The Ideal Diet for Dogs with Arthritis

There are a number of factors you'll need to keep in mind when choosing the ideal diet for dogs with arthritis, including supplements and weight control.
The Ideal Diet for Dogs with Arthritis

Last update: 01 November, 2019

Just like people, our four-legged friends often start to develop aches and pains as they get older. Joints are very delicate, and today we are seeing an increasing number of dogs with arthritis. Getting the right diet is essential when it comes to managing arthritis, so today, we want to give you a few hints and tips to help you take care of your pet.

Arthritis in dogs

Experts believe that approximately one in five dogs is suffering from arthritis. While this joint condition can appear at any age, it’s more common in older dogs. Broadly speaking, arthritis is a degenerative disease which causes inflammation of both the elbow and shoulder joints.

Some common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Difficulty sitting down or standing up
  • Stiff limbs
  • Signs of pain when affected areas are touched (whining, growling etc.)
  • Reluctance to climb stairs or tackle other obstacles
An older dog.

Dogs with arthritis need special care and attention. Because it’s a degenerative condition, the best way to treat it is with palliative care designed to reduce pain and slow the progression of the disease. There are many ways you can improve your pet’s quality of life, such as providing them with orthopedic beds and joint protectors. But did you know that controlling their diet can help too?

The importance of diet

If you want to help your pet live life to the full, it’s best to modify their diet and add a variety of nutritional supplements. One of the most effective ways to combat arthritis is to add collagen. When it comes to maintaining joint flexibility, this is one of the most important substances in the body.

Collagen is found in cartilage, which is responsible for protecting the joints. As a result, adding some extra collagen to your pet’s diet can be really beneficial for their joint health.

Not sure how to give your pet this extra boost of collagen? Items such as bones contain large amounts of collagen and make a great supplement for dogs with arthritis.

Bones make a great dietary supplement for dogs with arthritis.

You can also buy dietary supplements specially designed to promote the uptake and synthesis of collagen. However, protein-rich foods such as fish and meat can be a huge help if you’re looking for a more natural way to increase collagen uptake.

As an additional measure, you could also add small amounts of Omega-3 to your pet’s diet, which can help to manage inflammation caused by arthritis. Coconut oil and krill contain large amounts of Omega-3.

Dogs with arthritis: diet and exercise

It’s important to remember that the more your dog eats, the worse their arthritis will become. Obesity is the joints’ worst enemy – the more your dog weighs, the more work the joints have to do to support them.

Preventing obesity is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to caring for a dog with arthritis. Give your pet a balanced diet with high-quality ingredients, and make sure you follow the recommended portion guidelines for their age and weight.

Exercise is also a great way to help your pet. Regular, moderate amounts of exercise will help strengthen their joints, and prevent your pet from putting on too much weight. Daily walks and swimming are two of the most effective forms of exercise for dogs with arthritis.

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  • Brusa, M. C., & Boccia, F. O. (2000). Enfermedad articular degenerativa canina: consideraciones sobre el manejo médico terapéutico. Analecta Veterinaria20.
  • Van Valburg, A. A., Van Roermund, P. M., Marijnissen, A. C. A., Wenting, M. J. G., Verbout, A. J., Lafeber, F. P. J. G., & Bijlsma, J. W. J. (2000). Joint distraction in treatment of osteoarthritis (II): effects on cartilage in a canine model. Osteoarthritis and cartilage8(1), 1-8.