Essential Oils for Arthritis in Dogs

Essential Oils for Arthritis in Dogs

When Daisy was ten years old, she was diagnosed with arthritis in her shoulders.

Daisy had always been an extremely active dog who loved to run, jump, and swim.

Unfortunately, arthritis impacted her ability to keep up that same pace.

Though there were prescription medications to help manage her pain, many of those are processed through the liver.

Daisy had Cushing’s disease, so medicines that impact the liver weren’t always the best choice.

My first thought after learning she had arthritis was to explore more holistic options to help keep her comfortable.

I had just started dabbling in the use of essential oils, so of course, I spent a fair amount of time exploring safe options for Daisy.

Because her arthritis was in her shoulders, I was comfortable using a topical option since she was unable to access the oils I applied.

Benefits of Using Essential Oils for Your Dog’s Arthritis

Benefits using essential oils for dogs with arthritis improve health

Why let arthritis slow your dog down? Ease their pain and let them engage in the activities they love!

Utilizing essential oils instead of, or in addition to conventional medications, can provide significant pain relief and aid in reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis[1].

Essential oils are generally a safe, supportive medicine that can be used frequently without the fear of adverse side effects.

Many NSAIDs used to treat arthritis in dogs are processed through the liver and long term use can cause liver damage or failure.

Back when Daisy was first diagnosed with arthritis, these were the only anti-inflammatory medicines available. Even for dogs without liver disease, long term use of NSAIDs can be unsafe.

Because most essential oils are used topically for arthritis, the oils help reduce pain and swelling instantly.

The oils are absorbed quickly into the skin and start treating the affected area immediately.

Also, essential oils can often be used safely with other medications and oils to enhance their properties

Plus, most oils offer multiple remedies, so using them can also help other ailments such as anxiety or restlessness.

As an added non-medical bonus, oils help to improve your dog’s general aroma!

Risks Associated with Using Essential Oils for Arthritis

Essential oil for arthritic dogs risks warnings side effects symptoms

Keep a close eye on your dog to catch any signs of a poor reaction to the essential oils

Though essential oils can be very beneficial in reducing pain and swelling, they are not without their risks.

Some essential oils are safe for consumption; however, the majority are not.

Because of the concentrated nature of essential oils, even the oils deemed safe can cause GI upset if consumed in their non-diluted form.

Also, some essential oils are safe for topical use but are toxic if ingested. It is vital to be sure that your dog does not accidentally consume these oils.

Additionally, dogs like humans have different sensitivities, so even safe oils can cause skin or respiratory irritation in some dogs.

The Best Essential Oils for Arthritic Dogs

OilLatin NameAnti-Inflammatory?Pain Relief?Price
CopaibaCopaifera langsdorffiiYesYes$$

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MyrrhCommiphora myrrhaYesNo$$$$

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ChamomileMatricaria chamomillaYesYes$$$$$

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LavenderLavandula angustifoliaYesYes$$$

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Sweet MarjoramOriganum majoranaYesNo$$$

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CopaibaBest essential oil for anti inflammatory pain relief copaiba copaifera langsdorffii

Latin Name: Copaifera langsdorffii


According to Dr. Melissa Shelton, DVM[2], copaiba is one of the safest essential oils to use on dogs for joint pain.

Copaiba is both an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Additionally, it can increase the effectiveness of CBD oil when used together[3].

The steam distilled version of the copaiba oil is the more effective variety for arthritis.

This oil can be used topically but needs to be diluted with a carrier.

Copaiba is also suitable for diffusing to help dogs with respiratory issues.

Product Recommendation

MyrrhGya labs myrrh essential oil for arthritis joint swelling relief

Latin Name: Commiphora myrrha


Myrrh is an amber resin from trees in the Commiphora species[4].

Though myrrh works as an excellent anti-inflammatory, it is not safe to be ingested, so it is critical it only be applied to areas your dog can’t lick.

In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, myrrh is also helpful to boost your dog’s immune system and repel fleas.

