Arnica for Dogs and How to Safely Use It

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arnica for dogsIn this article, we’ll explore the benefits of arnica for dogs and check out how you can make use of this treatment for your own pet.

Arnica is actually a sunflower with bright yellow flowers and opposing leaves on the stem. Most arnicas have a satisfying aroma, existing as they do in the mountainous regions of North America.

The plant is a perennial that blooms in the second year of growth and is among the first flowers to bloom in early spring. Arnica is also known as Leopard’s Bane.

Arnica is usually used for dogs with muscle aches, strains and other associated injuries. It has also been used on dogs with emotional stress and can even aid in the rehabilitation process after dogs have experienced brain or spinal cord injuries.

Therapeutic Use

In most applications, the whole flower is used. It comes in the form of a tablet, gel or cream.

  • The tablet form of arnica is sometimes given pre-surgery or post-surgery to help healing at the incision site. It’s also been proven to help in emotional stress during and after the surgical procedure.  Tablet form is like any other herbal pillule.  They are tiny pellets.  Dosage recommended is roughly 3 of these little pellets directly in the mouth. You want to try and get them around the mucous membranes.  So, place below the front teeth on the gum line.  They will dissolve. For arthritic conditions, a lower potency of 6c is some times recommended, but 30C pellets (see the image below) will work fine.  Most likely you will need to give your dog 2 or 3 dosages daily.  For general maintenance, or when you notice your dog getting a little sore, you can use it a couple x a week.  *Note: Although Arnica is pretty safe, please see the preventative measures below.  *Use common sense with regards to dosage. If you have a tiny dog, then the dosage and potency will be lower than a large dog.
  • The gel and cream forms are applied topically to any areas of the body where the dog has experienced trauma.  Arnica has been used to treat everything from sore muscles to bruises and sprains. Arthritis symptoms have also been alleviated with topical application of arnica gels and creams.
  • Directions for applying arnica to sore muscles, joints and sprains: It’s important to remember that arnica creams are used for closed-tissue injuries only. The infusion of arnica gel or cream should be applied directly to the skin itself and not the fur of your dog.  After moistening the skin with arnica tincture, gel or cream and wrap the area in gauze or cloth. Secure it so that it can’t be taken off. Repeat this up to four times daily.  If the condition worsens after 2-3 days, see your dog’s holistic vet.

Dr. Weil recommends mixing one tablespoon of arnica tincture with a pint of spring (or purified) water.  Using gauze or a sanitary pad, dip it into the mixture and apply it to the bruised area or sore arthritic joint.


Click Here to Buy Homeopathic Arnica

Preventative Measures

As mentioned, arnica shouldn’t be applied to open wounds. This is because it works quickly to stimulate dilation and circulation of peripheral blood vessels, which can actually increase the blood flow of an open and bleeding wound. Applying arnica gels or creams to open wounds can also slow the natural coagulation process.

If arnica is used too long, redness and irritation can result and dogs may lick or chew where it was applied. Abrasions and lesions have also been reported, so discontinue use if you see any of these signs on your dog’s skin.

Internal applications of arnica can result in stomach irritation and digestive problems if used too long. Throat irritation and mouth ulcers can also result, especially when arnica is used at a higher dosage than recommended. Other possible side effects include vomiting, diarrhea and even organ failure.

NEVER use arnica creams or gels around the eyes or mouth areas.

our two dogs

Reasons to Use

The best use of arnica is in its topical form to help alleviate sore muscles and bruising. It also has dramatic and demonstrable effects in the time period immediately after injury occurs, helping to cut down on symptoms of pain and strain in dogs.

As with all of the herbal treatments we’ve been discussing, you should monitor your dog’s reactions to arnica in any of its forms.  When using arnica for dogs, don’t overuse it and always follow any written instructions to ensure your best friend’s safety and well-being.


    • Mike says

      I put the pellets on a 1/4 piece of bread spread with peanut butter. My dog eats it up just fine. My only question is that in a human the pellets should be dissolved under the tongue. Will they dissolve well enough in the stomach? I’m thinking of trying arnica drops directly to her tongue. Good luck and I hope your dog feels better!

  1. Nancy says

    My german shepherd has an aural hematoma. Read that arnica is a good remedy, but then also saw it shouldn’t be used around the mouth or eyes. I’m so confused and worried. Don’t want to go the surgery route if we can avoid it.

    • janie knetzer says

      Hi Nancy:

      An aural hematoma refers to the ear flap, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the eyes and using Arnica oil on the ear flap in addition to Arnica pellets. However, I’m not sure you need the oil (read further). I know the hematoma is very scary looking, but you can let it heal itself naturally. It might take a month, but many vets opt for the “no surgery” route now by just allowing nature to take it’s course. Here’s an excellent video from a vet discussing why surgery isn’t necessary.

