If your dog lags behind on walks, appears stiff upon getting up and has become reluctant to jump off the couch, chances are his joints are starting to bother him. The yucca extract has proven promising for those achy joints and can be used as natural alternative to prescription medication. Before giving any supplements, consult with your veterinarian.
The yucca plant belongs to the lily family. Commonly found in arid regions, this desert shrub is characterized by leaves that are oblong, narrow and spine-tipped with flowers that vary in color from white, purplish or greenish. These desert blooms grow along a tall stem.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists the yucca plant as toxic to dogs, cats and horses. The worst symptoms are seen in large animals grazing on this plant, while in dogs and cats it's likely to cause mild vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. However, yucca extract is considered safe as long as it's dosed correctly and not given for long periods of time. Yucca extract is commonly found in liquid form and is available online or in some local retail stores.
Yucca schidigera is a species of yucca commonly found in arthritis supplements, according to Dr. Narda G. Robinson, a veterinarian who works for Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. It contains steroidal saponins, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help give relief to pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints as seen in arthritis. The symptom relief yucca extract provides, when dosed correctly, has been found to be similar to the effect of anti-inflammatory medications without the side effects.
- ASPCA: Yucca
- Pet Poison Helpline: Yucca
- Colorado State University: What’s All This in My Dog’s Arthritis Supplement?
- Bay Woof: Herbal Options in Veterinary Medicine
- Veterinary Practice News: Treating Arthritis With Integrative Medicine
- Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions; Shawn Messonnier
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.