Arthritis is excruciating for dogs. Unfortunately, their joints wear down as they age, and arthritis can develop in their spine, hips, knees, and elbows.
Arthritis is widespread in dogs that have engaged in high-impact activities throughout their lives, especially when their bones and joints haven’t had the extra nutrients to support it.
It would be helpful to know if our dogs will get arthritis in the future and take preventative measures if necessary. Unfortunately, there is no way to see the future, but we can ensure our dogs eat a healthy diet and take supplements.
You’re likely here because your elderly dog has arthritis. Let’s look at ways to support them, a diet overhaul and supplementation option that will work wonders for them, even at this later stage.
Extra support, either in food form or supplement form, to support bones, cartilage, and joints will benefit:
- Senior Dogs
- Dogs that already have arthritis
- Active and working dogs
- Dog breeds prone to arthritis
Arthritis-Prone Dog Breeds: Top 10
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Golden Retriever
- Newfoundland Dog
- Saint Bernard
- English Mastiff
- Old English Sheepdog
How to recognise the symptoms of dysfunctional joints in dogs
- Movement: your dog avoids basic activities like running, jumping up, limping, and climbing stairs and is generally slow when moving.
- Bed: Your dog is lazy daily and stays in bed instead of playing. Sleeping is your dog’s new hobby, and they get tired quickly.
- Weight: they are gaining weight
- Behaviour: your dog’s moody, aggressive, depressed, stubborn or irritable purely because the dog is in pain.
- Lock Joints: when your dog stays still, the joints lock and find it hard to get back up.
Some of the supplements and diets below will relieve and repair the cartilage and slow the process of further degeneration.
Treatments For Arthritis In elderly Dogs
The primary purpose is to provide relief to your elderly dog from the pain and also help to increase their functional movement.
Reducing the pain and allowing better movement pain-free will make your dog a lot happier.
- Arthritis Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin
- Stem Cell Therapy
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
These substances are found naturally in a dog’s body and help keep the cartilage strong. Cartilage is what allows the bones to move freely and without pain.
However, if the dog’s body doesn’t produce enough glucosamine and chondroitin, the cartilage will wear away due to missing the vital building blocks of healthy cartilage.
In this case, supplementation is a must.
The good thing is that the supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin can be used long-term and is safe to be given alongside the painkillers that your veterinarian will prescribe.
Other vitamins and minerals to help support joint health
Vitamin C: extra carrots or broccoli daily will give them some fresh added vitamin C.
Green Lipped Mussel (Joint superfood)
- These green-lipped mussels have natural inflammatory properties.
- Green-lipped mussels reduce joint pain and protect the cartilage.
- Fresh is always best; however, not everyone can buy these in their area, so purchasing a supplement in powder or tablet is okay if you cannot find fresh food.
Essential Fatty Acids
Top their food with some boiled chicken, sardines or scrambled egg.
Help Choosing A Supplement
Many supplements for dogs on the market aren’t even worth taking. They are mass-produced and have very little quality. However, among the mix, there are some good quality ones.
One of the tasks I had to complete in my canine nutrition course was researching a high-quality supplement company for dogs. The company had to have the dog’s health at the forefront of its brand—the ingredients needed to be of high standards and not mass-produced.
After several days of researching, I came across Zesty Paws!
Zesty Paws was the brand I picked to complete my checks and in-depth research. Out of all the brands, these were of the highest quality.
The company “Zesty Paws” started in 2014 and is partnered with high-quality brands for individual ingredients. They are very transparent on their website and make a point of stating premium ingredients.
Zesty Paws do a multivitamin for dogs with arthritis. They come in a tasty chew form and have all I have discussed above to help a dog with arthritis.
I recommend giving your dog with arthritis a tin of sardines each week.
Sardines contain two types of fats that are very important to a dog.
Providing your dog sardines fresh or from a tin in freshwater once a week will guarantee these essential fatty acids.
Food Quality Check
As a canine nutritionist, I know the importance of good quality food. A dog with good quality food gives them the best fighting chance against many health problems.
The best option that you can do for your dog if they have arthritis is to give them the best quality food possible.
You may think that the food you give your dog is healthy, but many dog food brands use low-quality ingredients.
You can only confirm if the food is of good quality by checking the ingredients on the back of the packet.
Never trust the front brand marketing.
Bad Dog Food Ingredients
- Bone Meal: These are bones ground up from any animal to provide poor calcium.
- Derivatives: Can be any part of any animal, including beak, bones, or feet added. Sometimes it can state the type of animal. However, it will still be any part of that specific animal—classed as poor-quality nutrition.
- Vegetable Derivatives: Vegetables from many possible vegetable sources. These can be either good or bad—generally, it’s the waste of human vegetable preparation.
- Fat: Animal fat is often sprayed on dog food to make it tastier and more appealing. The fat comes from the cooking process of the animal, and when it’s heated to a very high temperature, and as the grease floats to the top, it’s gathered up for use. Dogs need fat in their diet—however, it’s questionable if this is the best option.
Check for these nasty ingredients; if any are found, you should change your dog’s food.
Good Dog Food Ingredients
If your dog’s food has any of the below ingredients listed, then the food is of good quality.
- Vegetables are the purest quality vegetables needed in a dog’s diet.
- Botanicals, Herbs or Plants: These are added health enhancements for your dog. If this is listed on the label, it means excellent quality dog food with your dog’s health at the forefront of their company.
- Pure Meat: Meat taken from a specific animal. Such as beef, chicken, or duck. The best quality dog foods have pure or fresh meat on the back.
If you have these ingredients listed, you already have excellent quality dog food, so there is no need to make any changes unless you want to create home-prepared meals for your dog.
Home Prepared Dog Food
Home-prepared foods instead of kibble or wet food would be the ultimate quality if done correctly. Dogs must get all the vitamins and minerals that their body needs.
Remember, you can add extras to your dog’s regular meals. This will give a dog an added health boost. However, having time for our busy lives can be somewhat hard.
Below are some of my examples of evening homemade fresh meals for my dog
Percentage Amount/Example Foods
If you decide and have the time to create home-prepared foods for your dog, the below percentages are what you should aim for.
- 45% Meat/Fish: chicken, beef, salmon, duck
- 5% Organ meat
- 25% Vegetables/Fruit: broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, spinach, kale
- 25% Carbohydrates: sweet potato, rice
When making home-cooked dog meals, include kale, spinach or broccoli for calcium.
Or you can opt for a calcium powder made from eggshells or bones.
It’s essential that a dog gets enough calcium but doesn’t get too much calcium. It’s vital that a dog receives sufficient calcium but doesn’t get too much calcium. This is usually the ingredient that is missed when dog parents decide to opt for home-prepared meals.
Recommended Read: Why Is Zinc Important For Dogs?
If you have an overweight dog with arthritis, you must help them lose weight.
Extra weight will strain the bones and joints of your dog. The excess weight will cause more damage and also more pain.
See here an article I wrote that will help you understand obesity in dogs and some critical advice when helping your dog lose weight.
You can do three essential things to help your elderly dog with arthritis: supplements, a decent diet, and weight. You can do three important things to help your elderly dog with arthritis: good quality supplements, a healthy diet, and weight management.