How to Select an Anti-Inflammatory for Dogs 

How to Select an Anti-Inflammatory for Dogs

The dog is man (and woman’s) best friend. And we never like to see our cuddly canines in pain. Especially when that pain is accompanied by sad dog eyes, and no way for our best four-legged friend to tell us what is causing the discomfort.  

Inflammation is often what causes pain for our fur friends. Inflammation is a common physical response, usually to injury or illnesses. It is the body’s way of protecting and healing itself by dilating blood vessels and sending white blood cells to the affected area. In simple terms, it is the body’s natural reaction against injury and infection, but in the short, and sometimes long-term it can cause unwanted pain. 

Let’s explore 10 common causes of inflammation in dogs and the best anti-inflammatory for dogs.  

Causes of Canine Inflammation 

Inflammation in dogs can be caused by various factors. Here are 9 common causes of inflammation in dogs: 

1. Infections 

Bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections can trigger inflammatory responses in dogs. Common infectious conditions that cause inflammation include bacterial skin and viral infections like pyoderma parvovirus or distemper, respectively. Fungal infections, such as ringworm, and tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease can also cause inflammation. 

2. Injuries and Trauma 

Physical injuries, trauma and wounds can lead to inflammation in dogs. Inflammatory responses help initiate the healing process by recruiting immune cells and repairing damaged tissues at the site of injury. Injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, lacerations and puncture wounds can all cause inflammation. 

3.  Allergies 

Allergic reactions can trigger inflammation in dogs. Reactions can be to:  

  • Environmental allergens – pollen, dust mites mold 
  • Food allergens 
  • Insect bites – flea allergy dermatitis 

Allergic dermatitis, characterized by redness, itching, swelling and skin irritation, is a common inflammatory condition in allergic dogs. 

4.  Autoimmune Diseases 

Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues, leading to inflammation and tissue damage. Conditions such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), immune-mediated polyarthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can cause inflammation and systemic symptoms in dogs. 

5.  Gastrointestinal Disorders 

Gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastritis, colitis and pancreatitis, can result in inflammation of the digestive tract in dogs. Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal mucosa can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and malabsorption of nutrients. 

6.  Dental Disease 

Periodontal disease, tooth decay and oral infections can cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and surrounding oral tissues in dogs. Untreated dental disease can lead to pain, tooth loss and systemic inflammation that affects other organs and tissues. 

7.  Arthritis and Joint Diseases 

Arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia and other degenerative joint diseases can cause inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues in dogs. Inflammatory responses contribute to joint pain, stiffness, swelling and reduced mobility in affected dogs. 

8.  Cancer and Tumors 

Cancerous tumors, malignant growths and metastatic lesions can trigger inflammatory responses in dogs. Inflammatory cytokines and immune mediators released in response to tumors can promote tumor growth, angiogenesis and tissue invasion. 

9.  Endocrine Disorders 

Endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) and diabetes mellitus can disrupt immune function and contribute to systemic inflammation in dogs. Chronic inflammation associated with endocrine disorders can lead to secondary complications and organ damage. 

These are just some of the many potential causes of inflammation in dogs. It’s essential to consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment based on the underlying cause of inflammation in your dog. Treatment may include medications, dietary modifications, environmental management and supportive care to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. 

Types of Anti-inflammatory for Dogs 

Once you have established your dog has inflammation, and you have consulted with your veterinarian to determine the cause, the good news is you can help relieve the pain. There are options to choose an anti-inflammatory for your dog to help lessen the pain.  

There are several types of anti-inflammatory medications commonly used for dogs, each with its own mode of action, indications and potential side effects. The main types of anti-inflammatories for dogs include: 

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) 

NSAIDs are commonly prescribed for the treatment of pain and inflammation associated with musculoskeletal conditions, arthritis and postoperative discomfort. 

Examples of NSAIDs for dogs include: 

  • Carprofen (Rimadyl) 
  • Meloxicam (Metacam) 
  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx) 
  • Firocoxib (Previcox) 
  • Robenacoxib (Onsior) 

NSAIDs work by inhibiting the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, which are involved in the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. 


Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are potent anti-inflammatory for dogs. These medications suppress immune responses and reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids are often used to manage allergic reactions, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease and acute inflammatory conditions. 

Long-term use of corticosteroids may be associated with significant side effects, including immunosuppression, gastrointestinal ulceration, polyuria/polydipsia, weight gain and adrenal suppression. 

Disease-Modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs (DMOADs 

DMOADs are a newer class of medications designed to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and preserve joint function in dogs. One example of a DMOAD is pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS), which is believed to have chondroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects on joint tissues. 

