Pets

10 Best Dog Foods for Arthritis in Senior Pups


It can be heartbreaking when your precious dog is diagnosed with arthritis in their golden years, but don’t panic – there are plenty of things you can do to help them, starting with their diet.  On that note, let’s skip the usual chit-chat and dive into the reason you’re actually here…our top ten list of the best dog foods for arthritis

Our Top Pick

Runner Up

Best Wet Food

02/05/2024 03:18 pm GMT

Start with our top pick, Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food, then check out nine more premium products for different tastes & needs. We’ll also take a look at the key ingredients to watch out for & what to avoid in foods for dogs with arthritis, as well as other top tips for managing your dog’s symptoms.

Diet plays a large role in managing joint pain in older dogs. So, we created a list of the best dog foods for arthritis to help you plan Fido's meals. Check it out!

FYI, this post includes affiliate links. If you buy anything through these links, DogVills earns a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Top Picks

Best Overall: Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food comes in chicken, egg & oatmeal flavor and is available in 6, 18, and 35-pound bags. It is our top pick as the brand is well-known and loved and the product comes backed by hundreds of great reviews. It is also reasonably priced and chock-full of essential nutrients for aging dogs and achy joints.

Specifications: 

  • Chicken, egg & oatmeal flavor
  • Comes in 6, 18, 35 lb bags
  • Nutritiously complete 
  • High-quality protein & superfoods 
  • Optimal omega fatty acids & amino acids
  • Glucosamine & chondroitin 
  • Anti-oxidant rich
  • Species-specific probiotics 
  • Free from corn, wheat, additives & fillers
  • Sustainably sourced & cage-free ingredients
  • Made in the USA

What we like:

The food is nutritiously complete and balanced for senior pups and comes chock-full of age-defying nutrients. It contains sustainably sourced superfoods like kale and blueberries and high-quality protein from cage-free chicken (the #1 ingredient), with optimal omega and amino acids, plus antioxidants, glucosamine, and chondroitin for strong joints and muscles, as well as strong immunity and healthy skin & coat.

It’s also made to be highly digestible with species-specific K9 strain proprietary probiotics. The food is made in the USA by a family-owned company using quality ingredients from the finest domestic and global sources and it’s free from wheat, corn, artificial additives, and filler ingredients.

What to consider:

The main thing to take into consideration with this food is that it contains chicken and eggs which aren’t suitable for dogs with poultry/egg protein allergies. Some dog owners also complained that it made their pups a bit gassy. Something to keep in mind if your dog sleeps with you at night! 😀

Where to Buy It:

Diamond Naturals is available on both Amazon and Chewy.

Our Top Pick

Runner-Up: Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food 

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food is a close runner up for thebest senior dog food for arthritis. It comes in 4 lb, 12 lb, and 24 lb bags. 

Specifications: 

  • Comes in 4 lb, 12 lb, and 24 lb bags
  • Protein-rich 
  • Contains glucosamine & taurine 
  • Added probiotics 
  • Antioxidant-rich 
  • Grain-free 

What we like:

The formula is complete and balanced for senior dogs and rich in protein and nutrients like glucosamine and taurine for optimal joint and cartilage health. Taurine is also known for promoting heart health, and may even alleviate anxiety, so it could be a good option for dogs suffering from stress or irritability due to their arthritis.

It’s also high in antioxidants for immune health and contains probiotics for easy digestion. It’s grain-free and free from harmful and synthetic ingredients, too. 

What to consider:

Although it’s a hit with buyers and seems to work well with fussy eaters, it’s not suitable for dogs with poultry allergies/sensitivities. 

Where to Buy It:

Wellness is also available on Amazon and Chewy. If you decide to buy it on Amazon, make sure that it says “Visit the Wellness Natural Pet Food Store” beneath the product title. That way you know you’re getting it from the actual manufacturer and not a 3rd-party seller that may be selling expired or recalled food. This tip goes for pretty much all pet foods.

Best For Healthy Weight: VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food’s first two ingredients are premium beef and brown rice and it comes in 5 lb, 15 lb, and 40 lb bags. It’s designed for weight management in aging dogs and is ideal for seniors with arthritis. 

Specifications:

  • Premium ingredients 
  • Comes in 5 lb, 15 lb, & 40 lb bags 
  • Designed for weight management
  • High in protein 
  • 78% animal products, 5% plant-based, & 17& wholegrains
  • Glucosamine & chondroitin
  • V-Pro blend of nutrients 
  • Made in the USA

What we like:

The nutrient-dense recipe is gluten-free and boasts a high protein formula from 78% animal ingredients, 5% plant & veggie ingredients, and 17% whole grains, with glucosamine and chondroitin to promote long-term joint health.

