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A Sydney Update | How to Alleviate Arthritis Pain in Dogs

Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Sydney laying with Daddy

Today, Sydney went to see our veterinarian for arthritis pain.  Her limping was getting worse and I didn’t know what to do.  Last weekend, we went for a walk at the Arlington airport and Sydney was barely walking on her right, front leg.

Why wait a week for a veterinarian appointment?

I started Sydney (and her brothers) on a new joint care supplement and I wanted to give it a chance to make a difference.  And we did see some improvement over the week.  Sydney required less pain medication (we were using Dog Gone Pain).  We did see some improvement, but I still wanted to speak with our veterinarian.

Why did Sydney’s arthritis pain get worse?

Now this is only a theory, but I trust our veterinarian’s judgement and expertise (plus he’s so great with Sydney) and I thought he had a point.  Sydney started displaying increased arthritis pain when we switched her from the introductory dosage to the maintenance dosage.

Supplement Serving Directions

Sydney was taking 3 tablets a day of one brand; I kept her on them for 2 weeks, not the suggested 1 week.  When I reduced her dosage to 1-1/2 tablets a day, her arthritis pain slowly returned.  It got worse, because I kept her at 1-1/2 tablets a day.  It got worse as I switched the dogs from supplement to supplement trying to find one that works.

Our veterinarian’s suggested daily use…

Our veterinarian suggested 3,000 milligrams per day.  He suggested that we NOT give our dogs a liquid supplement, because it costs too much.   And he suggested that we buy a bottle (OMG these cost so much less) at Costco.  I picked up the following and promptly became confused…

Okay…I thought we were supposed to give our dogs Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM.  But I couldn’t find a tablet that contained all three at Costco.  I’m going to double check with our veterinarian, but so far this is what I learned…

  • Glucosamine + chondroitin reduces the enzymes that can destroy cartilage, reduces inflammation and helps to rebuild cartilage.  Together glucosamine and chondroitin maximizes these benefits.
  • MSM alleviates inflammation and pain; providing dogs with more comfort and easier movement.

Our plan to alleviate arthritis pain in dogs

We’re going to speak with our veterinarian on Monday, but today, we started the dogs on the Kirkland Glucosamine / Chondroitin supplement.  Our veterinarian prescribed Tramadol to alleviate Sydney’s pain.  Tramadol doesn’t have the nasty side effects that play havoc on our dogs’ liver and kidneys, but there may be some side effects during the first few days…

  • Upset tummy (give with food)
  • Loss of appetite – Our Syd ate dinner like her normal self.
  • Sleepiness – Sydney did take a long nap after the Tramadol kicked in.
  • Slower heart rate
  • Anxiety / increased panting / a stoned look – We didn’t experience this with Sydney the first night.

In the mean time, I can give our Kinn Kudose a run while I turn the dogs’ supplements into yummy treats.  I’m also going to give the suggestions I’ve received for giving our dogs medication: hot dogs, marshmallows, and Greenies Pill Pockets.

Long story short…

We alleviate arthritis pain in dogs by listening to the veterinarian.  If you’re lucky enough to have a great veterinarian like the team at Smokey Point Veterinary Hospital, then you’ll be glad that you listened.

A Sydney Update (3/20/2013)

Sydney is doing much better with the pain meds and the increase to 3,000 mg of glucosamine, chondroitin, and msm.  We’ve since switched back to Wag Lifetime Joint Care for all of our dogs and they get Dog Gone Pain when they over do it.  Everyone is doing great.  It’s wonderful to have racing dogs again.

Sydney running and playing after a month on Wag Lifetime Joint Care

Sydney running and playing after a month on Wag Lifetime Joint Care


If your dogs have arthritis pain; what are you doing to help them alleviate that pain?  Thanks!


  1. I hope she is feeling better soon! We have been giving Cali this supplement: for several years and it has really made a difference. It also includes Hyaluronic Acid which is an important component of synovial fluid. We have been very pleased with the results.

