As a dog parent, it hurts to see your dog in pain.
And if you can, you’d take the aches away from them…
But the best you can do is be there and help relieve it.
Good thing I have many natural ways for you to pull this off.
Continue reading to discover:
- Which is best for your aching pooch: heat or cold therapy.
- Why exercise is still essential in canines despite feeling pain.
- 37 natural ways to relieve pain in dogs (#9 is simple yet a life changer).
- And many more…
Table of contents
- 37 natural ways to relieve pain in dogs
- #1: Medical massage
- #2: Cold therapy
- #3: Heat therapy
- #4: Glucosamine
- #5: Chondroitin
- #6: Weight management
- #7: Exercise
- #8: Acupuncture
- #9: Sunlight
- #10: Swimming
- #11: Underwater treadmill therapy
- #12: Treadmill therapy
- #13: Laser therapy
- #14: Fish oil
- #15: Ginger
- #16: CBD oils
- #17: Green-lipped mussel supplements
- #18: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
- #19: Boswellia serrata (Frankincense)
- #20: Cayenne pepper
- #21: Turmeric
- #22: Comfrey
- #23: Horsetail tincture
- #24: Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF)
- #25: Orthopedic dog beds
- #26: Use ramps
- #27: Passive range of motion
- #28: Veterinary spinal manipulative therapy
- #29: Neuromuscular stimulation
- #30: Therapeutic ultrasound
- #31: Acupressure
- #32: Hawthorn
- #33: Cinnamon
- #34: Yucca
- #35: Alfalfa
- #36: Prolotherapy
- #37: Licorice root
37 natural ways to relieve pain in dogs
#1: Medical massage
According to VCA Hospitals:
Massage therapy uses hand movements to relieve muscle tension.
It also improves your canine’s lymphatic circulation.
As well as ease the build-up of excess fluids in the body.
Most of all, it can aid in pain relief.
In this research:
Vets from the UK tested the efficacy of massage therapy in 527 dogs affected by chronic pain.
And results show that 95.5% of the subjects responded well to the treatment.
Learn more: 9 Ways To Massage A Dog With Arthritis (How-to)
#2: Cold therapy
This is also called cryotherapy.
And vets say it relieves your dog’s pain by:
- Reducing swelling.
- Lessening inflammation.
- Minimizing muscle damage.
- Decreasing muscle spasms.
Ultimately, these qualities contribute to faster healing of injuries.
Moreover, vets use this for post-operative care.
Doctors only recommend this treatment within 48 to 72 hours of acute injuries.
That stands for sudden fractures or trauma.
#3: Heat therapy
High temperature effectively reduces muscle stiffness and spasms.
As warmth promotes the dilation of blood vessels.
Which helps fresh blood flow to the tissues…
All in all, this stimulates a faster healing process in painful injuries.
Furthermore, this is the next step to cold therapy.
So, you must apply it on your dog 72 hours after they get hurt.
And it works best for cases of chronic pain.
Vets usually prescribe steroid medications (NSAIDs) to treat osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for all pups.
With that, doctors recommend glucosamine instead.
It’s a natural compound found in bone cartilage.
Which is the spongy and moist material between the joints.
Thus acting like a cushion between the bones.
So when those cartilages are damaged…
Your canine’s bones rub against each other.
And that leads to inflammation in the area and a lot of pain.
But once Fido takes over-the-counter supplements of glucosamine…
They boost the repair of damaged cartilage. Which leads to lesser aches in the joints.
Note: Always consult your canine’s veterinarian before using supplements. Without a doctor’s approval, this could lead to harmful effects on your dog’s health.
This is often used with glucosamine.
As chondroitin is also found in the cartilage.
According to VCA Hospitals, it promotes water retention and elasticity in the area.
With it, the cartilage can work as a shock absorber.
So by using chondroitin supplements…
You can help restore the cartilage in your dog’s affected joints.
Which leads to reduced pain.
