Joint pain affects many older dogs, and dietary changes are one of the easiest ways to combat it. This buying guide will take you through the best dog foods for joint pain currently on the market.
Maintaining joint health in dogs is one of the major keys to maintaining their quality of life as they age. Let’s take a look at our list as well as some natural foods and supplements for dogs with joint pain.
Dog Joint Health and Pain
Joint pain in dogs is usually a symptom of arthritis. Arthritis is a common condition that affects 4 out of 5 older dogs. It’s most often a result of aging and causes inflammation of the joints, leading to pain, discomfort, and limited mobility. It can also be a result of hip dysplasia, a common genetic condition in dogs.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for arthritis. However, with proper management, dogs diagnosed with arthritis can lead long and happy lives! There are several things that owners can do to manage and reduce their dog’s joint pain. And most importantly, prevent it from getting worse.
Natural Foods and Supplements
Vet-recommended treatments for joint pain include pain killers and lifestyle changes. Introducing anti-inflammatory foods and joint supplements to your dog’s diet is one of the simplest ways to manage joint pain. They can even play a part in arthritis prevention. Below are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods and supplements for dogs, they should all be given in moderation.
Turmeric is a quick and easy way to add some anti-inflammatory spice to your dog’s meals. It’s inexpensive, tasty, and can be found at any grocery store. Turmeric has been used in medicine for centuries for its natural healing properties. Including its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. In fact, it is known to be as effective as ibuprofen for treating arthritis in humans.
It contains a compound called curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. It can help with a number of medical conditions in dogs including joint pain.
To feed your dog turmeric, simply sprinkle it over their meal. Or, you could stir it into a cup of hot water and mix it into your dog’s meals. Small breeds should have no more than ¼ teaspoon per day. Medium dogs ½ teaspoon per day, and large dogs a whole teaspoon per day. Dogs with sensitive stomachs should have the spice introduced gradually.
If your dog is not a fan of the flavor of turmeric, try cinnamon instead. Cinnamon is perfectly safe for dogs and is a common ingredient in dog treats. It is full of anti-inflammatories to help with joint pain and muscle soreness and is even good for brain function. Plus, dogs love the taste!
Dogs can have ⅛ teaspoon per 15 pounds of body weight.
Another excellent meal topper, veterinarians have found that alfalfa provides significant relief for dogs with arthritis. Alfalfa is full of antioxidants that prevent cellular damage which can contribute to the degradation of joints.
It is also high in an anti-inflammatory antioxidant called chlorophyll that may help to reduce pain & discomfort in arthritic dogs. To serve it to your dog, take a small pinch and sprinkle it over their regular meal.
A daily dose of coconut oil can improve poor joint health. It contains a number of fatty acids that help to improve mobility and lessen joint pain. It may even reverse some joint damage according to research. Dogs can have a teaspoon per pound of bodyweight mixed in with their food, but this should be introduced gradually. It’s not suitable for dogs with pancreatitis or sensitive stomachs.
Consider swapping the meat in your dog’s dinner bowl for oily fish such as sardines or anchovies. Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. This boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation caused by arthritis.
Dog-safe oily fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies. Be sure to always remove the bones from fresh fish before feeding it to a dog. Don’t give your dog oily fish every day as this could cause weight gain, which won’t help joint pain. 2-3 times a week is best.
Apples are a nutritious sweet treat that dogs love. They are a great source of quercetin, vitamin A, and vitamin C. All of which are high in antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation and increase mobility in dogs with arthritis.
A couple of slices of an apple is a sufficient serving for dogs. Just be sure to remove the core as the seeds contain cyanide.
A handful of blueberries makes a wonderful treat for older dogs. Not only are they bursting with fiber, vitamins, and anti-inflammatories, but they are also full of the antioxidant anthocyanin. This helps to fight against aging in the body & brain and boosts the immune system too.
If you’re looking for something that can be added to your dog’s meals every day, you should consider cabbage. It is loaded with chemicals that ease inflammation in the body, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals. Cabbage is also proven to help prevent certain types of cancers.
It is recommended that dog eats ⅛ cup of cabbage per 20 lbs of their body weight daily.
