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5 Best Dog Foods for Arthritis

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for arthritis.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Arthritis?

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Vet’s Advice

Arthritis is a common condition, especially in older dogs. If your dog has arthritis, your vet will discuss treatment options with you, as well as the best diet for your dog. Here are some things to consider when choosing a diet for an arthritic dog:

Choose a food with a low calorie density

If your dog is carrying excess weight, this will put added pressure on the joints and exacerbate any inflammation already present. Weight loss, followed by maintaining a healthy weight, can dramatically improve your dog’s symptoms.

Look for a diet with added fiber, around 15% crude fiber, as dry matter. Fiber helps your dog to feel full so controls their appetite, while also supporting gut health. L-carnitine and L-lysine (amino acids) in the diet help dogs to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass. Muscles are important for supporting the joints. Ensure you are feeding the correct amount. You need to feed for your dog’s target weight, rather than their actual weight.

Choose a diet with added nutraceuticals

There are many nutraceuticals that can benefit dogs with arthritis. Choosing a diet with added glucosamine and chondroitin provides the body with the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy joints, since glucosamine and chondroitin are the building blocks of joint cartilage. Look for added omega 3s such as EPA, or a source of omega 3s such as salmon, as these can have anti-inflammatory benefits. Diets with added green lipped mussel may also reduce inflammation, while the inclusion of antioxidants can stop free radicals from damaging the joint further.

Consider concurrent conditions and age

Most dogs with arthritis are seniors, so it’s important to also consider other age-related health conditions. Diets with controlled levels of high-quality protein, calcium, phosphorous and sodium help to support aging organs, such as the kidneys.

Remember to always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Arthritis Dog Food Reviews

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Turkey
    2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine)
    3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate)
    4. Peas
    5. Dried Ground Potatoes

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 417 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Fiber: 4%

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original is a top quality diet that has been fortified with all of the nutrients dogs need to combat the effects of aging and arthritis. A high protein food, Wellness CORE Grain-Free takes deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal as its primary ingredients, ensuring a powerhouse punch of amino acids to support healthy muscles.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free, one of the best dog foods for arthritis, includes both glucosamine and chondroitin in its formulation to encourage joint health. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have also been enriched to promote excellent quality coat and skin.

Each piece of kibble has been enrobed with a probiotic blend to provide support for digestion. Wellness CORE Grain-Free contains no by-products, wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • Owners like that this diet is manufactured in the United States and is free from by-products and fillers.
  • This diet is rich in flavor. Dogs look forward to their meals, eating them with hearty gusto.
  • Owners are pleased that this diet is free from grains, believing it is an excellent choice for dogs with allergies.
  • Dogs regularly fed this diet had excellent stool quality.
  • Owners indicated their dogs saw an improvement in their coat quality when fed a steady diet of Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original. Their fur was soft, thick, healthy, and shiny.

Cons

  • Owners of toy and small breed dogs felt the kibble pieces were too large and may pose a choking hazard.
  • Some dogs are uninterested in this food and will not eat it. A different Wellness offering with another protein base may be a better option for those dogs.
  • Some owners felt this diet was too cost prohibitive for them to feed on a regular basis.
  • In a few cases only, some owners questioned if there had been a formula change for this food as their dogs who normally ate their meals heartily were now completely uninterested in them.
  • Some owners prefer to feed a diet that includes some grains, particularly those with dogs that struggle to achieve ideal digestion.

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Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM Joint Mobility Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Brewers Rice
    2. Trout
    3. Salmon Meal
    4. Corn Gluten Meal
    5. Poultry By-Product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine)

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 401 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 4%

For owners looking for the best food for dogs with arthritis, it’s hard to go wrong with Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Joint Mobility. A prescription diet designed specifically to address the needs of dogs with joint-related pain, this food formulation is well renowned for its exceptional flavor that keeps dogs coming back for more.

