Best Food for Dogs with Joint Diseases

Joint diseases in dogs can occur at any age and severely limit the dog’s quality of life. Find out here which components and additives in dog food promote joint and cartilage health.

Every fifth adult dog suffers from joint diseases. Both controlled exercise and an adapted diet can make a significant contribution to your dog’s joint health.

Joint diseases in dogs

Joint diseases are often so-called degenerative diseases. This is wear and tear or aging of cells, which is caused, for example, by incorrect stress, instability, accidents and inflammatory processes.

The joint initially swells and inflammation leads to restricted movement, muscle wasting and pain. At the same time, the pressure causes tears in the articular cartilage and, over time, irreversible cartilage damage. In a chronic course, pieces of bone become visible at the edge of the capsule. At this stage one speaks of arthrosis. Osteoarthrosis, the wear and tear of the joint cartilage, is a common disease in dogs.

Dog food for joint diseases

If a dog suffers from joint diseases, a change in diet will help in addition to exercise and physiotherapy. The aim of the adapted feeding is to optimize the cartilage resistance to compression forces again. Certain feed ingredients or additives can help with this:

  • L-carnitine to facilitate fat burning
  • vitamins C and E and the trace element selenium with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
  • chondroitin sulfate
  • glucosamine
  • hyaluronic acid
  • unsaturated fatty acids
  • herbal remedies, e.g. devil’s claw with pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory effects

Gelatine, collagen and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) are also ingredients that should be considered when buying feed, as they ensure regeneration and improved lubricity of the articular cartilage or the regeneration of tendon damage.

Joint-gentle feed additives

Some feed additives can promote joint health. However, be sure to discuss this with your vet before giving your dog the supplements. He will tell you whether and in what dose the following supplements are suitable for your dog.

Chondroitin Sulfate (CS)

  • Effect: stimulates the formation of components of the bone matrix (hyaluronic acid and
  • glycosaminoglycans) and passively inhibits the breakdown of joint components
  • Origin: for example from the cartilage of fish, mussels (green-lipped mussels), pigs or poultry


  • Effect: anti-inflammatory effect; serves to preserve and rebuild the cartilage
  • Origin: from the chitin-rich carapace of certain shellfish such as shrimp

Hyaluronic acid

  • Effect: In the case of joint inflammation, the proportion of hyaluronic acid in the joint is too low.
  • Hyaluronic acid is absorbed into the bloodstream and can reliably help in the damaged joint.
  • Ingestion: In the case of tendinitis, hyaluronic acid is added to the feed over a longer period of time.

Unsaturated fatty acids

  • Effect: minimizing inflammation at the cellular level
  • Origin: High concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids can be found in fish oil or linseed oil, for example. Green-lipped mussel extracts also contain a high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids.

Together, the active ingredients can…

  • improve the water-binding capacity of the cartilage,
  • slow down the breakdown of cartilage cells and
  • have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Prevent joint diseases

The risk of joint diseases increases if dogs grow too quickly in the first months of life. This risk is especially present in large dog breeds. Too much energy and an imbalance in calcium and phosphorus intake play a central role in bone development and can result in unstable bones or cartilage splintering. That’s why it’s important to feed them correctly as early as puppies.

Individual feed adjustment

You can provide your dog with a ready-made feed mixture as well as a feed ration that you have put together yourself. In the case of feed supplements and self-assembled feed, it is important to note that the additives that are easy on the joints also contain calories or minerals. This means that the amount of normal food may need to be adjusted to avoid calorie or mineral overload.

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