How Turmeric Helped Our Dog’s Hip

How Turmeric Helped Our Dog Walk Normally - An Oregon Cottage

Did you know all the medical benefits of turmeric? The spice that gives curry powder its distinctive hue?

Well, I didn’t until just a few months ago when I found out that turmeric has been traditionally known to reduce inflammation and that current medical studies validate this time-honored use of turmeric. And after using it for our dog, I’m a firm believer in the benefits of turmeric.

The main component of turmeric that aids in healing is curcumin and, among other things, it’s being studied for its:
  • Anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. And it has been shown to help with significant reductions in pain and disability associated with the condition.
  • Ability to lower the levels of bad cholesterol to help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries and prevent blood clots from forming in the circulatory system.
  • Cancer treatment potential – early research studies indicate that turmeric may be an effective treatment for battling some forms of cancer.
  • Digestive help – it can be an effective treatment for many stomach conditions including discomfort, bloating, appetite loss, nausea and gas.
  • Powerful antioxidant levels (specifically the amount of curcumin) that help remove free radicals in the body. The removal of these free radicals can aid in preventing cellular damage and are an effective way to protect the body from chronic conditions.

Our dog

Since some of the studies have been conducted on dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, it’s become a recommended herbal remedy for dog hip problems as well as cancer and pain treatments (here’s an article from Petsafety about using turmeric, as well as this article with owner’s results from using turmeric on their dogs).

I’ve written about our dog, Samson, before – how he was dropped off in a remote neighborhood in central Oregon and wandered around until my dad and stepmamma found him and took him in. My brother actually made the trip over and brought Samson to us Thanksgiving weekend of 2005.


In addition to all the other stuff this dog has done, he’s also always favored his right back leg. From the beginning people commented on his crooked gait – some even thought he was limping. Pictures show him always sitting on his left hip and favoring his right. He’s also chewed on that leg from the beginning – and has left a permanent mark on his fur.

We did take him to a vet when we rescued him and he seemed to be in great shape, though a little underweight (uh, duh…) and she thought he was about a year old. Apparently, something happened to him in that year to injure his hip/leg or it’s something congenital.

About 2 years ago, he started having trouble lifting his right hip up after he’d been sitting or laying awhile. We thought his leg had gone to sleep or something, ’cause he usually stretched and within a few minutes was back to his normal self.

I should mention that “normal” for Samson often involves running like a bullet after squirrels or to greet his favorite person in the whole wide world – Brian.

But last December, the trouble with his leg and hip became more pronounced and he actually started holding it up for a bit. He never yelped or showed any kind of pain, and would go outside and run like crazy again, so we were confused.

My sister is a physical therapist who also works with dogs and she took a look at him and felt inflammation in his hip. She recommended turmeric and a gluten-free diet. We had switched to a better dog food years ago that didn’t have much gluten in it anyway, but we paid the higher cost for a month’s trial of gluten-free dog food. Gulp. However, we forgot about the turmeric recommendation.

We were disappointed to see no change after a month on the new food. Then I remembered the turmeric (sheesh…), and we started him on 1/4 tsp. mixed in with his food in the mornings (we also add water to his dry food – that’s been really great in getting him extra water and slowing down his eating). He eats this mixture with no problems.

Samson in motion

This is going to seem like an exaggeration, but literally within a few days he was NOT holding his leg up anymore. And within a few weeks we could detect no problems when he walked (we never saw problems when he ran). Turmeric was the only thing that helped right away (we had tried glucosamine earlier) so it’s become a regular part of his diet.

We have learned, however, that it’s not a complete miracle-worker. My sister suggested that we only walk Samson on a leash from now on, as he’s at least seven years old combined with a weak hip and his large size (about 80 pounds). Even though the dog has the run of our acre, Brian couldn’t stand restraining him on a leash for a longer walk, and so he let him run.

And lo and behold, he ran like a nut after a squirrel into a ditch and came out limping badly. This time the foot didn’t hit the ground for any reason and after a few days (of upping the turmeric to morning and night meals) we took him to the vet who declared it was probably his knee. We could pay close to $500 for an x-ray that might tell us something and then spend thousands for a surgery that might fix it…

But we knew his hip was an ongoing problem, and doubted surgery would fix it, because nothing was broken. We gave him some doggie pain reliever (a vet Rx) for a few weeks which helped him put his foot down again and my sister looked at him again, but this time he didn’t want anyone messing with him.

