Arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting aging dogs. While there’s no cure, there are ways to manage your dog’s discomfort. A balanced, healthy meal plan designed to lessen inflammation is one example.
Not all dog foods are created equal when it comes to arthritis, however. You want to avoid inflammatory foods and find ingredients that support your dog’s joints. These reviews cover the 8 best foods for dogs with arthritis. We hope that they help you find the best food to reduce your dog’s pain and improve mobility.
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The 8 Best Foods for Dogs With Arthritis
1. Spot & Tango — Best Overall
|Food Type:||Dry or wet|
|Life Stage:||Puppy, adult, senior|
The best overall food for dogs with arthritis is one that tailors to their personal needs while maintaining a balanced diet. Spot & Tango enables you to customize the meals that you receive to your dog’s requirements, ensuring that your arthritic pooch gets the support that they need.
Both the kibble and wet food are made with natural ingredients and avoid everything artificial. Each recipe is formulated by veterinary nutritionists to ensure that all your dog’s nutritional requirements are met.
The meals are pre-portioned to save you time with meal prep. Spot & Tango’s delivery service regularly ships the meals to your door, so you can forego the weekly trip to the pet store.
This dog food is only available from the Spot & Tango website as part of their subscription service. Purchasing their food and benefiting from their delivery requires signing up.
2. Nom Nom — Best Value
|Life Stage:||Puppy, adult, senior|
|Special Diet:||No fillers or artificial preservatives|
One option to save you from emergency trips to the grocery store when you run out of dog food is Nom Nom. It offers pre-portioned meals delivered straight to your door, with an option to automatically rotate between all four recipes — beef, chicken, pork, and turkey — so your dog doesn’t get bored.
As the best food for dogs with arthritis for the money, Nom Nom’s recipes have natural ingredients, and the company offers a 2-week free trial. It also offers free samples so you can make sure your dog enjoys the meals before buying a full meal. All four recipes are created by veterinarians to ensure that they meet the nutritional requirements for dogs while avoiding fillers and artificial preservatives.
Nom Nom is a subscription-based service, and the meals are only available through its website. You’ll have to sign up before you can purchase the meals.
3. ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
|Special Diet:||Grain-free, high-protein, gluten-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy|
Formulated for senior dogs and large and giant breeds, ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food focuses on a whole-prey diet. Orijen uses poultry, organs, and fish to create a balanced, nutritional meal with added EPA and DHA to support your dog’s brain, eyes and joint health.
The lack of corn, wheat, soy, grain, and gluten helps lower the risk of inflammation. The omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and protein work to boost the health of your dog’s joints.
Some dogs have had stomach upsets while eating this food, and dogs with sensitive stomachs may have the same problem. It’s also expensive.
4. Blue Buffalo True Solutions Jolly Joints Mobility Support Formula
|Special Diet:||No corn, no wheat, no soy|
With real chicken as the first ingredient, the Blue Buffalo True Solutions Jolly Joints Mobility Support Formula is a science-based recipe. It focuses on helping your dog’s mobility by reducing inflammation and supporting bone strength. Using natural ingredients, Blue Buffalo contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, EPA, and omega fatty acids.
Avoiding artificial flavorings, fillers, and preservatives, along with corn, wheat, and soy, this food helps prevent further inflammation. The antioxidants from natural fruits and vegetables keep your dog’s immune health in top shape too.
Unfortunately, this food is only sold in small bags and doesn’t last long in multi-dog households. Despite being designed for all breeds, the kibble is on the small side and might not be big enough for large dogs. Some canines also dislike the flavor and refuse to eat it.
5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet Joint Mobility Dog Food
|Special Diet:||Pea-free, veterinary diet|
Specifically formulated to support your dog’s joint health, the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet Joint Mobility Dog Food is designed by veterinarians and nutritionists. The recipe contains a careful blend of protein, glucosamine, and omega fatty acids. All the ingredients promote healthy, lean muscle mass and help reduce inflammation.
Along with relieving the pain from arthritis, the formula also contains antioxidants and vitamin E to boost your best friend’s immune health.
Some dogs struggle with the overly dry texture and will refuse to eat it due to the flavor. The Purina Pro Plan requires a prescription from a licensed veterinarian to ensure that it’s safe for your dog. It’s also expensive.
6. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
|Special Diet:||Grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, high-protein|
The American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe supports your dog’s joints through the use of real ingredients. Omega fatty acids and DHA from the salmon oil and flaxseed contents promote healthy skin, fur, eye, and brain development. The fish and sweet potato content also help reduce inflammation in your dog’s arthritic joints, relieving pain.
Along with the joint support, this American Journey food boosts your best friend’s immune health with antioxidants from fruit and vegetables. The recipe also supplies fiber and energy for all your dog’s adventures. It’s sold in three bag sizes to suit households with one or multiple dogs.
Some dogs with sensitive stomachs have had issues with vomiting and diarrhea after eating this product. Others refuse to eat it due to the flavor.
