If your dog is suffering from arthritis or other nonlife-threatening painful conditions, a dog anti-inflammatory OTC might offer relief. Although you can purchase anti-inflammatory medications for your dog over the counter, always check with your vet before buying and administering these drugs. Many of these supplements require daily administration for days or weeks before having any noticeable effect on your dog.
Pain relief and cartilage repair
Methyl-sulfonyl-methane, or MSM, contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This sulfur source, found naturally in many foods — including fruits and vegetables — helps support cartilage repair. MSM also might benefit dogs with skin and respiratory issues and possibly slow tumor growth. As an antioxidant, it might slow the aging process. Commercial MSM supplements usually are well-tolerated by dogs and considered safe when given in appropriate doses. Your vet can recommend MSM brands and the correct dosage for your pet, taking into consideration his age, weight, and overall health.
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Glucosamine and chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, often included in the same supplement, fall into the category of nutraceuticals. These are food additives with healthy benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. Glucosamine, extracted from mollusk or crustacean shells, aids in joint lubrication production and helps to repair damaged cartilage. In addition, it benefits the urinary tract, along with nail and skin formation. Chondroitin sulfate, which occurs naturally in the body, dissipates in aging animals, so supplementation can restore this substance with inherent pain-killing qualities as well as helping to repair and protect cartilage.
Fatty acid cupplementation
The fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed oils impart anti-inflammatory properties but take at least a month to produce results. If your dog is suffering from pruritus, or itchy skin, these omega-3 fatty acids can also offer help from dryness and scratching. They also aid canines with degenerative joint disease. For dogs, fish oil makes more sense than flaxseed oils. While both are safe, canines convert fish oil to omega-3 fatty acids in their body much more efficiently than flaxseed oil.
OTC NSAIDS for dogs
If you want to relieve aches and pains, you might take an aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen tablet, or gelcap to ease your discomfort. Avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that are not specially formulated for use in pets. The problem with over the counter, or OTC, NSAIDs meant for humans is that they suppress both good and bad prostaglandins: Some prostaglandins are the mediators of inflammation and pain but others are key in maintaining circulation to the kidneys and stomach.
Ibuprofen is generally considered safe for dogs at up to 5 mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of your dog's weight. However, regular use can lead to gastrointestinal and kidney disorders. As the medicine is available over the counter in 100 and 200 mg dosages, giving a tablet to a dog weighing under 40 pounds could result in immediate acute dosage symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Aspiring, acetaminophen, and naproxen aren't suitable for pets in their over-the-counter forms. Aspirin can cause ulcers in dogs in as little as two days. As little as 35 milligrams of naproxen can cause severe abdominal pain, stumbling, pale gums, and other serious symptoms, so you wouldn't want to administer a 220 mg tablet to a dog weighing under 6 pounds. Acetaminophen can start to cause liver damage within 24 hours.