The Best Dog Food for Arthritis: Helping Your Pup One Bowl at a Time

Every dog lover wants the best for their four-legged friend, but sometimes life sees fit to challenge you both.

Arthritis can be one of these many challenges, especially in large and giant breeds, but with veterinary care and a quality diet, they can still lead healthy and happy lives.

Chocolate Labrador dog on his memory foam bed
A Chocolate Lab

Arthritic joint pain can be a tough ailment to face, but we’ve found some of the best dog food for arthritis to help your pooch in their daily life while dealing with the rigors of this condition.

Top 5 Picks for the Best Dog Food for Arthritis in 2021

  Dog Food Recipes Our Rating
 

Best Overall for Arthritis

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

  • Optimizes overall health.
  • Grain-free and gluten-free.
  • Doesn’t use meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
 

5

Best Budget Dog Food for Arthritis VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food

  • Nutrient-rich recipe for active dogs.
  • Made using gluten-free grains.
  • High in protein for active dogs.
4.5
Best Puppy Food for Arthritis Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food

  • No artificial flavors or preservatives.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.
  • Supports overall body wellness.
4.5
Best Adult Dog Food for Arthritis Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+M Weight Management + Mobility Support Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • 100% grain-free.
  • Formulated for all sizes and breeds.
5
 

Best Senior Dog Food for Arthritis

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • Grain-free and gluten-free.
  • Suited for small or large breeds.
 

5

Best Dog Foods for Arthritis, Hip Dysplasia, and Joint Health by Stage of Life

We’ve put in the time to find the best dog foods to help your arthritic canine. We’ve sorted the foods by stage of life, which includes puppy, adult, and senior.

Each selected product is packed with the beneficial nutrients your dog needs.

Best Puppy Foods for Arthritis

Happy purebred Golden Retriever puppy
A Golden Retriever puppy

1. Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food

Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oats
Type: Dry

Dogswell’s Happy Hips formula provides essential amino acids for muscle development while maintaining muscle tone.

It has glucosamine and chondroitin to promote joint health, while vitamin E helps prevent skin and muscle from losing elasticity via its antioxidant-rich nature.

This dog food offers healthy immune system support, and it works to support digestion.

Pros:

  • No artificial flavors or preservatives.
  • Free from corn, wheat, or soy.

Cons:

  • Some sites, like Chewy, state this food is for adult dogs, but others, like Amazon, state that it’s for all life stages. Note that this food can be utilized for all life stages.

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Adult Dog Foods for Arthritis

Samoyed dog with arthritis
A Samoyed dog with arthritis – Image source

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

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey

Rating: 5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal
Type: Dry

This blend is packed with premium proteins, antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. It also features omega-3 fatty acids.

It promotes overall health and total body wellness while focusing on good muscle tone, lean body weight, a shiny coat, and healthy skin. It’s perfect for all puppies from small to large breed dogs.

Pros:

  • Grain-free and gluten-free.
  • Doesn’t use meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Cons:

  • While not specifically targeted for arthritis and joint problems, the formula features all your pup will need.

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal
Type: Dry

A formula crafted to help your large dog maintain a healthy weight while promoting easy digestion and optimal nutrient absorption with probiotics and prebiotics.

This high-protein kibble also features glucosamine and EPA for improved mobility and strong joints.

Pros:

  • A well-balanced formula for whole-body wellness.
  • Keeps large breed dog’s joints strong and improves mobility.

Cons:

  • Some owners complained that this dog food formula made their pets lose appetite.

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley
Type: Dry

With this blend, Diamond Naturals aims for overall health with a recipe reinforced by superfoods and probiotics through ingredients like kale, blueberries, and coconut.

It also offers protein, minerals, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids.

Packed with high-quality ingredients while leaving out the filler makes this mix an excellent choice for healthy joints.

Pros:

  • No fillers or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Nutrient-rich and highly digestible formula.

Cons:

  • Specifically for large and giant breed dogs only.

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Adult Dry Dog Food Chicken Large Breed

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal
Type: Dry

A well-crafted kibble that fights tartar buildup for a healthy mouth before it delivers the optimum nutrients of a balanced diet.

It will ease digestion with natural fiber and probiotics while providing essentials like glucosamine, chondroitin, and high levels of protein.

This recipe is loaded with everything your arthritic dog needs.

Pros:

  • Features DHA and vitamin E to help brain function.
  • Formulated to help muscle tone and joint health.

Cons:

  • Only for large and giant breeds over 15 months old and 55 pounds.
  • Contains wheat

CHECK PRICE HERE

6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Small Bites Chicken Meal, Brown Rice & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Small Bites Chicken Meal, Brown Rice & Barley

Rating: 5
Top Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brewer’s Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum
Type: Dry

With this recipe, Hill’s provides a diet made to improve mobility and joint health with omega fatty acids from fish oil, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate.

Its balanced blend of vitamins and minerals works to boost the immune system while keeping your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.

Pros:

  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • A high fiber formula meant to help with easy digestion.

Cons:

  • Specifically formulated for small breed dogs.

CHECK PRICE HERE

7. VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Millet
Type: Dry

A unique recipe fortified with protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids that promote long-term joint health.

This formula works to boost overall immune health and easy digestion – an excellent blend to keep your active pooch on the move.

Pros:

  • Nutrient-rich recipe for active dogs.
  • Made using gluten-free grains.

Cons:

  • While meant for all sizes and breeds, this formula is tailored for highly energetic breeds.
  • Made with 81% meat protein, which may be more than some dogs need.

CHECK PRICE HERE

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

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+M Weight Management + Mobility Support

Rating: 5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein
Type: Dry

Blue Buffalo’s recipe contains all the nutrients your dog will need to maintain a healthy weight, healthy joints, a shiny coat, and healthy skin.

It works to fight obesity and mobility issues with quality protein from natural sources.

With their Mobility Support pet food, Blue Buffalo aims to support hip & joint care and strong connective tissues.

Pros:

  • Formulated for all sizes and breeds.
  • 100% grain-free.

Cons:

  • This food requires authorization from your veterinarian as it is considered a prescription diet.

CHECK PRICE HERE

9. Dogswell Happy Hips Duck & Sweet Potato Stew Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Dogswell Happy Hips Duck & Sweet Potato Stew Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Duck, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver
Type: Wet

Happy Hips used quality ingredients to provide joint support and total dietary fulfillment with this dog food.

Its balance of carbs, calcium, and ingredients like flaxseed oil and canola oil for vitamin C work to boost immune health with easy digestion in a highly palatable wet food.

Pros:

  • Features a grain-free recipe.
  • Has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Formulated for all breeds and sizes.

Cons:

  • Given that it’s in cans, some larger dogs will need more than one can per feeding.

CHECK PRICE HERE

10. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM Joint Mobility Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM Joint Mobility Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Brewer’s Rice, Trout, Salmon Meal
Type: Dry

Crafted by a team of researchers and veterinarians for joint health with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, and vitamin E, this palatable kibble works to keep your dog at its best.

It offers high protein and fiber to keep your dog full of energy while enjoying easy digestion.

Pros:

  • High protein to calorie ratio for lean muscle mass.
  • Well suited for all sizes and breeds.

Cons:

  • A prescription diet that requires veterinarian authorization.

CHECK PRICE HERE

11. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Mobility Support Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Mobility Support Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Rating: 5
Top Ingredients: Brewer’s Rice, Chicken Meal, Corn Gluten Meal
Type: Dry

This kibble is designed for large jaws and teeth, so it’s only for larger breeds, but it packs a nutrient-rich diet meant to battle osteoarthritis and the accompanying joint pain.

It features EPA and DHA to reinforce joints and keep arthritis pain at bay.

Pros:

  • A palatable recipe that dogs love.
  • A highly digestible formula.

Cons:

  • This formula is only meant for large and giant size breeds.
  • Requires veterinarian authorization.

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Senior Dog Foods for Arthritis

A Senior German Shepherd Border Collie mix dog
An old German Shepherd Border Collie mix breed

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

Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Dog Food

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal
Type: Dry

With a mix of omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, and probiotics, this Wellness formula offers a well-balanced diet that promotes healthy joints in older dogs.

It also works to promote healthy brain development later in life while keeping your pup active with energizing nutrients.

Pros:

  • Features no GMO, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives.
  • Provides whole-body nutritional support.

Cons:

  • While not explicitly meant for joint health, it offers a balanced diet that can help arthritic dogs.

CHECK PRICE HERE

13. ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 5
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Atlantic Flounder
Type: Dry/Raw

Orijen has crafted a recipe packed with quality fats and proteins for lean muscle mass and a healthy weight.

They preserve their fresh ingredients’ nutrient levels via refrigeration and freeze-drying at peak freshness for maximum benefit and taste.

Pros:

  • Features a grain-free and gluten-free recipe.
  • A recipe suited for small or large breeds.

Cons:

  • Some picky eaters may not enjoy the raw, freeze-dried ingredients.

CHECK PRICE HERE

14. Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Canned Dog Food

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Oat Bran.
Type: Wet

Halo Holistic avoids using artificial ingredients or meat meals to promote natural nutrients for easy absorption during digestion.

Your dog will love this savory wet food while it delivers all the rich nutrients they’ll need to stay active and healthy late in life.

Pros:

  • Well-suited for all sizes and breeds.
  • A grain-free formula for sensitive stomachs.

Cons:

  • This canned recipe may require more than a single can at feeding time for large breed dogs.

CHECK PRICE HERE

Causes of Arthritis or Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Black Labrador dog lying outside
Black Labrador dog lying outside suffering arthritis – Image source

Osteoarthritis, or Degenerative Joint Disease, occurs when the cartilage surrounding the bones at a joint is destroyed.

Without this cartilage, there is friction between the bones, which can cause pain and hinder mobility.

There is also a form of arthritis called Inflammatory Joint Disease, which is caused by an underlying defect in the immune system. These defects can be hereditary or from an infection.

How to know if your dog has Arthritis or Joint Issues

Only your veterinarian can truly diagnose arthritis. If you feel like your dog is showing signs, make a note of each instance and consult your vet for a proper diagnosis.

Common Signs of Arthritis and Joint Disease in Dogs

Arthritis can present through some common signs.

Limping, lameness, stiffness, appetite loss, weight gain, reluctance to walk, inactivity, avoidance of stairs, irritability, urinating in the house, and behavioral changes can all be indicators of possible arthritic issues.

You can watch this video to catch your dog’s arthritis before it gets worse:

Other Joint and Mobility Diseases

Outside of arthritis, there are other issues that can affect the joints and mobility in dogs.

Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, and Osteochondritis dissecans of the shoulder can cause problems similar to osteoarthritis.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Find the Best Dog Foods for Arthritis

If your dog may be predisposed to ailments like arthritis, you can help fight this via a well-balanced diet.

With proper nutrition, you can stave off the pain of arthritis and prevent the degeneration or inflammation that could cause it.

When it comes to the best food for your dog, you’ll want to find the right diet for their size and stage of life.

If you find the right food, it’ll help keep your dog in the best health possible.

Things to look for when selecting dog food for Arthritis: What should Arthritic dogs eat?

We’ve put together a list of things your arthritic dog should eat to help their condition, but it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian or a nutritionist.

Natural Foods & Supplements:

  • Whole Foods – Things like apples, blueberries, cranberries, and green-lipped mussels.
  • Oils – Flaxseed oil is very common.
  • Herbs & Spices – Turmeric and ginger are great for arthritis.
  • Supplements – Chondroprotective agents (CPAs) slow the cartilage degeneration rate, and it’s a doctor-recommended joint supplement.

Ingredients You Want in Your Arthritic Dog’s Food:

  • Omega 3-Fatty Acids
  • Lean Protein
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Methylsulfonylmethane/Methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM)
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Cetyl Myristoleate
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  • S-Adenosyl-L-methionine
  • Green-lipped mussels or Perna mussels
  • Duralactin
  • Creatine
  • Antioxidants

Foods and Ingredients to Avoid:

  • Corn
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  • Grains
  • Fatty Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Added Salts, Sugars, and Artificial Additives

Which type of food is best for your arthritic dog?

Should you choose wet food, dry food, or even semi-moist food? That depends on your dog. If they have a sensitive stomach, wet food or a grain-free diet may work best.

If your dog needs a strong diet, it may require a prescription kibble.

Canned food can be better for sensitive stomachs, but it could also be pricier as you may need to buy more. However, most dogs tend to love savory wet foods.

Dry kibble can be packed with all the nutrients your dog will need, but it may not be grain-free, which could benefit them.

Understanding your dog’s needs will guide you to the right answer.

Do arthritic dogs need grain-free food?

Grain-free foods are optimal for dogs with arthritis as grains can cause chronic inflammation in dogs that have a sensitivity to it.

Still, if you have tried different types of grain-free dog food and nothing is working, you can ask your vet for further help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Newfoundland dog having a chicken and rice meal
A Newfoundland dog waiting for his chicken and rice meal – Image source

Can I give homemade food to my arthritic dog?

Absolutely, as long as they are foods your dog can eat. There are plenty of foods to avoid giving to your dog, so be well aware of that.

Make sure you build a well-balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods like celery, ginger, blueberries, quinoa, and kale.

Can arthritis be painful for dogs?

Yes, just like humans, arthritis can be excruciating for dogs. Pain can be managed with medication and diet, but your dog may still feel uncomfortable.

Can I walk my dog with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or joint problems?

Yes, but with great care. You’ll want to take them on short walks. Try not to push them too hard and walk them often if they are up for it. Just keep it brief.

Can arthritis shorten my dog’s life?

Arthritis does not shorten your dog’s lifespan, but their quality of life could suffer as a direct result if it gets bad enough.

How to prevent and treat arthritis in my dog

Prevention can start with a high-quality, well-balanced diet, but there are also things you can do beyond diet to treat it.

Non-joint jarring exercises like swimming or walking on an underwater treadmill can be great therapy.

You can also look into chiropractic care. A chiropractor can perform adjustments and utilize cold laser therapy, which has both shown results in dogs.

Tips for coping with Canine Arthritis

Dogs suffering from arthritis will need a good diet and, most likely, medication, but there can be more to it than that for both of you.

You’ll also need to monitor their quality of life. Arthritis can be painful, so you’ll be moving at their speed, but it will be your job to help them live their best life.

Some pet parents give their dogs a massage. You can watch this video on how to do that:

Don’t forget to ask your vet if it’s okay to give your fido a massage and if it would actually make them feel better.

How to choose the right food for arthritis?

A dog waiting for his kibble food
Image source

There are numerous brands and recipes, but when it comes to picking the right food, know your dog’s needs, learn their palate, and research each food to ensure it has beneficial ingredients.

When you find the right food, your dog will love mealtime, and you can be content in knowing they are truly loved.

Did we help you find the best dog food for arthritis? Do you have a recipe or diet that you’d recommend? Share it with us by leaving a comment below.

Further Reading: Dog Foods to Help with Other Concerns

 

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