Natural Arthritis Care for Your Dog

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Natural Arthritis Care for Your Dog
by: Brigitte Smith

arthritis treatment for dogsRimadyl was once hailed as a wonder arthritis treatment for pets when it came on the market in 1997. By the turn of the century, due in large part to the aggressive marketing campaign by Pfizer, the manufacturer of Rimadyl, this drug had been prescribed for 5 million dogs.

And wouldn’t you think, therefore, that this drug had been thoroughly tested before being unleashed on no less than 5 million dogs?

Well, you’d be wrong.

According to statistics compiled by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration), in 1997 alone, Rimadyl was implicated in 30 per cent of all veterinary adverse drug reaction reports received!

Side effects reported by dog owners who had been prescribed Rimadyl for their dogs, included gastrointestinal, renal and liver problems, and even death.

Within the first three years of Rimadyl use, 10,000 dog owners had reported an adverse reaction to Rimadyl, and there were at least 1,500 deaths or euthanasias attributed to the drug.

What’s more, since it is generally accepted that many adverse reactions to drugs go unreported, the real statistics are likely to have been significantly higher.

How is this possible? How is it possible that a drug that was so widely acclaimed could have such devastating side effects? Why were these significant side effects not ascertained before releasing the drug on the unsuspecting public?

Well, unfortunately, that’s the nature of drug companies – they do some testing – often not enough, and then, in effect, test the drug on members of the public who have not consented to being guinea pigs, but are nevertheless treated as such.

It’s happened several times even more recently, with pharmaceuticals for humans, that are touted as almost a miracle, and then later even withdrawn from the market due to the devastating side effects they are found to cause.

Back to Rimadyl as a supposed wonder cure for arthritis …

arthritis treatment for dogsYou may possibly remember the Rimadyl ads depicting older dogs bouncing around like puppies. Yes, there were some amazing success stories, but at what cost to the dog population generally?

Those bouncing dogs were the lucky ones.

Have you noticed that you no longer see those Rimadyl ads? In fact, you haven’t seen them now for some years.
Why? Quite simply, because Pfizer was eventually forced to remove the ads which were found to be misleading, due to the over-abundance of adverse reactions to this drug.

But even though the Rimadyl ads have long since been removed, many vets still prescribe Rimadyl, and often without giving the dog owner ANY information about possible side effects that can arise, and the fact that many dogs have in fact died as a result of using Rimadyl.

Unbelievable, but true.

It also goes under a number of different names, so you may be prescribed a medication for your dog and not know that it is Rimadyl, or identical to or similar to Rimadyl. It happened to me.

When my vet wanted to prescribe a medication for my dog when she had injured herself (thankfully just a minor injury, but it bothered her considerably for a couple of days). I questioned the vet as to exactly what the medication was. The vet was, I thought, very evasive in her answers. She was a locum vet who was perhaps not used to be questioned by me (all the regular vets at our local veterinary hospital are well aware that I’m apt to question them relentlessly if I feel the need), but all vets should be prepared to answer all questions from pet owners.

Because of the evasive answers, I then asked the vet straight out – “Is this Rimadyl?” Answer: “Well,…. it’s ‘like’ Rimadyl.” I asked what she meant by that, and she said it was made by the same company and contained “a similar formulation” to Rimadyl.

I said I had no intention of giving my dog Rimadyl, or anything remotely like it whilstever there was any alternative available.

The vet then told me there was no problem with Rimadyl and that she was not aware that any dog had ever died from the drug.

Either the vet was lying (which I don’t like to believe), or was unbelievably misinformed in relation to an issue that she should have been aware of. Thankfully I never had to see her again as she was a locum.

arthritis treatment for dogsOtherwise, I would never have gone back to that veterinary practice.

So are there alternatives to Rimadyl? Alternatives that can provide such a marked improvement without the possible side effects? Or should you just take the risk that your dog won’t develop side effects to Rimadyl?

The good news is that Glucosamine, a natural sugar produced by the body and found in some foods, plays an important role in the production, maintenance and repair of cartilage. Supplementation with Glucosamine can therefore provide not only the pain relieving effects of Rimadyl, but also helps maintain existing healthy joint tissue and aid in rebuilding healthy new cartilage.

