We do all we can by using healthy diets, weight control, acupuncture, and even stem cell therapy to help with joint issues and mobility in dogs. Normal pain-free mobility in dogs is an essential part of everyday living for our dogs, but with osteoarthritis, there is stiffness and pain. It’s a common cause of chronic pain in dogs and may affect up to 20% of dogs, if not more. In this blog, we’ll discuss the best dog foods for joint health and arthritis problems in dogs.
Today, we can do more by employing healthy nutrition and diet. Diets that are high in carbohydrates which include grains and potatoes can increase inflammation and also exacerbate arthritis.
Additionally, high carb and high-calorie formulas promote fast growth in puppies and obesity, two factors that play a significant role in contributing to arthritis and joint issues in dogs.
Research shows that dog food formulas with proportionately higher protein and calcium, Omega 3 fatty acids, and plenty of antioxidants may be beneficial in increasing lean body mass and supporting health cartilage as pups develop.
In a rush? Here are the top picks?
Merrick’s Healthy Weight grain-free recipe features real deboned meat and whole natural foods like sweet potatoes, blueberries, and apples. This formula includes 70% protein and healthy fat ingredients and 30% fiber, minerals, and other healthy ingredients. The blend of ingredients and nutrients make this one of the best dog foods for joint issues like arthritis.
It is grain-free and has a precise blend of calcium, phosphorous and essential vitamins. Additionally, this dog food includes peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes for a healthy combination of carbohydrates. Merrick has made this grain-free formula specially to suit the needs of dogs with allergies. With natural deboned Texas beef as its first ingredient, this grain-free Merrick formula has chondroitin and glucosamine to maintain joint health.
- Optimal levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs help to maintain healthy hips and joints.
- Grain-free with no corn, wheat, soy, gluten, or artificial
- Priced well for multi-pet households
- Natural beef as the first ingredient
- 55% protein and healthy fat ingredients and 45% produce, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other natural ingredients.
Dogswell Vitality is fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin and features natural, hormone-free chicken as the first ingredient. This formula supports healthy hips and joints with the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
Glucosamine is a natural compound in cartilage that supports joints by cushioning them. Additionally, chondroitin sulfate is also a chemical that is commonly found in joints in your dogs body. This is why it’s one of the best dog foods for arthritis, hip dysplasia, or joint mobility.
There are no artificial colors or flavors, as well as no corn, wheat, or soy. We like this formula because it’s crafted with natural superfood fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, carrots, sweet potato, and apples, offering antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.
- Crafted with high-quality animal protein, wholesome fruits & veggies, and supplements to help Added vitamin E and A for immune health
- Added fruits and veggies for natural fiber benefits
- Priced well for multi-pet homes
- Glucosamine & chondroitin 900 mg/kg
Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic & Mobility is our top pick for the best dog food for joint health. Not only is this formula specially formulated by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians to support your dog’s weight and joint health, but it’s clinically proven nutrition to support mobility in as little as 12 days and reduce weight by 13% in 60 days.
The synergistic blend of ingredients works naturally with your dog’s unique metabolism. There are also added high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that support your dog’s mobility 24/7. Here’s the take on this recipe.
- Specific fiber blend from fruits and vegetables helps your pet feel full and satisfied between meals
- Veterinarian formulated prescription diet for mobility & weight issues
- Naturally formulated to work with your dog’s unique metabolism.
- Supports shelter pets
The Purina Pro Plan is crafted with glucosamine and E.P.A. and omega-3 fatty acid for joint health and mobility. The high protein promotes muscle conditioning when combined with regular exercise. This formula is fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health.
We like Purina Pro Plan (Focus) because there’s an entire line of Pro Plan Large Breed and Giant Breed formulas. This is a specialized product that is one of our favorites that helps with arthritis and hip dysplasia. Each recipe has specific nutrients for joint health and a protein to fat ratio that supports an ideal body condition. Additionally, all of the great-tasting dry formulas are fortified with live probiotics for digestive and immune health.