After a few weeks on the medicine we gradually took him off and started him back on the turmeric. He was walking almost normally again, but there was still a pronounced limp when walking. We wondered if we’d ever be able to take him on walks again (which he LOVES).

samson on driveway

However, the turmeric was helping again and  by the beginning of the summer Samson seemed almost normal. So I started walking with him on a leash – but only a quarter of his usual walk. As the summer wore on, I was able to gradually increase the amount he walked and now he’s walking the entire route – and even running a portion with me – with NO LIMPING at all, either during or after.

His gait is completely normal again! Time and doggie medicine certainly helped him through the out-right injury, but turmeric is what keeps his inflammation down for the long-haul so that he can do all the things he loves to do. He favors the leg, as he’s always done, and limps a bit after getting up, but he’s able to walk and run like he did before.

So he’s one happy, nutty dog. And so are we.

Well – happy, that is. Not nutty or a dog. Just wanted to be clear on that.


  1. says

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve had high hopes for turmeric with my 12 year old dog who is stiff in her hind end. I’ve no doubt it is helping but not sufficiently as yet after 2 months of feeding it to her :( I know the longer the condition has been in place, the longer it takes for the holistic treatments to work, but last year we were regularly walking 1 1/2 hours per day and this year we’re lucky to get in 20 minutes. She’s taking MSM now as well and thanks to you, I’m going to try a gluten free diet next. Keep your fingers and toes crossed!


    • Jami says

      Oh dear. Every dog is different – we’ve hear some really respond to MSM/Glucosamine and we’re trying it with Samson for that tough-to-get-up stiffness he still has. Hope you find a good combo that works!

  2. Pam says

    Thank you for that info re tumeric. Will definately start it with our 5 yr old rescue. She just recently started limping and favoring her front paw. When a muscle relaxer (vet Rx) did only help for short term, she is now being given Rx antibiotic for possible lymes disease flare-up. When she is off the meds will switch to the tumeric just to make things easier for her and help her once again enjoy her long walks. Again, thanks for the info.

  3. Tami says

    Wish I would have know about turmeric several years ago when I had 2 old, big dogs. I will keep this in mind for the future, thank you for the info.

    I am not sure what you mean by doggie advil? Maybe rimadyl or another vet Rx? You might want to clarify that as human advil or any Ibuprofin , even in small amounts will cause liver damage in dogs and should never be given. I am just worried it might confuse someone seeing doggie and advil together. I am not trying to be critical of your writing….I am one of your biggest fans :-) I am very involved with animal rescue and think it is GREAT your family was able to save this boy!

    • Jami says

      Oh, yes Tami, I should clarify that! We knew not to give Samson advil – I just don’t remember the name of the vet Rx. :) I’ll go ahead an add that to the post, just to make sure!

  4. Lee Ann says

    Thanks for the info! We adopted an 8 year old blue heeler last summer – who LIVES to run! Only after we adopted him did we learn he had surgery on both back hips and wasn’t supposed to run. We were also told he had to eat an outrageously expensive grain free diet. We do let him run, only short distances for fetching a few balls at a time. If he runs too much he limps. I can’t wait to try the tumeric. And as for the grain free food. He accidentally got into regular food at a friends house and had the WORST gas ever for a week. I couldn’t even let him in the house. He definitely needs grain free. But we switched to the Kirkland brand of grain free and he’s completely fine – for MUCH less $$.

    • Jami says

      Oh, it’s so hard keeping dogs who love to run down, huh? They just can’t understand it. :) Good to know about the Kirkland food – we use the brand now, but didn’t know it comes in grain-free as well. And that’s definitely a reason to stick to grain free!!

      • Eoin David Harris says

        My now deceased Sadie (a black lab/dalmation mix who lived to fourteen) suffered from canine lupus and another vaguly described auto-immune condition which caused her nails to break off and her ears to have lesions on the inside. After seeing a couple of doctors who specialized in canine immunology, she was put on permanent anti-biotics and steroids. We moved to a new city (SF) and found an holistic vet clinic complete with acupuncture and chiropractor service. When Sadie was in for her annual exam and shots, one of the vets was summoned because she had just come from a conference on auto-immune disorders. She told me that it was her opinion that Kirkland was the best brand of dog food for dogs with these conditions. We switched to Kirkland and although not everything disappeared, she was much better after a month or two – no more waking up in the middle of the night because another nail had come off and left the quick exposed. We have/had three dogs (the others are pit bull mixes – mutts really – and shelter rescues) and all three preferred the Kirkland to everything else we had fed them.

