A good diet for your arthritic dog will encourage him to maintain a healthy weight – keeping lean will reduce the stress on the joints and therefore reduce pain from arthritis. It will also have a high level of Omega 3 fatty acids and may contain other supplements which can help with joint health (for example green lipped mussel extract, turmeric extract, glucosamine and chondroitin).
If your dog is very overweight, a specific weight control diet may be more appropriate than one formulated specifically for joints, although some food manufacturers have started to combine the two, e.g. Hills Metabolic + Mobility.
Obesity and arthritis can be difficult partners as an overweight dog will have more severe pain from arthritis, will therefore be reluctant to exercise and weight loss will subsequently be more difficult. Initial restricting of calorie intake and providing good pain relief will be important to get things moving in the right direction. Speak to your vet to discuss the best protocol for your dog.
For a mildly overweight or normal weight dog, a good-quality reduced calorie food should be suitable. There are various diets specifically formulated to help joints such as Hills j/d, Royal Canine Mobility, Purina JM and Specific CJD. If feeding one of these diets, no additional supplements will be required.
If you wish to continue feeding a more ‘standard’ adult or senior dog food, some supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin may be beneficial. Speak to your veterinary surgeon to discuss the best option for your dog.
If your dog has arthritis in his neck, placing food and water bowls at a height can help to ease discomfort when eating and drinking. Various stands are available online or from pet shops.