      However, the ear might look a little funny once healed if you let it heal on it’s own. It’s often referred to the crinkled look. But, if you can live with that, then the natural way might be best.

      Although I’m not sure if your shepherd is shaking his head a lot or not, if he is, then there’s a very good chance that he has an infection (bacterial or yeast). The shaking of the head is often what leads to the broken blood vessels and the hematoma. Ear infections occur for several reasons including food and/or airborne allergies. My point is, yes, it’s important to pay close attention to the hematoma, but you also need to take a close look at the other issues that are causing him to shake his head.

      I have an article here that discusses common causes of ear problems. So, what I would do is to try the Arnica in pellet form as well as treating the ear with Zymox to rid any infection.

      Start taking a close look at your dog’s food. Shepherds do very well on raw diets Nancy.

      Try to keep him from shaking his head while you’re trying to heal the ear. They have collars that you can buy that limit your dog’s ability to shake his head, chew, etc. while trying to heal a wound. These collars are much easier on the dog than the old fashioned lamp shade type cone.

      Anyway, the sooner you get the allergy, infection issue under control and whether it’s related to food, etc., the better. I hope this helps.


  2. Paula says

    Our shepherd/lab mix is 14 and has very bad arthritis. The vet wanted him on a pain med deramax which was not helpful. We have been using 2.5-3 30 cc tab arnica and it has been amazingly helpful to him. Should we worry about long term effects? He also has a tumor in his throat so he likely doesn’t have much time left.

    • janie knetzer says

      Hi Paula:

      Wow, thanks so much for sharing the results of using Arnica for your dog’s arthritis. That is great!!

      I really wouldn’t worry too much about long term effects of using Arnica. It’s a pretty safe herb. If used to much, you might notice some stomach irritation such as vomiting or diarrhea, but if he’s doing good, I would continue on with what you’re doing. Just keep an eye on him and if you see any change, then back off some.

      I would recommend trying “Slippery Elm” to help soothe and coat the throat and digestive tract and esophagus and help with irritation, especially since he has the throat tumor. Use a good herbal rough cut bark (not a fine powder and not a liquid tincture) and mix with water. Pretend like you’re making it for yourself. Add a heaping teaspoon to 8oz. boiling water or broth. DO NOT DIRECTLY ADD THE HERB TO YOUR DOG’S FOOD. MAKE IT INTO A TEA FIRST, ALLOW IT TO COOL AND THEN ADD TO YOUR DOG’S FOOD.
      Dogs weighing 25-50 lbs 2-4 Tablespoons 4 x daily
      Dogs weighing 50 lbs & up one quarter to one half cup 4 times daily

      I also recommend the herb Astragalus Paula. This will help a great deal with his immune system. You can read more about it here. I only recommend one brand which I include in the article.

      I hope this helps and “thank you” again for taking the time to share your very encouraging story.


  3. Karen Wood says

    Hi , would just like to say I have tried accupunture for my 13yr old border collie who has arthritis, which was working well but unfortunately my vet left to another surgery, and I am now keen to try arnica. He has a flare up just now, and wondered if I give him 30c – 3x a day would that be a reasonable dose? Also is it ok to administer in a little food? So pleased to have came accross your web site!

    • janie knetzer says

      Hi Karen:
      I’m also very pleased that you found my website! I definitely think the 30c 3 times a day would be reasonable for your border collie. However, it’s recommended that you place the pellets between the front teeth and the lips and allow to dissolve (they will dissolve quickly). So, I recommend that you administer that way vs adding to food.

      I hope this helps and I hope your furry guy does well on it. We would love to hear back from you as to how Arnica worked for your dog. :)


      • Karen Wood says

        hi Janie, I have tried the arnica until the capsules are done, I gave the 30c x3, but feel my old man is very stiff still and had to give him a few doses of metacam. He is not so bad when he gets going but getting up and down seems to be a bit of an effort. Is there anything else I should do, or just have to accept that old age has firmly set?

        • janie knetzer says

          Hi Karen:
          I’m sorry about your old guy.

          Can you tell me a little more about any other supplements you are giving? What food and diet? Have you tried anything else? And no, don’t accept that old age has set in. Tell me more and I’ll share some ideas.


          • Karen says

            Hi Janie,

            Thanks for getting back to me!!

            I feed him Royal Canin Sensitive Sensible dog food, and I give him cod liver oil and glucosamine sulphate!!

            Thanks again karen

          • janie knetzer says

            Hi Karen:

            You’re welcome; glad to help. Is the exact name “Royal Canin Maxi Sensitive Digestion Dry Dog Food”? If so, we need to get your old guy a better food. Like most people, you probably didn’t realize that the food you are feeding is at the bottom of the barrel and your old boy is eating a very unhealthy diet, which can and does contribute to arthritis.

