- Chronic inflammation is a serious health condition — Chronically inflamed body parts tend to deteriorate over time, leaving them more susceptible to serious illness.
- Traditional anti-inflammatory meds have side effects — Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can be a safe way to treat inflammation, but they may cause health complications in sensitive dogs.
- Many natural anti-inflammatories can help your pet — In many cases, inflammation can be managed holistically with the help of nutrient-rich foods, herbs, and supplements.
Your pet’s inflammation might not seem like the most pressing health issue, but it can get serious if left untreated. Under normal conditions, inflammation indicates an immune response to illness and injury — the body is working to fight infection and clean up damaged tissues or toxins. But when inflammation persists for a long time, it may indicate something more pressing. This condition, known as chronic inflammation, can lead to several health complications that impact your dog’s quality of life.
Vets may prescribe NSAIDs to limit symptoms if they become severe enough. However, many of these medications link to adverse side effects. If you’re looking to avoid the potential downsides of NSAIDs, we have several holistic options for reducing inflammation and relieving your dog’s pain.
What conditions are linked to inflammation in dogs?
Inflammation typically triggers redness, swelling, and pain when it’s affecting certain parts of the body, but it’s also been linked to longer-lasting conditions. These include:
- Allergies. When allergens react with the mast cells in a dog’s bloodstream, they release potent chemicals called histamines that cause local inflammation in the form of redness, swelling, and itching. About 15% of dogs with allergies develop inflammation inside their noses that may eventually lead to asthma.
- Chronic pain. Chronic pain has several causes but commonly falls into one of three groups: neurological, inflammatory, or myofascial (muscular).
- Diabetes. Chronic or repeated inflammation of the pancreas (also known as pancreatitis) causes extensive damage to the organ and can eventually result in diabetes.
- Periodontal disease. This infection causes inflammation in the tissues surrounding the teeth. It’s known as gingivitis in its early stages, but if left untreated, it can spread deeper into the tooth socket and destroy the bone.
- Arthritis. When a dog has arthritis, the cartilage in its joints begins to thin over time, leading to fluid buildup and bony outgrowth formations around the joints. The deteriorating cartilage triggers inflammation and pain, ultimately affecting how well the joints are able to function.
- Hip dysplasia. This chronic condition occurs when a dog’s femur bone doesn’t fit neatly into the hip socket. This misalignment causes pain and inflammation and often leads to the development of osteoarthritis. It’s most common in larger breeds and older dogs.
- Enteritis. Infection, parasites, or allergies cause inflammation of the small intestine. An obstruction in the digestive tract can also trigger enteritis, which most commonly leads to diarrhea and stomach problems.
- Cancer. Chronic inflammation has been cited as a risk factor for several types of cancer in dogs.
- Kidney failure. Glomerulonephritis, also known as glomerular nephritis (GN), is a disease that occurs when the blood filters in a dog’s kidneys become inflamed. Certain bacterial infections like E. coli are also linked to inflammation and failure of the kidneys.
👉Diseases that end in -itis are all diseases linked to inflammation.
Risks associated with anti-inflammatory medications
NSAIDs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have generally proven to be safe and effective ways to manage a dog’s pain when used according to their labels. Still, there are risks to consider. Many side effects reported to the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine come from NSAIDs, which may be detrimental to older dogs and dogs with pre-existing medical conditions. Common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and lethargy.
Veterinary NSAIDs are sometimes associated with gastrointestinal ulcers and an increased chance of liver and kidney toxicity. NSAID toxicity can be dangerous, even fatal if left unchecked, so consult a veterinarian before giving your dog any anti-inflammatory medication.
16 natural anti-inflammatories for dogs
If your dog’s symptoms are mild — or you’re uncomfortable with the possible side effects of NSAIDs — treating their inflammation could be as easy as making a few lifestyle changes. You could adjust your dog’s diet, giving them foods, herbs, and natural supplements rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients.
