Can I Give My Dog Turmeric With Rimadyl?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

 “If only he could talk and tell me what is wrong with him.” That’s one of the most common complaints among dog owners, because there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing your faithful friend suffering and not knowing what to do.

Truth is dogs do talk in their own way, mostly with their eyes and the sadness you see in them tells you all you need to know about their pain.

Let’s have a look at the best ways to deal with a dog whose suffering is caused by arthritis and inflammatory diseases by using turmeric and Rimadyl.

Let’s get straight to the point to see if these two can be given together

[1] Can I give turmeric and Rimadyl together?

When their dog of many years is diagnosed with arthritis, pet owners would do anything to alleviate the pain associated with this condition.

Most vets will prescribe NSAIDs for the afflicted dog, because that’s what vets do. Some pet parents decide to supplement conventional drugs with alternative remedies and there are those who maintain that turmeric, for instance, might help with the pain and mitigate the side-effects of products such as Rimadyl.

One thing to keep in mind is that turmeric might interfere with NSAIDs and reduce their action. In other words, the dog doesn’t benefit much from taking Rimadyl, but is still at risk of serious side-effects.

If you’re wondering how to help your ailing pet, you’d better try using a natural remedy like turmeric first and see how it goes. You can always put him on Rimadyl later.

Another problem with giving your pet Rimadyl and turmeric at the same time is that you cannot tell which of the two helps or which of them causes a particular side-effect.

Now that we have looked an answer to a very specific question, I want to take a look at some more general topics, starting off with turmeric.

 [2] What is turmeric? 

 In recent years, turmeric has been shown to fight inflammation and pain in humans and it was only natural for scientists to explore it’s possible use to treat man’s best friend.

Turmeric is a spice specific to Asian cuisine, especially Indian and Thai, and chances are you’ve had some sprinkled on your curry. Its color is somewhere between yellow and orange and, although it belongs in the same family as ginger, its taste is not as strong. In Asia, turmeric is used both as a spice and a powerful traditional medicine, for its anti-inflammatory properties.

 [3] Why is turmeric used with dogs? 

People give turmeric to their pets to fight off inflammation and alleviate pain, especially in the joints. Many people prefer using turmeric to treat their ailing pets for the same reason they use it themselves, because it’s a natural product and doesn’t cause the dangerous side-effects anti-inflammatory drugs generally do.

 [4] What are the benefits of turmeric for dogs?

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a compound with strong antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Besides its anti-inflammatory properties,  curcumin can also improve heart health, acting as an anticoagulant and fighting against cancer tumors.

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to trauma, infection or injury. In senior dogs, osteoarthritis causes swelling and stiffness in the joints, which make your pet become less active, sulk in a corner and even growl when you try to pet him. Curcumin fights inflammation by narrowing enlarged blood vessels, which is why giving your dog small doses of turmeric can alleviate the pain caused by arthritis and improve mobility.

Elderly dogs can also benefit from turmeric’s antioxidant properties. Curcumin fights against the free-radicals that destroy the body’s healthy cells, causing aging and tissue degeneration.

[5] What are the side effects of turmeric?

While it is a natural product, turmeric can cause some side-effects, although less serious than those associated with conventional drugs.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that turmeric is an anticoagulant, a blood-thinner that is. It is less potent than aspirin, for instance, and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, but used in excess it might lead to bleeding problems.

Pet owners need to be aware of the warming effect of turmeric, which is a hot spice. If your dog is constantly looking for a cool spot to lie down, he definitely doesn’t need more spice in his life.

Another thing to check out and preferably discuss with your vet is the potential interaction with other anti-inflammatory drugs.

In dehydrated dogs, turmeric can cause constipation so keep an eye on your pet’s bowel movements.

[6] How to give turmeric to your dog

The main problem with turmeric is that it is not easily absorbed by the body in its natural form. It cannot hurt sprinkling turmeric on your dog’s food, but your pet won’t probably reap all the health benefits of this amazing spice.

One way to make it easily-absorbed is to mix it with coconut oil and create a turmeric paste. Here is how to do this.

Mix half a cup of turmeric powder, one cup of filter water, one and a half teaspoon of ground black pepper, which greatly improves absorption, and 1/4 cup of coconut oil. 

Stir the ingredients over medium heat until it forms a thick paste. 