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ChamomileGerman chamomile healing solutions essential oil for arthritic dog pain

Latin Name: Matricaria chamomilla


Chamomile is a cheery flowering plant that can be used medicinally or ornamentally in gardens.

It has been used since ancient times to reduce pain and inflammation, but it has several other uses such as to help heal wounds, resolve GI issues, act as a sleep aid, and help promote relaxation[5].

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LavenderLavender oil certified organic pure good for relieving arthritis in dogs

Latin Name: Lavandula angustifolia


Lavender possesses a pleasant aroma and has a multitude of uses, which is why it is one of the most popular essential oils.

In regards to our arthritic pups, it can be used both topically and through aromatherapy as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

However, it can also be used to help reduce anxiety, depression, and as an insect repellent.

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Sweet MarjoramPlant therapy pure essential oil efficacy sweet marjoram for canine arthritis

Latin Name: Origanum majorana


Marjoram is an herb often found in kitchens and seasonal gardens.

It has a pleasantly spicy aroma and can be used with other essential oils, like lavender, to enhance its anti-inflammatory properties.

Product Recommendation

How to Use Essential Oils for Arthritis

Essential oils can be used topically, orally, or in aromatherapy.

Oral use should be restricted to veterinary advisement, as many oils can have a toxic effect when misused.

Using aromatherapy is effective and can be used in conjunction with topical application.

It should be noted that, though aromatherapy is useful for treating pain, it does take longer to see the results.Viva naturals extra virgin coconut carrier oil to dilute essential plant extracts

Topical use for arthritis is the most common and effective method.

All essential oils require dilution and, though some come pre-mixed, most do not.

Using a carrier oil that is safe for your dog is imperative!

Some of the best carrier oils for dogs are:

Alternative Options for Relieving Symptoms of Arthritis


This pain relief method has been around for centuries, and though there is not a lot of scientific evidence to its effectiveness, it still is worth trying.

I used acupuncture for Daisy’s arthritis and I found it be very beneficial.

Acupuncture relaxed Daisy so much she often fell asleep during the session.

How to relieve dog arthritis acupuncture galliprant medicine alternatives


This is a prescription medication, but can be purchased online.

It is unlike all other NSAIDs because it does not process through the liver and is safe for long term use.

I used this the last couple of years of Daisy’s life. It was a miracle drug and gave her back a significant amount of mobility.

Cold Laser Therapy

This is a non-invasive alternative medicine option.

It isn’t painful, and most dogs find it relaxing.

Cold laser therapy reduces both inflammation and pain.

Daisy wasn’t a fan because she didn’t like sitting still for it.

I used cold laser therapy on Daisy’s spine, knees, and shoulders for years and found it worked quite well.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin SupplementsNutramax dasuquin with msm soft chews glucosamine and chondroitin joint health

Glucosamine and chondroitin have been used to help promote good joint health and fight off symptoms of arthritis for years and are often sold together.

I’ve used this supplement for both Daisy and Ginger.

For Daisy, it was for her arthritis. But for Ginger, it is for joint health due to a previous surgery.

Fish Oil

According to Dr. Amy Karon, DVM, MPH, studies have shown improvement in pain management in dogs who have been on fish oil for a few months[6].

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which promote good joint health.

I used fish oil for years for all of my dogs for both for joint health and allergies.

Final Thoughts

Essential oils are simple to use and, more importantly, very beneficial for managing pain and swelling.

Plus, when using multiple oils together, you can enhance the overall effectiveness.

Although not all dogs will respond the same, there are enough options that one or more will likely work for your pup.

Another reason I like using essential oils for arthritis is that I can use them both topically and aromatically. Over the years, I have discovered that a combination of methods works best to manage pain.

Arthritis in dogs is a painful disease, but thankfully, there are several supportive medications to help keep our pups comfortable and active.


About the author

Jessica Mabie

Jessica and her husband share their lives with four amazing high energy Brittanys and one very awesome cat. You’ll rarely see her without her 4 pack, they go everywhere with her, including most vacations. So, if you see her out and about with her family don’t hesitate to say “Hi!”, (You’ll know it’s her since few are so daring as to have 4 Britts).