These 16 natural anti-inflammatory treatments are safe and effective ways to manage your dog’s pain and discomfort. However, they aren’t regulated by the FDA, so consult your vet before trying them.
This microscopic alga contains tons of beneficial nutrients for both humans and dogs. Aside from its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also great for overall immune system health, gastrointestinal tract health, alleviating allergies, and helping detoxify the kidneys and the liver. You can find spirulina at most grocery stores — look for a reputable product screened to ensure the algae is grown under the right conditions.
This herb is rich in the cell-growth stimulator allantoin, which fights external inflammation by promoting the growth of new cells and keeping skin healthy. Comfrey is highly effective when used as a topical ointment, but make sure your dog doesn’t lick it off — oral ingestion can cause liver damage.
There’s not a lot of conclusive research available on this one, but many pet parents swear by turmeric’s joint support, improved digestive and metabolic function, allergy relief, antioxidant properties, antibacterial properties, and overall immune support. It’s commonly available as an oral supplement.
4. Ceylon cinnamon
Different from most supermarket cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon is available online and is safe for dogs to eat. The more common cassia cinnamon is only OK to give to your dog in small quantities because it contains coumarin. Mix ½ a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon into a tablespoon of honey and feed it to your dog daily to help manage joint pain and reduce swelling.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that dogs (and humans) get from foods like fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and a few fortified commercial pet foods. ZipZyme™ Omegais one such food made from ocean algae, a natural, safe, plant-based source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a particular type of omega-3.
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Cannabidiol (CBD), is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. CBD doesn’t possess the same psychoactive compounds found in marijuana, and in recent years it’s become a popular way for both humans and dogs to manage pain, anxiety, and even cancer treatment symptoms. CBD products for dogs come in several different forms nowadays, including capsules, oils, treats, and salves.
7. Arnica (Arnica montana)
Arnica plant extract is another way to treat external inflammation and associated pain. It works best as a topical cream, but it should never be used on open wounds, as it dilates the blood vessels and can lead to further bleeding. In small traces, the arnica plant can be part of an oral homeopathic remedy — be careful with the dosage, as the herb can be toxic to dogs when ingested whole.
You may already know about ginger’s ability to relieve nausea and gas in dogs, but it’s also an effective way to treat arthritis pain. Ginger inhibits the body’s production of inflammation-causing compounds called leukotrienes. Ginger can even help promote circulation in older dogs, but it should always be used cautiously, as it also causes the blood to thin. Never give your dog ginger before a surgical procedure or if they have diabetes and/or heart problems.
9. Devil’s claw root
Like ginger, this African plant treats dogs experiencing pain and inflammation related to arthritis. Devil’s claw root gets its anti-inflammatory properties from its main ingredient, a compound known as harpagoside. Since devil’s claw root may give your dog a negative reaction if mixed with conventional anti-inflammatory medications, it should only ever be administered orally under vet supervision.
Yucca is a root containing steroidal saponins, which stimulate the production of corticosteroids in the body to reduce pain and inflammation. Yucca is a natural appetite stimulant in dogs and a way to cut down unpleasant odors in their urine and feces. If your dog suffers from arthritis, try giving them a combination of yucca and a couple of the other roots on this list. Avoid giving yucca root to your dog by itself, as it can upset their gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Better known as candy, licorice is a little-recognized member of the pea family. Its roots contain a compound called glycyrrhizin, which is structurally similar to the body’s naturally occurring corticosteroids and works similarly to reduce inflammation and pain. Licorice is available for dogs in both oral and topical forms, but it shouldn’t be taken long —prolonged exposure to glycyrrhizin can lead to high blood pressure and potassium deficiency.
Some vets recommend daily alfalfa supplements to treat long-term joint pain in dogs with arthritis, especially older dogs. Try sprinkling the herb over your dog’s food or give it to them as an herbal tea.
Meadowsweet is another herb containing anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, and analgesic properties, making it a great natural treatment for dogs suffering from arthritis. It’s taken orally and works well when combined with other herbs like boswellia.