Wait until the paste cools down and put it in a jar that can be stored in the fridge.

Every time you prepare your dogs meal, scoop a bit of the paste and put it over his food. For small dogs, use about 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric paste, medium-sized pets can have around half a teaspoon, while large dogs can safely consume one full teaspoon per day.

If this paste is too dense, you may try turmeric gravy. Put one teaspoon of turmeric in a cup and pour boiling water over it until the cup is 1/3 full. Add olive oil and black pepper and stir vigorously. This improvised gravy can be drizzled over the dog’s meal and most owners who have used this recipe say their pets gulped the food down.

On the other hand, you might simply use turmeric supplements available at many pet stores. In addition to turmeric, Curcumin chewable tablets also contain healthy natural ingredients such as flaxseed, fish oil and coconut oil.

[7] What is Rimadyl?

Rimadyl is the brand name for a compound called Carprofen, which belongs to the class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Carprofen reduces inflammation, pain and fever, but has fewer side-effects than steroids.

[a] Why is it used with dogs?

Rimadyl is one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers for dogs. It is often used to treat arthritis and it is also routinely prescribed following surgery, to reduce inflammation and pain. It comes in three forms: caplets, chewable tablets that taste like liver and are much appreciated by canine patients, or as an injection, to which most dogs strongly object. Rimadyl is considered very effective for pain management and one of the safest NSAIDs for dogs.

Although you might have NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin in your drug cabinet, experts warn you should never use them to treat your four-legged friend.

 [b] What are the side effects?

 For elderly dogs suffering with arthritis Rimadyl is often prescribed long term and, unfortunately, this can lead to serious health consequences.

According to the AKC, Rimadyl can cause serious side-effects, some of them life-threatening. Most side-effects concern the GI tract and these include vomiting, diarrhea and ulcers.

If your dog is prescribed Rimadyl, experts suggest you should think what’s BEST for them and watch out for these symptoms.

Behavioral changes

Eating less

Skin rashes, redness or scabs

Tarry stools and other GI issues.

Another common side-effect of Rimadyl is liver damage. The most common symptom of liver damage is jaundice, so call your vet immediately if your pet’s skin, gums or whites of the eyes become yellow.

Increased thirst and urination, diluted urine, loss of appetite and lethargy are symptoms associated with kidney damage, which is a serious side-effect that can lead to kidney failure.

Prolonged use of Rimadyl can also lead to toxic buildup in the body and cause symptoms similar to those of overdose (GI problems and kidney issues).

Speaking of overdose, keep in mind that the liver-flavored tablets are extremely tempting and your dog might find creative ways to open that bottle to get to them if left within reach.  

After receiving more than 13,000 reports of the adverse reactions caused by Rimadyl, in 2004, the FDA ordered Pfizer to mention death among the possible side-effects of its star drug for dogs. So, Rimadyl might be effective, but also dangerous for your buddy.

 [8] Alternative pain relief to giving turmeric and Rimadyl

When your senior dog is suffering from arthritis and has basically lost much of his interest in life, there are several alternative remedies you can try.

Glucosamine is a natural compound very useful for dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia. Glusocamine helps synthesize cartilage tissue which can improve mobility.

Yucca, also known as caasava is a root vegetable native to Central and South America that can be used to treat the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Cassava acts much like turmeric reducing blood pressure and joint inflammation.

Massage can also be of help. It does not cure your pet’s condition but it relieves pain, at least temporarily. If pain is keeping your dog awake at night, try giving him a gentle massage with circular motions over the painful areas just before bedtime.

Dietary changes can also alleviate the symptoms. Try to include foods rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty oils in your pet’s diet. Or you can use fish oil supplements.

CBD oil can also be used to relieve the pain and the stress associated with old-age problems like arthritis. You can use CBD creams and apply them on the affected areas or you can give your dog specially-formulated CBD treats and supplements.

Closing Thoughts

Watching your dog suffer is heartbreaking, but you should always do your own research before administering your pet anything. Many elderly pets are put on NSAIDs, but you should always make sure the benefits outweigh the risks. Often enough an old dog has plenty of health issues and dealing with the side-effects of drugs such as Rimadyl might be a bit too much.

Always try the least harmful remedy for your dog’s condition. A natural remedy like turmeric might help with pain, fever and stiffness just as much as NSAIDs, without causing serious side-effects.