    Cali can’t take Tramadol – it makes her very restless. There is nothing worse than having your babies hurting – I hope things are better soon!!

    • She’s feeling better already; the pain medication gave her some relief; she did sleep a lot so the “sleepiness” side effect happens in Sydney, but she didn’t lose her appetite :)

      She and Rodrigo took their supplements with no issues tonight so I’m hopeful that we found something that will work with everyone.

      Thanks for asking and for sharing what you’re using!

  2. We’re so glad Sydney is doing better. Having had 3 seniors in the last few years, all with arthritis issues, I know how hard it can be to keep them comfortable. Becca was probably the worst, she was a service dog , turned in when she got too old. She had carried a pack for her owner and ended up with a fused spine and two poorly healed ACL injuries. We had her on Tramadol and tried to keep the dose low, but would have to amp it up if she got too bad. We also had her on Gabapentin for the spinal issues – it addresses nerve related pain. Glucosamine and othe rsupplements and even Adequan…poor thing was in a lot of pain when we first got her. After a few months of regular meds, we were able to lower her doses and she was able to get stronger through exercise-mostly just good long walks, but once in awhile she was strong enough to do a little half mile run and she loved it. I used to use a heating pad and massage on her too…seemed to help.

    • That’s so great to read, thank you. Our pups are still young and I can’t believe that they have arthritis already. I want to get it managed as they grow older so that they have a long, happy life. We finally have a great system and they’re doing really well. Today is like night and day with Sydney. She was having so much fun on our walk – watching her happy face as she walked ahead of us was the best thing ever. I get emotional thinking about it. I hated seeing her in pain and I hated leaving her behind.

      • So great…love when they come back to being themselves!

  3. I started my dog on Osteo Biflex because I was taking it and most of the time you can get it buy one get one free at CVS pharmacy or Kroger. My dog is also allergic to corn so I had to quit giving it to him because the one I have has a couple ingredients in it that are derived from corn which I didn’t realize until he got very dry flaky skin after taking it for a few weeks and he’s always had a very pretty shiny coat. Now I am on the lookout for one without ingredients he’s allergic to.

    • That’s an interesting fact, Sheila. I would have never thought to look for a corn source in the ingredients. I think it’s amazing that you figured that out. Wow! I love learning new things. Thank you!

  4. We have tried all kinds of supplements and medications but nothing really helped until we found our new vet clinic which is the best place ever for so many reasons! Katie is now on Metacam and it is like night and day. She loves it, and it help her so much. Now in the winter she still has some stiff days because of the cold and trudging through the snow but overall it is that best thing we have ever tried! We also learned that certain breeds react better to certain treatments and for the Kuvasz this is a good one.

    • That’s so great to hear and to know. I had no idea about supplements working better with some breeds than others until our vet mentioned it yesterday. It makes sense, but it never occurred to me :)

  5. Poor Sydney, that sounds like no fun. :( Luckily, Shiner has no arthritis at this point. If she did, I would probably give her a supplement called Phycox.

    • Thanks, Ann – she’s doing great today and it’s such a relief to see such a fast turnaround. She’s happily napping next to me after finally being able to go on a walk with us this morning.

  6. Ahhh great stuff Kimberly! I hope you’re lil girl is getting a lil better. Poor sweetie :( Hate to see em gimping that’s for sure. Titan has been taking Dasuquin with has the glucosamine and chondroitin. This was recommended by our vet. I found online, Dasuquin with MSM in it and we’ve been using it for over a week. I don’t really see much difference yet though. Titan gets a rear left leg gimp every now and again and is stiff getting up after laying for awhile. On weekends I up his dosage to 1 1/2 for maintenance. He does much better being on a supplement than off. I tried the liquid and it’s still sitting in my fridge. Junk imo.

    Get better Sydney! Smooches!

