Foods to Avoid If Your Dog Has Arthritis

As with people, there are many external factors that can affect your dog’s arthritis. You may find that he prefers to play in warm, dry weather, or is more active after taking joint supplements for a few months. Diet is another important component of arthritis in dogs. Obesity puts extra strain on joints, and certain foods may help control the onset of arthritis. In addition, certain foods can promote or reduce inflammation levels, which can lead to arthritis pain levels. By monitoring your dog’s diet and eliminating certain foods, he may be able to lead a more comfortable life. If your dog suffers from arthritis, here are some foods to avoid.


Dogs with arthritis may want to avoid these two carbohydrates: Solanum vegetables and grains/starches. These all lead to inflammation. All forms of canine arthritis cause chronic inflammation in the joints, which leads to pain in the affected area. The more inflamed your dog’s joints are, the more pain they will experience.

Joint inflammation in dogs occurs when the cartilage inside the joint is damaged by acute injury or wear and tear over the years. Normal joints will have a thin layer of cartilage that covers the bones and is lubricated with joint fluid to ensure that the joint slides smoothly and freely without any friction or discomfort. Arthritic joints become rough and the bone surfaces of the joints rub against each other, causing inflammation. The joints become more rigid and have limited mobility, which is reflected in the stiff gait and limited mobility that are very familiar to pet parents of arthritic dogs.

In addition, grains such as wheat, rice, whole grains and corn can affect blood sugar levels and increase swelling. Nightshade vegetables, including potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers, can also cause arthritis symptoms. If you use dog store food, check the ingredients carefully. Some grain-free foods use potatoes as a substitute.

Fatty Proteins

While protein is important in the diet of arthritic dogs as it supports strong muscles to protect joints, try to choose lean protein such as chicken, Turkey, or herbivorous meat if they are a little overweight. While fatty fish like salmon and tuna contain beneficial omega-3s, your main goal should be to provide a healthy diet while lowering calories.

Fats provide the most calories in the diet, so their levels and quality must be closely monitored. Obesity is directly related to the onset and severity of arthritis. If your dog is overweight, you should advocate weight loss first. Every pound your dog puts on can cause further joint discomfort. Some fats cause inflammation in the body, leading to pain and discomfort, while others balance the system and reduce inflammation.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

It’s best to avoid vegetable oils, including sunflower, safflower, corn, and vegetable oils. These oils contain arachidonic acid, an Omega 6 fatty acid. Cheaper and more accessible for pet food manufacturers. Omega-6 is also found in meat and poultry and is part of a normal dog’s diet, but should be kept to a minimum in dogs with arthritis. The body converts excess omega-6 in the body, such as linoleic acid, into arachidonic acid, which is highly inflammatory in people with arthritis.

Omega-6 fatty acids increase inflammation. More specifically, the arachidonic acid in the oil turns into inflammatory compounds, and high levels of these compounds have been linked to elevated inflammation.

Added Salts, Sugars, and Artificial Additives

As a general rule, the more food is processed, the more likely it is to cause inflammation. By definition, all manufactured dog food goes through some level of processing, making it important to choose dog food that does not contain added salt, sugar, or artificial additives, which are essentially unnecessary formulations that increase inflammation.

In addition, many dry dog foods available on the market contain fillers such as corn bran, grain by-products, soybean, peanut, cottonseed, or rice hulls, and modified corn starch.  Not only are these foods nutritionally deplete, but they also negatively impact joint health by increasing the body’s inflammatory response.  Look for foods that contain whole ingredients, and always avoid words such as “bran” “hulls” “meal” or “by-product.”