Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

The Best Dog Food for Arthritis

Dog Food Nutrition November 5, 2019
dog food arthritis

The Best Dog Food for Arthritis

This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More

dog food arthritis

Osteoarthritis or, as it’s usually called, arthritis, is a common problem in dogs, especially as they get older. Larger dogs can be especially prone to problems with their joints as they age.

But some dogs can have problems with mobility due to arthritis starting at a young age. There is no cure for arthritis but changing your dog’s diet to a food that’s formulated for joint and mobility issues can often help improve his quality of life. So, let’s take a look at the best dog food for arthritis.

Quick Look At Our Top Picks For Best Dog Food for Arthritis:

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Good sources of meat protein
  • Low to moderate fat level
  • No by-products or artificial flavors
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
  • Clinically-proven to improve mobility
  • Clinically-proven to reduce body weight
  • Works with your dog’s own metabolism
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
  • Lots of protein
  • Low to moderate fat content
  • Good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
  • Good sources of meat protein
  • Low fat
  • Weight control dog food
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
  • Made of 81 percent meat protein
  • A good choice for active and performance dogs
  • Made from gluten-free grains
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Introduction

Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative joint disease (DJD). Degenerative joint disease in dogs includes a number of different joint problems. Any joints can be affected. DJD is due to an inflammation of the joint that gets progressively worse as the cartilage deteriorates.

In normal, healthy joints, cartilage serves as a cushion so the joint can move smoothly, without pain. When that cushion of cartilage starts to break down, your dog starts to experience osteoarthritis.

This break down can occur due to age, disease, injury, or repeated stress on the joint.

Once the cartilage begins to break down and there is no more cushion for the joint, there can be pain, bone spurs, inflammation, and a reduced range of motion. The joints most commonly affected are a dog’s legs and lower spine.

All dogs have some risk for osteoarthritis as they get older since cartilage will normally begin to break down with age.

However, there are some other factors that can put your dog at risk of developing arthritis:

  • Large and giant breeds are more likely to develop joint and mobility problems such as hip dysplasia
  • Obesity increases your dog’s risk of developing osteoarthritis – added weight puts more stress on the joints
  • Dogs that are older, from middle-age to senior, are more likely to develop arthritis than younger dogs
  • Repetitive stress from some activities can lead to joint problems and arthritis; care should be taken with athletic events such as flyball and agility, for example. Even repeated jogging on a hard surface can produce this kind of stress
  • Injuries that result in ligament tears or fractures can result in arthritis
  • Some infections that affect the joints can lead to arthritis such as Lyme Disease
  • Poor nutrition can lead to arthritis
  • Dogs with poor conformation are more likely to have joint and mobility problems
  • There can also be a genetic risk for problems like hip dysplasia

With all of these risk factors, including old age, most dogs do develop some degree of arthritis as they age. This doesn’t mean that they have to suffer or that their arthritis has to be debilitating.

Even senior dogs with mild arthritis can remain active. In fact, moderate exercise, keeping your dog at a healthy weight, feeding your dog a good dog food for joint mobility, and the addition of joint supplements can do wonders to help your dog minimize the effects of arthritis.

What To Look For When Shopping For Dog Food For Arthritis?

If your dog is showing signs of having arthritis, it’s a good idea to get a diagnosis from your veterinarian. Your vet can determine if your dog is in pain and make suggestions about treatment.

There are many things that you can do to help your dog. One of them is feeding him a good dog food for arthritis. Most foods that can help dogs with arthritis are labeled for “joint care” or “mobility.”

You may also need to look for foods that have extra glucosamine and chondroitin added. These supplements are frequently recommended for dogs with arthritis or other mobility issues.

Things to look for in a dog food for arthritis include:

  1. Good meat protein. Don’t shy away from foods that use chicken meal, lamb meal, or other named meat meals. These foods have plenty of good protein. Plus, chicken meal is also a natural source of glucosamine, a building block of cartilage.

  2. Glucosamine supplementation (usually with chondroitin, too) is good for your dog’s arthritis; green-lipped mussel is another supplement that is often added to dog foods for joint support.

  3. Foods with low to moderate fat; dogs that are overweight or obese put extra stress on their joints which makes arthritis worse. If your dog has arthritis, it’s important for him to be at a healthy, lean weight.

  4. Consider anti-inflammatory ingredients. Some sources recommend ingredients such as papaya, alfalfa, celery, and ginger which have a reputation for being good anti-inflammatory foods.

  5. Avoid plants from the nightshade family in dog foods? These ingredients include potatoes (not sweet potatoes), tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. These foods contain solanine and are said to aggravate arthritis pain. However, according to the Arthritis Foundation, there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

  6. Should you avoid foods with grains? Likewise, there don’t some to be any particular scientific reasons to seek out or to avoid grains if your dog has arthritis. You can find good joint care/mobility dog foods with and without grains, according to your preference (and your dog’s preference, of course).

  7. If you have a large or giant breed, look for foods formulated for their big size. These foods are often formulated with joint supplements and can help a dog with mild joint problems.

