Joint pain and trouble ambulating can significantly lower your dog’s quality of life. Severe arthritis is common among certain breeds. While arthritis doesn’t affect one breed exclusively, dogs that are large, overweight, or older, tend to be more susceptible to developing joint pain over time. The best dog food for joint pain can have a major impact on their overall health. It can even help to minimize pain and inflammation, reducing the severity of symptoms. Fortunately, there are several brands to choose from that can promote healing while alleviating inflammation.
The best dog food for joint health includes:
- Hill’s Prescription Diet for Joint Care
- Purina Pro Plan for Joint Health
- Orijen For Senior Dogs
- Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Recipe
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Mobility Support
- Wellness CORE Grain Free Original
These dog food brands all contain important supplements and ingredients that are designed to promote joint health, address weight problems, help your pet to maintain a healthy weight, and provide important nutrients to joints to reduce inflammation and pain, and improve mobility.
Table of Contents
Degenerative Joint Disease and Arthritis
Some dogs are more prone to joint issues than others. While you may not be able to prevent joint pain and arthritis, by understanding what causes mobility issues, you can more effectively treat it and prepare for it in the future. So what is degenerative joint disease and what causes it?
Degenerative joint disease is a painful, debilitating, and can leave your dog uncomfortable and unable to walk without severe pain.
- Favoring one leg
A dog with arthritis or joint disease will have trouble sitting up and standing, especially after sleeping. Dogs with either of these conditions will ambulate without bending their joints fully until they’re able to work some of the stiffness out. Dogs that are dealing with this type of chronic pain will avoid climbing stairs or jumping.
Other Conditions that can Cause Joint Issues
Degenerative joint disease and arthritis are not the only conditions that can affect the joints and make it painful for your pet to walk, run, and jump. Other conditions include:
- Metabolic disorders
- Congenital disorders
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
If you notice a change in your dog’s mobility, a lack of appetite, limping, or significant weight gain due to inactivity, make an appointment with your vet to determine what treatment is needed to prevent symptoms from progressing.
Weight gain in animals that have arthritis or degenerative joint disease can put more pressure and stress on the joints and bones, which can cause the cartilage to begin deteriorating. Once this happens, the bone will rub against bone. Additionally, more stress on the joints can worsen any pre-existing symptoms and increase the dog’s chance of developing inflammation and pain that’s not easily managed. Unfortunately, large breed dogs are more susceptible to joint issues and the larger the dog, the more likely they will experience joint and bone problems at some point in their life.
If you have a large breed dog then you must be very careful with their diet and ensure they don’t become obese. If you’re not sure whether or not your dog is considered overweight, make an appointment for a routine exam with your vet, who can recommend ways to help you maintain a healthy weight, determine how much weight your pet needs to lose to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the joints, and give your dog a once over to determine the severity of their joint problems.
The Importance of a Healthy Diet
Providing your dog with a healthy diet is very important to alleviate and prevent many symptoms associated with joint disease and arthritis. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that diet alone will not prevent your dog from developing joint problems in the future. There are many products on the market that have been developed with supplements and ingredients that treat mobility issues and target joint problems. These products will help to minimize stiffness and inflammation. When you’re shopping for new pet food for your dog with arthritis, make sure it contains some of the following ingredients:
- Omega-three fatty acids
- Green-lipped mussels
- Perna mussels
- Chondroitin and glucosamine
- Vitamin C
Best Prescription Joint Health Dog Food
There is no shortage of prescription foods designed to treat joint issues and mobility problems. These foods will usually contain a blend of supplements and ingredients that are designed to maintain healthy cartilage while keeping the joints nice and supple. Make sure you check the package for breed specifications since there are some types of joint health dog foods that are specifically designed for large, medium, small, or toy breeds.
Obviously, this type of dog food will require a prescription from your vet. When buying, you can have your vet email or fax the prescription to an online seller.
If your dog is eating prescription pet food, then you must follow the diet prescribed by the vet, including serving size and frequency.
Below, you’ll find a list of the some of the top-selling types of prescription dog foods for joint health:
Hill’s Prescription Diet for Joint Care
This food by Hill’s will help to improve joint health while managing your pet’s weight. This food was developed by vets and nutritionists and has been clinically proven to boost a dog’s mobility in as little as three weeks. It can also work wonders in terms of weight loss, reducing a dog’s weight by as much as twelve percent in two months.
It can also:
- Work with your pet’s metabolism
- Will leave your dog feeling full between meals
- Improves mobility
This brand provides an excellent source of EPA and omega-three fatty acids to nourish the cartilage and prevent cartilage deterioration.
The food’s controlled calorie content in addition to the L-carnitine content will help to promote weight loss, which can prevent additional stress on the joints.
