Can Heat Therapy Help Knee Pain in Dogs?

Can heat help knee pain in dogs? The answer is yes! The application of heat is used to reduce stiffness and muscle spasms, increase blood flow and relieve pain. Unlike cold therapy, heat therapy is applied after the initial swelling and inflammation stage of an injury. Typically, cold therapy is used for the initial 72 hours.

Heat therapy can also be used for ongoing conditions such as arthritis. By reducing stiffness, heat therapy helps to improve joint range of motion during and after exercise. In addition to these healing benefits, heat therapy provides comfort, relaxation and anxiety reduction.

Location of Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is most commonly applied to joints: shoulders, elbows and wrists in the front legs; and hips, knees and ankles in the back legs. It can be used on any part of your dog’s body where muscle damage, strain or spasm occurs. For example, a dog with a disc problem in the spine (neck or back) may have muscle spasms, which heat therapy can relieve.

Appropriate Heat Therapy Usage

After your dog has surgery, an injury, or goes through any strenuous physical activity, heat therapy may be an option. Heat therapy should only be applied after the initial swelling and inflammation stage , typically 72 hours following the injury. For the first 72 hours, cold therapy is most effective. To perform cold therapy, place a cold gel pack, ice, or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel to the affected area for ten minutes.

Homemade Heat Therapy Kit

You can choose a simple homemade heating device for heat therapy. Using a sock filled with uncooked rice, tie the sock to the open end. Then put it in the microwave to the desired temperature. Shake the rice socks a few times before applying them to your dog’s skin to ensure even heat distribution. In particular, it is important to note that scalding the skin may be the biggest risk of heat therapy for dogs.


The main guideline for treating your dog with heat therapy is to treat warmth as the ideal temperature, not heat. Therefore, do not apply the sock directly to your dog’s skin. Use padding, such as a thin towel, between the homemade heating sock and your dog’s skin to avoid burns. Before placing a heat sock on your dog, be sure to test it on the inside of your wrist for 20 seconds. It is similar to testing a baby bottle. If your dog shows any signs of discomfort, such as excessive exercise, growling, or biting, discontinue treatment immediately.

If your dog has arthritis or other chronic, ongoing conditions, heat therapy can be used at any time. Usually six to eight hours apart to reduce pain. It is also particularly effective at improving joint range of motion during and after exercise.

Heating Therapy Brace

It is recommended to use a safer and more convenient heating therapy brace. It is a successful way for relieving symptoms of knee and other joint discomfort. It generally must be paired with a more specific treatment that addresses the actual problem causing the pain or inflammation. The application of heat has been proven to assist the healing of many issues, and can make physiotherapy more effective.

For dogs experiencing a lot of pain, or for senior dogs, a heating brace can be used with heat therapy for extra comfort. Heat therapy can quicken the length of recovery due to the increase of blood flow caused by the heat. Heat therapy combined with supplementation will not cure arthritis in dogs, but it can stop the disease from worsening.  Severe injuries may take a very long time to repair, and lasting damage is possible, if not likely.

In addition to helping sore muscles and making body tissues more elastic, consistently using a heating therapy brace can relax muscle spasms and relieve pain. Applying heat to diseased areas of your dog’s body has many health benefits. This is mainly due to the increased blood flow caused by heat application, which brings fresh nutrients and oxygen to the injury. The flowing blood also cleans toxins from damaged parts of the body. Blood flow increases because heat causes blood vessels to dilate. In addition, heat therapy can often be used to lower blood pressure.

Consult your veterinarian before starting heat therapy to ensure that treatment is appropriate and does not require immediate attention. Heat should not be applied to an open wound or suture as it may cause further damage to the area. Overall, heat therapy is a safe and simple method of rehabilitation that can be applied at home and used regularly. If you find your dog falling asleep while using a heated bandage, don’t worry, it means he’s comfortable, so comfortable that he falls asleep!