So why hasn’t Rimady been removed from the market altogether? And should it be?

There are certainly some cases where the use of Rimadyl may be warranted – severe cases of arthritis which have been left untreated, or which have not responded to Glucosamine or other treatments.

The results of using Rimadyl can in fact be very worthwhile, particularly when used as a treatment of last resort – rather than being used as the first option for pain and arthritic conditions.

But Rimadyl should never be given to a dog with pre-existing liver disease or kidney problems. Your dog should be tested for these conditions before being prescribed Rimadyl.

Many vets do not do this unless you ask for it specifically.

And many vets do not even advise that there is a natural arthritis treatment for dogs available. Not because it’s ineffective, but just because many vets, like doctors, are trained to treat symptoms with drugs.

And we shouldn’t be surprised by this phenomenon – the drug companies have huge budgets for pushing the benefits of their medications, both for humans and animals. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the drugs are better than the natural alternatives at all.

So ask for Glucosamine, unless your vet can give you a compelling reason why your dog should use Rimadyl. And you don’t even need a prescription!

For information on the most powerful Glucosamine formula, and why a liquid Glucosamine is by far superior to powder or tablet forms, check out the natural arthritis supplement for pets – with Glucosamine! – click here.

About Brigitte Smith

Brigitte Smith is an entrepreneur with a love of dogs and a healthy lifestyle. Brigitte is passionate about holistic health alternatives for dogs, most of which are today suffering foreshortened lifespans in the wake of a lifetime diet of commercial pet food, and further contributed to by unnecessary over-vaccination and chemicals and poisons applied topically and internally. is one of Brigitte's sites dedicated to dog health, and in particular dog food reviews.

23 thoughts on “Natural Arthritis Care for Your Dog

  1. Miyako Sawada

    Hi Brigitte,

    My dog, Hannah, who is a rescue dog, had arthritis when I adopted her at the age of 11.

    When I changed her diet to natural, raw meat, the arthritis disappeared within a week or so. I was so very surprised. She is 12 now and gets out free-running and roaming in the woods every day from 2 to 6 hours (depends on what kind of interesting things she finds). She is a very happy, tired dog when she comes home, but no sign of arthritis.

    I just wanted to let you know. Raw meat is natural to dogs and cats. Food must be the main problem for our pets. Processed food is bad for us. It must be bad for them as well.


    Miyako and Hannah

  2. Brigitte Smith

    Great comments, Miyako.

    Absolutely a natural diet is better for our dogs, and contributes to their staying fit and healthy for much longer than commercially fed dogs.

    Hannah must be in great shape for the change in her diet to have reversed her arthritis.

    Many dogs do eventually suffer from arthritis, though, even when fed raw meat, as my dogs are. And if this happens, it is of course important to keep on the natural track, and not give them drugs unless there is no alternative. And to stay away from Rimadyl and similar drugs at all costs (unless your vet has a compelling reason that convinces you it’s the only alternative for your dog).


  3. arthritis

    Arthritis is a disease of the joint.A joint is where the ends of two or more bones meet.The knee joint,for example,is formed between the bones of the lower leg and the thighbone.The hip joint is where the top of the thighbone meets a concave portion of the pelvis.This disease mostly affects people in the age group of 55 and above.But in some rare cases arthritis can also affect children.

  4. Wendy Playford

    Very interested in information regarding sides effects of Arthritis Drugs, as my 11 year old cocker spaniel, Jake, was diagnosed with Arthritis a month ago and has been taking Niralone tablets, and had a course of Cartrophen injections in the first 3 weeks.

    Last week, he started vomiting and was taken to vet hospital, he has had blood tests and his ALT were 3229 (should be in the range of

  5. Doris Terry

    Brigitte, I am searching for a dog shampoo that is odorless. It will be used for bomb sniffing dogs overseas.
    Dogs do not have a political view, they did not volunteer, they just love and save people.