No Prescription Needed
Below you’ll find some great options for brands of joint health dog food that doesn’t require a prescription. In fact, you can find some at your local pet care store, however, you can often find a better deal if you order online. These foods contain some of the same ingredients that prescription joint health dog food does and have a reputation for helping to minimize pain and inflammation while boosting your dog’s overall health and promoting weight loss.
Purina Pro Plan for Joint Health
This dog food provides an excellent source of omega-three fatty acids, EPA, and glucosamine.
It’s designed to improve mobility in dogs suffering from mild to severe arthritis and will help your pup to maintain a healthy weight.
Other benefits include:
- High antioxidant content
- High levels of omega-three fatty acids
- Excellent source of glucosamine
- High calorie to protein ratio
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Mobility Support
Royal Canin pet food is specially formulated for large breeds with mobility issues. This food is highly digestible and contains New Zealand green mussels. This unique formula is perfect for dogs who are at risk of developing joint disease and arthritis and dogs already affected.
Important health benefits include:
- Provides balanced nutrition
- Custom size kibble designed for large teeth and jaws
- Specifically designed for large breeds
- DHA and EPA will promote healthy joints
- Supports digestive flora
- Balanced and complete nutrition
Orijen For Senior Dogs
This dog food is a great choice for older dogs who are displaying signs of mild to moderate arthritis.
This food contains:
- Nest-laid eggs
- Wild-caught fish
- Free-range chicken
It also contains thirty-eight percent of crude protein, in addition to fifteen percent of crude fat. It’s a great choice for older dogs in need of extra protein as they age.
Other benefits include:
- Supports muscle health
- Supports joint health
Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Recipe
This food contains thirteen percent crude fat and twenty-seven percent crude protein. This protein content will help larger breeds to maintain a healthy weight. It also contains important ingredients and supplements for large breeds in terms of heart health, joint health, and bone health.
Other important benefits include:
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
- Contains L-carnitine for heart health
- Prebiotics and probiotics promote digestion
- Grain-free formula
Wellness CORE Grain Free Original
This grain-free dog food contains ingredients that support and nurture joint health. It contains high-quality protein sources including turkey and deboned chicken. It also features a blend of nutritional botanical supplements. This formula is perfect for large breed adults.
Other benefits include:
- High-quality protein
- Gluten, GMO, and Grain-free
- Chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health
- Helps dogs to maintain a healthy weight
What Can I Give My Dog for Joint Pain?
Dogs with ongoing joint pain and inflammation should be seen by their vet. In terms of care, most vets will prescribe NSAIDs to help reduce joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. This will help to improve your dog’s mobility. In severe cases, surgery may be required. In milder cases, you can help improve joint health by feeding them a diet that’s high in glucosamine and chondroitin, in addition to a food that’s loaded in healthy omega-three fatty acids.
Should You Walk a Dog with Arthritis?
Yes. However, be careful not to overdo it. A short, five-minute walk can help to improve your pet’s mobility by getting the blood flowing and loosening up stiff joints. Short walks or low-impact exercise can help to reduce muscle injuries, cramps, and reduce your pet’s chance of injuries such as sprains, in the future. But be careful not to over-exercise your pet. In severe cases, your dog may not even show signs of pain and distress after a long walk until the following day. Start off with a short three-minute walk and gradually increase the length based on how well your dog tolerated exercise the day before.
My Dog Loves Going for Walks But Can No Longer Keep up, How Can I Help?
The best dog jogging stroller will be the best investment you can make for your pet. There are models designed for breeds of all sizes. These strollers will allow your dog to enjoy those long walks they’re no longer able to participate in due to their joint and mobility problems. If you’re looking for a model specifically designed for large breed dogs, I recommend the Towerin Large Breathable Mesh Window dog cage stroller.
Is it Normal for My Senior Dog to Shed More?
Excessive shedding can be an indication of a poor diet. If you’ve noticed that your senior dog is shedding more often, daily brushing may be in order to redistribute healthy oils in their coat. You should also purchase the best dog shampoos for shedding and bathe your dog once a week to help provide their coat with essential oils and nutrients that can improve coat health. To learn more about shedding and coat care, click here to read my article on how often should you brush your dog?
As you know, maintaining a healthy weight is one of the simplest and best ways you can reduce your dog’s risk of developing mobility and joint problems in the future, which is why most vets will often recommend weight control pet food in order to prevent or address this type of problem. Keep in mind that the best dog food for joint health will not prevent joint problems, although it can help to minimize symptoms associated with joint problems and can help to keep your dog healthy, aid in weight loss and improve your pet’s mobility.
But there are cases in which joint problems will be totally out of your hands. Most older dogs will experience some level of joint pain and inflammation.
Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, many large and giant breed dogs are prone to joint problems. Because there are cases in which joint problems are genetic, you may not be able to prevent your dog from developing mobility issues but you can help to reduce pain and inflammation, prevent your dog from gaining weight, and keep them happy, mobile, and active, for as long as possible.