This review assesses the evidence for the efficacy of therapies used in the management of osteoarthritis in dogs on the basis of papers published in peer-reviewed journals in English between 1985 and July 2007. Sixty-eight papers were identified and evaluated. They considered four alternative therapies, one use of functional food, two intra-articular agents, six nutraceutical agents, 21 pharmacological agents, two physical therapies, three surgical techniques and two combinations of weight control. There was a high level of comfort (strong evidence) for the efficacy of carprofen, firocoxib and meloxicam, and a moderate level of comfort for the efficacy of etodolac in modifying the signs of osteoarthritis. There was a moderate level of comfort for the efficacy of glycosaminoglycan polysulphate, licofelone, elk velvet antler and a functional food containing green-lipped mussel for the modification of the structures involved in the disease. There was weak or no evidence in support of the use of doxycycline, electrostimulated acupuncture, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, gold wire acupuncture, hyaluronan, pentosan polysulphate, P54FP (extract of turmeric), tiaprofenic acid or tibial plateau levelling osteotomy.