#6: Weight management
When your pup weighs more than their appropriate mass…
Their bones and joints need to work harder to support that weight.
Compared to when they’re perfectly fit…
Your pup’s body will carry itself with less effort.
“How do I know my dog’s recommended weight?”
Since canines come in about 300 breeds…
There’s no exact weight for all of them.
Instead, I recommend you consult with their veterinarian.
They can compute your pup’s suggested body mass index (BMI).
Which will depend on your canine’s:
- Health status.
After getting your pup’s endorsed BMI…
Also ask the vet to compute your dog’s daily calorie needs.
That can guide you in feeding them the recommended daily amount.
With it, Fido can stay in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t underestimate the power of routinely exercising your dog…
Not only will it help along the lines of maintaining a proper weight…
It’ll also assist them in developing stronger muscles.
In the long run, your pup will have improved tendons and ligament structures.
Which will better support the body load that their joints have to carry.
That said, you need to exercise your pooch for at least 30 minutes daily.
Although that won’t prevent future aches in your pup…
It can lessen the severity of pain that your pupper will experience.
As stated by PetMD, this is a type of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM).
And it involves using tiny needles to activate the nervous system.
Those pins are inserted into sites of nerve bundles and blood vessels.
Doing that encourages the release of pain-relieving hormones.
Check your local clinics to see if there are specialists that offer this.
But to help you out further…
Here are links for veterinarian-trained acupuncture services:
- CuraCore Vet.
- Chi University Animal Hospital.
- IVAS: International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
- AAVA: American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture.
This surprises dog parents when I suggest it to them.
But spending some leisurely time under the sun can help relieve pain in dogs.
Doing so stimulates the production of vitamin D in their system.
According to DVM360, that regulates calcium and phosphorus levels in Fido’s body.
And those minerals are important in supporting the bones.
So, let your canine lay in the sun for at least 20 minutes a day.
However, AKC says bigger dogs may need up to 40 minutes of sun exposure daily.
Then, for puppies, limit it to only 15 minutes per day.
However, there are no reports of an ideal time to do this.
With that, you can bring your pooch out in the morning or afternoon.
But watch out for the weather temperature regardless of the time.
Vets suggest dogs only spend time outdoors with temperature below 89.6°F (32°C).
Continue reading: 13 Reasons Why Dogs Lay In The Sun + 5 Dangers & 5 Tips
This activity is considered part of hydrotherapy in dogs.
Which is the therapeutic use of water to improve health.
Exercising in water strengthens and conditions your canine’s muscles.
With that, it builds endurance in your dog’s joints without stressing them.
Ultimately, swimming can help improve Fido’s response to pain.
Note: Not all canines are swimmers. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers are born to paddle. While smaller pups like Dachshunds don’t get along with deep waters. With that, vets recommend using a dog life jacket for all pooches.
#11: Underwater treadmill therapy
This is used primarily in canines recovering from an injury or surgery.
Since they’re not immediately ready to exercise on land…
Vets recommend underwater treadmill therapy to keep them active.
With that, your healing pooch gets the exercise they need…
All without putting them in more pain.
Moreover, DVM360 says this therapy has many parameters to consider.
But 1 that directly affects your dog’s pain response is water temperature.
Here’s how they differ:
|Temperature||Physiologic response in your canine|
|Cold water |
(below 85 F or 29.4 C)
|Reduces your dog’s heart rate. |
Which is ideal for conditioning exercises.
|Warm water |
(86 to 94 F or 30 to 34.4 C)
|Increases blood circulation and flexibility. |
It also promotes muscle relaxation. Which decreases discomfort during the activity.
#12: Treadmill therapy
Running on a treadmill doesn’t always have to be underwater for your pooch.
As your pup can undergo treadmill therapy to heal their injury.
And it can also help relieve the pain they feel from it.
Going through this can also improve their strength and endurance.
However, most fur parents worry about this activity straining their doggo even more.
But to assure you…
There are specific treadmills built for dogs.