The formula also uses the brand’s own special V-Pro blend of nutrients, which includes selenium yeast for metabolic function and cellular regeneration, mineral complexes for whole-body wellness including skin, coat, and paw health, and pre & probiotics for healthy digestion and immunity. 

What to consider:

The brand had an issue at their plant which resulted in a product recall last year due to salmonella contamination, but it seems to have been a one-off. 

Where to Buy It:

For some reason, Victor is currently unavailable on Amazon. I left the link below anyway because that may change. For now, Chewy is the only place that I could find it.

Best For Active Seniors: ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

The chicken flavor ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is ideal for seniors who don’t want to slow down. It’s high in protein for active oldies and it’s available to buy in 4.5 lb, 13 lb, and 23.5 lb bags.

Specifications: 

  • Comes in 4.5 lb, 13 lb, & 23.5 lb bags
  • Whole-prey formula with 85% animal ingredients
  • Free-run & cage-free protein sources
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits & veggies
  • Omegas, glucosamine & chondroitin 

What we like:

This whole-prey formula contains 85% fresh animal ingredients, like free-run chicken, turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs. In fact, its first five ingredients are fresh or raw animal proteins from chicken, turkey, salmon, wild herring, and chicken liver. 

The recipe also contains nutrient and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables for whole-body health and naturally occuring omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin for strong joints. 

What to consider:

There are really no major downsides to this food but it is on the expensive side! In fact, it’s one of the most expensive on this list.

Both Amazon and Chewy sell a wide variety of Orijen dog food, including this senior formula.


ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Dry Dog Food for Senior Dogs, Fresh or Raw Ingredients, 23.5lb

This high protein recipe includes all the most succulent and nutrient-rich parts of the prey. With up to 85% animal ingredients, starting with fresh or raw chicken, turkey, salmon, whole herring and chicken liver, it’s a diet formulated to help your older canine thrive. Chondroitin and glucosamine help support your aging pup’s joint health, while nutrient-dense ingredients and a balanced formula help your dog maintain a healthy weight.


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02/05/2024 03:40 pm GMT

Best Grain-Free: Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe 

The Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe comes in 4 lb, 10 lb, and 22 lb resealable bags and offers complete and balanced nutrition for older dogs without the inclusion of grains. 

Specifications: 

  • Comes in 4 lb, 10 lb, & 22 lb resealable bags 
  • High-quality whole foods 
  • 55% protein from 77% animal sources
  • Glucosamine & chrondotin 
  • Grain-free
  • Free from fillers and preservatives 

What we like:

The food contains 55% protein, 77% of which comes from animal sources like de-boned chicken, the first listed ingredient. The formula is powered by real wholesome and anti-inflammatory ingredients like sweet potatoes, blueberries, and flaxseed. It is rich in essential nutrients for senior health like omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin for strong joints. It’s also free from grains, soy, and artificial preservatives.

What to consider:

There’s not much to think about with this food, other than the fact it contains chicken, which isn’t compatible with every dog.

Where to Buy It:

Grab this one on either Amazon or Chewy. The majority of the negative reviews on Amazon stem from buying through unscrupulous 3rd-party sellers. That’s why I so strongly recommend buying from either Chewy or from the Merrick Store on Amazon.

Best For Sensitive Tums: American Journey Protein & Grains Senior 

The American Journey Protein & Grains Senior is ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs, with simple chicken and salmon recipes with brown rice and vegetables that are tasty and gentle on stomachs. They come in 28 lb bags and are an affordable option, too. 

Specifications: 

  • Chicken or salmon recipe with brown rice & vegetables
  • Comes in 28 lb bags
  • 25% protein from meat
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits & veggies
  • Omega-rich formula
  • Glucosamine & chrondotin 
  • Filler free 

What we like:

This nutrient-dense formula contains real meat/fish and anti-oxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as Omega-rich flaxseed. It’s free from fillers and artificial additives, meat meals, and byproducts, plus wheat, corn, and soy. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and several reviews mention the positive effect the food has had on their senior dogs’ coats and skin.

What to consider:

The only downside to this food is that it’s only available to buy in one bag size. 

Where to Buy It:

American Journey is a Chewy-exclusive brand, so you can only buy it there.


American Journey Protein & Grains Senior Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dry Dog Food

When it comes to your dog’s food, there’s no need to overcomplicate what nature made simple—start with delicious salmon, and add in nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, plus vitamins and minerals. It features Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help support hip and joint health, plus there are no unnecessary extras like wheat, corn, soy or poultry by-product meals. 


