Note: We have put together a more comprehensive, update for treating arthritis in dogs, including up-to-date information about medications. You can find that information here: Arthritis Medication for Dogs
Seeing your dog in pain as he or she ages is heartbreaking. When they are no longer able to play with their favorite toys or run around like they once did, they may be suffering from a degenerative condition like arthritis. In order to help your dog live a fulfilling life during their senior years, you may need to administer medication or joint supplements to increase their comfort levels. What types of pain medications for dogs with arthritis are out there? There are several options. We made it easier for you by outlining a short list of types of pain medications for dogs and what you need to know.
1. Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Also known as NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are anti-inflammatory agents. They do not repair cartilage, but give short term pain relief. The pain relief from NSAIDs is almost immediate. Few types of NSAIDs have chondroprotective properties, meaning protectant against the breakdown of cartilage.
Other NSAIDs like aspirin, actually damage cartilage with the dosage necessary for pain relief. For this reason, aspirin is rarely given in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Over-the-counter NSAIDs for pain relief in people should not be given to dogs. Because of potential side effects, dogs who take NSAIDs should have blood work taken to measure liver and kidney levels. Also, NSAIDs should not be taken in combination with steroids.
Oral glucocorticoids (corticosteroids) are primarily given for their anti-inflammatory characteristics. High dosages may destroy cartilage, while low dosages appear to protect cartilage. Glucocorticoids are given intodogs who do not respond well to NSAIDs. Long term therapy with glucocorticoids is usually given to dogs who suffer from immune-meditated arthritis. Steroids are harsh medications with many adverse effects. However, steroids can provide fast relief for many conditions and immune issues.
These compounds appear to change the progress of osteoarthritis by preventing further breakdown of cartilage. Chondroprotectants are most effective when given early on in the course of osteoarthritis. Some of these drugs can be given as a preventative in dogs that are at a higher risk of developing degenerative joint disease, such as those with hip dysplasia. Condroprotectants are safe to give to your dog along with NSAIDs. The combination of the two can reduce inflammation and pain. There are even some prescription diets that include chondroprotectants in their formula.
4. Joint supplements
Joint supplements for dogs work in a similar way as they do for people. They have a unique formula of ingredients that address joint pain and arthritis from several angles. And, their ingredients address inflammation, pain relief, cartilage repair, and tissue repair. Joint supplements can be given in combination with other over-the-counter pain relief if necessary. Their main goal is to treat and address joint problems long term.
Flexpet is an all natural joint supplement for dogs. The combination of ingredients in our FlexPet supplement is designed to nourish the joints, support stronger cartilage, help stimulate the lubricating fluid in the joints, and increase total mobility. Furthermore, it does this without the side effects from pain medications. Also, Flexpet addresses long term recovery and not just short term relief.
Giving your dog pain medication for ailments or adverse conditions may be a great way to help reduce his or her pain levels and increase comfort. By educating yourself on the different types of medications available, you’ll be able to choose to the correct treatment plan for your dog. While arthritis and other aging conditions may affect your dog, they don’t have to have a negative impact on his quality of life.