If cabbage isn’t your dog’s thing, try celery! Celery contains 25 anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to decrease swelling, pain & discomfort. Dogs can eat it cooked or raw, as a whole stick or sliced up. It is best served as an occasional treat.
Sweet potatoes make a fantastic addition to a dog with joint pain meals. They are high in beta-carotene which fights inflammation. They contain amino acids, which can help to retain and regain wasting muscles. It’s also one of the best sources of vitamin A for dogs, which promotes healthy skin, fur, and eyes.
Sweet potatoes are a carbohydrate and should be cooked thoroughly and eaten in moderation.
When shopping for joint supplements for dogs, look for those containing:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Glucosamine and chondroitin
What to Avoid
Foods that cause inflammation in the bodies of dogs include:
- Nightshade vegetables
- Filler ingredients
12 Best Dog Foods for Joint Pain
These are our 12 best commercial foods for dogs with joint pain.
1. Purina ONE Natural Dog Food
ONE natural dog food by Purina contains a “SmartrBlend” natural chicken and rice formula for adult dogs. The dry food comes in a 40-pound bag and real chicken is the number one ingredient. It’s also high in protein and is tasty, crunchy, tender, and meaty with no filler ingredients.
Purina’s ONE dog food is rich in antioxidants and natural sources of glucosamine. This helps to support a strong immune system and reduce inflammation in joints, which is perfect for older dogs! It’s also made in the USA and comes with a lot of great reviews on Amazon, despite recent manufacturing issues.
2. Eukanuba Dry Dog Food Daily Care Adult Sensitive Joints
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This dry food by Eukanuba is chicken flavor and comes in 2.5-kilogram and 12.5-kilogram bags. It is suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes. It contains L-carnitine, added glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate, which is clinically proven to help support lean muscles and joint health.
The food is also good for aging teeth and is clinically proven to reduce tartar build-up in 28 days. Additionally, it contains Omega-3 fatty acids which support brain function as well as joint health. Reviews praise the effectiveness of the food, with many reporting that it makes their dog’s coats extra shiny.
3. Hill’s Science Plan Mature Adult Small And Mini Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science’s dry dog food for mature small breeds is chicken flavor and comes in 3-kilogram and 6-kilogram bags. The food utilizes a chicken meal, brown rice, and barley recipe that supports mobility. It has added glucosamine and chondroitin from natural sources that are easy to digest.
The food is vet-recommended and made in the USA with extremely positive reviews on Amazon. Buyers of the food praise the difference the food appears to make to their dog’s activity level and mobility. Pet parents of dogs with sensitive tummies also love the product.
4. Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Adult Dry Dog Food
This dog food by Nutro comes in lamb and chicken flavor and a variety of bag sizes; 5 pounds, 13 pounds, 15 pounds, and 30 pounds. The natural formula incorporates lots of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients including antioxidants for a healthy immune system and joints.
The small bites are easy to ingest and contain no GMOs, filler, or artificial ingredients. Nutro partners with trusted farmers and suppliers to source only high-quality ingredients. It comes highly recommended by buyers with almost no bad reviews on Amazon.
5. Victor Purpose Performance Dry Food
Victor’s Purpose Performance dry food is beef, chicken, and pork flavor and comes in a 5-pound and 40-pound bag. It’s intended for active dogs with joint issues and is suitable for those with stomach issues and allergies too.
The nutrient-dense recipe is gluten-free and contains glucosamine and chondroitin to promote long-term joint health. Reviews rave about the product and many buyers note the improvement to their dog’s mobility.
6. Diamond Naturals Premium Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals dry dog food comes in lamb and chicken flavor and is available in 6, 20, and 40-pound bags. The food contains superfoods and high-quality protein with optimal amino acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, and chondroitin for strong joints and muscles.
It contains no filler ingredients or artificial flavors and is highly digestible with probiotic elements. All of Diamond Naturals’ products are made in the USA and sustainably sourced. Reviews praise the quality of the food and its suitability to dogs with sensitive stomachs.
7. Wellness Complete Natural Senior Dog Food
Wellness’s natural dog food is chicken and barley flavor. It’s available in 5 pound, 15 pound, and 30-pound bags. The senior formula is made to support all-around health including healthy eyes, skin, coat, teeth, gums, immune system, and joints.