This herb may promote bone healing and alleviate connective tissue injuries in dogs. Because of these benefits, horsetail is especially good for dogs experiencing post-surgical trauma. It can also provide arthritis relief when combined with comfrey or other joint health supplements.
Another kitchen classic, cayenne’s high capsaicin content provides pain relief in dogs and humans alike. It’s usually taken orally but also works as a topical treatment for external inflammation. Just remember to use small amounts of cayenne when feeding it to your dog (a pinch works just fine) to avoid upsetting their stomach.
14. Green-lipped mussel
These shellfish pack a powerful pain-reducing punch for dogs with arthritis. Green-lipped mussels (GLM) contain enzymes, vitamins, and antioxidants that reduce inflammation and pain in arthritic joints. It can also limit further cartilage damage, support cartilage regeneration, and reduce the gastrointestinal irritation associated with long-term NSAID use. Give it to your dog orally in chews, powder, or capsules — as long as they don’t have a shellfish allergy.
The importance of anti-inflammatory diets
We can’t stress this enough: an anti-inflammatory diet can work wonders for your dog’s chronic inflammation. Foods packed with anti-inflammatory agents not only reduce the severity of symptoms, they also work to prevent inflammation-based illnesses like heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
On the flip side, there are also a lot of foods out there that promote inflammation. Avoid processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, ham, and sausage, as well as cheese, egg yolk, refined grains, potatoes, vegetable oils, and margarine. While all of these foods aren’t necessarily harmful to healthy dogs, they should be kept to a minimum when preparing homemade dog food.
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Frequently asked questions
What is a good anti-inflammatory for a dog?
While NSAIDs and other traditional medications can be safe and effective for treating inflammation in healthy dogs, they can also cause adverse effects in older dogs and dogs with pre-existing medical conditions. In cases like these, inflammation is better managed with a combination of anti-inflammatory foods, herbs, and supplements.
What causes inflammation in dogs?
On its own, inflammation is a normal part of a healthy dog’s immune system. However, some injuries and illnesses can trigger chronic inflammation, which can cause serious health problems for your dog over time.
Are NSAIDs safe for dogs?
NSAIDs are generally safe to give to dogs under vet supervision, but they’re also linked to adverse side effects. Never start your dog on NSAIDs without consulting your vet.
What can you give a dog for joint pain?
Veterinarians commonly prescribe NSAIDs to dogs experiencing joint pain, but there are also great joint supplements that can help reduce the pain brought on by inflammatory conditions. The ingredients in these doggy supplements promote ligament health and provide building blocks for cartilage regeneration to ease your dog’s pain and help get them back on their feet.
How can I treat my dogs inflammation naturally? ›
- Turmeric. Turmeric is known as an herbal anti-inflammatory for dogs, and for good reason. ...
- Polyphenols. ...
- Probiotics / Prebiotics. ...
- Essential Omega Fatty Acids. ...
- Exercise and Weight Management. ...
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin. ...
- CBD oil.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to control pain and inflammation in dogs. NSAIDs help many dogs lead more comfortable lives, but these drugs should be used carefully because they all can cause side effects, some of which can be serious.What is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory? ›
Omega-3 fatty acids , which are abundant in fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, are among the most potent anti-inflammatory supplements.What natural pain relief can I give my dog? ›
- Hot and Cold Therapy.
- Devil's Claw.
- CBD Oil.
- Fish Oil.
