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Is Boswellia good for dogs?
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Is Boswellia good for dogs?

Uncovering the health benefits of Boswellia as part of holistic joint care in dogs

Youll often see Boswellia on the ingredient list of canine mobility supplements, yet its healing properties, which go beyond joint health support and natural pain relief, have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Boswellia serrata originates from regions such as the Arabian Peninsula and parts of India.

In fact, it is a resin obtained through the process of bark tapping, which allows the collection of sap. This sap, initially a sticky, milky substance, undergoes a natural drying process on the tree, solidifying into the characteristic resin crystals.

These crystals, varying in hue from pale yellow to deep amber, are not only valued for their aromatic qualities. Boswellia has been used in medicine for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. One of the reasons for that is that this ancient resin is considered a safer alternative to conventional drugs.

Compared to NSAIDs or steroids that create deep imbalances and contribute to long-term digestive, renal and liver issues, Boswellia contains unique bioactive compounds that work in harmony with the body's natural anti-inflammatory processes.

So, what is the best way for your dog to benefit from Boswellias healing properties? Are there any side effects? How about choosing the right mobility supplement for your canine friend?

Before I get into all that, lets start with how this ancient natural remedy works in dogs.

Understanding Boswellia: Composition and properties

Boswellia contains Boswellic acids, potent active chemical components that help treat inflammation at the cellular level. Boswellic acids have been extensively studied for a number of health conditions[1] due to their anti-inflammatory, antitumor, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant properties.

Research has shown that one of these compounds, namely acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), targets and inhibits 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX)[2], an enzyme responsible for inflammation.

These findings support the use of Boswellia as a natural remedy for chronic inflammation in dogs and other health conditions associated with it, including arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, dementia, and cancer.

Boswellia health benefits in dogs

Narrowing the benefits of Boswellia to merely joint pain control and inflammation relief would undersell its immense potential. The benefits of this plant extract extend to several other health areas that make it a worthy addition to your dog's diet.

  • Promote healthy joints and relieve arthritis symptoms

Several veterinary centers in Switzerland conducted a study involving 29 dogs with degenerative joint and spinal conditions[3] in which Boswellia serrata extract was administered for six weeks.

The dogs showed significant improvements in the severity of symptoms such as lameness, pain, and stiffness, thus establishing Boswellia as an effective natural treatment option for dog arthritis.

That’s excellent news, considering the prevalence of inflammatory conditions and joint-related issues in dogs. Research shows that up to 80% of dogs over eight years old will exhibit signs of arthritis, while 20% will develop symptoms as early as the age of one[4].

  • Maintain optimal brain health and reduce oxidative damage

A study reviewing the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of AKBA, one of the most powerful Boswellic acids, highlights its potential in treating neurological diseases[5] by promoting nerve repair, lowering neuroinflammation, protecting against oxidative damage, and combating gliomas (cancerous brain tumours).

Moreover, Boswellia supplementation has been shown to be effective in treating age-associated memory decline. Research conducted on aged rats indicated that the resin extract improved their overall memory and learning abilities[6] by altering the structure of their hippocampus (memory center).

  • Help improve liver function in inflammatory disorders

A clinical study on rats with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) found that AKBA helps reduce liver inflammation, improve hepatic steatosis and regulate fat metabolism[7], critical factors in preventing and managing this condition.

Boswellia’s hepatoprotective and antioxidant properties have also been found to help alleviate liver fibrosis[8] (liver scarring due to chronic injury or disease) by improving liver function markers and boosting the organs antioxidant levels.

  • Support the gut microbiome and relieve IBD symptoms 

Boswellia can help promote optimal gastrointestinal health, soothing the symptoms of common digestive disorders, including gastritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Boswellic acids such as AKBA have been proven to aid in the restoration of intestinal barrier integrity[9], which becomes disrupted in patients with IBD.

Boswellia supplementation can also impact the gut microbiome composition[10] and improve overall health. A clinical study on healthy mice noticed an increase in Akkermansia muciniphila after AKBA treatment. Akkermansia muciniphila is a bacteria strain that is crucial for strengthening the gut barrier, regulating metabolism, and lowering inflammation.

  • Help regulate immune system response

Researchers found that certain Boswellic acids can reduce the growth and activation of T cells, the immune cells that help protect the body against pathogens, without harming the cells. These findings suggest the extract’s potential for treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and limiting overactive immune responses[11].

Why Fermentation and combining Boswellia with other natural remedies: How to choose the right joint support supplement

Joint wear and tear is a natural part of life for dogs, regardless of their age or breed. Yet, this can often lead to injuries and joint conditions and cause chronic inflammation, pain, and stiffness, thus decreasing your dog's quality of life.

That’s why choosing the best mobility and joint support supplement for your dog can make all the difference not only for their health and mobility but also for their lifespan.

