Is Your Dog Dealing With Arthritis or Pain? Medications That Can Help

If you bend your dog’s wrist and it pulls back, it could just have a sprain. What you need to determine is whether your dog has arthritis. Arthritis occurs around the joints. And it most often happens where the femur meets the pelvis. There is a ball and socket joint in the dog’s pelvis. 

This joint has a cushion that prevents the bone from rubbing against the bone. Over the years, the joint wears out along with the cushioning. When bones start rubbing against each other, it causes irritation and pain. The body resists this by growing extra bone structures to fix the ball and socket joint.

What ends up happening is an uneven ball and socket joint that gets worse over time. This painful condition is known as arthritis. Hip dysplasia is a common kind of arthritis. Arthritis can also happen to the elbow joint if the dog jumps around a lot. You can give NSAIDs to dogs to improve their condition. 

These can be for acute pain relief or medicines that help their condition over time. Pet medicine shops like PetCareRx are authorized to sell these medicines. However, you might need a vet’s prescription to purchase them, so it is best to check beforehand. 

Let’s look at some of these options.


One of the most common things that vets use today is NSAIDs. It stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If you look at a bottle of aspirin, it will mention “NSAID” on the bottle. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory agent. Adult aspirin is 325 mg, and low-dose aspirin is 81 mg. Many articles on the internet say that you shouldn’t give aspirin to a dog because it will cause the dog to bleed to death or give them an ulcer.

It all depends on the dosage. You need to start with a low dose and see how the dog reacts. Aspirin is a great temporary pain reliever. Your dog may have just pulled a muscle or sprained a wrist. If it can put weight on the limb, it isn’t broken. In such cases, 2 or 3 days of an anti-inflammatory will help your dog.

Baby aspirin is recommended for small and medium-sized dogs. A rough dosage estimate is 5 to 10 mg per pound twice a day. If the dog does not react adversely, you can continue the treatment for a couple of days and see if the dog gets better. It is also helpful for post-surgery pain. However, if you see the vet after a couple of days, remember to mention it so that they do not repeat the treatment.

Fish Oil

Fish oil works by decreasing inflammation. EPA works through the cyclooxygenase into a healthy prostaglandin which is anti-inflammatory. If more of that is made, it protects the cells with anti-inflammatory properties. Apart from reducing the amount of inflammation from the wear and tear of the joints, it is also good for the skin. The antioxidants in fish oil also have anti-cancer properties.

One pill is recommended for a small dog 3 to 4 times a week. If you have a bigger dog, like a Labrador retriever, you can give it 2 or 3 pills, 3 to 4 times a week. On the other hand, Medium-sized dogs can take 1 to 2 pills 3 or 4 times a week. Remember not to give them fish oil every day. It is recommended 3 to 4 times a week, so every alternate day is a good idea.


It is a steroid, so it’s not NSAID. Veterinarians will resort to this drug when the anti-inflammatory drugs mentioned before don’t work. It is often used for advanced arthritis or painful arthritis and is very effective when used judiciously.

A good way to use it is to pulse the drug. Pulsing is when you give the drug to the dog for a week and then stop for a week. Prednisone gets a bad rap for its side effects. But remember that every drug has a side effect, including fish oil and NSAIDs.

Things Not To Do

Never use ibuprofen on dogs. Although this article is not about cats, it needs to be mentioned that you should never use general NSAIDs on them. They react very negatively. The only thing vets use is a special feline NSAID, and that too, only post-surgery.

These are some medications that you can use if your dog is dealing with temporary pain or heightened arthritis. Remember that low dosage and careful monitoring are the keys.

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