            Lets take a look at the first 10 ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, brown rice, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, brewers rice flour, dried beet pulp, fish oil, wheat gluten. The main protein source is a by product meal — this is horrible and should always be avoided, it then includes a lot of rice — not good, then we have some corn gluten meal — junk, they throw in some natural flavors, some flour and some fish oil which is most like contaminated with mercury and other toxins, and the infamous wheat gluten which is known to cause arthritis.

            I can share some excellent foods with you Karen. Let me know if you want me to send you a private email and I will do that; but we have to get him on a better food and a few supplements which will make a big difference in how he feels.


  4. Tanya Castaneda says

    Hi I was looking for some answers. My dog is about 15 years old and she has Acral Lick Granuloma It comes and goes. Would this help my dog if I give her arnica tablets? Any responses would help please!

    • janie knetzer says

      Hi Tanya:

      I’m sorry to hear about your old girl. Acral lick granuloma’s can be quite scary looking and they can appear rather quickly with excessive licking. Arnica gel may help with the healing process, but what I’ve found works best is to make sure you continue to walk your old girl and even include some one on one play time; regardless if she plays or not. Just give her attention. Sam E can help her relax and reduce anxiety and hopefully stop the obsessive licking.

      Don’t allow her to lick. Put a soft child’s sock on her if you have to with a little strap made of velcro (don’t cut off her circulation by making it too tight).

      Hope this is helpful.


  5. hazel says

    Hi my recently inherited dog cross border collie alsation has arthritis we’re keen to try arnia gel as we use it ourselves we use sbc arnica from it safe to use on our dog and if so how do I use it or should we try the drops or tablets if so where to buy them and how much to use.Prince had a cancerous growth removed about 18mths ago. Thank you in anticipation of you’re help.

  6. hazel says

    Hi not sure you got my mail as it has disappeared and dispite several attempts I can’t get onto site to confirm my request for the hope you dent mind by here’s the question again.
    We inherited a old dog cross rough collie and alsation.he has arthritis,we would like to type arnica gel on him as. We use it ourselves.we use qvc sbc arnica. Can you please tell me if it’s safe to apply topically to the dogs legs or if I should use the tablets or drops.if so where do buy them and how do I use them thank you

    • janie knetzer says

      Hi Hazel:

      I’m sorry for the late response. Anyway, you can use gel, tablets or drops for you old boy. Please see the article again where I explain how to use it under “Therapeutic Use”.

      You can use the Arnica that you use yourself; just follow the protocol above, and you can use either the pellets, the gel or the tincture. Personally, I think the pellets and the gel are the easiest.

      Also, please read Paula’s comment above with how her own older dog responded to Arnica for pain!

      I hope this helps. I also manually signed you up to receive my Newsletter Hazel.


  7. ann says

    Hi I have a 15 year old golden mix has been taking GNC pet ultra Mega hip and joint health for 5 years or more January 2014 started on novice 1x day is on canned food since then per vet has recently developed an ear hematoma due to yeast infection in the ear both ears are being cleansed and antibiotic gel applied once a day he has been in to have hematona drained 2x in 4 days we (vet & I) are not rushing to surgery due to age I read about arnica oil for swelling and witch hazel for pain what dosage and will it affect current meds? He just had a liver and kidney enzyme blood test and vet was amazed below normal on results

    • janie knetzer says

      Hi Ann:
      Here’s a link to a video where a vet discusses not doing anything for a hematoma. It’s an excellent video. Also, please read my article on ear infections and the wonderful natural products that eliminates them almost always! What type of canned food is she on? I recommend a good food such as The Honest Kitchen. Add a little warm water and you have a good home-cooked meal. This is an excellent food for your older dog Ann. I also highly recommend that you give your old girl a good multi vitamin daily and include probiotics. The one that I like is made by Natures Farmacy and it includes lots of good vitamins and minerals, plus all 3 essential omega fatty acids 3,6 and 9. Here’s a link to their site.


      • ann says

        Thanks Janie I will try the food I was also told by the vet to give him plain yogurt that’s where the probiotics fits in

        • janie knetzer says

          Hi Ann:

          If you haven’t done so already, please read my response to Nancy back in November 2014 regarding her German Shepherd’s hematoma. I just heard from Nancy today and I wanted to share her comment with you:

          “Hi Janie – I reached out to you several months ago about my shepherd
          with an aural hematoma. It was a scary time for us, but you gave such
          great, comforting advice, Although her recovery took a long time, the
          arnica worked. So glad we didn’t go the surgery route. Her ear is
          crinkled now, but she looks as beautiful as ever to me! Can’t thank
          you enough.”


  8. Sandra says

    I need advice on how to treat my 12 yr old chow golden. He blew his left knee out and gets weekly injections for the pain. trying to avoid surgery. I’m going to start trying arnica gel on his left hip. any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

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