DMOADs are often used as part of a multimodal approach to managing osteoarthritis in dogs, alongside NSAIDs, physical therapy, weight management and joint supplements. 

Nutraceuticals and Joint Supplements 

Nutraceuticals and joint supplements contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, omega-3 fatty acid, and green-lipped mussel extract. These joint supplements are used to support joint health and as an anti-inflammatory for dogs with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. 

While not classified as pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, nutraceuticals and joint supplements may provide symptomatic relief and help improve joint function and mobility over time.  

Vitalize® makes a joint supplement for dogs, Vitalize® Trixsyn® Canine Performance. This liquid product for dogs is designed to support total mobility utilizing hyaluronic acid and astaxanthin.  

Topical Anti-Inflammatories 

Topical anti-inflammatory medications, such as corticosteroid creams, gels or sprays, may be used to relieve localized inflammation, itching and discomfort associated with skin conditions, insect bites or allergic reactions. 

Topical anti-inflammatories are typically applied directly to the affected area and may provide rapid relief of symptoms with minimal systemic absorption. 

Never Dose Without an Expert 

The use of anti-inflammatory medications in dogs should be carefully supervised by a veterinarian. That way, the trained medical professional can ensure appropriate dosing, monitoring for side effects and compliance with treatment protocols. 

Veterinary guidance is essential for selecting the most suitable anti-inflammatory medication based on the dog’s individual condition, health status and treatment goals. Additionally, regular veterinary follow-up appointments may be necessary to assess treatment efficacy, adjust medication dosages and monitor for any adverse reactions or complications. 

Learn More About the Vitalize Difference 

As previously mentioned, Vitalize makes a joint supplement for dogs that stands out from the rest. Vitalize Trisxyn Canine Performance supports hip, joint and soft tissue health and helps maintain a normal inflammatory response and support normal exercise recovery. It contains two key ingredients, MHB3®, a patented high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, and astaxanthin. 

This product is simple to use, requires no prescription and doesn’t require the labor or mess of a shot or topical ointment. 

Trixsyn Canine Performance comes in an easy-to-use, pump bottle. Dosage is determined by dog size and weight, and each dog gets 1 to 3 pumps on their food twice daily, depending on size.  

What about the Ingredients? 

MHB3 Hyaluranon 

MHB3® Hyaluronan – is a natural hyaluronic acid (HA) bioidentical to the HA naturally produced by the body.  

MHB3 is unique to other hyaluronic acid ingredients on the market due to its oral liquid formulation that allows for quick absorption and maximum efficacy. MHB3 holds 8 U.S. Patents for prevention and maintenance of osteoarthritis, osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis), osteophytes (bone spurs) and the amelioration of joint health. Liquid supplementation with MHB3 is research-proven to be 3.8 times more effective than dry forms of hyaluronic acid 

  • MHB3® currently holds 8 US patents for its role in improving bone and joint health including: 

o For the prevention and maintenance of osteoarthritis 

o For the prevention and maintenance of osteopenia – the precursor to osteoporosis 

o For the prevention of osteophytes or bone spurs 

o More generally, its role in improving joint health.   

  • MHB3 significantly improves the symptoms of osteoarthritis as well as symptom frequency.   
  • A 30-day course of MHB3 treatment reduces friction within the joint and preserves protective cartilage preventing the formation of bone spurs. This results in more fluid movement, less pain and increased range of motion. 
  • Treatment with MHB3 decreases markers of bone breakdown, having a positive impact on bone mineral density and bone formation. 

Internal impacts associated with MHB3: 

  • Tissue hydration 
  • Anti-inflammation 
  • Cartilage protection 
  • Osteophyte prevention 
  • Pain reduction 
  • Increased range of motion  


Astaxanthin is known as nature’s strongest antioxidant. Astaxanthin is a natural red algae that acts as an antioxidant and assists with soft tissue health, muscular recuperation and exercise recovery, all which can lead to inflammation. Because astaxanthin is an aquatic algae, it has a briny aftertaste. 

Get your Vitalize Today!  

No one wants their little fur-child to suffer. That is why knowing the cause of inflammation in your dog is so crucial. Once you know what’s causing the problem, your best friend deserves the best anti-inflammatory for dogs. 

We have made purchasing Vitalize as easy as possible. We know when your animal is in discomfort, you want to get them feeling better soon.  

You can visit your local dealer to purchase Vitalize products. Locate a dealer near you, today. 

Perhaps you prefer the convenience of online shopping. Well, you can shop online, and have the Vitalize delivered right to your front door. 

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