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing this!!!! We have ducks (no dogs) and one recently injured her leg. She is limping horribly and we have been doing everything we can to speed up the healing process. Off to find some tumeric in hopes that helps. :)

  6. says

    Good to know. I’ve read that it’s good for osteoarthritis, dementia and kids with autism. All conditions which are affected by inflammation. Glad it helped your boy!

  7. brenda from ar says

    So much good information here. Thanks for the effort you put into your research and for sharing. It’s a powerhouse spice, isn’t it?

  8. says

    Update on our duck: she is walking much better now! :) We think she may have broken a toe but I am sure that the turmeric is helping with the inflammation. Thank you again for sharing this awesome information! :)

  9. says

    Would you believe our poor 7 year old dog just had an awful injury a few days ago? He is not allowing any weight on his back leg. I vaguely remembered you writing this post so I just looked it up today. Holy Cow! My dog Bear has almost the exact same thing that you described – from always favoring his back hip/leg to having a bizarre gait to slightly limping after a good walk/run. But with this recent injury (I dont’ know how he did it) it has unnerved me to see him completely lift his leg off the ground and not walk on it at all. He doesn’t whine or cry about it, he just doesn’t put any weight on it. I went to WINCO bulk section today and bought a bag of tumeric for $1.00 and going to try it! We already feed the dogs Kirkland signature dog food and hoep for hte best. Oh and I think I’ll take him to the vet in the next few days to get a muscle relaxer – should help?? Thanks for this post. When I first read it, I didnt’ think I would ever use the info -goes to show that you never know how you will impact people’s lives! Hope all is well for you as you wind down the gardening season :-)

  10. Tina says

    I read an article about tumeric and it’s anti-inflamatory properties so I started using it for foot pain. Works great, but people don’t seem to believe me. I guess it’s too bad for them. I’m glad to see this posting…. I will be giving it to my dog from now on as well.

    • Bill Rod says

      I hope more people visit this thread after today’s date. Turmeric and Curcumin are wonder spices as most spices are. These natural spices are quickly becoming a target of big pharma because of its potentcy in aiding in so many maladies.

      If we rationally think of big pharma, we have to recognize that its motive, like any business, is profitability to its shareholders for which the entity was created in the first place. The research on Turmeric and Curcumin has included many research papers conducted by Harvard School of Medicine, and even reports and studies in the AMA that scientifically substantiate many claims of this wonder spice to include the eradication of cancer cells to inflammation (cause for cancer growth) to detoxification of the blood and liver.

      England has already begun taking steps to require nutritional supplements like vitamin B6, B12, and the like to be dispensed by prescription only! This trend is already being realized in Australia as well. If Western multinationals can influence governments to require the dispensing of a nutritional supplement in these parts of the world thus far, how long before we see this in the U.S? The point is, nutrition has always been the cure to man’s aliments, not the synthetic chemical compounds that are created in labs to treat only the symptoms of a disease while letting the disease go uncured. This model of care works great for multinational pharmaceuticals, but for the rest of us, leaves us on borrowed time.

      So, if the major drug manufactures are looking for ways to patent turmeric, curcumin, and the like, what does that say about its efficacy? I think it speaks volumes! If anyone is interested in how potent these spices are and want to hear the opinion expressed by a PhD at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, please feel free to email me. I will forward you an mp3 audio file containing an interview with this Dr. on a radio program where spices were the topic for the reduction, eradication, and prevention of cancer cells and inflamation.

      • Vicki Takacs says

        To Bill Rod. I would dearly love to hear the talk on spices if you would please email it to me. I wanted to add something here even though it looks like I am way late on this post. I have 14 yr. old cats and one who is 15 and I will tell you what has made a major difference in their health and that is doing my own raw food for them. I cannot do organic but they get fresh ground chicken with livers and eggs and the necessary supplements for cats. Immunoplex, B-50, Vitamin E, Taurine, and salmon oil. Armand my eldest is playing games on the IPad and has even painted some pics. It is not expensive and is not a huge hassle. I spend about an hour once a week cutting chunks off for them to use their teeth on to keep them clean, the rest (thighs and drumsticks I put through a Tarsin grinder I believe it is, bone and all. Then mix up supplements with water and egg yolks, then mix all 3 together and freeze it. You can immediately see a huge difference as their eyes are bright and their coats super shiny and soft. Any dog or cat food that is processed is just not good for them and not good for us either. Please email me if you need help going raw. Processed people food for us I mean, not dog or cat food, just want to be clear on that too lol.