7. Nature’s Recipe Grain-free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin
|Special Diet:||Grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy|
Made with real salmon, Nature’s Recipe Grain-free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin supports your dog’s joints with naturally occurring omega fatty acids. The recipe doesn’t use poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or grain, thus avoiding many common inflammatory foods. Nature’s Recipe also uses nutrient-dense carbohydrates, like sweet potato and pumpkin, to promote healthy digestive and immune systems.
Three bag sizes — 4, 12, and 24 pounds — make this option suitable for single- and multi-dog homes.
Although this recipe is formulated to be easy to digest, it has given some dogs bad gas. The salmon content also gives off a strong fishy smell that some owners find unpleasant. A few picky dogs dislike the flavor and refuse to eat it.
8. American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
|Special Diet:||Limited ingredients, grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, chicken-free, high-protein|
Arthritic dogs with allergies can benefit from the American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe. Unlike most other dog foods, the limited-ingredient formula only contains one source of animal protein and doesn’t use grain. Made with real salmon, this American Journey food avoids poultry in order to be completely chicken-free.
Along with the DHA to protect your dog’s cognitive function, omega fatty acids from the salmon, flaxseed, and sunflower oil nourish their skin and fur. It also helps reduce inflammation in their joints, soothing the pain caused by arthritis.
Several owners have complained about the strong, unpleasant smell of this product and that their dogs refuse to eat it due to the flavoring. It’s also a dusty kibble.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Foods for Dogs With Arthritis
It’s not just humans who can suffer from arthritis; at least as they age. While curing the symptoms isn’t possible, there are ways to relieve the discomfort and help your aging dog stay active. This section will cover what you need to know to understand canine arthritis and how to manage your dog’s pain.
What Is Canine Arthritis?
Despite it being the leading cause of chronic pain in dogs, not many people know much about arthritis. It’s a degenerative joint disease caused by damage to the tissues making up your dog’s joints. This can be due to several reasons:
- Past trauma
- Congenital defects, like hip dysplasia
- Abnormal wear and tear
Although arthritis is more commonly known to affect senior dogs, it can affect all ages.
What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Dogs, like most animals, aren’t fond of making their discomfort obvious. They’ll often only show minor signs of aches and pains until it’s too late to make much difference. This is where paying attention to warning signs can be beneficial. If you catch the symptoms early enough, you can take steps to better manage your dog’s pain.
To know for sure whether your dog is suffering from arthritis, you’ll need to request X-rays from your veterinarian. They’ll be able to show you if there’s any swelling or damage to your dog’s joints that will cause arthritis.
How to Manage Pain From Arthritis?
Arthritis treatments aren’t designed to cure the disease. Instead, they help manage the pain and control the symptoms. Following a dedicated plan can help you ensure that your dog stays mobile and happier for longer.
Your dog’s diet can help manage or worsen their symptoms. Monitoring what your dog eats can be easier said than done, though. Finding a meal plan that is both nutritional and designed to support your dog’s joints can help.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
While there are many recommended foods for easing arthritis, there are also several that can worsen swelling. These ingredients might not affect your dog as much as some others, but it’s best to keep them in mind when looking for new dog food.
- Nightshade vegetables
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate
Both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate occur naturally in a dog’s body. They help make up the structural components of the cartilage cushioning your dog’s joints. Foods and supplements designed to promote joint health often contain one or both of these. You can also find them in natural sources like:
- Bone broth
- Chicken feet
- Green-lipped mussels
- Shellfish shells
Omega fatty acids are ideal for boosting your dog’s health, inside and out. A food formula containing omega-3 and -6 can boost your dog’s coat and skin health. Omega oils can also alleviate inflammation in your dog’s joints, easing the pain caused by swelling.
Your dog’s diet food should be carefully selected to support the specific health issues your dog is facing. Joint and mobility support diets should include ingredients to help boost your dog’s joint health, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, omega fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics. They should also be species-appropriate and free from proinflammatory ingredients such as corn or wheat. The food should ensure that your dog receives a healthy balance of joint supplements and other nutrients.
Sometimes, pain can’t be avoided, especially when the weather changes and the cold seeps into your dog’s bones. This is where heating pads come in. You can also use ice packs to lessen the swelling in some cases.
Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for your pooch to help manage any joint pain. These are long-term options for your dog. While relatively safe and effective, prescription pain medication can get pricey. Many owners decide to find natural preventative measures to manage their dog’s pain instead.
Maintaining an active lifestyle can help strengthen your dog’s bones and increase joint motion. While too much exercise can exacerbate the issue, finding the right balance can help ease your dog’s symptoms. Physical therapy, like swimming, massage, or muscle-toning exercises, are several options that you can look into.
Reconstructive surgery can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and slow the progression of the disease. The damaged cartilage can be removed or replaced, allowing for freedom of movement without causing further pain. Like the other preventative options, however, surgery isn’t a cure-all.
With its customizable recipes, Spot & Tango is the best overall food for dogs with arthritis. It enables you to tailor each meal to your dog’s nutritional needs without requiring a prescription.
If you’re new to subscription services, our best value option, Nom Nom, offers a free trial. It also has free samples that you can let your dog try before paying for the service.
These reviews were our choices for the best food for dogs with arthritis. We hope that they have helped you find a meal plan to help your ailing pooch.
Featured Image Credit: Lindsay Helms, Shutterstock