If you are what you eat, then your older dog could be consuming foods that aren't good for his arthritis. While certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties, others increase inflammation that can hurt his joints. Ask your veterinarian for dietary recommendations and supplements for your arthritic dog. Read all dog food labels carefully to ensure your dog isn't consuming anything that could aggravate his arthritis.
Arthritis and Weight
Excess poundage means extra pressure on a dog's joints. If your dog suffers from arthritis and is overweight, he needs to go on a diet. If your dog consumes a high-fat commercial dog food, either canned or dry, ask your veterinarian about switching to a lowfat food. She can also recommend a good exercise program for your dog. Proper weight loss can ease the stress on your dog's joints significantly, perhaps to the point where his arthritis symptoms considerably diminish and he moves normally.
Any foods from the nightshade family, which include potatoes, can cause inflammation that might exacerbate arthritis. Sweet potatoes aren't a culprit, but white potatoes are. Dry dog foods might contain potatoes, so read the ingredients list carefully. Other nightshade-related foods that can aggravate arthritis include tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. While most commercial dog foods don't contain those items, it's important not to give your dog table scraps that include these foods.
Many commercial dog foods are loaded with grains, including wheat and corn. Although soy is a legume, it also isn't a good food for dogs with arthritis. In addition to actual grains or soy, some dog foods contain wheat, corn or soy byproducts. It's not hard to find a grain-free dog food, although you'll pay more for it without those fillers. Your vet can recommend a grain-free food suitable for your pet.
Foods That Can Help
Dogs foods specially formulated for animals with arthritis are available at pet stores and supermarkets. Your vet can suggest the right food or supplements that can ease arthritis pain and help restore joint function. While you can purchase canine arthritis supplements over the counter, ask your vet for a brand recommendation and dosage amount, or ask him to prescribe a particular prescription dog food. Foods and supplements for arthritic dogs often contain methylsufonylmethane or MSM, omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.