Relieves Arthritis and Joint Pain from Inflammation: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar is known to help relieve joint pain caused by inflammation which can be very common in older dogs.Is there an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory Can I give my dog? ›
No over-the-counter NSAIDs for dogs and cats are FDA-approved. Any NSAID marketed for dogs or cats online or in a pet store without the need for a prescription from a veterinarian is an unapproved animal drug, meaning FDA has not reviewed information about the drug.What is the safest anti-inflammatory for dogs? ›
- Rimadyl (active ingredient: carprofen)
- Deramaxx (active ingredient: deracoxib)
- Previcox (active ingredient: firocoxib)
- Metacam (active ingredient: meloxicam)
- Galliprant (active ingredient: grapiprant)
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, turmeric is often given to dogs with common joint conditions that are caused by inflammation. This includes arthritis in dogs, which affects thousands of pets in the UK and causes stiffness, discomfort and even pain.What can I give my dog for joint pain and inflammation? ›
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) play a major role in controlling dog joint pain and inflammation. Prescription medications such Galliprant, Carprofen, and Meloxicam are the safest options for controlling pain and inflammation compared to over-the-counter, non-veterinary products.How can I reverse inflammation naturally? ›
- Load up on anti-inflammatory foods. ...
- Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods. ...
- Control blood sugar. ...
- 4. Make time to exercise. ...
- Lose weight. ...
- Manage stress.
What natural product reduces inflammation? ›
- Curcumin. Curcumin is a compound found in the spice turmeric, which is commonly used in Indian cuisine and known for its bright yellow hue. ...
- Fish oil. ...
- Ginger. ...
- Resveratrol. ...
- Spirulina. ...
- Vitamin D. ...
- Bromelain. ...
- Green tea extract.
Turmeric is safe for dogs in small doses, and it may have a positive impact. One study has shown curcumin, a frequently studied phytonutrient found in turmeric, may support healthy joint mobility and comfort.What natural remedy can I give my dog for arthritis? ›
Turmeric – As a type of spice rich in antioxidants, turmeric can help reduce inflammation and damage to your dog's joints. The recommended intake is 0.5-1 teaspoon of turmeric powder per day or about 15-20 mg based on your pet's body weight. Comfrey – Comfrey has pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.Can I give my dog Benadryl for pain? ›
If the source of your dog's pain is an allergic reaction, there's one human-grade drug that can be administered with confidence: Benadryl. Veterinarians regularly give dogs a dose of this antihistamine when experiencing a minor allergic reaction.Should you put coconut oil on your dog? ›
Coconut oil can add moisture to your dog's skin and prevent flaking. It also helps freshen up a dog's coat if used with a light touch. To use it topically, simply rub a very small amount onto your hands and then gently pat the coat, run your fingers through the fur, and massage a little down onto the skin.How much apple cider vinegar do I put in my dogs water? ›
The simplest way to offer your dog apple cider vinegar is to add some to his water bowl. Use no more than one tablespoon per 50 pounds of bodyweight and limit your use to twice a week.Can I spray apple cider vinegar and water on my dog? ›
Apple Cider Vinegar For Dog Skin Allergies
ACV can help relieve itchy skin and rashes caused by yeast and poison ivy. The best way to apply it is by making a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Apply it directly onto itchy spots. Caution: Do NOT put it on open wounds.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Benadryl can help to reduce the swelling of the dog's airways, making it easier for them to breathe. In addition, the medication can also help to relieve itchiness by inhibiting the production of histamines.How do you reduce swelling and inflammation in dogs? ›
- Turmeric. Turmeric is one of the best foods that can help joint discomfortand mobility in dogs. ...
- Glucosamine. ...
- Massage and Accupressure. ...
- Yucca. ...
- Essential Fatty Acids. ...
- CBD Oil and Hemp Oil. ...
- Weight Management. ...
- Physical Therapy.
How Much Turmeric For Dogs? The recommended dose of turmeric for dogs is 15mg–20mg per pound of body weight per day, or more simply put, 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per day for every 10 pounds of body weight. This is a rough starting point, but you can increase the amount from there, up to about a Tbsp for larger dogs.
