Prescription Food for Arthritic Dogs

Arthritic dogs require adequate home care and medical treatment to decrease the progression of arthritis. Canine arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that commonly affects dogs more than 10 years of age. Arthritis is inflammation that sets in the joints and causes severe pain and often immobility. Although arthritis varies in severity, most dogs experience pain and discomfort while standing after long periods of rest, difficulty climbing, reduced playfulness and depression. Large breed dogs such as German Shepherds, Great Danes and pets suffering from obesity are at greater risk of developing arthritis. There are prescription foods available that can help control the condition.

Types of Canine Arthritis

The most common types of arthritis present in dogs are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although osteoarthritis may have a sudden onset, the disease generally progresses over time and the symptoms may develop only in the advanced stage. Rheumatoid arthritis develops due to an autoimmune response that destroys the proteins present in the body. After careful diagnosis of the affected joints through x-rays and ultrasounds, the vet will prescribe medication to slow the disease. Canine arthritis isn't cured completely with medication. However, there are various dietary modifications and therapies used to control the condition.

Diets for Arthritic Dogs

Since older pets are less active, they often suffer from obesity, which in turn exerts excess pressure on their joints. Overweight dogs require meals that meet their nutritional requirements and help them shed excess weight. Diets lower in calories benefit overweight dogs. In addition, there are several commercial diets specifically formulated for arthritic dogs. They contain a blend of ingredients and supplements that keep joints supple and maintain healthy cartilage.

Commercial Light Diets for Obese Pets Include:

  • Hill's Science Diet Adult Light Dog Food
  • Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Weight Control Formula Dog Food
  • Iams Weight Control Adult Dog Food
  • Nutro MAX Weight Control Formula for Overweight Less Active Dogs
  • Purina ONE Healthy Weight Management Dog Food

Prescribed Diets for Arthritic Dogs Include:

  • Purina Veterinary Diets JM Joint Mobility Canine Formula Dry
  • Iams Veterinary Formula Joint Articulation Dry Dog Food
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Adult Large Breed Weight and Osteo WO 28 Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Mobility Support JS 24 Large Breed Dry Food

Prescribed Diets

Prescribed diets should be administered according to vet instructions. Most diets are mixed with normal food for a few days to prevent dietary intolerance. Diets formulated for joint mobility contain glucosamine and chondroitin that build cartilage and prevent further deterioration of joints. Many formulas also contain antioxidants that strengthen the immune system to fight infections.

Home Care for Arthritic Dogs

The pet's diet may also be supplemented with Omega 3 Fatty acids that repair deteriorated joints. However, it's important to obtain prior vet approval before changing the pet's diet or administering new supplements. Pets treated with surgery require additional home care and rest for speedy recovery. Overweight dogs also benefit from moderate exercise, as it improves joint mobility and prevents loss of muscle mass.

Since individual pet needs vary, care takers should work with the vet to determine medical treatments and supportive therapies suited to the pet. Although canine arthritis can't be completely cured, most pets live healthy and happy lives if the arthritis is controlled with diet modification and supplementation.