The formula is all-natural, containing no filler or artificial ingredients, and backed by a wellness guarantee. It’s also made in the USA. Reviews cannot praise the food highly enough and many claim that their dogs love it.
8. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dog Food
Another Purina product, this food is for large breeds of dog. It’s chicken flavor and available in a 34-pound bag. The food contains glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids that promote joint health and mobility. It’s also high in protein and contains probiotics for gut health. Despite a manufacturing issue in 2018, reviews are very positive.
9. Wellness CORE High-Protein Grain Free Adult Dog Food
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Another food product by Wellness, their CORE high-protein food is grain-free. Its turkey flavor and comes in 4 pound, 12 pound, and 26-pound bags. It is rich in protein and contains lots of nutrients and superfoods. This includes antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine for optimal joint health.
Taurine is a fatty acid that is known for alleviating depression and anxiety. Many reviews claim that the food has helped their dog’s anxiety as well as their joint function.
10. ORIJEN Senior Dog Food
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This senior dog food by ORIJEN is chicken flavor and is available in a 2-kilogram bag. It’s made from free-run chicken, turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs and contains 85% fresh animal ingredients for optimal health. It’s an Amazon’s Choice product and can be eaten by any dog breed or size.
The food comes with overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, with buyers praising the food’s high-quality ingredients.
11. DOGSWELL Vitality Dry Dog Food
Dogswell’s dry dog food is chicken and oat flavor. It’s available in 4 pound, 11 pound, and 22.5-pound bags. The main ingredient is hormone-free chicken and it contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints. It also contains superfood fruits and vegetables and healthy carbohydrates such as oats, peas, barley, and brown rice.
It’s another Amazon’s Choice product and reviews are positive, with owners of even the fussiest eaters praising the product. The food isn’t grain-free, but the brand does sell a grain-free version of the food.
12. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet
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Blue Buffalo’s diet food is formulated with appropriate levels of calories and fat for safe weight loss. It’s grain-free and contains easily digestible tasty hydrolyzed salmon. It also contains amino acids and key antioxidants from natural, wholesome sources for optimal overall health. The food is also well suited to dogs with common food allergies.
The food is prescription-only and requires a veterinary prescription. It’s another Amazon’s Choice product and reviews praise
Food For Dogs With Joint Pain: FAQ
Natural foods that help dogs with joint pain include oily fish and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like apples, blueberries, cabbage, celery, and sweet potatoes. Herbs and spices like alfalfa, cinnamon, and turmeric are also beneficial. Alternatively, there are commercial dog foods tailored to joint issues and older dogs available.
Foods that increase inflammation in the body and make arthritis symptoms worse include gluten products like wheat, rye, and barley. Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are also inflammatory. Owners should avoid anything with filler ingredients such as cornstarch or peanut as well.
The symptoms of arthritis in dogs include limping or lameness, bunny hopping gait,
yelping, licking affected areas, a decrease in energy and range of movement, visibly wasting muscles, and sometimes irritability.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are structural components of cartilage. Cartilage is the tissue that cushions the joints. They occur naturally in the body and can be bought as supplements to improve joint health.
Natural sources of glucosamine for dogs include beef, lamb, goat, or ostrich trachea, chicken feet, ox or pig’s tails, beef knuckle bones, shellfish shells, green-lipped mussels, and bone broth.
It is possible for dogs to consume too much glucosamine. This can cause poisoning, resulting in bloody diarrhea, dehydration, nose bleeds, lameness, and more. To avoid this, buy glucosamine supplements from trusted, veterinary-recommended brands.
By far the most popular brand of joint supplement for dogs is YuMove. YuMove uses natural, safe ingredients to optimize joint health with older dogs in mind. That said, there are many good products currently on the market. It’s always worth asking your vet for a recommendation!
Those are our favorite best dog foods for joint pain. If you’re worried about your dog’s joints, consider introducing some of these foods into your dog’s diet and ask your vet to do an examination. Will you be trying any of the foods mentioned on this list? Or have any other recommendations? Let us know!