in teaching your pet to go to a desired location on their own without your assistance. 

      duck tolling retreiver on a dog bed under a blanket

      Also, don’t make it a big deal when you leave. This can just add to your dog’s anxiety and cause them to become hyperactive. Dog’s can become accustomed to certain sounds or actions that indicate you are leaving, which can cause distress. Work on making these actions not a big deal by doing things like picking up your keys throughout the day, putting your shoes on and not leaving the house, and continue on with your daily activities. The overall goal is to stop having a connection between departure signals and fear about being alone in the pet’s head. Practicing these strategies for pets that aren’t having separation anxiety will help prevent them from developing it in the future, which is particularly important given that our schedules might be dramatically altered.

      Once your dog is able to stay in a location, work on practice separations by putting them in place and leaving the room for short periods of time. Issue positive reinforcement when your dog stays and remains calm. Eventually, you can start building on longer separation that includes leaving the house. A pet camera is also a useful tool to ensure your dog is staying calm without you.

      Can I Give My Dog Anything Else to Help With Separation Anxiety?

      There are supplements that can help relieve stress and anxiety, both over-the-counter medication/supplements and veterinary prescribed medication. Your vet should be consulted before giving your dog any kind of medication or supplement. You can review product recommendations for stress relief here!

      dog being given a pill for separation anxiety

      Your veterinarian may also be able to give recommendations in cases of separation anxiety ranging from mild to severe.

      Find a board-certified behaviorist near you!