    If any of your followers out there are inclined to help the K-9 units overseas, please log on to There is a link called Items Requested, scroll down to K-9 needs. It gives information on items needed and approved. Thank you. Doris

  6. Debbie Purchase

    Dear Brigitte

    We had a beautiful Labrador Retriever named Sabine, we took to the Vet on Monday because she had hurt her shoulder, they gave her pain relief and sent us home with Rimadyl. The next morning she was still in alot of pain so we took her to our own Vet, where they did an xray. I picked her up from the Vets on wednesday and was told she had a chiped shoulder bone rest and medication and she would be fine she had 2 dosages of Rimadyl one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Thursday morning she was vomiting very badley so I took her straight back to the Vet where they put her on a drip and did blood tests she didn’t make it she died that day at 5.50pm. Pfizer have asked to do an autopsy, This won’t bring a beautiful Sabine she would have been 3 year old on the 15/4/08. This should not happen I would never have given her this medication if I had known, dog’s don’t die from a chipped bone.

    In memory of Sabine

  7. Brigitte Smith

    Hello Debbie,

    I’m so terribly sorry to hear your sad news. You must be devastated. And to know (or suspect) that this may have been caused by a drug that has caused this side effect (death) many times before must be almost too much to bear.


  8. Brigitte Smith

    Hello Doris,

    Sorry, I missed your post until now.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know of an odorless shampoo. Hopefully someone else reading your request will be able to assist with this great cause.

    I’ve just given a monetary donation at .  Hope it helps in some small way.


  9. jean rose

    I would think oatmeal shampoo would not have an odour and it is great for sensitive skin I also use oatmeal and baking soda shampoo for my 3 labradors—-they have beautiful soft coats.
    They have a diet of raw meat and home cooked vegetables rice cooked oats pasta some raw vegetales [carrots] and fruits.
    I am also giving them a herbal detox and a little dissolved rock salt [has 83 minerals in it] apple cider vinegar flaxseed kelp cod liver oil and sunflower oil.

  10. Brigitte Smith

    Thanks for your suggestion, Jean. Hope it helps Doris.

    No wonder your labradors have lovely healthy coats with the really healthy food and supplements you’re feeding them (as well as the oatmeal shampoo!)


  11. Billie

    Would never ever use this junk Bridgette! Or any NSAID. I use traumeel when needed. It has no sideaffects on organs and really works! Lookie

    A Nsaid almost killed Crystal, Metacam put her in complete kidney failure. I sued the Vet for using it when she had high Kindey # to start with and used without my knowledge. I won and gave $ to Sheltie Rescue in her name.


  12. Brigitte Smith

    Thanks for your input, Billie.

    That’s a fabulous gesture to have given the compensation you received to the Sheltie Rescue. I really commend you for that. We should have more people like you in the world.


  13. Billie

    Brigitte you would have done the same thing. Thank you for your sweet comment. Crystal did live another 8 mos, but was on subq fluids for the whole time.

  14. bebi

    Hi, I have 2 golden retrievers, princess was diagnosed with hyps dysplasia when she was 5 months old. The vet recommended a surgery and or Rimadyl, which both I refused, as there was no guarantee she’ll be fully recovered after surgery and she might need other surgery when she’s fully grown, and I read that Rimadyl was a failed medicine for human, so if it’s failed why would I poison my dog with it. Instead I gave her glucosamine, chondoritin and fish oil of best quality that I can get from pharmacist. Now, nobody will believe if Princess ever had hyps dysplasia, she is fastest runner at our local dog park.

  15. felicia trebing


    I couldn’t agree more that feeding a dog a raw diet makes an amazing change in their body. The excess grains in commercial food build up over time and have no where to go so they actually migrate to the joints causing numerous problems along with arthritis.

    Along with Traumeel or Arnica for a limp or minor injury Cetyl M works very well for arthritis and aging joints. The one carried by Resource Products contains glucosamine and bromelain root (a natural anti-inflammatory) and I have been using it now for a bit on my own dogs and have seen a positive change.

    Our vet wanted to put our lab on Rimadyl when he tore his ACL (which he is still recovering from) but we refused. A few days with Traumeel and he did great. Thanks to accupuncture, homeopathic care and the fact that he has been raw fed for 2 years he is up to a 1 1/4 mile walk per day at 8 weeks post injury.

    I always look up a drug before I adminster it to my pets or myself. You can never ask enough questions!


