best-dog-food-for-joints

5 Best Dog Foods For Joints

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for joints.
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 Joints?

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Vet’s Advice

If your dog is starting to slow down in their old age, or if they have an underlying health complaint or injury that makes them more prone to joint disease, then you may be wondering what you can do to help. There are things we can do nutritionally to help dogs with joint disease, this is what you should look out for.

Choose a reduced-calorie food

If your dog is overweight, then you should look for a reduced-calorie diet to help shift those excess pounds. A lighter dog will be putting less pressure on their painful joints, which in turn will help improve mobility. Many owners notice a difference in their pet’s ailment by reducing their body weight. Speak to your vet for advice on your dog’s ideal weight.

Look for added joint supplements

Ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin can be found in diets that are specially formulated for joint health. These antioxidants are derived from green-lipped muscles and can help maintain healthy cartilage, improving your dog’s mobility. An alternative would be to give supplements in tablet form but having them pre-mixed into the diet saves you from having to remember.

Choose a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Look for ingredients like fish oil or linseed oil which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These act as natural anti-inflammatories, which in the right concentration can help soothe painful and stiff joints. They will also help to improve your dog’s skin and coat condition too.

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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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Healthy Joints Dog Food Reviews

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 Dry Dog Food is a premium quality diet that has been specifically designed to support the joint health of active dogs. A food that focuses heavily on protein, VICTOR Performance provides a powerhouse punch of nutrition and amino acids with its bedrock of beef, chicken meal, and pork meal.

Glucosamine and chondroitin have been enriched to provide additional support for the hips and joints of dogs that engage in regular activity. Essential fatty acids have been added to this diet to ensure dogs have the energy reserves they need and to encourage healthy coat and skin.

VICTOR Purpose Performance has earned high praise as one of the best dog foods for joints on the market today.

Pros

  • Owners love that this food is so reasonably priced, making it an excellent choice for families looking to feed a high quality food while still remaining within a budget.
  • Owners are pleased to report their dogs’ coat quality was beautiful when fed this diet consistently. Their fur was healthy, lush, soft, thick, and shiny.
  • The stool quality of dogs consistently fed VICTOR Purpose Performance was excellent.
  • Owners were very happy to report that their dogs shed less when fed this food regularly.
  • VICTOR Purpose Performance is a highly flavorful food. Dogs typically love the taste of this diet and look forward to their every meal with great enthusiasm.

Cons

  • A few owners noted that the quality of this product is not consistent. In several of their bags, the kibble pieces were smaller than what they had become accustomed to with previous orders.
  • Some dogs do not like the taste of this diet and will not eat it.
  • Several owners indicated this food had a smell to it that they found very strong. They disliked this aroma and wondered if perhaps it may be responsible for reduced appetite in their dogs.
  • This diet is grain-inclusive. Some owners prefer to feed a diet that is free from grains, believing that is a better option for dogs with allergies.
  • No supplements have been added to this diet as a support for joint health.

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Now Fresh Grain-Free Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. De-Boned Turkey
    2. Potatoes
    3. Peas
    4. Whole Dried Egg
    5. Potato Flour

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 404 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Fiber: 4%

Now Fresh Grain-Free Adult Recipe is a food that families can feel confident feeding their dogs for its powerhouse store of nutrients. This diet lists turkey as its main ingredient, a premium meat that is included in its whole form for maximum nutritional impact. This protein is enriched with the addition of salmon and duck to ensure an ample supply of essential fatty acids to support joint health and fuel energy reserves for performance.

Now Fresh Grain-Free contains no by-product meals, grains, gluten, wheat, corn, or soy, making it free from common allergens for many dogs. Prebiotics and probiotics have been added to assist with the development of good digestion.

A diet considered to be one of the best dog foods for joints, Now Fresh Grain-Free is rich in antioxidant-dense ingredients such as blueberries, cranberries, carrots, pumpkin, and spinach to encourage a healthy immune system.

Pros

  • Owners love that this diet is a great help in maintaining a healthy body weight in dogs when fed in correct proportions.
  • Most owners like that this food is grain-free, feeling it is an excellent choice for dogs with allergies.
  • Several owners commented that this diet has kibble pieces that are the perfect size for small and medium dogs.
  • Dogs that regularly struggled with gastrointestinal distress found relief from their symptoms when fed a steady diet of Now Fresh Grain-Free.
  • Now Fresh Grain-Free comes in several different flavors. Owners love that this allows them to offer their dogs some variety in their diet.

Cons

  • Some dogs are uninterested in this food and must be coaxed to eat it. Owners report they must mix in wet food, a topper, or meat to encourage their dogs to consume their meals.
  • A few owners indicated this food can be hard to find in stores. Thankfully, it can be ordered online and delivered.
  • Several owners expressed that they felt this food was too expensive.
  • Some owners dislike that this food is grain-free. They would prefer to feed a diet that includes some nutritious whole grains in its formulation.
  • Some owners feel that given the price of this food it should contain more meat.