This diet was created by a panel of leading nutritionists, researchers, and veterinarians to ensure its nutritional quality and ability to boost joint health in dogs with arthritis. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Joint Mobility contains a high protein to calories percentage to assist with the development of lean muscle mass to take pressure off joints and help dogs achieve a healthy body weight.

Included in this recipe are ample servings of omega 3 fatty acids, glucosamine, antioxidants, and Vitamin E to help keep joints limber and functioning optimally.

Pros

  • Owners are happy to report that dogs fed this diet on a consistent basis display healthy levels of energy and mobility well into their senior years.
  • Dogs love the taste of this food, licking their bowls clean after every meal.
  • Owners noted that dogs transitioned to this food were more active and experienced less stiffness.
  • This diet contains glucosamine to support joint health and mobility in dogs.
  • Though this diet is expensive, owners feel it is of good value since it offers such great benefits to their dogs.

Cons

  • A few owners noted they found this food was very dry. They needed to mix in water, broth, or canned food to make it easier for their dogs to consume.
  • Some owners feel this diet is very expensive, making it unaffordable for them to feed their dogs on a regular basis.
  • Some owners dislike that this food can only be purchased with a prescription from their veterinarian.
  • In rare cases, some dogs exhibited stool quality that was oily and extremely smelly after a steady diet of this food. This may be the result of a sensitivity to one of the ingredients or from too quick a dietary change.
  • Some of the ingredients in this diet are not optimal nutrition sources such as brewers rice, corn gluten meal, and chicken by-product meal.

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Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Oats
    4. Barley
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 360 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 5.5%

Dogswell Happy Hips earns high marks for its top tier formulation that provides an excellent support for mobility and joint health. One of the best foods for arthritis on the market today, Dogswell Happy Hips is a protein-rich food that lists whole chicken as its main ingredient. This powerhouse meat ensures ample servings of amino acids to fuel strong and healthy muscles.

The antioxidant profile of this food is enriched through the addition of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that encourage good digestion and a healthy immune system. Glucosamine and chondroitin have also been included in this diet as a vital help with joint health.

This diet, among the best dog foods for arthritis, is free from corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Pros

  • Dogs enjoy the taste of this food. They look forward to their every meal and lick their bowls clean with great enthusiasm.
  • Dogs in need of weight loss or maintenance were able to achieve a healthy body condition when fed a regular diet of Dogswell Happy Hips. Dogs that remain at their ideal weight place less weight on their joints, an important help in preventing arthritis from occurring or worsening.
  • Owners reported their dogs’ coats greatly improved when fed this diet consistently. Their coats were soft, shiny, lush, and thick.
  • Owners were pleased to share that dogs that normally experience daily pain and limited mobility saw dramatic improvements in these areas when regularly fed Dogswell Happy Hips.
  • Energy levels were strengthened and increased in dogs fed a steady diet of this high quality food.

Cons

  • Several owners noted that some of their bags of Dogswell Happy Hips had a strong chemical aroma to them. They found this smell very displeasing.
  • A few dogs experienced gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, loose stools, and diarrhea when transitioned to this food. Most commonly, these problems are linked to too rapid a change from the old diet to the new. A sensitivity to one of the food’s ingredients may be to blame.
  • In some cases, dogs found this food uninteresting and would not eat it. This is likely just a matter of personal preference.
  • Some owners expressed displeasure that peas are included in this recipe. Peas may be connected to such health problems as poor fertility and rapid spikes in blood sugar in dogs.
  • A few owners were unhappy that this diet is grain-inclusive, preferring to feed a diet that is free from grains entirely.

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VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Beef Meal
    2. Grain Sorghum
    3. Whole Grain Millet
    4. Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
    5. Blood Meal Conventionally Dried

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 399 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 3.8%

VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula, rated one of the best dog foods for arthritis, offers families top tier nutrition and value for their dog food dollar. A diet that is rich in protein, VICTOR Performance contains beef meal, chicken meal, and pork meal, ensuring ample portions of amino acids to support a healthy body.

