Complete Guide to Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis and Complete Animal Joint Care

What is Arthritis and how does it affect animal Joints? Arthritis in animals is an inflammatory response to joint trauma or disease that causes further damage to joints when the inflammation becomes chronic.

  • One out of three cats will develop arthritis during their lifetime.
  • One out of every five dogs less than seven years of age are affected by joint injury or disease.
  • Finally, seven out of ten senior dogs over 7 years of age suffer from the pain of arthritis.

All total, it is estimated that over 14 million pets in the U.S. have arthritis – some as young as one year of age. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of these animals receive veterinary care.

The joints of an animal’s body are composed of soft connective tissue and cartilage, which provides cushioning between the bones allowing movement. The active lifestyle of our dogs makes their joints susceptible to injury, which is why animal joint care is so important.

The Causes of Arthritis in Our Dogs:

  • Developmental disorders, such as hip or elbow dysplasia
  • High calorie, carbohydrate-based diets that provide excessive energy during growth causing the body to grow faster than the cartilage
  • Injury or trauma to a joint such as a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Bacterial or tick-borne infections
  • Autoimmune disorders that cause your pet’s immune system to attack its own joints

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease in our dogs and cats. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in one or more joints accompanied by inflammation and pain that progresses to a debilitating condition that can severely affect joint mobility and health.

Early Injuries to joints almost always lead to Arthritis later in life. Many joint problems often develop as a result of an earlier, often seemingly minor injury or trauma.

Common symptoms of Osteoarthritis

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Erosion of Cartilage
  • Loss of Joint Lubrication
  • Loss of Mobility and Flexibility
  • Atrophy of Surrounding Muscles

Identifying Joint Disease

Your dog cannot exactly explain what’s wrong with them, so it’s important to watch for their non-verbal cues and take even subtle changes seriously.

Signs that your dog may have a joint problem:

  • Favoring a limb
  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Hesitancy to run, jump or climb stairs
  • Decreased activity or interest in play
  • Becoming less alert and responsive
  • Attitude or behavior changes

If a dog appears to have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks – get a veterinarian to evaluate the issue. This may include X-rays or even more advanced diagnostic procedures. The best thing in the overall management of arthritis in dogs is to get a proper diagnosis and start a treatment plan as soon as possible


The Complete Process of Arthritis


  • Aging, stress or injury produces wear and tear on the joint cartilage
  • The body reacts by secreting pro-inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules

Inflammatory Phase

  • The Inflammatory phase begins when a threshold is met
  • The immune system sends Killer T-cells to the damaged site
  • Killer T-cells activate the production of collagen-specific antibodies from B-cells
  • The antibodies bind to the joint cartilage targeting it for

Destructive Phase

  • Antibody-tagged cartilage is then targeted by macrophages
  • Macrophages release a powerful enzyme that breaks down collagen
  • Erosion of the cartilage surface follows

Debilitating Phase

Continued exercise or movement within the damaged joint causes a cyclic acceleration of the inflammatory phase resulting in:

  • Increased pain
  • Loss of mobility and flexibility
  • Further erosion of joint cartilage
  • Resulting Atrophy of surrounding muscles
  • Weakening of supporting ligaments and tendons

The Complete Joint Care Solution

ArthraPro is the most comprehensive, natural Joint Veterinary Health Supplement for arthritis in dogs. ArthraPro contains the proprietary Aliva® Joint Support Complex; highly Active Ingredients that work synergistically to help control the events that allow joint damage to become a chronic destructive and debilitating disease.

Breaking the Osteoarthritis Cycle

Initiation Phase

Green Lipped Mussel is a powerful and completely natural Cox-2 inhibitor that can block the cyclooxygenase pathway limiting the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules thus blocking the inflammatory threshold from being met.

Inflammatory Phase

GLM and Type II Collagen have both demonstrated their ability to suppress the activation of Killer T-cells thereby greatly reducing the number of B-cell collagen specific antibodies that can attach to cartilage surfaces

Destructive Phase

With the amount of antibody tagged collagen greatly reduced the body stops sending macrophages to the area and the destructive phase is greatly diminished.

Debilitative Phase

Without the inflammatory cycle repeating itself, the joint can actually begin healing itself. For healing to occur the joint needs collagen producing ingredients like Type II collagen and Chondroitin plus Hyaluronic acid which helps bring back natural lubrication to the joint surface.

When a limb is not used for a period of time as a result of joint pain and inflammation – the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons begin to atrophy (lose their size and strength). This leads to destabilization of the joint, which can trigger additional joint damage. In order to strengthen the atrophied muscles and supporting structures the Aliva® Joint Support Complex includes β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB). HMB, a Leucine metabolite, has been proven in numerous scientific studies to increase muscle size and strength by over 20% even when exercise is being restricted. In addition, Complete Joint Care provides TendoGuardTMthat provides Type I, V & X collagen to reinforce the ligaments and tendons that provide stability to the joints.

Aliva® Joint Support Complex

  1. Green Lipped Mussel (GLM)

GLM is a freeze-dried powder extract from the Green Lipped Musse (Perna Canaliculus. Green Lipped Mussel Powders, have a proven Cox-2 inhibitor similar in strength to most NSAID drugs.

Clinical Use:

GLM is currently used for the treatment of both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis in both human and animals. It is classified as a chondroprotective nutraceutical and has the backing of 30 years of peer-reviewed research to support its pharmacological activity. The main reason for its extensive use is that it is an effective, natural anti-inflammatory with selective cyclooxygenase (COX-2) inhibitory properties that can be used on a long-term basis without the complication of any adverse side effects associated with NSAIDS or steroids.

