Boswellia Serrata for Dogs: What are the Benefits?

Boswellia Serrata for Dogs: What are the Benefits?

When it comes to taking care of our pets, we want to give them everything that will keep them healthy, happy, and by your side. But with the almost never-ending pet supplements on the market, it can be hard to discern what is really going to improve the health of your dog.

Boswellia Serrata is one supplement that is gaining a name for itself as a canine treatment. So what should you know about using Boswellia Serrata for dogs? What are the benefits?

What Is Boswellia Serrata?

Boswellia Serrata, also known as Indian frankincense, is an extract from the tree of the same name, Boswellia Serrata. This extract has long been used in traditional medicine and can be purchased as oil, resin, oral supplement, or topical cream.

The Benefits of Boswellia Serrata for Dogs

The most significant health benefit of Boswellia Serrata is its ability to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a symptom or cause of many conditions and often results in your dog experiencing pain, heat, reduced functioning, and reduced motion range. Inflammatory disorders can have serious consequences on your dog’s quality of life.

So how does Boswellia Serrata work against inflammation? Boswellia Serrata reduces inflammation by targeting a pro-inflammatory factor called leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are molecules that act as inflammatory mediators, leading to the development of inflammation. Research tells us that Boswellic acids isolated from Boswellia Serrata have been found to inhibit leukotrienes by blocking an enzyme key in the synthesis of leukotrienes (1).

Boswellia Serrata for Dogs May Help Inflammatory Conditions

Some research suggests that Boswellia Serrata can help improve symptoms of several inflammatory conditions.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage in a dog’s joint, the cushion that allows for smooth movement, breaks down. This results in bone rubbing against bone as it loses the cushioning and lubrication of cartilage. Dogs with osteoarthritis often experience pain, inflammation, and a loss of movement.

Boswellia Serrata has been found in research to improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. One study found that Boswellia Serrata supplementation in humans significantly decreased knee pain and swelling frequency and significantly increased knee flexion and walking distance (2).

While more research is needed into the exact effects Boswellia Serrata may have on osteoarthritis in dogs; these human trials highlight the anti-inflammatory and analgesic potential of Boswellia Serrata.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that destroys cartilage. This destruction occurs due to a misfiring immune system that starts to attack and degrade joint cartilage's healthy tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis results in many of the same symptoms in dogs as osteoarthritis; inflammation, pain, and reduced range of motion.

A 2014 study investigated the effects of Boswellia Serrata on arthritis in rat models (3). In the study, rats had arthritis induced via collagen and were then treated with Boswellia Serrata daily for 21 days. The study found that rats who received the Boswellia Serrata treatment significantly reduced inflammatory mediators.

The results of the study also showed that Boswellia Serrata’s ability to reduce inflammation may occur through modulation of the immune system, meaning Boswellia Serrata could potentially be used as a treatment for the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis in dogs.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, may seem like a condition only seen in humans, but unfortunately, dogs can also suffer from IBS. Dogs with IBS will often experience symptoms like bouts of frequent vomiting or diarrhea and exhibit signs such as weight loss, decreased appetite, and energy loss.

IBD occurs when the lining of a dog’s intestine becomes invaded by inflammatory cells, leading to a loss of nutrient absorption, pain, and an allergy-like reaction. IBD is quite poorly understood, but research tells us some treatments can help.

One study investigated the effects of Boswellia Serrata in human patients with inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease (4). In the study, patients with Crohn’s were treated with either a Boswellia Serrata extract or mesalazine, a Crohn’s medication. The study results found that Boswellia Serrata demonstrated effective treatment of Crohn’s that was not inferior to the conventional treatment mesalazine.

In fact, when comparing the safety and effectiveness of Boswellia Serrata and mesalazine, the researchers concluded that Boswellia Serrata appeared to be a superior treatment against inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s.

While more research is needed into the ability of Boswellia Serrata to treat IBD in dogs, this research tells us that it certainly holds the potential to improve symptoms.

Boswellia Serrata Could Offer a Safe Alternative to Other Dog Medications

NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions like joint pain. While NSAIDs can be effective at treating both pain and inflammation, long term use has been associated with an increased risk of adverse gastrointestinal and cardiovascular effects in humans.

Recent reviews of the risk of long term NSAID use in dogs are inconclusive, largely because most studies have not yet been appropriately designed to investigate the safety of NSAID use in canines (5, 6).

Because of this, we cannot be certain as to the risk of long-term NSAID use in dogs and so the anti-inflammatory effects of Boswellia Serrata could offer a potentially safer long-term treatment option.

Where To Find Boswellia Serrata for Dogs?

If the research has convinced you that Boswellia Serrata is the right supplement to help your dog fight off inflammation and pain and improve their overall quality of life, it’s important that you find a dog-friendly product.

Most Boswellia Serrata supplements are aimed at human consumption; however, there are some pet foods that contain it.

We recommend the Healthy Joint & Senior Blend from AppleLove.

Healthy Joint and Senior Blend

With high levels of Boswellia Serrata and a range of other inflammation-fighting ingredients, your dog is bound to love it. AppleLove can be mixed in with dry dog food, frozen and served as a cold treat, or served alone at room temperature.

The Bottom Line

Boswellia Serrata is an impressive supplement that may improve your dog’s inflammation, pain, and range of motion. Although more research is needed into the effects of Boswellia Serrata on dogs, specifically, clinical, cell, and rodent studies highlight its impressive ability to improve the symptoms of many inflammatory conditions experienced by dogs.