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Best Fresh Food: Spot and Tango Unkibble

The Spot and Tango Unkibble is ideal for buyers who like to feed their dogs a fresh diet. It’s made with 100% fresh, natural ingredients and comes in multiple flavors, such as beef & barley, gluten-free chicken & brown rice, gluten-free turkey & sweet potato, and hypoallergenic/grain-free cod & salmon for different tastes and needs – plus those who get bored easily!

Specifications:

  • 100% fresh & natural
  • Vet developed 
  • Nutritiously whole & balanced
  • Free from fillers & GMOs
  • Hypoallergenic, gluten-free & grain-free options 
  • Deliciously air-dried
  • Customizable plan 
  • Easy to store & use
  • Subscription service

What we like:

The yummy formulas are developed by vets and free from fillers and additives. They use limited ingredients like real meats, whole grains, and nutrient-rich fruits and veggies that are gently dried at a low temperature to maintain flavor without losing nutrition. 

Although the food isn’t tailored to senior dogs, it’s more than suitable and provides whole-body nutrition, including for the joints, muscles, skin, coat, and more. The brand allows you to customize your plan to be ideal for your dog’s needs, so there’s no room for waste or empty bellies. It’s conveniently packaged and stored, without the need for the freezer, and 40% less expensive than fresh-frozen dog foods. 

What to consider:

There are no downsides to this food, but it is a subscription-based service, which won’t suit everyone. 

Where to Buy It:

Spot & Tango’s Unkibble is available exclusively on their website. However, the brand does have an Amazon storefront where they sell freeze-dried snacks for dogs . It’s not exactly the same as their Unkibble, but it’ll give you an idea of the brand’s overall quality without having to go through a whole signup process.

Best Air-Dried Food: Redbarn Air-Dried Fish Recipe

Redbarn Air-Dried Fish Recipe dog food is, as the name implies, air-dried, which means it retains all of its natural formula’s flavor without losing any of the nutrition. It comes in 4 lb and 22 lb bags, with the option to buy a case of five 4 lb bags. The brand is committed to high-quality ingredients and although it’s not designed for seniors specifically, it provides all of the essential nutrients they need. 

Specifications:

  • Air-dried kibble
  • 4 lb & 22 lb bag sizes
  • High protein content 
  • Delicious & nutritious 
  • Grain-free options
  • All-natural ingredients  
  • Free from by-products, poultry & fillers
  • Made in the USA

What we like:

Redbarn’s grain-free food is packed full of superfoods and high-quality proteins, plus Omega fatty acids from fish and flaxseed, and anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric to help combat arthritis symptoms. Animal proteins are listed as the first five ingredients and it’s free from GMOs and fillers. 

All of the brand’s foods are designed to support healthy skin and coat and feature a blend of pumpkin, probiotics, miscanthus grass, and prebiotic fiber for optimal gut health, plus methionine, taurine, and l-carnitine to support heart health.

What to consider:

This food has no downsides, but it is quite expensive.

Where to Buy It:

While Amazon sells some Redbarn products, this particular food is only available on their website.


Air Dried Fish Recipe Dog Food | Redbarn Pet Products

Redbarn’s Air Dried Fish Recipe is made from functional ingredients that support healthy joints and muscle development in dogs of all ages. It’s made from 85% Real Fish plus a blend of Miscanthus Grass, Coconut Flour, Flaxseed, Vitamins & Minerals. Use it as a full meal or as a mix-in!


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Best Wet Food: Iams ProActive Health 

Wet foods tend to be richer in flavor, which is great for fussy eaters, but they also tend to be higher in fat, which can cause weight gain and worsen arthritis symptoms. The Iams ProActive Health canned food is our favorite wet food option because of its tasty formula that is low in fat. It comes in 13 oz cans and cases of 12. 

Specifications: 

  • Comes in 13 oz cans & cases of 12
  • Made with real chicken
  • Flaxseed & fish oil
  • Slow-cooked 
  • Low in fat 

What we like:

The formula gives complete and balanced nutrition for senior dogs and comes from a trusted, vet-recommended brand. It’s slow-cooked for a rich flavor and made using real chicken, with fish oil and flaxseed to support joint health, as well as healthy skin and coat. It’s also a good option for buyers on a budget. 

What to consider:

It contains wheat. 

Where to Buy It:

Grab this one on either Amazon or Chewy.

