Updated: Dec 7, 2020
This is Eve. She's my 11 year old senior girl and, like many older dogs, she suffers from arthritis.
When I first noticed that she had joint pain and was having difficulty getting on and off furniture, I immediately set off to research the best natural options for her. I wanted to find something that could really give her relief from her discomfort, while avoiding as many side effects as possible. There are lots of nutritional supplements you can give, like chondroitin, glucosamine, green lipped mussel extract, and I definitely added those to her diet, but I also wanted something more targeted to joint inflammation, or inflammation in general.
I found several different herbs that could do the job, but many had too many potential side effects, or just didn't suit her. I know you've heard of Turmeric, and even though that can be a great anti-inflammatory for some dogs, it can actually make things worse if the dog has a "hot" constitution, which Eve does. So if your dog prefers to cool temperatures to hot ones, gets overheated easily, pants a lot, is generally warmer to the touch, you really shouldn't be adding a plant that heats things up, because you will actually make their condition worse. So Turmeric was definitely off the table for miss Eve.
And then I came across a plant that checked all the boxes: it was a powerful anti-inflammatory, had few side effects, was tolerated by most dogs, was known for it's effectiveness not just with arthritis but pain in general, and it also helps break down urea, which can cause a whole host of problems if unchecked, especially in older dogs! The plant? Yucca!
Yucca is a cactus-like plant that grows in desert climates around the world. It has a lot of nutritional qualities as it contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, protein, and B vitamins. But that's not what makes it, in my opinion, the absolutely best anti-inflammatory herb for dogs. It's healing powers are found in a group of compounds in the root of the plant, called saponins.
When these compounds are ingested with a bit of food, they clean and penetrate the lining of the small intestine, and prevent toxin release, improving digestion of nutrients as well as cartilage formation.
It acts like a steroid, without the side effects and all while supporting the immune system, has a 50 to 80% success rate in helping with arthritis, joint pain and dysplasia, and effectively reduces inflammation in the hips and knees. It even helps reduce inflammation related to allergies!
Another great effect of using Yucca is that it controls excess urea, which can cause urinary stones, kidney disease, arthritis and skin problems if left unchecked. And it makes their pee and poo smell better, too! Bonus!
As you can see, it really has a lot of benefits! The only precaution to take is that it shouldn't be given continually, non-stop, as it can irritate the digestive tissues. So if you need to give it long term, you should 4-5 days on, 2-3 days off. The easiest way to give it is in powdered form, and it's based on how much food your feeding not the weight of the dog, so 1/2 teaspoon of powder to 1/2 kg of food once a day.
Adding Yucca to Eve's food has made a world of difference in her comfort levels and ability to move around freely. She may be 11, but she moves like a much younger dog!
I highly recommend adding Yucca to your dog's diet if he suffers from arthritis, dysplasia or any type of joint pain. It will give him a new lease on life! And if you want to find out the other herbs I recommend having on hand in your home doggy pharmacy, grab a copy of my free herbal pharmacy guide !
Enjoy taking care of your pup naturally!