How long does it take for turmeric to help with inflammation in dogs? ›
If your dog is suffering from arthritis or other sources of inflamed joints, turmeric powder added to food may help to provide pain relief in as little as 2-3 days. Remember, noticeable relief may take longer for chronic pain, and it's important to use pure turmeric without chemical additives.What does cinnamon do for dogs? ›
Cinnamon has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon is beneficial to dogs who suffer from chronic yeast infections. It's also good for your dog's joints and can help alleviate joint pain and muscle soreness.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, help reduce swelling, stiffness, and joint pain in humans, and they can do the same for your dog. They can bring relief to a dog with arthritis or one who's just had surgery.How can I ease my dogs joint pain at home? ›
Provide thick bedding, such as memory foam or an orthopedic pad. Heated dog beds or dog-specific heating pads can also help with joint pain (the temperature should be warm but not hot to the touch). Make sure your dog's bed is large enough for them to stretch out if they need to relieve pressure on sore joints.What is the best thing to give an older dog for arthritis? ›
If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, your veterinarian can recommend nutraceuticals such as fish oil, glucosamine, MSM, MicroLactin (Duralactin), and herbal supplements, or prescribe daily pain medication to keep her comfortable.What is the number 1 inflammatory food? ›
- Red meat and processed meats, including bacon, hot dogs, lunch meats and cured meats.
- Refined grains, including white bread, white rice, pasta and breakfast cereals.
- Snack foods, including chips, cookies, crackers and pastries.
- Sodas and other sweetened drinks.
To reduce inflammation fast, limit your intake of sugar and processed foods. Perhaps, more importantly, though, pursue exercise, stress-reducing behaviors, a good night's sleep, and a diet full of colorful, anti-inflammatory foods.What neutralizes inflammation? ›
- Fish Oil.
- Vitamin D.
- Vitamin C.
- Green Tea Extract.
Orange, tomato, pineapple and carrot juices are all high in the antioxidant, vitamin C, which can neutralize free radicals that lead to inflammation. Tart cherry juice has been shown to protect against gout flares and reduce OA symptoms.Is lemon water an anti-inflammatory? ›
Lemon water has several health benefits thanks to its high vitamin C concentration, flavonoid content, and acidity. Both flavonoids and vitamin C are strong antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects, therefore they may protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation in the body.
What is the most anti-inflammatory herb? ›
Fenugreek is one of the best anti-inflammatory herbs because of its many benefits for digestive health and cardiovascular health. It can reduce inflammation of the stomach and has been shown to improve inflammatory issues, like mouth ulcers, bronchitis, chronic coughs and metabolic disorders.What is the closest thing to prednisone over the counter? ›
Other alternatives to prednisone
Common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis include ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac gel.
Pumpkin is a natural source of fibre. Cooked and mashed pumpkin with no added salt can help settle down an upset stomach , improve digestion, reduce anal gland problems, prevent hairball build up and help dogs and cats with both constipation and diarrhoea.Are blueberries good for dogs? ›
Yes, dogs can eat blueberries. Blueberries are a great source of , minerals, antioxidants, and more. This fruit is a healthy snack for both large and small dogs, and most pups love them.Is Ginger OK for dogs? ›
Many herbs and spices are harmful to our pets, but the good news is that yes, ginger, in small amounts, is safe for dogs and might even be good for them. Numerous studies have shown ginger's curative effects on humans.What is the golden herb for joint pain? ›
Turmeric. A golden spice that's long been used to lend color and flavor to foods, turmeric also has been used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for a variety of conditions, including arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders.What spices are anti-inflammatory for dogs? ›
- Turmeric. Perhaps the best-known and most widely used medicinal herb to treat joint pain and inflammation is turmeric. ...
- Boswellia serrata. ...
- Cinnamon. ...
Pupper Calming Chews. PetHonesty Hemp Mobility Chicken Flavored Soft Chew Joint Supplement for Senior Dogs. VetClassics Pain Plus Extra Strength Soft Chews Dog Supplement. NaturVet Senior Wellness Aches & Discomfort Plus Glucosamine Dog Supplement.How much Benadryl can I give my dog for inflammation? ›
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the standard dose for Benadryl is 2-4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, or 0.9-1.8 milligrams (mg) of Benadryl per pound. Therefore, a simple and practical dose is 1 mg of Benadryl per pound of your dog's weight, given 2-3 times a day.
