Painkiller for Arthritic Dog

by Jennie
(London, England)

Reader Question


I have a 7 year old GSD bitch weighing in at 33.6kgs. She went for a vet check last week and they confirmed that she has some arthritis in her rear legs and a neurological deficit in the rear as well. Today, she has been limping a bit and seems stiff in the rear and I was wondering what (if anything) could I get her to ease the discomfort.


Veterinarian Dog Pain Killer Suggestion

The most commonly used drugs for canine arthritis are the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). The best NSAIDs for dogs are the ones that have been designed especially for them (e.g., carprofen, etodolac, firocoxib). These do require a prescription, so talk to your veterinarian. Generics are available for some of these drugs so using them does not have to cost a lot of money.

Don’t be tempted to give your dog an over-the-counter NSAID (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen). Dogs are very sensitive to the side effects of NSAIDS, like gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding, and using a human product or even the aspirin that is advertised for dogs can be quite dangerous.

If you want to try something over-the-counter, consider a nutritional supplement that contains glucosamine and some of the other ingredients that have been shown to improve joint health (e.g., chondroitin sulfate, MSM, ASU, omega 3 fatty acids). Many different brands are available. I often recommend , or .

If you try one and after several weeks don’t like the results, there is no harm in switching to a different company’s product. You can use these nutritional supplements in conjunction with an .


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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