  11. Bellabear says

    Science diet kd corp. Teaches vets curriculum. If you know what’s in that you have just learned volumes. Drugs and bagged food are like alcohol and smoking, just great, for the industrys . The first thing doctors or vets jump for are the drugs. Who teaches these vets about their trade? The multi billion $$$$$$$ drug industry. Feed drugs to dogs and children at your own risks. Or should I say theirs. I think Emergency medicine is amazing.,…But the average vet and g.p. haven’t a clue, the Hippocratic oath was long forgotten, for the pills they hand out with impunity. Why? Most don’t know any better, or the $$$$ is just tooo good….I suspect both. In the end there is no disputing the drug maker taught the drug dealer….

  12. Bellabear says

    P.s. I have been giving a 12 lb. Pom 50 MCG vitamin k for 1.5 yrs. In place of prednisone for itp. I was told it won’t work, she will bleed out….. When I asked if they tried it, subject was changed..The prednisone was clearly damaging,CBC showed liver trouble. I weaned, and immediately, started Milk thistle 80% Silymarin.125mg a day for 1 mth. Along with Turmeric 95% curcumin. Both human grade and standardized

  13. says

    I listen to Coast to Coast every night to fall asleep and have heard dozens of guests over the years proclaiming their love of turmeric. Tons of stories relating to cancer. It never even crossed my mind that it could work for animals as well. Our dog is twelve and definitely moves slower in her old age. I’m gonna read the articles you’ve linked to. Thanks for sharing!!!

  14. Karen in Dakota says

    Great news!! Suggest you check out on fb for vet-based files/documentation on turmeric for pets and folks.

  15. Diana says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. What kind of tumeric did you give your dog? The regular grocery store spice or capsules from a vitamin store? Can’t wait to try this on my dog.

    • says

      We use the ground turmeric from the grocery store, Diana – it’s so inexpensive! Our dog doesn’t mind it mixed with the water and his food, though we do know of other dogs who won’t eat their food with it in it. :( Then maybe use the pills wrapped in some food to disguise it? Hope it works for your dog! Ours is still going strong and doesn’t look his age. :)

  16. Marilyn says

    1 tbsp of Turmeric (chased with a swig of water) and a gluten-free/very-low-grain diet has brought my Ankylosing Spondylitis pain/inflammation into remission for three years now (with occasional falling off the diet brings on acute reminders to get back on the regimen).

    My 4 yr old Great Pyrenees dog favors his hip and I have just started him on a tsp of turmeric* mixed with 2 tablespoons of low-fat/non-fat Nancy’s ( or Zoi Brand) “Greek” Yogurt, mixed into his “Wolf King” (or Taste of the Wild) Dog food. After one week he has improved, seems to be perkier, but his hind leg still gives out if he is hurried, so I let him go at his own pace as he is independent in nature anyway. I think he may need some other supplements like those that I take for my AS, like fish oil and MSM.

    * I buy my Turmeric by the pound from Mountain Rose Herbs ( online from Eugene, Oregon). Nancy’s Yogurt is out of Springfield, Oregon . I also live in Oregon.

    • says

      Oh, this is so good to know, Marilyn – for both you and your dog! That’s a great idea to mix your dog’s dose with yogurt, as that may help finicky dogs take it easier than just in water like our dog. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve on the turmeric, so I’d give it a good month before adding in anything else, just to make sure he really needs them.

  17. Theresa says

    Thank you for sharing this. I found you through google looking for this type of info. I have been using curcumin on my cat that was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last December. In trying to find something to comfort him til that time came, I remembered a posting from a friend about curumin Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, decided to try it. Six months later, he is eating, running, and not limping anymore. Somewhere in my research it mentioned that turmeric/curcumin also has anticancer properties. Haven’t taken him back to the vet, but I doubt if there is any more bone cancer there. My husband is now taking it for his arthritis and has seen improvement. My son and family have a dog with similar history as yours, sounds almost the same. Hoping it will help her too!

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