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dogs and meds

A guide to arnica for dogs

This herbal supplement minimizes pain in dogs from acute injuries and arthritis. Here’s everything you need to know about this homeopathic herb.

Updated August 27, 2020

Created By

Marissa DePino,
Arnica Montana for dogs

Arnica Montana, also known as Leopard's Bane

Arnica (Amica Montana) Details

  • Medication type: Herbal Supplement
  • Form:  Gel, Topical Cream, Oil, Tincture, Pill, Pellet
  • Availability: OTC
  • FDA approved? No
  • Life stage: All life stages, Good for older dogs with arthritis
  • Common names: Arnica Montana, Leopard’s Bane
  • Available dosages: 6C, 30C, IM (based on potency and symptoms)
  • Expiration range: If stored properly, arnica has a long shelf life

👉Always talk to your vet before introducing a new supplement into your dog’s diet

Dogs are extremely energetic and activity-driven creatures. Powered by their playful nature, they’re prone to sprinting in circles around the backyard to leaping over rocks and other obstacles just to catch a squirrel. Due to their spunk and stamina, they often find themselves nearly missing dangerous objects in their path. But, sometimes they don’t miss and are put into harm’s way.

Instead of seamlessly racing across the yard, they may trip or ram into a rock leaving behind sprains and bruises in need of care.

Enter homeopathy. The treatment? Arnica.

In diluted doses, this herbal supplement supports the healing process by encouraging blood flow and circulation to the affected area.

What is arnica montana and how does it work?

Arnica (Amica Montana) is a perennial flowering herb that is native to Canada, the northern United States, central Europe, and Siberia. Part of the sunflower family, the bright yellow herb resembles a daisy’s petal in shape and size. In addition to the plant’s pleasing aesthetic, Arnica boasts a plethora of pain management properties.

Thanks to the substances sesquiterpene lactones and helenalin, the herb acts fast to heal injuries, quickly reducing both swelling and bruising. Arnica works to increase the blood circulation to and from the injury by dilating the surrounding lymph ducts and capillaries. It also drains fluid out of the tissues. The combination of the increased blood flow and drainage speeds up the healing process. It also minimizes pain from acute injuries like sprains, bruises, and overextension.

The health benefits of arnica

Most homeopathic experts agree that arnica provides a wide-range of health benefits for acute injuries. This can be particularly helpful for dogs with muscle aches, osteoarthritis, or that have suffered from accidents.

Arnica helps reduce pain and accelerates healing. Useful in aging dogs, the supplement can prevent stiffness from too much activity. A study on arnica’s usage and the recovery of dogs, showed that arnica holds anti-inflammatory properties to aid in a dog’s recovery. Plus, the homeopathic remedy also goes beyond just physical pain relief, and also heals emotional trauma. Arnica benefits dogs with the following injuries:

  • Bruising
  • Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
  • Sprain
  • Abscess
  • Closed-tissue injuries
  • Hematoma
  • Muscle aches/soreness
  • Rheumatism
  • Strokes
  • Emotional trauma (afraid to be touched)

It’s important to note, though, that arnica is best when used in conjunction with other treatments. For instance, an abscess will still need to be treated with antibiotics and arthritis may also still need to be treated with veterinary-prescribed pain medications.

Side effects of arnica for dogs

⚠️ If your dog has ingested the topical form of arnica, alert Animal Poison Control immediately: (888) 426-4435

Arnica can increase bleeding. Thanks to its ability to improve blood circulation, it impacts blood vessels and in turn, could cause unwanted bleeding. Because of this side effect, don’t administer homeopathic arnica to your dog before surgery.

If you’re giving your dog arnica in a topical form, pay close attention. The topical form of arnica can be toxic if ingested, and some dogs may try to slurp off the herb from the affected area. Make sure to monitor your dog after putting on a topical formula to prevent them from licking it off. Sometimes it’s best if you apply it during mealtime or playtime so they are distracted and not paying attention to it.

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Administering arnica to your dog 

Don’t let arnica’s pretty appearance fool you. In its concentrated form, the homeopathic herb is poisonous. The key is to use a diluted concentration. And when we say diluted, we mean an extremely low potency.

Arnica supplements come as topical creams, gels, pills, pellets, oils, and tincture. All homeopathic forms of arnica are diluted. For instance, an arnica 30C dosage is diluted from the original herb 3,000 times. Potencies range from the least potent at 6C to the most at IM.

The good news is that each form of arnica treats different levels of pain. And some forms can be combined for the best results. Pellets are ideal for chronic conditions and should be administered immediately after an injury. Give to dogs with chronic pain such as arthritis. Typically, topical forms like arnica gels and creams are used routinely. Targeting general pain, the topical forms should be applied as needed to the acute injury.

What’s the proper dosage?

Pure arnica creates serious problems. The only safe way to administer arnica to your dog is in its diluted form.

👉 Always make sure to consult your vet before giving arnica to your dog.

The proper dosage and potency of arnica for your dog are based upon the symptoms they’re experiencing. Often, minor injuries require lower doses of 30C or 200C. Osteoarthritis pain may need a slightly higher potency.

Plus, this varies based upon the form of homeopathic medicine. PetMD notes that giving your dog two pellets per hour for up to four hours helps reduce swelling. “For oral treatment, I use 30C pellets — one or two given every four hours for 48 hours initially, then dropping to every eight hours,” Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM told PetMD.

After confirming the dosage amount with your vet, Dog Naturally recommends that in acute injuries and trauma to administer it in increments of 30 minutes until your dog feels better.

Products that contain arnica

Arnica is typically found in OTC products. From gels to creams and pellets, we’ve rounded up a list of products that’ll benefit your dog:

Consider these alternative homeopathic remedies for your dog

Ruta Graveolens

Ruta Graveolens (also known as Meadow Rue) primarily treats ligament or tendon strains, bone bruises, and knee injuries — think ACL. The herb is an excellent follow up after arnica supplements have been given as it’s designed for slow healing injuries.

Denes Rhus Tox

Denes Rhus Tox is made for dogs with arthritis, back pain, rheumatism, stiff joints, or even in less severe cases of sprains. It also holds an allergy component that helps treat skin infections, itching, and red eyes.