The Use of Supplements for Conservative Management Rather Than Medications

Dog knee injuries are a tough issue to deal with, as we all want the best for our dog, but when it comes to dog knee surgery, not everyone can afford it. We all want the best for our pets, however the truth of the matter is that dog knee surgery is very expensive, and unless you have the money or a way to finance it, the surgical route will not always be an option.

One of the questions that I get asked most frequently (through email, and comments) is, “Are there any non-surgical options to repair a torn ACL/CCL?”

The direct answer is NO, because unlike muscle pulls and sprains, a torn ligament can’t be repaired without surgery. As the title of this post suggests, we will be looking into “management” options for dealing with a torn cranial cruciate ligament when surgery isn’t opted for, or just isn’t an option due to cost or other hardships.

The key part in managing a non-surgically repaired CCL is being “conservative”, meaning the dog should cut back drastically on activity, and limited and restricted when alone, because when dogs aren’t being watched, many of them will find a reason to run around, or jump and bark at things.  If you think that you’ll be able to restrict your dogs activity level, then conservative management may be an option for you, and the use of supplements can definitely help.

Choosing a Supplement
When you’re trying to pick a supplement for your dog, you’re obviously going to want the best. If you’re like me, you’ll research everything before trying one, so hopefully this short list will help you out. These are supplements that we recommend based on our use of it and/or the use of other products by the same manufacturer.

One of the biggest problems with a torn knee ligament is inflammation, swelling and stiffness. These products aim to help with that.

  • Nupro Joint Support for Dogs (Silver)
    This product is great because it contains both Glucosamine and MSM, both help with joint stiffness, and MSM has been shown to help with inflammation and some studies have showed it to reduce pain.
  • Cosequin DS Anti-Inflammatory
    Cosequin is known as an anti-inflammatory and many surgeons recommend that a dogs take this daily after knee surgery. Cosequin has manyy benefits and is recommended for any dogs with inflammation or joint pain. A 4-6 week period should typically be enough time for the owner to tell if there is an improvement in mobility.
  • Joint Treats® (60 Soft Chews)
    Healthy and beneficial for dogs of all ages. Can be used as treats or as daily supplements. I’ve heard of people using these supplements for dogs with hip dysplasia.

The above supplements are two of the better ones that we have found. There are also some other options in terms of oils, such as Salmon Oil, Flax Seed Oil and even Olive Oil. One of the main benefits of adding these types of oils as a supplement is that it will help with the dogs skin and coat.

If you’re looking to try conservative management as a treatment option, the above supplements should definitely help with mobility, range of motion and possibly inflammation. If you’ve used these products, or others, please let us know how they worked for you!


I was just made aware of another product by one of our members. It isn’t necessarily a supplement, but rather an anti-inflammatory analgesic. Try out Traumeel Gel – 50gm Tube. It’s a cream or rub that addresses inflammation and is commonly used in dogs, cats and horses.

Update 2

ARTHROPLEX for Canines (180 Capsules) was just recommended by one of our readers. Each Arthroplex capsule contains Glucosamine Sulfate (225 mg), Green-Lipid Mussels (90 mg), DL-Phenylalanine (75mg), Boswellia Serrata Extract (35 mg), Bromelain (35 mg), Vitamin C (100 mg).

If you have any other product suggestions, supplements or otherwise, let me know and we’ll post them on here as well.


  1. katie says

    My extremely active 5 year old humane society mutt already has hip problems and has been recently diagnosed with a torn ACL. Because of the hips she’s been on Synovi-6 for about 1.5 years already.

    I can’t really afford the surgery, although I’m looking into it anyway. I’ve seen a few things online that urge people away from surgery anyway, but I haven’t made a decision… I also suspect that the first ACL injury was 2 years ago, after a fall on ice, it just wasn’t as bad has it has become recently.

    My vet has told me that it’s likely her other ACL will go and it’s probable the dog is gentically prone to these injuries.

    I’ve been researching online and found some information on Ligaplex (for ligament health), LubriSyn CA (for joints), and Wobenzym (for inflamation). If you have more knowledge of any of these, or others, I’d love to know.

  2. says

    Hi Katie –

    I don’t have any direct information on those medications that you mentioned. Out of curiosity, are those over the counter or are those prescribed medications?

    I’ll see if I can gather some information from some of my contacts and follow up with that.

    Best of luck.

  3. maggie the g.s.d. says

    i am a 3yr, 10mo old high line g.s.d. who came up a little lame 2 months ago. my primary vet says i have a torn cranial cruciate ligament but can’t tell if it is partial or severe. she referred me to a surgeon. my owner went for a second opinion with me today. vet #2 manipulated both stifle joints and says they are about equally loose and suspects meniscus damage on my left rear (limping) leg. since the surgery doesn’t have a great success rate, is expensive and the same condition is likely to occur to my other back leg, vet #2 wants to try 2mg of adequan every week, along with restricted activity and dietary supplements and see if i can grow some protective tissue to stabilize the joint this winter. since i would have to do the same boring drill if i had the surgery anyway, maybe i can get better without the surgery. what do human brains think?

  4. Andrea says

    I give arthripower glucosamine, chondroitin,MSM.The brand is nutraceutical sciences institute. They are 1,500mg and bacon flavored. My 3 dogs (white boxer, shep./boxer mix, and yellow lab) all take one after breakfast. They think they’re a treat!! I’ve noticed HUGE difference in both the boxer and lab..both had hip problems….just preventative for the mix.I got them on….great site/magazine for any type of suppliment.
    Unfortunatly my white boxer Moose, injured himself at the park yesterday morning. the vet thinks its a torn CCL. Seems like it to me too after reading all about the injury. Poor guy….= ( He’s only 6. We will have to go back to the Dr. on Tuesday to find out about surgery. So far we are living pain killer to pain killer….he gets them every 8 hours. I can’t imagine him having surgery. Luckily our house is one level, and the fenced in yard is on the same level. So keeping him mellow shouldn’t be too difficult.

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