And that equipment has a belt to propel your pup forward.
Thus needing less effort for them to walk.
#13: Laser therapy
Did you know that “laser” is an acronym?
AAHA says it stands for:
Light amplification of stimulated emission of radiation.
Moreover, it’s been gaining popularity in the veterinary treatment scene.
As doctors found out that laser therapy can be used similarly to acupuncture.
Since it also helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Plus, laser treatment also facilitates wound healing.
On top of that, it aids in tissue repair by causing:
- Muscle relaxation.
- Endorphin release.
- Vasodilation (increases blood flow).
#14: Fish oil
AKC says this is the best dietary supplement to add to your dog’s diet.
As fish oil has multiple benefits, like relieving Fido’s allergies and joint pain.
Which are all thanks to the good fats or omega-3 fatty acids that it contains.
That said, here’s how much fish oil your pup needs daily:
0.0035 oz (100 mg) per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of your dog’s weight.
However, I still recommend consulting a vet first.
They can suggest the best supplement for your fur baby.
More importantly, they can let you know your pupper’s exact dosage.
VCA Hospitals say ginger is commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting in dogs.
But they also revealed other benefits of ginger like:
- Reducing inflammation.
- Stimulating blood circulation.
- Having antioxidant properties.
And all of those effectively reduce muscle stiffness. Thus promoting the following:
- Decreased pain.
- Muscle relaxation.
- Improved flexibility.
With that, you can give ginger to your pooch as:
- Fresh root.
- Liquid tincture.
Warning: Consult Fido’s vet before giving them ginger supplements. Especially if they’re already taking NSAIDs. Because ginger and NSAIDs have a known risky interaction.
#16: CBD oils
This is from “cannabinoids” derived from the cannabis plant. Which is also known as marijuana.
But for Fido, you must use non-psychoactive CBD.
Because it doesn’t alter your pup’s mental processes to cause hallucinations.
Instead, PetMD says:
CBD shares metabolic pathways similar to anti-inflammatory drugs.
With that, it works as a pain management medication. Specifically for arthritis.
And vets recommend giving CBD oil to your pup through the oral route.
However, the dosage will vary from low to high.
Which will depend on your dog’s exact needs.
So, always consult a veterinarian before using CBD for pain relief in Fido.
But on average, the standard dosage is:
2 to 8 mg per 2.2 lbs of body weight.
#17: Green-lipped mussel supplements
In this research, green-lipped mussels were given to pups with osteoarthritis.
And all of them experienced chronic pain.
But within 8 weeks, the subjects encountered fewer aches.
Plus, they had lesser episodes of locomotion difficulties.
The only catch is that green-lipped mussels are only available in New Zealand.
So your only hope is through supplements that have it as an ingredient.
That said, PetMD reveals the proper dosage of green-lipped mussel supplement:
|Dog size||Daily dosage|
#18: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
Vets found a new promising therapy for inflammatory diseases.
It’s called platelet-rich plasma therapy.
In this treatment, doctors harvest a blood sample from the patient.
Then, platelets are isolated from the blood.
After that, the leftover sample is now called the PRP.
Which contains proteins and platelets.
Once injected into your dog’s body, it can promote faster and more natural healing.
Thus shortening your pup’s pain.
#19: Boswellia serrata (Frankincense)
This is also known as frankincense.
Which is part of religious and cultural rituals in India.
But other than that, this study discovered:
Boswellia serrata has anti-inflammatory properties.
Researchers found out by giving it to canines with chronic joint and spinal diseases.
After 2 weeks of treatment, results show:
17 out of 24 dogs experienced reduced severity of the following:
- Stiff gait.
#20: Cayenne pepper
Another shocker on the list is this spicy pepper.
Most fur parents use it to stop their dogs from peeing in off-limit areas.
But if you add a small amount of cayenne (maximum of 2 shakes) in your pup’s food…
It can go a long way and cause the following benefits:
- Relieve joint pain.