  16. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Bebe and Hi Felicia,

    Wow, it just goes to show what natural remedies and a good natural diet can do for a dog.

    A holistic approach is just so important. Treating symptoms with drugs is just a surface bandaid solution at best.

    And I’m with you, Felicia, on asking questions. I’m amazed at how many pet owners take what their vets say as gospel without ever questioning anything. I’ve found that vets will often offer what they perceive to be a “quick fix” by using drugs that are “likely” to cover a range of problems that the dog “may” have. But when you question this approach, and say you don’t want your dog being given drugs indiscriminately, they will often suggest a less radical treatment. So it’s obvious that there often are alternatives that you may not be being told about. So ASK! and question, and keep asking and questioning!


  17. Audrey West

    my westhighland terrier Suki has arthritis , i give her greenlipped mussel in powder form she also wears a magnetic collor and i take her to hydrotheraphy once a week . she is now pain free and is back to her cheeky ways i hope that a combination of these things will help other dog owners

  18. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Audrey,

    Thanks for your suggestions. It’s great to hear that Suki is now pain free.


  19. Brigitte Smith


    I’m so sorry to hear your bad news.

    And thank you for sharing your experience with the readers here so pet owners can learn that there are indeed significant dangers with Rimadyl and similar drugs.

    I’m actually very surprised by the number of reports right here on this site about extrememely serious repercussions from using Rimadyl and similar (or identical?) drugs. My understanding (I could be wrong about this) is that Metacam, and perhaps Cartrophen are similar to Rimadyl.

    To put the number of reports here in perspective, there are currently 105 posts (or articles) on this site, and 252 comments. These posts cover a myriad of different subjects, and 8 general topics.

    There are 12 comments on this particular article about Natural Arthritis Care for Your Dog (not including mine), and 4 of them (one third) are about catastrophic effects of these drugs, including at least 3 which resulted in ultimate death.

    I find this very scary.

    Obviously, I was well aware of the potential dangers of Rimadyl, but this very high number of reports of tragedy is alarming.

    Granted, pet owners who have had a bad experience with these drugs would be more likely to leave a comment here than pet owners who have used these drugs without incident. But even so, I’m very surprised to have 4 reports of tragedy right here.

    The clear message is never let your vet prescribe Rimadyl or other similar drugs if there is any alternative available at all.

    For arthritis in pets, there certainly are alternatives – see here –


  20. Lisa

    Hi Bridgette,

    Thanks so much for this helpful site! I have a 9 yo German shorthaired pointer, Vayla, who due to hip dysplasia was recently started on Rimadyl. I am discontinuing this toxic med and will try Traumeel and/or Zeel in an attempt to improve comfort to her little hind region (she was a pet shop dog – urgh!!). Chondroitin and glucosamine as well as vitamin c treatments over the past several years were largely unsuccessful.

    This site was just the kick in the butt I needed!

    Lisa and Vayla

  21. julie

    wow., this is scary 7year old golden now has hip dysplasia and arthritis. she is on 75mgs. of vetprofen 2times a day plus i give her glucosamine,chondroitin. i only give her the vetprofen once a day unless she seems sore. we also let her swim in the pool with us . any coments on this treatment.she eats pedagree dog food.

  22. aileen henner

    we have recently adopted william, yellow lab, 9-10 yrs old from a friend who could no longer care for him – i had been anxious about him for sometime – he broke his front leg when he was a puppy and enjoyed swim therapy (they had a pool and he would do laps all day) by the time we got him he was having a really difficult time and it was obvious that his former “daddy” had not been giving him the gloucasmine/chondrontin pills that i had bought for him – within a week – i feed our (5) labs twice daily – 1 and 1/2 cups am and again pm, plus a little wet stuff on top for a change of pace, plus william gets 1 g/c am & pm – he is bopping around with the rest of the kids…we had lost our “dewey” at 14 yrs old and he had a terrible last month – he had taken rimadyl so i was hesitant to give it to william – i checked with the “ask the vet” in our local paper, plus our walgreens pharmacist – and bingo william is doing great – i have checked alot of websites and at lot of the expensive marketed for dog stuff is practically the same and the walgreens g/c is always on sale – one free so a little goes a long way money wise

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