Look for Boswellia-containing supplements that are fermented to enhance the formula

When choosing a canine supplement, you might also want to consider sustainable sourcing, third-party purity testing, and eco-friendly packaging. These elements will ensure your dog gets a high-quality product that benefits their health and protects the environment at the same time.


Meet the latest innovation in natural canine joint care: What is JointButter®?

JointButter Joint and mobility supplement

JointButter is our advanced joint, mobility, and injury supplement for dogs and the newest addition to our natural dog health product line (soon in the Healing Store!).

JointButter’s formula is based on a proprietary fermentation process and contains a unique blend of active compounds with joint-supporting properties, such as Boswellia, that help ensure pain-free movement in dogs of all ages.

Unlike conventional anti-inflammatory medications, JointButter® works with the body rather than causing further imbalance and harmful adverse reactions.

Boswellia for dogs FAQs

  •  What does Boswellia do for dogs?

Multiple research studies have confirmed that Boswellia is an effective natural remedy for managing pain and inflammation in adult and older dogs diagnosed with degenerative joint conditions. The body metabolizes Boswellia into active compounds known as Boswellic acids, which have potent anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and antioxidant properties.

  • Are there any side effects of Boswellia?

As we use fermented Boswellia in synergy with other ingredients, we have not observed any side effects. However, in rare instances, a sensitive dog may experience gastrointestinal symptoms to any supplement. If your dog shows such symptoms, stop the supplement and consider consulting your veterinarian.

  • Can dogs take Turmeric and Boswellia?

Yes, they can, and they should! Both Turmeric and Boswellia are known for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and can help manage arthritis symptoms in dogs. Their synergistic effect in dog health supplements can offer enhanced health benefits.

  1. Roy, N. K., Parama, D., Banik, K., Bordoloi, D., Devi, A. K., Thakur, K. K., ... Kunnumakkara, A. B. (2019). An Update on Pharmacological Potential of Boswellic Acids against Chronic Diseases. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(17), 4101.

  2. Sailer, E. R., Subramanian, L. R., Rall, B., Hoernlein, R. F., Ammon, H. P., & Safayhi, H. (1996). Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA): structure requirements for binding and 5-lipoxygenase inhibitory activity. British Journal of Pharmacology, 117(4), 615–618.

  3. Reichling, J., Schmökel, H., Fitzi, J., Bucher, S., & Saller, R. (2004). Dietary support with Boswellia resin in canine inflammatory joint and spinal disease. Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde, 146(2), 71–79.

  4. Anderson, K. L., Zulch, H., O'Neill, D. G., Meeson, R. L., & Collins, L. M. (2020). Risk Factors for Canine Osteoarthritis and Its Predisposing Arthropathies: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, 220.

  5. Gong, Y., Jiang, X., Yang, S., et al. (2022). The Biological Activity of 3-O-Acetyl-11-keto-β-Boswellic Acid in Nervous System Diseases. NeuroMolecular Medicine, 24, 374–384.

  6. Hosseini-Sharifabad, M., Kamali-Ardakani, R., & Hosseini-Sharifabad, A. (2016). Beneficial effect of Boswellia serrata gum resin on spatial learning and the dendritic tree of dentate gyrus granule cells in aged rats. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 6(2), 189–197.

  7. Kachouei, R. A., Doagoo, A., Jalilzadeh, M., Khatami, S. H., Rajaei, S., Jahan-Abad, A. J., ... Karima, S. (2023). Acetyl-11-Keto-Beta-Boswellic Acid Has Therapeutic Benefits for NAFLD Rat Models That Were Given a High Fructose Diet by Ameliorating Hepatic Inflammation and Lipid Metabolism. Inflammation, 46(5), 1966–1980.

  8. Ahmed, H. H., El-Alfy, N. Z., Mahmoud, M. F., & Yahya, S. M. M. (2015). Boswellia serrata oleo-gum resin: A natural remedy for retrogradation of liver fibrosis in rats. Der Pharmacia Lettre, 7, 134–144.

  9. Catanzaro, D., Rancan, S., Orso, G., Dall'Acqua, S., Brun, P., Giron, M. C., ... Montopoli, M. (2015). Boswellia serrata Preserves Intestinal Epithelial Barrier from Oxidative and Inflammatory Damage. PLoS ONE, 10(5), e0125375.

  10. Suther, C., Daddi, L., Bokoliya, S., Panier, H., Liu, Z., Lin, Q., ... Zhou, Y. (2022). Dietary Boswellia serrata Acid Alters the Gut Microbiome and Blood Metabolites in Experimental Models. Nutrients, 14(4), 814.

  11. Abdo Meyiah, M., Shawkat, M. Y., Rehman, N. U., Al-Harrasi, A., & Elkord, E. (2023, September). Effect of Boswellic acids on T cell proliferation and activation. International Immunopharmacology, 122.


About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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