- Assist in weight loss.
- Aid in healthy digestion.
- Increase blood circulation in tendons and ligaments.
- Antifungal properties to strengthen immune responses.
Warning: Never give your pooch cayenne capsules meant for humans. If you’re going for cayenne supplements, consult Fido’s vet first.
In this study, the phytonutrient found in turmeric was studied.
It’s called curcumin…
And results show that from 498 canines with osteoarthritis (OA)…
357 showed improved OA cases…
They reported reduced inflammation.
As well as enhanced connective tissue development.
That said, here’s how much turmeric you should mix on your dog’s daily meal:
⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder per 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of body weight.
Research assures that this plant is clinically proven to do the following:
- Reduce pain.
- Decrease inflammation.
- Lessen muscle swelling.
So comfrey is given to patients with osteoarthritis.
As well as sprains and strains.
Moreover, it can help relieve skin problems in your pooch.
However, you must consult your canine’s vet before giving Fido comfrey.
Because too much of it can cause liver issues.
With that, determine whether your pup should go for the oral or topical comfrey treatment.
Then, also inquire about how much exactly you can give.
#23: Horsetail tincture
Research says common horsetail stimulates the production of osteoblasts.
Those are bone cells that form bone tissues.
With the increase of those, a damaged bone can heal faster.
Therefore reducing pain.
However, most of the studies about horsetail are centered around human subjects.
But some vets will still recommend this to relieve your dog’s pain naturally.
Although, your pup won’t need much.
Because you can only give this daily amount to your canine:
¼ teaspoon of horsetail tincture per 20 lbs (9 kg) of your dog’s weight.
#24: Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF)
Vets say PEMF uses beds that send magnetic energy to your dog’s body.
Then, the waves that a bed emits work to heal Fido naturally.
As it influences electrical charges in the body on a cellular level.
What’s best is it’s one of the safest ways to relieve your dog’s pain.
Moreover, it promises more benefits like:
- Reducing stress.
- Enhancing sleep.
- Lessening inflammation.
- Improving blood circulation.
- Promoting joint cartilage repair.
- Developing cell repair and recovery.
#25: Orthopedic dog beds
News reports that 14 million adult dogs suffered from osteoarthritis in 2021.
And it’s a type of health issue in canines that has no cure yet.
So, the best you can do for your arthritic pooch is to lessen their aches.
One way to do that is by providing them with an orthopedic dog bed.
It adds spinal and muscle support for Fido.
Which helps distribute your pup’s body weight.
Therefore relieving pressure in their aching joints.
#26: Use ramps
A dog in pain will have trouble going up and down the stairs.
Or if you allow them to, they’ll find it hard to hop on the bed or couch.
So help relieve Fido’s aches by using ramps instead.
With that, they won’t need to do the extra work of climbing up and down.
Instead, their joints will experience less pressure when they use a ramp.
Reminder: Choose a ramp with a gentle incline. If it’s too steep, it can put a strain on your dog’s joints.
Continue reading: 9 Ways To Help A Dog With Arthritis At Home (How-to)
#27: Passive range of motion
If your dog’s not ready to move their joints yet…
They can’t try treadmill therapy or the like.
However, they must continue to exercise for bone healing.
Otherwise, their joints are going to be stationary.
Thus preventing faster recovery.
With that, vets will suggest the treatment called passive range of motion.
In this, you or the therapist will gently move Fido’s joints.
So your pup doesn’t need to exert effort in doing so.
#28: Veterinary spinal manipulative therapy
Perhaps you’d recognize this treatment better as chiropractic care.
It’s non-surgical and drug-free…
As the doctor would restore your dog’s vertebrae and joints through manipulation.
Doing so optimizes Fido’s nervous system.
Therefore improving your canine’s health and relieving pain.
If you haven’t seen a pooch receiving chiropractic care before…
Here’s a satisfying compilation of dogs getting their bones cracked for relief:
#29: Neuromuscular stimulation
This is also called electrotherapy.