Best Pâté: Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Natural Canned Dog Food  

Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Natural Canned Dog Food is a tasty pâté or paste that can be eaten on its own or as a yummy, nutritious meal topper with dry food. It comes in 12.5 oz cans and can be bought in packs of 12 or 24.  

Specifications:

  • Comes in 12.5 oz cans & packs of 12 or 24
  • Natural recipe
  • High-quality chicken
  • Wholesome vegetables
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Easily digestible 
  • Soft texture 

What we like:

The natural formula is rich in essential nutrients for senior dogs and provides optimal energy levels with its high-protein recipe from quality chicken. It’s high in fiber and antioxidants for gut health and immunity from yummy veggies like sweet potato and carrots. It helps to keep joints, coats, and skin healthy with Omega-rich flaxseed and the soft texture is moisture-rich for more flavor. It’s also good for seniors who have issues with their teeth and/or trouble swallowing. 

What to consider:

Some reviews say that the cans are poorly designed and hard to open. 

Where to Buy It:

For some reason, while there are tons of other Wellness dog foods on Amazon, this particular formula is only on Chewy.


Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Natural Canned Dog Food

. This natural, canned wet food for senior dogs is packed with premium protein and nutrient-rich vegetables. It is designed to contain all of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed to optimize your amigo’s whole body health.


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Key Ingredients  to Look for in Good Dog Food for Arthritis

The following ingredients are known to be rich in healthy fats, like Omega fatty acids, that lubricate the joints and promote joint health & mobility:

  • Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, anchovies, & sardines
  • Coconut oil 
  • Flaxseed 

These dog-safe fruits, vegetables, and spices are rich in anti-inflammatory properties to help manage pain, as well as antioxidants for strong immunity: 

  • Turmeric 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Alfalfa
  • Apples 
  • Blueberries 
  • Cabbage 
  • Celery
  • Sweet potatoes 

Other nutrients that support healthy joints include:

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin 
best ingredients in dog food for joint health

What To Avoid

Owners should also try to avoid foods that cause further inflammation in the body, such as:

  • Gluten
  • Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes 
  • Filler ingredients like wheat & soy
  • Artificial additives like dyes & sweeteners  
Top Tips For Managing Arthritis In Dogs

Top Tips For Managing Arthritis In Dogs

Arthritis affects 4 out of 5 older dogs. It’s categorized by inflammation of the joints, typically in old age, and causes pain, discomfort, and limited mobility. Whilst there is currently no cure, there are several things owners can do to relieve their dog’s symptoms, reduce inflammation, and stop it from getting worse.

Feeding your dog the right food is one of the simplest, easiest, and most natural ways to manage their arthritis, and can even play a part in arthritis prevention. 

In addition to changing their diet, you should also make sure that your dog is a healthy weight, as being overweight can make symptoms of arthritis worse. If your dog is active, you should adjust their exercise routine to make sure it’s manageable, otherwise, it can cause more damage & pain. 

For example, try taking your dog on three or four shorter walks per day instead of one or two longer ones, and walk at a slower pace. If your dog finds this boring or wants to be more active than their body allows them to be, play some mentally stimulating games at home like hide & seek or invest in some puzzle toys to wear them out. 

You should talk to your vet about the right course of action for your dog as there is no one-size-fits-all treatment, but there are several vet-recommended things you can try, as mentioned earlier in the article. Such as: 

FAQs 

Does my senior dog have arthritis?

Most senior dogs develop arthritis. Common symptoms to look out for include changes in mobility, like limping or difficulty getting up, and visible changes, such as muscle wastage, as well as discomfort, pain, tiredness, and sometimes stress or irritability.

Can young dogs get arthritis?

Although it’s uncommon, younger dogs can develop arthritis. This can happen for a number of reasons, including genetics, injury, conditions like hip dysplasia, and lifestyle factors, such as being overweight, over-exercising, or being fed a poor diet. 

How is arthritis diagnosed in dogs? 

To diagnose your dog with arthritis, your vet will ask you about your dog’s symptoms and perform a physical examination.

Does arthritis affect life expectancy?

As long as you adjust your dog’s lifestyle to meet their needs and manage their symptoms, the length of their life should not be affected. 

Final Thoughts

If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, we invite you to try one of our recommendations and follow our other top tips to start combatting their symptoms. Our top pick is Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food, but every one of our top ten products is a stellar option. 

  • Laura Hall

    Laura is an experienced pet writer & dog lover with a degree in animal media creation, as well as years of practical hands-on experience with dogs. She has owned Border Collies all throughout her life and has worked and volunteered with dogs of all kinds.



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