- 26% protein & 12% fat in every serving
- Real meat with chicken or salmon as the first ingredient
- Crafted with glucosamine and E.P.A., an omega-3 fatty acid, for joint health and mobility
- Priced well for multi-pet homes
- Formulated for dogs over 50lbs
Nutro Essentials Large Breed Adult & Senior Dry Dog Food is great dog food for dogs with joint issues. The ingredients feature farm-raised chicken, brown rice & sweet potato, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
This formula is crafted with glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal joint health for dogs with joint and mobility issues. It’s made with beneficial essential antioxidants, such as vitamin E, for good immune health in dogs. Wholesome Essentials is Nutro’s most popular recipe because it’s crafted with 23.3 protein, 14.4. fat, and a 3.9 fiber content with a 3635kcal/kg,336kcal/cup. This formula contains 58.3 carbohydrates.
This recipe is not grain-free and contains rice which may be a good option today due to possible links with feeding grain-free and cardiomyopathy (D.M.) in dogs fed grain-free dog food.
This formula features beet pulp, a soluble fiber that absorbs excess water. This is a dog food recipe that is formulated for adult dogs.
- Made with non-GMO ingredients*; no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy
- Priced well
- Crafted with glucosamine & chondroitin for mobility & joint health
- Added Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for skin & coat health
This is another good dog food formula with over 6,000 positive customer reviews! We like this dog food recipe because it’s affordable. It comes from a very well-known and reputable brand that works with veterinarians and nutritional experts to craft optimal dog food formulas for different life stages. This formula features real chicken as the #1 ingredient and contains 30% protein and 20% fat to help fuel metabolic needs and maintain lean muscle.
This formula also features amino acids that help nourish muscles, including during the crucial time immediately following exercise. This is a SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula for active large dogs that may benefit active dog breeds. The first five ingredients contain chicken, corn gluten meal, Brewer’s yeast, animal fat preserved with mixed- tocopherols, finally, poultry by-product meal.
- Sport Performance recipe
- Chicken as the first ingredient
- Over 6,000 positive reviews
- Priced well
This is another dog food formula offering real chicken as its first ingredient and includes glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate used to treat osteoarthritis. The formula is good for digestive health and immunity. It’s crafted with a blend of fiber and prebiotics. Iams large breed adult dry dog food formula uses no artificial preservatives or flavors. This formula features a whole grain recipe with ground whole grain barley.
Barley is high in fiber, easy to digest, and dogs enjoy the taste. With that said, it’s important to note that diabetic dogs do better without grains in their diet—excess production of insulin results when dogs consume grains and may also lead to obesity.
As usual, consult with your veterinarian if your dog has mobility issues and discuss the best dog food formulas to meet his specific needs. The first five ingredients in this dog food are as follows: chicken, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, and chicken by-product meal.
- Covers annual vet visit if you purchase two bags
- Priced well
- Over 4,700 positive reviews
- Crafted with omega-6 fatty acids for skin & coat health
Weight Management & Joint Issues
Weight management is essential when it comes down to arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other mobility issues. Even a single factor like weight can make a huge difference. Together with supplements and a complete and balanced dog food is an effective approach to joint issues.
Rethinking Dog Food Formulas for Joint Health
If you’re looking for specific weight management options, you should seek dog food formulas that feature fewer calories per cup serving. These recipes should have the following:
- Increased fiber
- Lower fat
- Protein balance comprised of lean meat plus animal and plant protein.
- Highly palatable
- Certified low-glycemic pet food to regulate blood sugars and help prevent obesity
Nutritional Supplements for Mobility Issues
Just like humans, dogs with joint issues do well with supplements. Glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid (H.A.) may be beneficial in replenishing and supporting your dog’s cartilage.
Bone broth is also a good option since it delivers nutrient components found in the usual joint supplements for dogs. Opt for supplements and herbs that are beneficial in managing arthritis and helping with mobility issues. These should also provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Conclusion for Best Dog Foods for Joint Health
Normal pain-free mobility is important for your pup to enjoy life. As you can see, healthy nutrition is an extremely important factor in preventing numerous health problems, with joint health not excluded. All in all, whatever you decide to feed your furry best friend, it’s always important to do your homework first so you can ensure that your pup gets the best nourishment to live a long and healthy life.
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Still not convinced? Check out this video about dog foods for joint health.
Claudia Bensimoun is a writer who specializes in dog content and veterinary topics! Aside from writing for We Love Doodles, Claudia also writes for other major dog blogs like Fido Friendly, Animal Wellness Magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA). She has a ghostwritten over 50 different dog e-books. Her passions include animal welfare, veterinary research, and wildlife conservation.
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