Pain Relief for Dogs Using Plant-based Medicines

The pharmaceutical market for dogs is just as complicated as it is for you. There are countless drugs available to provide pain relief for dogs, but the possible side effects can be undesirable, and in some instances, unsafe. Something from your own medicine cabinet is the worst possible idea, but even solutions prescribed by veterinarians can be harmful. For example, NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have long been associated with kidney and liver problems, and in a survey completed by CannPal, over 50% of veterinarians were concerned with the side effects associated with some of these treatments.

Some side effects of pain medication for dogs include loss of appetite, changes in behaviour, skin redness, and digestive issues. As such, plant-based complementary medicines are gaining momentum as an additional tool for veterinarians to use when preparing a pain management plan that might be safer for your canine friend.

Pain relief for dogs with injuries  

Valerian roots

Valerian is a herb that is usually harvested in the autumn, and its roots have several active ingredients with healing properties. They are mostly associated with their positive effects on mental health, calming nerves and relieving insomnia. Given that, their other benefits go overlooked.

The sedative properties of valerian roots can help dogs that are in constant pain fall asleep. They’re also an excellent muscle relaxant, which becomes useful to treat muscle aches, pains, and spasms. To understand the appropriate dosage and techniques for administering the herb, check this article.


The two chemical compounds of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) found in the Cannabis Sativa plant are known for their pain-relieving qualities. THC has powerful neuroprotectant and antioxidant properties to reduce inflammation while treating chronic pain and muscle spasms. Recent research has also shown the compound to be effective in treating leukaemia and tumours.

CBD’s treatment properties are more wide-ranging, targeting both mental and physical ailments. CBD has been shown to help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and seizures. When it comes to physical pain, CBD can tackle chronic illnesses, cancer tumours, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

We are currently developing a cannabinoid-based product giving pain relief for dogs, called CPAT-01, utilising both these plant molecules.

Mountain Arnica

Arnica is a small, yellow flowering herb with hairs on its leaves that can grow above 9,000ft in the wild. You can grow it in your own garden, but note that it takes two years to reach maturity. This herb is most helpful for wounds and blood vessel dilation. If your dog has aches, spasms, bruises or sprains, arnica is a good choice.

External use of arnica is excellent for dogs. It opens up blood capillaries and allows the lymphs to drain, removing waste from your dog and letting healthy blood circulate to the wounds. You should note, however, that whole-herb arnica can be toxic if ingested, so don’t let your dog lick the treatment as this will cause internal bleeding. A comfy cone will definitely come in handy.

Sedatives for dogs

While we discussed the sedative properties of valerian roots, there is one other option to provide temporary pain relief for dogs.


You might know a friend or two that drinks chamomile tea at night to help them fall asleep. The same can go for your dog. In addition to being a solution for stomach issues, chamomile is a mild sedative that can calm your dog if it’s in stress.

Plants for overall health


Hawthorn deserves a special mention since it provides pain relief for dogs and prevents it. It’s a cardiac tonic that fights heart disease. It’s ideal if your dog is older and has heart issues arising from chemotherapy, heartworms, or infections. It can be used on younger canines as well, though. If your dog undergoes constant cardiac stress, it could be beneficial. Working canines such as sled dogs and herding dogs could use this plant remedy.

This herb also aids appetite and digestion, while improving blood circulation through the kidney and livers, contributing to the overall health of your dog.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is another highly recommended plant for overall wellbeing and pain relief for dogs. Just like us, your dog’s liver is used to filter toxins in the blood. Because of viruses, bacteria, drugs, and toxins, your dog’s liver has a possibility of getting damaged.

The active ingredient Silymarin in milk thistle helps regenerate liver cells, lifting up your dog’s overall health. Additionally, some dogs are more vulnerable to liver damage as they have difficulty excreting copper. If you have a Labrador Retriever, Great Dane or a Dalmatian, you might want to pay attention to this plant.

Key takeaways

There are plenty of options to reduce pain relief for dogs, but a medicinal plant is not always harmless, and similar risks do often apply. They can work contrary to the way they’re supposed to and even interact with different drugs. It’s crucial that you consult a veterinarian before using any of these treatments, without solely relying on this information. Be sure to confirm the provider of any plant extract can provide sufficient safety and manufacturing information, including certificates of origin, safety sheets and product specifications with recommended dosages.