Bone and Joint Medication for Dogs

Old age or even surgery should not keep a good dog down. Without walkers or wheelchairs at their disposal, dogs still need to be able to get up and around despite the pain of chronic diseases or surgery. Often, dietary supplements and bone and joint medications are their best hope.


One in five dogs in the United States is afflicted with osteoarthritis, making it one of the most common chronic diseases for dogs. This condition damages the dog’s cartilage or other joints.

Sometimes even an attentive owner can miss the signs of arthritis, so ask yourself: Is your dog slowing down? Stiff and slow to rise? Gaining weight or sleeping more? These are all signs that could point to arthritis. A physical exam and an X-ray can help diagnose the problem.

Treatments often involve Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) to control the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. NSAIDs are also given after surgery to help the dog get up and around sooner. An active dog will be healthier and live longer.

Deramaxx Chewable Tablets, an NSAID from the coxib class, help control the pain of both osteoarthritis and bone surgery. These beef-flavored tablets are chewable and available in three strengths.

Another NSAID, Etogesic, also reduces the pain and soreness from osteoarthritis in dogs. Etogesic is not suitable for dogs under 11 pounds. It is generally well-tolerated and is also available in three strengths.

Meloxicam is an oral NSAID that will help control the pain and improve the dog’s ability to get around. This oral syrup should be given with food. The medication is available in five dropper bottle sizes. The syrup should be placed directly onto the food of dogs smaller than 10 pounds. It can be administered directly into the mouth of larger dogs.

Firocoxib, an oral NSAID for dogs, is designed to improve a dog’s mobility. The chewable medication can be given with or without food. Firocoxib is available in two strengths.

Rimadyl (carprofen) is another NSAID to treat dogs’ arthritis pain and inflammation. It is also indicated to help control postoperative pain. It is available in three strengths as a chewable tablet or caplet, and can be taken with or without food. Tests show most dogs find the medication palatable.

Zubrin (tepoxalin) is another NSAID to control pain and inflammation due to osteoarthritis. Place this fast-dissolving tablet in the dog’s mouth, holding the mouth closed for four or five seconds to ensure the tablet disperses. It should be given with food or within one or two hours of eating. It is available in three strengths.


In addition to medications, there are many supplements that can improve the quality of life of your dog.

Adequan Canine is an intramuscular injection that helps control non-infectious degenerative or traumatic arthritis in dogs. It is a semi-synthetic glycosaminoglycan made from bovine cartilage.

Arthogen for dogs contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which help rebuild damaged joint cartilage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that will gradually improve your dog’s health. Arthogen can be used in combination with other products to offer more relief to arthritic dogs. It is available in tablets, capsules, powders and oral liquids. It is usually given once a day for the life of the dog.

Cosequin Double Strength chewables for dogs, which combine glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and manganese ascorbate, help dogs maintain healthy joints. The chewables are available in five strengths. Cosequin Sprinkle Capsules are also available for dogs weighing less than 24 pounds.

Flexile Rx treats dogs with mild to moderate osteoarthritis by inhibiting pain along two pathways and providing powerful antioxidant activity to absorb harmful free radicals. Flexile Rx is not a drug, but contains baicalin, catechins and anti-inflammatory flavans and flavones from natural sources.

Glyco-Flex III is designed to support a dog’s joint health. It contains a high level of MSM and calcium ascorbate, as well as vitamin E, selenium, dimethylglycine, glutathione and grape seed extract – all antioxidants. It is available in soft chews and chewable tablets.

Synovi G3 is a nutritional supplement that helps fight the effects of degenerative joint disease, specifically in older arthritic dogs. It contains chondroprotective agents, natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.

ProMotion is a nutrient formula containing the antioxidant bioflavanol (from grape seed extract), glucosamine and hydrolyzed collagen. It’s available in bacon-flavored tablets in two strengths.

When starting a new medication or supplement, be sure to observe your dog for signs of an adverse reaction such as vomiting, yellowing of the gums or eyes, or change in appetite, thirst, bowel or urination habits. Report any adverse symptoms to a veterinarian immediately. Likewise, if your dog accidentally ingests an overdose of medication or a supplement, seek medical help immediately.

These medications and supplements are worth investigating if you want to keep your dog moving and improve his quality of life. He’s been there for you – and now it’s your turn to do something for him.