This formulation includes glucosamine and chondroitin, important helps in achieving and maintaining optimal joint function.

Pros

  • The price of this food makes it highly affordable, particularly for families on a budget. Owners love that this diet provides them with premium quality nutrition for a reasonable cost.
  • The coat and skin quality of dogs fed this diet consistently was dramatically improved. Their coats were thick, shiny, healthy, and soft while their skin was hydrated and free from any signs of dandruff or dryness.
  • Dogs with poor stool quality saw a return to ideal digestion and proper stool formation when regularly fed VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula.
  • Shedding decreased in dogs that consistently consumed this high quality food.
  • This food is highly flavorful. Dogs love its taste and look forward to enjoying their every meal.

Cons

  • Some owners questioned the quality control processes for this food, noting that some of their bags contained kibble pieces that were smaller than normal.
  • A few dogs are uninterested in this diet, finding it bland. As a result, some dogs will not eat this food.
  • A few owners noted they found this diet had a very off putting smell.
  • This diet includes grains in its recipe. Some owners expressed they would prefer a formulation that is grain-free, believing those types of diets are better suited to dogs with allergies.
  • There are no supplements included in this food to encourage healthy joint functionality in dogs.

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Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+M Weight Management + Mobility Support Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Salmon
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Pea Protein
    4. Powdered Cellulose
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 325 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 17%

A prescription diet considered to be one of the best dog foods for arthritis, Blue Buffalo’s Weight Management + Mobility Support Dog Food is an excellent choice for owners looking to help their dogs maintain a healthy weight and excellent mobility. This high quality food is rich in dietary fiber to support fluid digestion and help provide dogs with the eating satisfaction they need for weight loss.

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are included to encourage coat and skin health, and glucosamine and chondroitin have also been supplemented, ensuring additional help for dogs to enjoy excellent mobility even into advanced age.

This food contains no grains, making it an excellent choice for dogs suffering from food sensitivities.

Pros

  • Owners love that this diet is veterinarian recommended, giving them confidence that it is a healthy choice for their dogs.
  • Dogs regularly fed Blue Buffalo Veterinary Diet Mobility Support were able to lose weight easily and to maintain a healthy body condition. This is a great help in preventing arthritis from occurring or worsening.
  • Dogs love the taste of this food. They consume their meals with eagerness, licking their bowls clean.
  • Owners were thrilled to report an increase in their dogs’ energy levels when consistently fed this diet.
  • Dogs fed this diet regularly saw improved mobility and suffered from less pain.

Cons

  • Several owners felt this diet was quite costly.
  • Pea protein, peas, and pea starch are all included in this recipe. Some owners dislike the heavy use of these ingredients; all of which are controversial and may be linked to such health problems as rapid spikes in blood sugar and poor fertility in dogs.
  • Some owners question the inclusion of garlic in this recipe. Garlic is a member of the onion family and can be harmful to dogs. However, the amount in this diet is not sufficient to cause any ill effects, and in fact, may offer some health benefits to dogs including acting as a natural flea repellant.
  • The fiber content is quite high in this food. Some dogs may have difficulty processing this; particularly if they are coming from a diet with low to moderate amounts of fiber-rich foods.
  • The protein levels are high in this diet. Some dogs may do better on a food that is more moderate in its protein and that has a more balanced ratio of protein to fat to fiber.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Foods for Arthritis

Most dogs will develop arthritis at some point in their lifetime, hopefully, not until they are in an advanced stage of life. Arthritis affects dogs to various degrees and can range from mild discomfort to complete debilitation. Thankfully, modern medicine has equipped owners with the ability to help their dogs find relief through supplements, pain medications, and even diet.

Dogs suffering from mobility issues or arthritis may exhibit a number of different symptoms. These can include stiffness of limbs, limping, or even the favoring of a particular leg. Many dogs suffering from moderate to severe arthritis start to require assistance jumping on and of furniture, tackling stairs, and will even start to avoid having to get up and down if possible. Dogs in advanced stages of arthritis will often sleep far more frequently than what would typically be the norm for them.