    • Thanks, Bren – she’s doing a lot better today. I’m a little relieved. Okay, a lot relieved :)

  7. Other than a flare-up from time to time, we had a good luck dealing with arthritis. Of course, our biggest guns were stem cells. We also use supplements, hydrotherapy. We used adequan injections at one time. We’re doing acupuncture but for different issues, though can have good results for arthritis too.

    Our load of most recent problems have been not related to arthritis in the joints. So I guess what we’ve been doing has been working.

    • That’s pretty fascinating. I’m considering acupuncture for Rodrigo and Sydney. I’m currently looking for someone in our area.

  8. I am so glad you have a veterinarian you can trust and who will advise you of a treatment plan that is also remotely affordable. It’s so hard to see our animals in pain. I hope this course of action makes a difference for dear Sydney.

    • OMG, me too! Our former vet was great too, but I never felt comfortable asking questions – I do with our new vets. They are an amazing team!

  9. Great information, Kimberly…and good info in the comments as well. Dakota the Corgi is only 2 years old, so it will be a while before – or if – I’ll need help with arthritis, but I’m sure your article is and will be of great benefit to many dogs and their people.

    • You know me; I’m always glad to help, Deena :)

  10. So glad that you were able to talk with your vet and find a treatment plan that works for Sydney!
    I have tried several joint supplements for Sherman over the years and with his recent cruciate tear I switched again and I am really happy with the results. I use Carprofen and Tramadol as needed, but not nearly as often as I was when he first injured his knee.

    • What surprises me is how little of the Tramadol is needed; we were prescribed 4 a day, we give her 2 and she’s just fine. Thanks for sharing what you’re using. I like learning about these names so that they sound familiar when I hear them at the vet’s office.

  11. Unfortunately our senior Basset Hound passed January 3rd of this year and she of course suffered from arthritis. We would give her a natural supplement and a a spray that you put in their drinking water. Seemed to work pretty good and the old girl got around the house just fine/up and down the stairs. BTW we are looking at getting a Corgi very soon.

    • I’m so sorry, Eric – big hugs to you and your family. Please keep me in the loop on when you’ll be bringing home a new dog. Why do you think a Corgi? Have you met one that’s a good match?

  12. Hi Kimberly, use ALOE VERA GEL (for example, Forever Freedom drink). GOOGLE Aloe Vera for arthritis, read on, do a research. It’s 100% natural and 100% safe for dogs, I’ve been giving it to my two dogs for over two years, the results are amazing. There’s an awesome book about Aloe Vera for animals “Aloe Vera Nature’s Gift. Aloe Vera in veterinary practice” by David Urch. Get it! I promise it will HELP, much better than glucosamine. But the amazing thing is that you can combine Aloe Vera treatment with veterinary treatment. Aloe Vera has NO sideeffects nor interactions. But again make your research and se for yourself. Good luck!

    • Tina – thank you so much. I had no idea that it could be used for arthritis; I’ve only used it for rash/red skin. Thank you. I’m going to start researching this weekend for an article!


  13. Our late dog Thud had hip dysplasia at and we noticed it at 4 months old. We had a bad vet at the time and he told us to wait that there wasn’t anything they could when they were so young (big mistake as there is a great surgery they can do at that young age). Well, we missed our chance, but got a new vet who did know what he was doing and sent us to a specialist. Unfortunately, the damage had been done and Thud was only a candidate for salvage surgery. We had them cut the head off his femur bone and at about less than a year old, he was on Rimadyl and glucosamine and chondroitin for the rest of his (very expensive! 😎 life. But let me tell you. With that medication, this 110 pound nutball would JUMP UP on his hind legs. He was insane. If I made a mistake and let the medication run low, it was AWFUL. I only did that once.

    I know some dogs can’t tolerate Rimadyl, but Thud lived 14 years. He was the most fabulous dog. Those drugs made his life normal. I hope you have found the right mix for Sydney.

    Cheryl and Coach

    • Thank you so much for this, Cheryl – I’m so happy to read about Thud’s life. What a great name.


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