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What Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory for Dogs?

Chocolate Lab in a red collar looking into the distance on a fall day

Whether your dog suffers from arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or aged-related soreness, you’ll know the importance of finding a safe and effective treatment for their inflammation. There’s nothing worse than seeing your canine companion in pain, that’s why pet owners often resort to pharmaceutical solutions to their dog’s suffering. However, did you know that there is an abundance of natural anti-inflammatories? From CBD oil to turmeric, ginger to licorice root, there’s bound to be something to suit your dog’s taste and help take the edge off their inflammatory pain.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is your dog’s body tissue responding to one or several conditions. Inflammation can be caused by an injury or long-term condition such as colitis, arthritis or conjunctivitis. White blood cells respond to a stimulus, such as an infection or injury. In many cases, inflammation can continue for longer than the body requires or even happen when it isn’t required. Increased blood flow to the area causes inflammation, while surrounding blood vessels may leak into the tissue causing swelling.

Chronic inflammation can be a serious concern for your dog, not only because it will cause them pain but also because it can make them predisposed to certain conditions. Inflammation can occur all over the body, from noticeable areas like skin and mouth to internal organs and even in the brain.

What does inflammation cause in dogs?

Golden retriever learning to swim with a life jacket on

Inflammation isn’t always easy to spot. The most common causes of inflammation in dogs are:


This condition causes inflammation in your dog’s joints, causing the wearing down of cartilage and tissue. Just like in humans, arthritis is a very painful condition that can heavily affect your pup’s mobility. If your companion is overweight or inactive, they are more likely to develop this condition.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Another very painful ailment that can affect both humans and dogs. IBD covers inflammation of any part of the intestinal tract. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pain and lack of appetite.


Pug in a plaid rain jacket sitting in the grass

Several stimuli can cause skin inflammation, including allergies and dietary sensitivities.


Inflammation of your pup’s eyes and/or tear duct.

Inflammatory Joint Disease

Any condition suffixed with “itis” refers to inflammation in that part of your dog’s body. If you think your dog may be suffering from one of these conditions, visit your vet immediately. Inflammation in any area can be extremely uncomfortable and even painful for your dog. Each condition has its own recommended pharmaceutical treatment, but if you’re looking for a natural option then keep reading to discover plant-based anti-inflammatories.

5 Natural Anti-Inflammatories for Dogs

Pomeranian standing in a tree with mossy bark

There’s a reason why people say let food be thy medicine. Discover the natural anti-inflammatories you may even already have in your kitchen cupboard.


Don’t be afraid of CBD! It’s actually a very effective anti-inflammatory. When purchasing CBD oil, be sure to pick up the hemp-derived product as it contains no THC, which causes the psycho-active ingredients associated with marijuana and is toxic to dogs. CBD acts as a relaxant, allowing your dog to feel relief from pain during times of inflammation. Although not a treatment for the cause of your dog’s condition, it’s a way great to manage their pain and help them relax.

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This common spice really is a miracle ingredient. The yellow fragrant spice has been used as a natural anti-inflammatory for generations. Research shows curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, works just as well as a number of pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories. Add a sprinkle to your dog’s tea or make a paste from warm water to treat your poorly pup.

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Another plant root that’s been proven to effectively treat inflammation is ginger. This zingy spice is particularly effective in the treatment of digestive inflammation. You’ll find ginger reduces nausea, vomiting and stomach pain in your dog.

Licorice Root

Weimaraner laying in a grassy field

The plant kingdom really is full of anti-inflammatory wonders. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, which is a natural corticosteroid. This root works well alongside your vet’s treatment plan for inflammation, be it joint, skin or digestive issues. However, if your dog has high blood pressure or a heart or kidney disorder, do not administer licorice root as it causes increased sodium levels and water retention.


This small alpine plant can be used externally to treat skin, muscle and joint inflammation. Make sure your dog doesn’t consume arnica as it is only for external use.

If you’re in doubt about whether a natural remedy will benefit your precious pup, consult your vet.

What should you avoid if your dog is dealing with inflammation

Golden Dog panting towards the camera

Did you know that certain foods might be exacerbating your dog’s inflammation? While your dog is combatting the effects of inflammation, resist giving them your leftovers. Stick to a high protein, low carbohydrate dog food, and treats.

Keep an eye on your dog’s weight, obesity in dogs can cause inflammation of joints and internal organs. You should also keep an eye on any environmental triggers, such as hay fever and/or other seasonal allergies.

Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercises as this will help them to burn the necessary calories to stay healthy. Regular exercise also promotes heart and digestive health in dogs.

What are NSAIDs?

Doberman pinscher leaping through tall grass fields

Your vet may prescribe NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to treat your dog’s inflammation. The medication helps reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain. They act by blocking the prostaglandins your dog’s body produces in response to an injury or irritation. As they cannot target just one function of the prostaglandins, the side effects of NSAIDs can be significant.

When taking NSAIDs, your dog may experience the following side effects:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy

If your dog is susceptible to these side effects, a natural treatment might be better for them. This is particularly true if they experience inflammation in their digestive tract, as NSAIDs can cause serious issues including ulcers and perforation.

If you’re in doubt, speak to your vet about your concerns regarding NSAIDs and ask about natural remedies for your dog’s inflammation. You’ll feel safe knowing you’re doing the best for your precious pup and minimizing their pain wherever possible.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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