3 Alternatives to Rimadyl for Achy Dog Joints

Better pain treatment means better naps for your old buddy

Your vet wants to put your achy dog on Rimadyl, but you’ve heard bad things about it.  Is there an alternative?

Alternatives to Rimadyl are important to know, because many dogs suffer side effects from it. Three good ones are Adequan injections, acupuncture/acupressure, and cold laser treatments.

I wish I’d known about these treatments when my Shannon was suffering with arthritis and a spinal condition.  He reacted very badly to Rimadyl, which made him dizzy and nauseous.  Supplements helped, but he would have been much more comfortable in his old age with these treatments.

Adequan Injections: relief AND healing

The beauty of Adequan is that it’s more than just a painkiller.  The company that makes it describes how it works:

  • Binds to components of the cartilage matrix to help prevent further degradation of the joints.
  • Reduces inflammation and decreases pain.
  • Inhibits release of degradative enzymes and inflammatory mediators to help restore balance.
  • Stimulates the activity of existing cartilage components and improves synovial fluid to help renew joint mobility.

Adequan can be extremely effective, depending how worn down your dog’s joints are.  Even for very old, debilitated joints, many owners agree that they made the last year of their dogs’ lives much better, and gave them more time with their pet.  

The news is even better, however, if you start Adequan injections early.  If your pup’s condition has not progressed that far yet, Adequan can provide actual healing of the condition.  

Acupuncture: not as scary as you might think

I was surprised to learn that there are vets who are also certified acupuncturists!  Owners report great success with acupuncture for treating their dogs’ pain. It is not uncommon to have the need for pain medication to be greatly reduced, once they start acupuncture.

The benefit of acupuncture is best described by staff at VCA Hospitals:

Acupuncture has no systemic side effects, so it is particularly helpful for dogs in poor health.”

Staff, VCA Hospitals

Worried your dog will be freaked out by someone sticking needles into him?  Don’t be!  These vets really know what they’re doing.  Although some dogs react to the first needle, the vet knows exactly how to approach them.  Users often report the dogs find acupuncute treatments very relaxing, some even falling asleep during the session.

A similar alternative to acupuncture is acupressure.  It works the same way, but without the needles.  VCA says it’s good for places where it’s hard to access with a needle, or for dogs who  can’t cope with the needles.

Cold laser: the light at the end of the tunnel

Laser treatment will not only reduce pain – It actually can speed up healing tissue.  Dr. David MacDonald, who specializes in cold laser, tells how it works:

“It works by changing activity within an animal’s biological systems to produce the desired benefit. It has been shown to reduce the inflammation of soft tissue, increase blood flow, and release fluid build-up (known as edema) in body tissue.”

David MacDonald, DVM

Owners attest to how well it works, and it has no bad effects on the dog at all.  In fact, they tend to enjoy the attention.

Resources for Further Exploration

By Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too! https://www.youtube.com/c/GreyhoundHomecare