As arthritis begins to accelerate in the body, a dog may begin to show a different gait when walking, an obvious attempt to avoid having to move stiff or sore legs. However, it is important to note that it is not just arthritis that can cause dogs discomfort with their joints. Other common problems affecting mobility include hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, cancer, and even accidents and injuries.

Dogs that are carrying excess weight are also likely to experience more joint pain. The best course of action to assist with this is to help the dog to shed a few extra pounds. When a dog is overweight, the cartilage that separates the bones begins to wear away causing friction between the bones, a problem that is extremely painful.

There are several different supplements that owners can offer their dogs to help provide relief from arthritis. In addition to helping to alleviate current symptoms, these powerhouse nutrients can also act as preventative medicines, helping to preserve joint health. The best supplements owners can give their dogs to help stave off arthritis and other joint-related problems are:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Green-lipped mussels
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Vitamin C
  • Creatine

Since arthritis is essentially joint pain caused by inflammation, there are several common symptoms that can alert owners that their dogs may now have compromised joint function. These include:

  • Obvious pain
  • Discomfort
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest in activity
  • Loss of movement
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Disengagement from family life

Arthritis is a condition that is common to many breeds. However, it is not exclusively restricted to one breed over another. There are several different factors that can lead to the development of arthritis in dogs. Among the most common precursors to arthritis are:

  • The aging process
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress
  • Previous injuries
  • Surgery
  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Lack of exercise

There are several things that owners can do to help prevent the onset of arthritis in their dogs. Joints must be moved regularly to prevent stiffness from setting in. This means that regular exercise is important to maintaining mobility in dogs. Exercise serves an additional helpful purpose in that dogs that are active are more likely to be at a healthy body weight, an important factor in joint health.

Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin fed even while a dog is yet young can provide a vital support in maintaining mobility and preventing arthritis. Diet is also important. High quality nutrition encourages optimal wellness in dogs, enabling them to have the energy required to remain mobile. The best dog foods for arthritis often contain beneficial supplements to support optimal joint health.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dogs with Arthritis

Determining how much of the best dog food for arthritis to feed a dog can be a bit of a puzzle. Overfeeding can easily lead to weight gain, the enemy of any owner determined to help their dog avoid arthritis. For this reason, free feeding is strongly discouraged.

The best course of action is using the suggested serving sizes printed on the bag of food as a starting point. These can be adjusted accordingly until the correct body condition is easily maintained with the daily portions presented to the dog. As the dog ages, these will need to be amended to reflect a lifestyle that is less active.

Adult dogs require a diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. By comparison, puppy food should be comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat with slightly higher amounts of each also desirable.

Dietary Requirements for Dogs with Arthritis

When selecting the best dog food for arthritis, it is important to take into account the dog’s age and health condition. Some foods are best to address preserving joint health in younger dogs while others provide help for arthritis that has already taken root in older canines. It is important to select the correct food to receive the greatest benefits.

There are several vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can provide a great support for joint health. These include such items as creatine, MSM, and Vitamin C, natural ingredients that help reduce inflammation and boost cartilage quality.

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help to keep joints well lubricated to improve mobility. These are best obtained from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish. In addition to encouraging joint health, these essential fatty acids fuel dogs’ energy reserves and help with coat and skin quality.

Carbohydrates can be taken from whole grains or fruits and vegetables. The main priority of any carbohydrate is its nutritional value. The best carbs are rich in both fiber and antioxidants to encourage a strong immune system and good digestion. Since grains can be related to inflammation, foods with a lower emphasis on these items are preferable for dogs with arthritis.

Protein is the foundation of any excellent quality diet. Lean, whole meats are preferred; however, meat meals are also excellent sources of protein. By-products and plant-based proteins such as corn, soy, and wheat should be avoided for their nutritional value.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Foods for Arthritis

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for arthritis:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health

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