Treating arthritis – tips from a holistic vet

Holistic veterinary medicine can be effective in treating arthritis in dogs and cats. Here’s a few tips on promoting his joint health through diet and lifestyle.

White Willow Bark is excellent at reducing inflammation, which makes it a great option for dogs and cats suffering from arthritis. But the first step for every ailment (even little niggling ones like stool eating, hairball vomiting, hip dysplasia or early arthritis) is to view it as a clue of a vibrational imbalance. Since most animals who are not yet getting holistic treatments have some of these Early Warning Signs of Internal Imbalance, everyone can begin with these steps.

1. Feed a quality diet

First, as you are doing, feed the best food you can afford. Of course, a fresh food diet is ideal. In some cases, arthritis can be resolved merely by switching your pet off commercial foods. Others need fine tuning of the diet. Reading books and articles on Chinese medicine food therapy can help you individualize his diet, while books on holistic care for animals and veterinarians trained in using food as medicine can help you regain overall health.

2. Reduce toxin exposure

Second, eliminate toxins in your pets’ lives – in the home, from EMF, from vaccines (only Rabies to comply with the laws, in most places) and flea and tick products. These can weaken the immune system and actually cause certain symptoms.

3. Feed supplements

Thirdly, begin to find supplements to build health. You can try one supplement at a time and evaluate its benefit. Then add in a different supplements as need or as recommended by your vet.

4. Use holistic healing

Finally, begin to use one of the many healing modalities on your pet, or work with professionals so that the current symptoms resolve in a way to prevent future problems. All treatments (drugs or holistic) can deeply cure, but sometimes they only help temporarily. Other times, they eliminate the current symptom while causing more serious ailments.

  • One of the best treatments to relieve the arthritic pain is Reiki, which is totally safe. One problem with giving a “pain killer” like Medicam is they have no pain, so then over-do. Even some of the herbal treatments could have that effect, but Reiki will be healing the tissue along with removing the pain. Also totally safe are flower essences, like readily available Rescue Remedy. Put 4 drops in an ounce of water and give a few drops as often as needed for pain relief. Many companies make totally safe arthritis combination formulas (Spirit Essences, Green Hope Farms, Anaflora and more).
  • Essential supplements for arthritis include Vitamin C (500 mg daily for your dog), Fish oil supplements and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements.
  • White Willow has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects so it is used for pain of arthritis. To get the same effect as aspirin (which was original made from White Willow) you would need huge doses. Most capsules are 400 mg and your dog could have 2 – 4 per day. Do not give it along with any other NSAID.
  • They also recommend topical Cayenne, (Wynn and Schoen – complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine). Tilford’s Herbs for Pets devotes several pages to arthritis, including many approaches to generally heal the tissues rather than merely stopping the pain. While yucca, licorice, alfalfa and willow bark are mentioned for pain, he prefers the totally safe alfalfa to relieve arthritic pain. It can be used safely in the food as a daily supplement, and increased during increased pain. Dosage for your dog would be ¼ to ½ teaspoons of the powdered alfalfa.


Veterinarian Dr. Christina Chambreau graduated from the University of Georgia Veterinary College in 1980. She is a founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, was on the faculty of the National Center for Homeopathic Summer School and has been the holistic modality adjunct faculty liaison for the Maryland Veterinary Technician Program. Dr. Chambreau is author of Healthy Animal’s Journal, co-author of the Homeopathic Repertory: A Tutorial, and former Associate Editor of IVC Journal.