7 natural ways to relieve your dog’s arthritis with food

poodle eating

7 Ways to help relieve arthritis naturally with diet

dog drinking water

1. Hydration

The easiest thing that you can do is to ensure your dog is well-hydrated. This may mean leaving water out for them to freely drink as they please, which of course will lead to more walks outside.

Water makes up more than 75% of your dog’s cartilage. Cartilage is what sits between the bones so they do not meet and rub against each other causing pain, so you can easily see why they need water for proper function. Dehydration can have a negative impact on your dog’s joints and other bodily functions as well.

Water also gets rid of toxins by flushing them out and can subsequently reduce any inflammation.

If you feel that your dog is not drinking enough water you can add some warm water or bone broth for dogs to their food or water.

2. Foods

There are certain foods like green-lipped mussels and fatty fish that have been shown to alleviate some pain in dogs that suffer from osteoarthritis.

To read more about research-based foods that may help relieve some of the arthritis symptoms in your dog, read our article here about homemade diets.

3. Supplements

There are a wide variety of supplements available to pet owners of dogs with joint issues or that want preemptive joint protection for their fur babies.

To read more about specific supplements, these two articles: how to choose a joint supplement for dogs and our choice for the top joint protective supplements for dogs.

arthritis supplement

4. Probiotics

Probiotics may help arthritis by reducing inflammation as some beneficial bacteria appear to have a positive impact on overall inflammatory responses.

Probiotics help regulate microbiota in the gut microbiome. To learn more about how the gut microbiome affects arthritis in dogs, read this article.

There is a lot more research that needs to be done on the subject of probiotics and osteoarthritis in dogs.

To see our list of some of the best probiotics for dogs read our article here.

5. Herbs

There are herbs like turmeric that have proven to be anti-inflammatory and therefore can help dogs relieve some arthritic symptoms.

There are several herbs that have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects on arthritis. Many can be used topically to help alleviate pain.

However, there are some herbs that are toxic for dogs like chives. You should always consult with your veterinarian prior to starting them on any herbs.

If you decide to give your dog herbs, you should do so sparingly and at the correct doses.

These are some commonly used herbs, to read more about herbs in dogs you can read our article here.

  • Turmeric
  • Basil
  • Rosemary – topical
  • Parsley
  • Comfrey – topical

6. Weight Loss

Arthritis is usually worse in overweight dogs due to the increased pressure on their joints. If your dog is overweight and has arthritis, getting them to lose weight will help tremendously.

7. Decrease inflammation

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease, so anything you can do to decrease inflammation in your dog’s body should positively benefit them.

This also means decreasing the foods that cause inflammation or inflammatory responses in the body, so what you don’t feed your dog is just as important as what you do feed them.

Other natural ways to relieve your dog of arthritis

three dogs running

Physical Therapy

Depending on how far along your dog is in its arthritis journey your veterinarian may recommend physical therapy.

Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around your dog’s joint which may help improve mobility and reduce pain.

What does physical therapy look like for dogs? It is a pretty hands-on technique just like in human medicine. There is a lot of stretching and massaging. Also, the physical therapist will give your dog some light exercises to help improve flexibility and blood flow.


If you have a pool nearby you can take your dog swimming. Swimming for dogs is a great low-impact exercise that won’t put too much pressure on their joints and helps to increase oxygen and blood flow to affected areas.

If you decide to pursue physical therapy with your dog, the physical therapist may also recommend hydrotherapy as they may have hydrotherapy tanks in their offices.

Hydrotherapy can also help with weight loss since it is a low-impact exercise.

Platelet-Rich Plasma

Platelet-rich plasma or PRP helps arthritis by reducing inflammation and pain in the joints through growth factors.

PRP is made by drawing blood from your dog and separating the plasma and platelets from other parts of the blood.


Some owners have noticed tremendous improvements in their dogs with acupuncture. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique used to help your dog’s body heal itself.

Keep in mind that the visits should be regular and consistent and may take a while to show improvement.

Warm Compresses

Warmth can really help with sore joints so applying a warm compress using a heating pad or warm towel can help soothe achy areas.

Ensure that the compress is warm to the touch and not too hot before applying and if you aren’t comfortable with using heat, another option is to use a cool pad for a cooling effect.

Laser or Light Therapy

Cold laser and infrared light have been shown to help with arthritic pain in dogs. It is common for most veterinary offices to have laser therapy in their offices now. 

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy isn’t widely available but is most commonly used in veterinary medicine with osteoarthritis cases. Stem cells are collected from the dog or a donor dog and processed. Once processed, the cells are injected into the joint space to help repair damaged cartilage.

It is not inexpensive but the effects can last a while, sometimes years.

Ultrasound Therapy

While more research is needed there is clinical evidence that ultrasound can stimulate collagen synthesis.


While there are several options for non-natural therapies in dogs to treat arthritis, some dogs may have issues taking certain prescription medications depending on organ function like liver or renal disease. If this is the case, many owners will seek out natural options. Many times, owners notice that the natural options work just as well for their fur baby.



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