Best Dog Food for Joint Health - Doggy Brace
Dog Food for Joints

Dogs need good food to live a long and happy life. In general, a healthy dog diet will suffice for the average dog, but some with degenerative disease, those that grow quickly, or those who are in the golden years may need a more specialized diet. More specifically, one that supports their joint health. So what is good dog food for joints?

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: it doesn’t make a difference if you feed them kibble or canned food. As long as the ingredients are healthy and your dog has a chance to keep their teeth strong, then it shouldn’t matter if you feed them dry or wet food. 

What Foods are Bad for Dog Joints?

Below is a list of foods that can aggravate pre existing conditions. These foods will not harm your dog if they’re healthy! If your dog has arthritis or joint problems caused by inflammation, you should avoid feeding them these ingredients in excess. 


Grains are an essential part of your dog’s diet and many dog foods contain wheat, soy, rice, and spelt. Grains can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, which can lead to painful swelling. Before you consider cutting out grains, talk with your vet first! They will be able to determine a better and healthier diet for your dog that won’t cut out the essentials. 


Corn is a common ingredient in most dog foods because it is an affordable carbohydrate that provides a quick source of energy. That doesn’t mean it is the best option for your dog, though. Eating too much con can lead to gradual inflammation. It won’t be a sudden change, but it can build over time and worsen their joint problems or cause their arthritis to flare up. 

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Not sure what omega-6 fatty acids are? That’s okay. They’re a normal part of a dog’s diet (and yours), and are found in nuts, corn, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, soybeans, and more. Again, they’re pretty essential for health, but too much of it leads to your dog’s body producing arachidonic acid. This can greatly increase inflammation, especially in arthritis. 

Fatty Proteins 

In general, lean meat is better for you and your dog. Fatty proteins don’t necessarily lead to inflammation, but they can lead to excessive weight gain and obesity. The extra weight will make your dog’s joints problems worse over time. That’s why it’s important to feed them leaner meat to keep them a healthy weight. 

If you want to learn more about obesity in dogs, check out our blog on the topic

Ingredients to Look For

When you’re looking for a new dog food that supports their joint health, keep an eye out for these key ingredients. All of the food on this list is meant to combat pain and inflammation naturally. 

Omega 3-Fatty Acids

Not to be confused with omega-6, omega-3 fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatories. They also help balance your dog’s omega-6 levels! Omega-3s can be found in fish oil and green-lipped mussels. Your vet should be able to recommend a good diet or supplement to get your dog on that promotes omega-3 fatty acid for your dog’s joint health.

Lean Protein

Like we mentioned above, lean meat helps maintain your dog’s weight. It also helps strengthen and maintain their musculoskeletal system, which supports their joints and overall health. Lean meat includes chicken or turkey. 


Glucosamine is imperative for joint health in all living things. It is the natural component found in cartilage that cushions joints. You should see it in most dog foods, as it is essential for joint health. If you don’t, pass on the bag/can. 

It is naturally produced in your dog’s body too. As your dog gets older, production does start to slow down. If you have an older dog, consider boosting their glucosamine with a dog food that is good for joints. 


If your dog isn’t hydrated, then they’re probably hurting if they have joint issues. Water is key to promoting elasticity, mobility, and helps flush out bad toxins and enzymes that can cause or worsen inflammation. Chondroitin, which is a cartilage component, helps your dog retain water. 


Methylsulfonylmethane (or MSM) helps rejuvenate your dog’s cells, antioxidants, and heals their joints. It helps relieve pain and inflammation. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C, also called (Ascorbic Acid), is something you probably recognize. Vitamin C has a lot of benefits, including boosting your immune system to help shorten the duration of a cold or flu. In dogs, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that helps slow down the aging process. This means it helps maintain their joints, by blocking free radicals and absorbing good and helpful food ingredients.