  8. If you have a senior dog experiencing some mobility problems, consider a senior dog food. Some senior dog foods contain added glucosamine and joint supplements to help with arthritis. Many of these foods are also weight control foods so they are low in fat. They can be a good choice if your older dog needs to lose a little weight.

Along with choosing the best dog food for arthritis and adding some natural supplements, it’s important to encourage your dog to remain active.

Even if you and your dog simply take a short walk every day, a little exercise is good for his muscles and joints. Exercise is also a good way to help your dog stay at a healthy weight. Remember that arthritis cannot be cured but you can manage it.

The Best Rated Dog Foods for Arthritis

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Lamb & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 21% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max
  • Calories: 315 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Good sources of meat protein
  • Low to moderate fat level
  • No corn, wheat, or soy protein, no by-products or artificial flavors
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin naturally sourced from lamb meal
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Moderate protein level

When we started digging through foods for dogs with arthritis, we were surprised by this food. Hands down, Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Lamb & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is a huge favorite for dogs with arthritis, especially large breed dogs.

The first ingredient is pasture-fed deboned lamb, followed by chicken meal. Made with non-GMO ingredients and no by-products, corn, wheat, soy protein, or artificial flavors. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin naturally sourced from lamb meal to help support healthy hip and joint function.

Available in a 30-lb and 40-lb bag.

Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility Weight & Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 23% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 15% Max
  • Calories: 291 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Clinically-proven to improve mobility in as little as 21 days
  • Clinically-proven to reduce body weight by 13 percent in 60 days
  • Works with your dog’s own metabolism using a unique blend of fiber from fruits and vegetables
  • Improves your dog’s ability to walk, run, and jump again

Cons:

  • Requires a prescription from your veterinarian
  • Very expensive

If your dog has arthritis AND he needs to lose weight (perhaps a lot of weight), Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility Weight & Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food could be the food for you.

This is a veterinary formula which has been precisely developed to manage your dog’s weight and joint health. It’s been clinically proven to improve mobility in as little as 21 days; and to reduce body weight by 13 percent in 60 days.

This food works with your dog’s own metabolism, using a unique blend of fiber from fruits and vegetables. Contains high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Chicken meal is the first ingredient.

Available in 8.5-lb, 15-lb, and 24-lb bags.

AvoDerm Joint Health Chicken Meal Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 30% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Calories: 368 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Lots of protein
  • Low to moderate fat content
  • Lots of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate from naturally-sourced chicken cartilage
  • Good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; and uses California avocados and avocado oil

Cons:

  • Some of the protein comes from plant sources

Avoderm Joint Health Chicken Meal Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food boasts lots of natural chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine to help maintain healthy joints. They are natural because they come from real chicken cartilage (the 2nd ingredient). The first ingredient in this food is chicken meal.

It has low-moderate fat content. It’s quite high in protein content, though some of it does come from plant sources. This food also has a good balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Uses California avocados and avocado oil which are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Available in a 24-lb bag.

Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 22% Min
  • Fat – 10% Min
  • Fiber – 4.25% Max
  • Calories: 416 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Good sources of meat protein
  • Low fat
  • Oatmeal, ground barley, and ground brown rice provide good sources of carbohydrates and fiber
  • Weight control dog food
  • No wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Contains added glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Moderate protein level

If you have an older dog experiencing some arthritis and joint problems, Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food could be a good choice.

This formula has deboned chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients. It uses oatmeal, ground barley, and ground brown rice as good sources of carbs and dietary fiber.

The food is low in fat and is considered a weight control dog food so if your senior dog needs to lose a little weight, this food could help. It also contains added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. No corn, no wheat, no soy.

Available in 5-lb, 15-lb, and 30-lb bags.

VICTOR Performance Formula Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 26% Min
  • Fat – 18% Min
  • Fiber – 3.8% Max
  • Calories: 399 kcal/8oz cup

Pros:

  • Made of 81 percent meat protein from beef, chicken, and pork meals
  • A good choice for active and performance dogs
  • Added glucosamine and chondroitin help with long-term joint health
  • Made from gluten-free grains
  • No corn, wheat, or soy; pea-free
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Adult maintenance formula so it cannot be fed to puppies

You might not think of a performance dog food for dogs with arthritis but Victor Performance Formula Dry Dog Food may surprise you. According to the company, this formula is made for adult dogs with high physical demands that require sustained energy and stamina. It’s specially formulated for adult dogs and large breeds that are susceptible to joint issues. A good choice for younger, active dogs.

Beef meal is the first ingredient and it also has chicken and pork meals. The recipe has plenty of meat protein. This food does have a higher fat content but since it’s made for very active/performance dogs, they should be able to work off the calories. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also added. Made from gluten-free grains.

Available in 5-lb and 40-lb bags.

Overview

Most of us will have a dog that has some arthritis at some point. Your veterinarian can help with any pain management that might be necessary. You can do a lot to help your dog by seeing to it that he stays at a healthy weight, gets some regular exercise, and eats a good diet. Consider some natural supplements if necessary. We hope that the foods suggested here can help your dog.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *