Choosing the Right Food for Dogs with Arthritis

Watching our dogs struggle with the pain of arthritis can be heartbreaking. While there’s no cure to arthritis and food is only one part of a multimodal approach, choosing the right food can play a crucial role in managing your dog’s symptoms and helping them to keep their tails wagging for longer.

Fueling for Flexibility:

Joint health can be improved with the following:

  • Joint-loving nutrients: Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate act as building blocks for cartilage in the joint and help to reduce inflammation. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in green lipped mussels, salmon and sardines, these can dampen inflammation and by doing so ease discomfort. Flaxseed or algal oil can also be good plant based sources. Our supplement of choice is Antinol (not sponsored).
  • Lean protein: A diet high in protein helps to feed muscles to get stronger as they are exercised and we know that strong muscles help support arthritic joints. On the other hand, avoid fatty meats that can contribute to weight gain, which will add stress to the joints.
  • Antioxidant power: Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants fight free radicals that damage joints and contribute to inflammation. Look for ingredients like blueberries, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin.

Picking the Perfect Plate:

With so many options on the shelves, navigating the dog food aisle can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for choosing the right food for your arthritic pup:

  • Prescription power: Veterinary diets often contain higher levels of joint-supporting nutrients and are formulated for specific needs. Consult your veterinarian to see if these could be the best option for your dog.
  • Quality ingredients: Avoid foods with fillers, artificial additives, and by-products. Opt for whole, recognizable ingredients that provide optimal nutrition.
  • Weight matters: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for reducing joint strain. Choose a food formulated for your dog’s activity level and age to prevent unwanted calories that lead to extra pounds.

Beyond the Bowl:

As mentioned above, food forms just one aspect of treating your dog’s arthritis. Here are some additional ways to support your dog’s joint health:

  • Regular exercise: Gentle walks, swimming, or doggy yoga can help keep joints looser and less painful.
  • Strengthening exercises: Strong muscles help support arthritic joints. You can easily do these in the comfort of your own home with a carefully guided ebook program – eBook: 8-Week Exercise Program for Dogs with Hip Arthritis – Strong And Steady Canines or one using mostly your couch and includes some videos – Home Exercise Arthritis Program – Strong And Steady Canines
  • Weight management: Even a few extra pounds can make a big difference to the pressure applied to the arthritic joint which causes more pain and loss of movement, so monitor your dog’s weight and adjust their diet accordingly.
  • Supplements: There are so many supplements to choose from and not all of them are high quality. My recommendation is to trial one supplement at a time and adding others slowly to see if they help. 

What you choose to feed your dog, along with employing a holistic approach, can help your arthritic dog live a pain-free, active life.

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