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If you know people who suffer from arthritis or joint problems, you may have spotted some of them wearing a copper bracelet or another piece of copper jewellery, and some people who use such devices say that they help a lot with easing the pain and stiffness associated with their condition.
You can also buy copper dog collars too, which are designed to help arthritic dogs and other dogs with joint problems to stay more comfortable, retain their free range of movement, and manage their pain. But are copper collars really useful for arthritic dogs, or are they just a gimmick? Read on to learn more about them, as well as some potential alternatives.
The explanation behind the way in which copper dog collars are supposed to work to ease joint pain is that minute quantities of the copper itself are absorbed by the skin, which can help to boost the level of copper in the body and so, ease stiffness, joint pain and arthritis.
The simple answer to this is no! Whilst people have been wearing copper bracelets and similar products for decades to help to ease arthritis and joint pain, no scientific studies on its effectiveness were undertaken until 2013, when the University of York conducted a study on the use of copper wrist straps to help to ease osteoarthritis in people.
The results of the study returned the conclusion that other than the placebo effect, copper does nothing to ease stiffness and joint pain. As dogs are of course not susceptible to the placebo effect in the same way, this is bad news for copper dog collars too!
To further reinforce this conclusion, it is worth noting that as dogs are furry, their collars are not in direct contact with their bare skin either, and so copper would not be absorbed by the skin in the same way that it might be by people. On top of this, the York study found that the copper from such bracelets is not actually absorbed into the skin of people at all-and also, copper is not in any way connected to the relief of arthritis!
That being said, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who regularly wear a copper bracelet or other copper item who are adamant that over the long term, it helps to ease their pain and stiffness, and as such bracelets are not harmful to people in any way (unless the person is allergic to copper or one of the other elements in the metal) there is no medical reason to discourage their use.
Based on the information above, the answer to this question is once again no. However, there is no reason not to use a copper collar on your dog if you wish to-they are not dangerous or harmful to your dog, and do not interfere with the actions of any medications that your dog may be taking.
However, it would be foolish to base your decision to use a copper collar on your dog on a belief that it will have a positive effect on their arthritis or joint pain, and you should not use one in place of a formal, veterinary-designed management plan for your dog.
Copper collars or bracelets are also sometimes referred to as magnetic copper collars/bracelets, but this is a misnomer, as copper is not magnetic! However, you can also buy an alternative to the copper collar that is again designed to help to ease arthritis and joint pain, and this is a magnetic collar.
Magnetic bracelets or collars are designed to improve the circulation and blood flow around the body, ensuring the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the joints and organs. Whilst more studies have been conducted into the use of magnetic bracelets than copper ones, the results are inconclusive.
One study returned the result that within their observation group, the people wearing a strongly magnetic bracelet returned a positive result on the relief of pain and stiffness compared to those wearing a weak or non-magnetic bracelet, whilst other studies have returned no obvious difference between the magnet wearers and the control group at all.
Like the copper collar, there is no harm in trying out a magnetic collar on your own dog if you want to, and if you are determined to have a go with one or the other, the best that can be said for such devices is that the copper collar is universally deemed to be ineffective in scientific terms, whilst the magnetic collar may have some effect.
Again, a magnetic collar should not be used to replace a proper veterinary treatment protocol for your dog’s arthritis or joint problems, and other non-medication options such as hydrotherapy or physiotherapy are almost certainly likely to prove more helpful.
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