Q. Dear Terry, “My six-year-old German Shepherd is having some arthritis issues. She has a lot of energy but seems to get more sore after her usual activities. I don’t know where to start and am hoping you have some ideas. What are some dog-friendly options for arthritis?”– Amara R., Baton Rouge, LA
A. Dear Amara, Osteoarthritis is the most common source of chronic pain in dogs. This condition can affect a wide range of dogs, but tends to impact older dogs and certain breeds more frequently. Fortunately, there are some powerful natural medicines to help deal with the pain and inflammation from arthritis that are also safe for dogs.
Two of my favorite botanicals for dealing with osteoarthritis – in people or pets – are curcumin and boswellia. In a three-week study on dogs with arthritis, curcumin was compared to a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Curcumin acted on double the number of inflammatory pathways versus the NSAID. Plus, curcumin was better at reducing a specific marker of inflammation, called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) that is highly associated with arthritis severity. Not to mention that NSAIDs have adverse effects on liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal function.
Boswellia is also highly effective for reducing pain and inflammation. In a study on dogs with arthritis or spinal pain, they were treated with boswellia for six weeks. Within just two weeks, 71% of the dogs had a noticeable reduction in symptoms of lameness, pain, and stiffness while walking.
These ingredients can be found in a beef flavored chewable for a convenient and palatable option. For dogs up to fifteen pounds, I recommend 500 mg per day. For dogs sixteen to sixty pounds, I recommend 500 to 1,000 mg per day. For dogs over sixty pounds, I recommend 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day.
Terry . . . Naturally