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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: 16%
  • Fiber: 5.5%

Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food is diet of exceptional quality that has been carefully cultivated to provide a vital support in preserving joint and hip health. Chicken is the main ingredient in this high octane food, a meat of good quality and that is rich in amino acids.

Dogswell Happy Hips includes generous servings of fruits and vegetables to enrich the diet’s antioxidant content. This ensures a vital support for the development of a thriving immune system.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are sprinkled liberally throughout this diet to promote healthy hips, elbows, and joints. This diet, one of the best dog foods for joints, contains no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • This food is highly flavorful. Most dogs look forward to their every meal, eagerly licking their bowls clean.
  • This diet is a great help for dogs needing to lose weight or that are struggling to maintain a healthy body condition.
  • The coat quality of dogs regularly fed Dogswell Happy Hips was excellent. Owners were pleased to report their dogs’ fur was soft, shiny, and healthy.
  • Owners shared that their dogs had greater mobility when fed this diet regularly. This would seem to indicate that the diet helps lubricate the joints, making movement less painful for the dog.
  • Dogs fed Dogswell Happy Hips saw an increase in their daily energy levels.

Cons

  • A few owners were displeased to discover that some of their bags of this food smelled very strongly of chemicals. They felt this aroma may be off putting to their dogs and may contribute to poor appetite.
  • In rare cases, a couple of dogs suffered with mild gastrointestinal distress when transitioned to this food. This may be the result of too quick a change from the old diet to the new.
  • A few dogs disliked the taste of this food and would not eat it.
  • Peas are included in this diet. Some owners dislike feeding a diet that includes peas as their nutritional value is questionable.
  • This diet is grain-inclusive. Some owners prefer to feed a diet that is grain-free, particularly if their dogs suffer from food-related allergies.

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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%

For one of the best dog foods for joints, families can’t go wrong feeding their dogs Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original. It is a formulation that is rich in high quality proteins such as turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal.

The powerhouse supplements glucosamine and chondroitin have been added to ensure a vital support for the maintenance of joint health. This diet has also been enriched with both flaxseed and salmon oil to boost the omega 3 and 6 fatty acid content to fuel the energy levels of active dogs and provide help for achieving excellent skin and coat quality.

Each piece of kibble is enrobed with a probiotic blend to encourage fluid digestive processes. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original, rated as one of the best dog foods for joints, contains no by-products, wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • Dogs really enjoy the taste of this food. Their owners have no difficulty getting them to eat their meals. Even the pickiest of eaters lap up each morsel with hearty gusto.
  • Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original is available in several different flavors. Owners love that this allows them to offer their dogs some variety in their daily diet.
  • Owners are pleased that this food is free from by-products and fillers, giving them confidence that this diet is highly nutritious and supports their dogs’ health and wellness.
  • This diet is grain-free. Several owners indicated they felt the absence of grains in this food was instrumental in helping their dogs find relief from allergy-related scratching.
  • Owners like the size of the kibble pieces in this diet, feeling they are unlikely to pose a choking hazard for their dogs.

Cons

  • A few dogs found this diet bland and were reluctant to eat it. A different Wellness formulation with another protein base may be a better option for those dogs.
  • Some owners feel this diet is quite expensive.
  • Owners of toy breeds felt the kibble pieces were too large for their dogs.
  • Several owners expressed dismay that this diet is grain-free. They prefer to feed a grain-inclusive formula, believing whole grains are vital for good digestion in dogs.
  • This diet contains peas, potatoes, and lentils; all ingredients of questionable nutritional value.

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Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Oatmeal
    4. Ground Barley
    5. Ground Brown Rice

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Senior
  • Calories: 416 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 22%
  • Fat: 10%
  • Fiber: 4.25%

For senior dogs in need of a little extra joint support, families will be delighted to discover Wellness Complete Health Senior Recipe Dry Dog Food. A diet that has been optimized to meet the unique requirements of senior dogs, Wellness Complete Health Senior contains ample amounts of deboned chicken, making this food nutrient dense and flavorful.

To ensure healthy joint functionality, glucosamine and chondroitin have been included in this food’s formulation. Taurine has been added to provide support for cardiac health in the elderly dog.

This food is free from wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives

With so many nutritional benefits to its credit, it is not difficult to see why Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Senior is among the best dog foods for joint health.

Pros

  • Owners love that this diet has been formulated specifically with the needs of senior dogs in mind.
  • This diet includes glucosamine and chondroitin in its recipe, providing targeted support for joint health in elderly dogs.
  • Owners were pleased to report that their dogs had greater energy levels after a regular diet of Wellness Complete Health Senior.
  • Dogs regularly fed Wellness Complete Health Senior displayed beautiful coats. Their fur was soft, healthy, and shiny.
  • Dogs with consistent issues with diarrhea and loose stools saw a return of good digestion and proper stool quality when fed this diet regularly.

