Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about whether there’s a way of supporting your arthritic dog via what they eat. We’ll learn about the ideal arthritis diet for dogs, what the best dog food for arthritis is, and how to optimise a dog with a joint condition through their meals…
Yes, arthritis mainly affects older dogs, with old age and genetics playing a major part in its development. But arthritis and other joint conditions can actually affect a dog of any age. In younger dogs, its early onset is usually brought on by injury or physical trauma. But, did you know it’s estimated that over 50% of dogs will develop arthritis in their lifetime?
Joint problems, such as arthritis, are generally caused by inflammation around the area, which causes the breakdown of the cartilage. This makes it difficult for the bones to move freely. So, when moving in even the simplest of ways, a dog may experience extreme pain and stiffness.
Some breeds are also more predisposed to arthritis. These include Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you own one of these breeds, or you have another breed who is showing signs of arthritis or has received a formal diagnosis, it’s imperative as a pet parent that you understand how to prevent and help your pooch with any discomfort they may be experiencing… One way to do this is via their diet.
A good, healthy, targeted arthritis diet for dogs can be transformative for a dog with this condition.
If you’re currently feeding your dog a commercial diet, many of these can contain refined grains which can be responsible for aggravating arthritic symptoms and further contribute to inflammation in the body.
You’ll want to opt for oily fish as the main source of protein (but perhaps not fish for every meal. Try a lean meat like chicken as an alternative to provide a variety of enzymes and nutrients). Look to sardines, salmon or boneless mackerel as these are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for every body (including ours!), and are natural anti-inflammatories. Omega fatty acids can contribute to better joint lubrication which betters mobility and can relieve arthritic discomfort. Eggs and red meat can, unfortunately, aggravate inflammation.
Around their protein source, try and opt for feeding your dog whole grains and brightly coloured vegetables like sweet potato, carrot and cooked pumpkin as well as fruits like banana and blueberries, as these are natural, safe antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Check out the below chart on what foods are toxic to dogs so you know the fruits and vegetables you should definitely avoid though:
Ultimately, the biggest thing you can do for your arthritic dog is to keep them at a healthy weight.
Being overweight is the worst thing an arthritic dog can be. Excess fat = excess inflammation which will just exacerbate the pain and discomfort your dog is already experiencing. The additional stress a few extra pounds can put on already painful and stiff joints is unprecedented. So, to be the best pet parent you can be, make sure they’re a healthy weight for their size and breed.
Be strict with treats, and be mindful of portion sizes. If you’re unsure if your dog is overweight or not, ask your vet and then obtain dietary advice from them if Fido does need to drop some extra bodily baggage.
Supplements. Supplements. Supplements.
Supplements can be a fantastic addition to an arthritis diet for dogs. Look for a supplement (often designed in treat form) that contains glucosamine. Glucosamine helps maintain synovial fluid that lubricates joints, helping to lessen friction during movement, whether sudden or sustained; fighting soreness and discomfort in both the short and long term.
In addition, you can supplement Omega 3 too, which can be very effective at reducing inflammation, promoting joint health and boosting the immune system’s functioning. You can either get omega supplements in liquid form that you can squirt on top of your dog’s main meal or in chewable treat form.
You should also investigate Turmeric Curcumin which can modulate the inflammatory reactions of the body by helping to eradicate free radicals that roam about causing cell destruction. Turmeric Curcumin is an all-natural ingredient that has been used in human medicines for generations. In joint supplements for dogs, it can combat stiffness whilst enhancing healthy joint fluidity and help maintain mobility in damaged and arthritic joints. Read more on the benefits of Turmeric Curcumin For Dogs here.
Always source dog-specific supplements from a reputable, respected pet brand.