Arthritis Meds for Dogs: A Guide

Symptoms of arthritis in dogs can be controlled with a combination of weight, exercise and medical management.

There are several alternatives available to help maintain joint health and mobility in your dog. Some are natural remedies, others prescription drugs.

The main classes of drugs used for treatment of arthritis include:

  • Chondroprotective (cartilage protecting) agents, such as glucosamine, glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin and pentosan polysulphate. Some are administered as powders added to food, some are capsules, some as injections. Many of these products are incorporated into commercial foods designed to aid joint support.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which interfere with the ongoing cycle of joint inflammation. These will also relieve the pain associated with arthritis. Most of these drugs come in tablet form (many are flavored or chewable to make dosing easier) and are given once or twice daily. However these drugs can have some nasty side effects and require a prescription from a veterinarian.

  • Corticosteroids, which are usually reserved as a treatment of last resort, as they can have severe side effects all over the body, not only the joints. They are extremely potent anti-inflammatories, and require a veterinary prescription.