Many pain medications considered safe for people can be toxic or even fatal for dogs. Never give your dog aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or any other medication designed for humans without first consulting your vet.
Can I give my dog gabapentin for pain? ›
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and analgesic drug that is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat seizures, pain, and anxiety in dogs.What causes high inflammation in dogs? ›
Genetics, metabolic diseases, parasites, food allergies, environmental stress, and bacterial overgrowth are all potential causes of chronic inflammation. But when the digestive system is affected, it makes sense to look closely at both diet and the gut microbiome.Does coconut oil help inflammation in dogs? ›
Coconut oil works as an anti-inflammatory and antifungal. Veterinarians agree that certain amounts added to your dog's diet are healthy and safe. If you're thinking about adding coconut oil to your dog's diet, know the benefits and side effects before you do.What foods cause inflammation in dogs? ›
Many processed commercial dog foods contain grains such as wheat, rice, soy, and spelt, which can cause your dog's blood sugar levels to fluctuate and increase painful swelling. Limiting the grains in your dog's diet can decrease their inflammation.Can I give my dog Benadryl for inflammation? ›
If your dog is experiencing any of the allergy symptoms below, Benadryl can surely help with your dog's health: Hives. Itchy skin. Facial swelling and inflammation.What is the safest anti-inflammatory medication for dogs? ›
- Rimadyl (active ingredient: carprofen)
- Deramaxx (active ingredient: deracoxib)
- Previcox (active ingredient: firocoxib)
- Metacam (active ingredient: meloxicam)
- Galliprant (active ingredient: grapiprant)
Acute inflammation, such as you get after an injury or surgery, will be most painful in the first three days. It may persist in for up to a week depending on the severity and health of the animal.How do you give turmeric to dogs? ›
Turmeric is a yellow, earthy spice that offers numerous health benefits for people. It may also have benefits for dogs because of its anti-inflammatory effects. Give only 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric paste to a dog per 10 pounds of body weight. You can give turmeric to your dog in paste form or mixed into treats.Can dogs lick coconut oil? ›
You can let your dog lick the coconut oil straight off of your spoon – some dogs love the taste! If he isn't too fond of the taste, you can always mix the oil into his food. When shopping for coconut oil make sure to look for unrefined or virgin coconut oil.Does olive oil reduce inflammation in dogs? ›
Olive Oil for a Healthy Coat
Studies have shown that olive and other oils, including sunflower and safflower, can help reduce inflammation in dogs and ease the itching associated with allergies, says Dr. Christopher Reeder, a board-certified dermatologist at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Franklin, Tennessee.
Should I rub coconut oil on my dog? ›
Coconut oil can add moisture to your dog's skin and prevent flaking. It also helps freshen up a dog's coat if used with a light touch. To use it topically, simply rub a very small amount onto your hands and then gently pat the coat, run your fingers through the fur, and massage a little down onto the skin.Are bananas anti-inflammatory for dogs? ›
Bananas contain Vitamin C, which fights against inflammation, arthritis, infections, kennel cough, and glaucoma. Also, Vitamin C helps your dog to recover from injuries faster.Does Benadryl stop pain in dogs? ›
Benadryl doesn't relieve dog pain, so you should talk to your vet about other treatment options.What can I give my senior dog for joint pain? ›
If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, your veterinarian can recommend nutraceuticals such as fish oil, glucosamine, MSM, MicroLactin (Duralactin), and herbal supplements, or prescribe daily pain medication to keep her comfortable.Why is my dog licking his paws? ›
As with other dog behaviors, there can be several reasons that lead dogs to lick or chew their paws. These include injuries; skin problems; environmental, parasite, or food allergies; and boredom or anxiety.