Arnica for Dogs

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy commonly used for pain management.
Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Just like their human family members, dogs can experience pain, trauma and muscle aches. While many conventional medications are available to treat these symptoms, homeopathic remedies also may help. Arnica is one of the most common homeopathic remedies used throughout the world to treat aches and pains from injuries and chronic conditions, and may help your canine companion feel better.

Introduction to Homeopathy

Homeopathy was developed by German physician Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in the early 19th century as a holistic alternative to traditional medication. The concept behind homeopathy is that "like cures like," meaning that using a small amount of a substance will help the body cure an illness when a large amount of the same substance would cause an illness. He developed his theory when working on treatments for malaria, when he noticed that large amounts of quinine, the treatment for malaria, caused the same symptoms that malaria caused. Hahnemann continued to develop his homeopathic remedies while working in Germany and France until his death in 1843. Since homeopathy began, the number of remedies has blossomed to treat hundreds of illnesses and conditions in both people and animals.

Understanding Arnica

Arnica is one of the oldest and most commonly used homeopathic remedies for both people and pets. Arnica is an perennial flowering herb in the same family as the daisy and sunflower. Arnica is used for pain management, especially related to injuries or surgery. Homeopathic practitioners recommend Arnica for acute injuries related to accidents, falls or seizures, including when a dog is in shock. Using Arnica before and after dental surgery can lessen the bleeding and bruising and help minimize the pain. Arnica can be effective for chronic pain management from an old injury. Arnica is also good for dogs who participate in agility and endurance events, as it may help the musculoskeletal system recover quicker.

Arnica Dosage

Before beginning any treatment, be sure to consult a veterinarian. If your traditional vet is not familiar with Arnica, you may want to visit a holistic veterinarian. Arnica is available in topical creams, gels and tinctures and in ingestible pills and tinctures. A holistic vet will be able to help you determine the most appropriate form, strength and dosage of the homeopathic remedy for your dog's specific condition.

Side Effects of Arnica

Arnica may cause side effects. Topical forms of Arnica should never be used on open wounds. Arnica improves circulation and opens blood vessels, so its use may increase bleeding. Because of this property, it should never be used prior to a surgery. If topical Arnica is used, be sure your dog can't lick it off, as some topical preparations can be toxic if ingested.