Cons

  • In rare cases, some dogs suffered from loose stool when transitioned to this diet. This may be from too rapid a change and may resolve in time.
  • A few owners felt this diet was rather costly.
  • Some dogs were uninterested in this diet, finding it rather bland. Their owners indicated they had to mix in wet food, a topper, or meat to encourage their dogs to consume their meals.
  • Some owners felt the kibble pieces were too large for senior dogs to break down well.
  • This diet contains peas and potatoes, two ingredients that are the subject of some controversy today. In addition to this, tomato pomace plays a starring role in this diet. Tomato can irritate arthritis in senior dogs.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Joints

Preserving good joint health is very important to the quality of life of a dog. Though elderly dogs benefit the most from the best dog food for joints, it is an excellent decision to start a dog on a diet that provides support for healthy joints from the dog’s youth as it lays an excellent foundation for the future.

As dogs age, mobility can become an issue, and many dogs succumb to the effects of arthritis, a condition that can be very painful. In addition to this, dogs that carry too much weight place excess strain on their joints causing them to experience discomfort.

Problems with joints can begin at any age and encompass a wide range of degrees. Some dogs barely notice much change in their day to day functionality while others reach a point where any movement is nearly impossible. Thankfully, diet, supplements, and medications can help to offset the effects of arthritis and provide a vital help for joint health to improve a dog’s mobility.

Signs of poor joint health are easy for owners to detect. These include limping, stiffness, or the favoring of a limb. Some dogs with symptoms of arthritis exhibit difficulties rising from a seated or prone position and resort to doing more sleeping than what is normal for the dog.

As dogs age and stiffness becomes more pronounced, the dog’s gait may change to accommodate the paint the dog feels from movement. During this phase, many dogs will avoid using stairs and will need assistance getting on and off furniture.

But it is not just arthritis that can cause pain to joints. There are several inherited diseases that can affect a dog’s mobility including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, metabolic issues, cancers, accidents or injuries, and more. To best determine the root cause behind a dog’s joint pain, it is wise to make a visit to a veterinarian for a wellness exam.

A critical component of healthy joints is keeping the dog in a good body condition. Excess weight puts additional strain on a dog’s hips and joints which over time can cause deterioration of the cartilage connecting the bones.

For some dogs, a pain medication will become an important part of its daily regimen to help the dog enjoy mobility without experiencing soreness.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dog Foods that help with Joint Health

Since maintaining a proper body weight is extremely important to joint health, it is vital that owners determine precisely how much of the best food for joints to feed their dogs. The bag of food will offer serving suggestions which are a very helpful starting point. These can be adjusted with the dog’s weight and appetite serving as important guides.

As dogs age, less food will need to be fed since the dog’s activity level will be reduced. Free feeding is strongly discouraged as it can easily lead to weight gain.

Adult dogs require a high quality diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat while puppies do best on a food comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat.

Dietary Requirements for Dog Foods that help with Joint Health

The best dog foods for joints are properly balanced and fortified with powerhouse supplements to support good health in dogs. Limited ingredient diets are preferred if possible. The main priority in any ingredient in a top tier food is that it be of premium quality and easy for dogs to digest.

Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives serve no beneficial purpose in dog food. These are best avoided as they can be common allergens for dogs and can lead to the development of food sensitivities.

Meat should be the first ingredient in any premium diet for dogs. Whole meats are preferred, but meat meals also provide all of the high quality nutrition dogs need. However, by-products and plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat should be avoided.

Carbohydrates form a lesser part of a diet to support joint health but are still an important aspect of any well-rounded canine diet. These can be derived from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables. In fruits and vegetables, those that are rich in antioxidants are preferred as they contribute to the development of a strong immune system.

Healthy fats lubricate joints and provide dogs with the energy they need to remain active. These are best obtained from animal sources and include such ingredients as chicken fat and oily fish.

One of the most important items to look for in a food to support joint health is the addition of the powerhouse supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. These may be added in powdered form but can also be present in a variety of different natural ingredients including the following:

  • Shells from shellfish
  • Beef trachea
  • Pork tails
  • Green-lipped mussels
  • Chicken feet
  • Knuckle bones

Since most dog foods do not contain items such as chicken feet, pork tails, and knuckle bones, these can be obtained from a butcher or high quality pet retailer and served independently of the dog’s diet.

Though not necessarily linked to joint health, prebiotics and probiotics assist with proper digestion and are an excellent addition to any top quality food for dogs.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Joints

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

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list (in non-veterinary diets)
  • 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

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