It uses a non-invasive and low-frequency current to your dog’s muscles.
Basically, it electrocutes your pooch by a little…
Which excites their nerves and leads to contraction.
However, there are many kinds of electrotherapy.
And the one that helps with aches is called antalgic electrotherapy.
It uses the TENS currents, which block a pain stimulus from reaching the brain.
And instead, it releases the happy hormone called endorphins.
#30: Therapeutic ultrasound
Much like #27, this treatment uses waves to facilitate healing and ease pain.
With therapeutic ultrasound, sound waves are produced in a crystal.
The electrical current applied to that causes it to vibrate.
Which creates pressure that passes through the skin and jolts the tissues.
According to VCA Hospitals, this increases the stretch in your dog’s tendons.
As well as soften and break down scarred tissues.
This is a massage often associated with acupuncture.
Because it’s also a form of treatment from China.
And by its name and origin, the practice of acupressure is:
Applying pressure to specific points on the body that are associated with a ‘qi.’
Or the so-called life force.
Those are the exact target areas of acupuncture as well.
But this time, there’s no need for needles.
Regardless, doing it encourages your pup’s body to heal itself. Thus, lessening their pain.
When your dog’s pain is due to an inflammatory disease like arthritis…
That means the collagen in their joints is destabilized.
Which contributes to the worsening of their illness.
But with the use of hawthorns…
Your pup’s collagen levels in their joints get balanced.
Moreover, hawthorns increase blood circulation.
And that helps their system get rid of toxins in their joints.
All in all, this flowering shrub is a holy grail that can relieve Fido’s pain.
With that, VCA Hospitals reveal ways to give hawthorns to your canine. Which are:
- Liquid extract.
- Dried berries or leaves.
- Capsule or tablet supplements.
Note: Consult their vet to know which is the best type to give to your dog.
Several small human studies proved cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties.
But in dogs, all the evidence is still anecdotal.
Regardless, vets still recommend some dog parents try this approach.
PetMD reveals that cinnamon can help the following condition in canines:
- Stomach cramps.
- Inflammation related to joints.
Moreover, your pooch won’t need much cinnamon.
As ¼ teaspoon of it can go a long way for a 50 lbs (22.68 kg) dog.
Note: Consult Fido’s vet for the exact dose of cinnamon. Especially since you must stop the use of it after 2 weeks. Otherwise, it can lead to blood thinning, making bleeding cases worse.
This study lists all the benefits of Yucca schidigera.
But what stands out are its anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Which are helpful in naturally relieving your pup’s pain.
Warning: Only give yucca root extracts in the form of supplements. According to Pet Poison Helpline, the yucca plant is highly toxic for dogs. And if in doubt, never hesitate to contact Fido’s vet.
Humans have been using this herbal supplement to help with arthritis for centuries.
And although it’s new in the veterinary scene…
Some vets suggest alfalfa as relief for arthritic canines.
Because not only does it have high amounts of antioxidant chlorophyll…
Which acts as an anti-inflammatory property…
It’s also packed with nutrition. Specifically with vitamins like:
This is considered a natural way since it doesn’t involve any surgery.
That’s why it’s also referred to as non-surgical ligament reconstruction.
With prolotherapy, a mixture of medications is injected into Fido’s affected joints.
And that substance contains compounds that relieve pain.
As well as a solution that triggers faster healing in the areas.
There are minimal side effects.
Which are only bruising and swelling.
Although vets guarantee these will go away after 2 to 3 days.
#37: Licorice root
I’ve been going on about arthritis causing pain in dogs…
But if their ache is from issues around their skin…
Then, licorice root can be your canine’s friend.
It has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe Fido’s skin.
That’s why licorice supplement is used topically in the following conditions:
- Flea-bite allergies.
- Contact dermatitis.
Now, making the liquid tincture can take you a month to make.
But there are licorice extracts available in stores.
However, I suggest you consult your pup’s vet before buying anything.