  1. Type II Collagen

Type II Collagen is the major component of articular joint cartilage. Our Aliva® Joint Support Complex uses a unique, patented Type II Collagen derived exclusively from avian (Chicken) sternum cartilage. The specific manufacturing process optimizes the low molecular weight for maximum absorption without affecting its beneficial effects on joint health. Aliva® Joint Support Complex Type II collagen has a protein content of 65% with 18 specific long chain amino acids that remain intact ensuring the animals natural enzymes will recognize the precise genetic code for maximum assimilation and ultimate joint health results.

This Type II Collagen additionally supplies 25 – 30% naturally occurring mucopolysaccharides consisting of natural Chondroitin and Hyaluronic acid that are essential for the production of collagen cells and the biosynthesis of synovial fluid.

Research has demonstrated that our Aliva® Joint Health collagen works with the immune system to deactivate collagen-specific T cells which prevents the secretion of enzymes responsible for the breakdown of joint collagen. Once the immune system is alerted to stop attacking its own collagen, the numbers of inflammatory cytokines that trigger the damaging inflammatory reaction are decreased resulting in a slowing and then stopping of the destructive cycle of collagen erosion in the joints. This allows the canine body the opportunity to ultimately rebuild cartilage and heal affected joints.


  1. HMB (β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate)

HMB is a unique nutritional ingredient produced naturally in the body from the essential amino acid Leucine. The dog is unable to synthesize it; therefore, it must be obtained either through diet or supplementation.

HMB is a fifth-generation metabolite of Leucine, which functions at a much higher level in the body as a primary component or building block of muscle tissue. In situations where metabolic demand is high as in rigorous exercise, disease processes or rehabilitation – the body cannot supply sufficient amounts of HMB to meet specific tissue needs. In these situations, dietary supplementation of HMB has been shown to be highly advantageous in maintaining maximum muscle size and strength, preventing muscle wasting and reversing muscle atrophy.

Research Studies:

Both human and animal studies have shown that HMB is a critical element in preserving muscle size and function and is capable of slowing the loss of muscle associated with stress and disease. It has also been proven capable of increasing muscle strength and functional ability by up to 33% in adult and senior dogs.

HMB strengthens the muscles that support joint stability helping dogs return to a more active, flexible and mobile state. As such, it is considered to be a vital component in osteoarthritic conditions. HMB has also been shown in numerous human and animal studies to be completely safe. Ross Labs uses HMB in their human post-operative hip replacement protocols to improve recovery time and has recently added HMB to its popular senior drink Ensure.

  1. TendoGuardTM

100% Avian Eggshell Membrane & Chicken Sternum Cartilage
U.S Patent #8,344,106 B1

TendoGuard™ is a proprietary (patented) dietary supplement formula containing a perfect balance of collagen Type I, Type II, Type V, Type X, Hyaluronic Acid, Chondroitin Sulfate and Mucopolysaccharides and Eggshell membrane.

TendoGuard™ naturally contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds to support tendon recovery and to maintain healthy and strong mechanical properties of tendon, bone, and joint functions.

Additional Animal Joint Care

Oxidative cellular destruction is greatly accelerated during most disease processes especially chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis. To protect against increased cellular damage, Complete Joint Care includes a powerful blend of known antioxidants responsible for removing free radicals that cause cellular joint damage in the dog.

Recommendations for Supporting Joint Health

  1. Weight Control – maintaining normal body weight in dogs is the most proactive thing you can do to help prevent or manage osteoarthritis. Weight loss is a matter of balancing the number of calories going in with the amount being expended. Safe and effective weight loss can be accomplished by reducing a dog’s regular diet by 25% and replacing the lost nutrients with Canine Ultimate Fitness & Health. It is the most complete and balanced nutritional supplement available.
  2. Exercise – is one of the most important aspects of keeping a dog fit and healthy. When faced with joint disease, exercise should be limited to leash walking, swimming or other low-impact exercises until the joint becomes stabilized and muscle atrophy is reversed. Just controlling pain and allowing a dog to over-exercise will thwart any attempt by the animal to reconstruct damaged cartilage and will cause the osteoarthritis cycle to continue.
  3. Steroid and NSAID Treatment – may be effective in relieving pain and discomfort when an animal first presents with osteoarthritis but is not a safe long-term strategy. Starting an animal on ArthraPro™ early on will greatly limit the need for additional steroid or NSAID therapy thereby minimizing the potential side effects usually associated with these medications.
  4. Prevention – Proactive supplementation of specific joint health ingredients in large breed dogs, athletic animals and those breeds having a high incidence of hip dysplasia is also highly recommended. Choosing a safe and effective product early in life may go a long way towards eliminating more costly and painful procedures down the road.
  5. If a choke collar or common neck style leash is used, cervical damage can result from dogs that pull, leap or jerk against the collar or owners that believe jerking back on the collar is a good way to correct poor behavior.

Arthritis Summary:

ArthraPro supports the control of inflammation and joint pain while providing joint lubrication for improved mobility and flexibility. The Active Ingredients in ArthraPro are what your client’s need if their dogs are showing signs of joint problems. ArthraPro contains a combination of additional joint healing nutrients that both provide support for muscle, ligaments, and tendons and can eliminate the inflammation that is causing their pain. Reducing inflammation is important not just for comfort, but also because until the inflammation has been reduced the healing process and rebuilding of the various joint structures cannot begin. ArthraPro provides the specific collagen types necessary for rapid repair of joint cartilage, ligaments, and tendons while B-Hydroxy B-Methylbutyrate (HMB) rebuilds weakened, atrophied muscles.

By Clayton Bolinger
April 17, 2024