Top 10 Best Dog Food for Hip Dysplasia
Dogs love to run and play, but if your dog has mobility issues like hip dysplasia, the joint pain can prevent these fun activities. Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that can cause dysfunction and pain, often leading to arthritis or muscle atrophy as the dog ages.
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Fortunately, you can help your dog manage this condition with a proper diet. Along with keeping your dog’s weight under control to minimize stress on the joints, food formulated to help with joint support can be helpful. Here are our picks for the best dog food for hip dysplasia, based on reviews from pet owners like you.
The 10 Best Dog Foods for Hip Dysplasia
Blue Buffalo Jolly Joints Mobility Support Dry Dog Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, natural flavor|
Blue Buffalo True Solutions Jolly Joints Mobility Support Formula Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for hip dysplasia for the money. Formulated by a team of veterinarians and animal nutritionists, this food uses real chicken as the first ingredient for high-quality protein. The food also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support hip and joint health, as well as fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids.
This food has no artificial flavors or preservatives, wheat, soy, or meat byproductby-product meal. Some reviewers noted that it has a strong fish smell, which may be off-putting to a dog. Others mentioned the LifeSource Bits are too small for large breeds.
The Farmer’s Dog (Beef Recipe) – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Beef, sweet potatoes, cooked lentils, carrots, beef liver|
The Farmer’s Dog is the best overall dog food for hip dysplasia. This premium subscription dog food service provides fresh, custom-made food designed for your dog, which is then delivered directly to your door. You simply input information about your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level, and allergies, and you receive your custom feeding profile.
From there, you choose a flavor and delivery schedule for your dog’s meals. All food is made in USDA-inspected facilities located in the US. There are four recipes in total, all of which offer complete and balanced nutrition. This review is based on the beef recipe, which offers the second-highest protein level in the product line and contains fish oil, a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids for joint health. This product is not available in stores, so you have to plan your meals appropriately.
American Journey Active Life Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetable Puppy Food – Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, peas, rice bran, brewer’s rice|
American Journey Active Life Formula Puppy Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dog Food is the best choice for puppies with hip dysplasia. Designed for an active life, this puppy formula has complete and balanced nutrition to support healthy development, including real chicken as the first ingredient for muscle growth.
For joint health, the food contains DHA and ARA, two naturally occurring fatty acids. It also contains nutrient-dense ingredients like kelp, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and cranberries. The food is made with no wheat, soy, meat byproductby-products, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Several reviewers said the kibble was too large for their puppies, however.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Joint Mobility Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Brewer’s rice, trout, salmon meal, corn gluten meal, poultry byproductby-product meal, dried egg product|
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Joint Mobility Dry Dog Food cares for cartilage health in dogs with hip dysplasia. Created with the guidance of researchers, veterinarians, and nutritionists, this dog food has plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, antioxidants, and vitamin E to support joint health and overall wellness.
This food is appropriate for dogs at all life stages and has high protein to promote lean muscle mass and a healthy weight. This dog food is only available with a prescription. Many reviewers saw good results, though some commented on the poor quality stool and dullness of their dogs’ coats.
Dave’s Pet Food Naturally Healthy Joint Formula Canned Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, water, beef, liver, beef lungs, brewers brewer’s rice, dehydrated pork meat solubles dehydrated, flaxseed|
Dave’s Pet Food Naturally Healthy Joint Formula Canned Dog Food is a gluten-free pate dog food with real chicken as the first ingredient for high-quality protein. For joint health, the ingredients are a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin. This food has complete and balanced nutrition on its own, or it can be mixed with dry food.
This formula is specifically designed for older or large breed dogs with added vitamins A and D to help support mobility. It’s made without wheat, gluten, or soy. Some reviewers noted the food is a bit hard, which may be difficult for some dogs to eat comfortably.
Royal Canin Large Joint Care Canned Dog Food
Royal Canin Large Joint Care Canned Dog Food is geared toward larger breeds that tend to have these types of health issues. Unlike the last product, this one is a blended pate if you prefer giving your pup food with this consistency. Pork and chicken form the protein base, which is high to keep your pooch feeling full.
The food contains fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids, along with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. It also has taurine, which appears closer to the top on the list of ingredients that we usually see. That means a higher concentration. This product bills itself as an appetite stimulant. We wonder whether it’s necessary for canned food, but it’s one way to ensure that your pup gets enough of the good stuff.
- Tasty blend for picky eaters
- High taurine content
- High in calories
- Expensive, especially for larger dogs
Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, flaxseed, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, chicken liver flavor, fish oil|
Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food is the vet’s choice for dog food for dogs with hip dysplasia. Clinically proven to help your dog walk, run, and jump more easily in just 21 days, this food is excellent for supporting joint and cartilage health. It’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
This food not only supports joint health directly with nutrients, but it has controlled calories and L-carnitine to support a healthy weight that limits pressure on your dog’s joints. Some reviewers noticed their dogs’ stool became hard and less regular. This food is only available with a prescription.
Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, chicken broth, water, chicken liver, salmon, dried egg product, peas, potato starch|
Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is specifically designed to support joint health, especially in hips. High-quality protein derived from chicken is the first ingredient, followed by fruits and vegetables for complete and balanced nutrition. The minerals are chelated for improved nutrient absorption.
This food has no grains, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Some reviewers said this food caused digestive upset for their dogs and they had to discontinue feeding. It’s also worth considering if a grain-free food is appropriate for your dog, since many dogs do better on diets with grain.
AvoDerm Advanced Joint Health Chicken Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken meal, peas, chicken cartilage, pea flour, garbanzo beans, tapioca flour, chicken fat|
AvoDerm Advanced Joint Health Chicken Meal Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is specially formulated to support joint health and mobility. It contains naturally sourced chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for joints and cartilage, as well as omega-rich avocados to support your dog’s coat and skin. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are also included for healthy fats and oils.
This food contains chicken as the first ingredient and no artificial flavors, colors, or byproductby-products. Note that avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause health problems. Dogs are more resistant to persin than other animals, and it’s only present in small amounts in avocado flesh, but it’s important to consider this before feeding this dog food.
Stella & Chewy’s Hip & Joint Boost Dinner Morsels Dog Food
Stella & Chewy’s Hip & Joint Boost Dinner Morsels Dog Food has an identity problem. It bills itself as an addition and a complete diet. Likes the latter, it’s expensive at only 13 ounces (oz). We also question its marketing message. We didn’t realize that dogs didn’t like gluten or soy. The label also touts the health benefits of New Zealand mussels with no evidence to support that statement.
On the positive side, the food contains many of the ingredients that are effective for joint health like glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids. The high protein and fat content are problematic if you feed your pet this food as a complete diet. Also, ingredients like lavender had us scratching our heads about how helpful they really are for pets.
- A decent suite of joint health support additives
- Unsupported health claims with some ingredients
- High fat content
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Food for Joint Health
Dog food that supports joint health must do two things. First, it has to provide adequate nutrition with the proper number of calories to maintain a healthy weight. It is one of the best and, fortunately, easier ways to treat these issues. Second, it should contain ingredients that will improve your pup’s mobility while providing pain relief. Here’s how to choose the best dog food for hip dysplasia, arthritis, and joint health.
- The calorie count per serving is the money shot. Here is where you can take an active role in helping your dog’s mobility issues while ensuring good joint health. Your pup’s body condition is the best indication of weight. Fortunately, it’s easy to assess. You can feel the ribs of a pooch that is at the ideal weight. If you look down at him from above, you’ll see his waistline.
- Many factors come into play when it comes to arriving at the so-called magic number of calories per day, especially when dealing with a pet with a chronic health condition. Your dog’s activity level, of course, is a big part of it. The environment also affects how much he’ll need. A pup outside during cold weather will need more calories to stay warm than a pooch that lies on the couch all day.
- Then, there is the dog itself. A spayed or neutered pet will need fewer calories than one that is intact. Age also plays a role as does breed. An excellent way to estimate your pooch’s needs is to use a calorie calculator, such as the one by the Pet Nutrition Alliance. You need to know your pet’s current and ideal weights. The tool will provide a recommended daily caloric intake, broken down by food and treats.
- It’s essential not to skimp on your pooch’s diet just because he needs to lose weight. You should always feed him a high-quality food to support overall good health. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) provides recommendations for the nutrient content of commercial products for all life stages of dogs and cats. It’s the first place to start when choosing what to feed your pet.
- The minimum requirements for nutrients for an adult dog as a percentage of the weight of the food are 18% for protein and 5% for fat. The nutrition profiles also have recommendations for vitamins and minerals, some with a maximum amount. You can tell if a product meets these standards if there is a statement about saying it does with the phrase, complete and balanced.
- Complete means that everything that should be there is present and balanced in the correct proportions. Many manufacturers employ Ph.D. nutritionists on their staff to ensure that their products meet or exceed these requirements. To clarify, the AAFCO does not regulate pet food. Instead, it works with the FDA to develop standards for the role that agency plays in enforcement.
- However, if a product meets these standards, you can rest assured that your pup’s nutritional needs are met.
Other Ingredients for Joint Health
- In addition to vitamins and minerals, other ingredients may provide relief for your pooch. Some of the more popular ones include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and omega-3-fatty-acids. The latter is also effective for promoting healthy skin. Bear in mind that it takes time for these additives to work. It may be two or more weeks before you see noticeable results.
- A definitive dosage doesn’t exist yet. However, most studies and reviews recommend at least 475 milligrams (mg). We suggest checking the guaranteed analysis on the package. Some manufacturers may boast of joint health properties yet contain only scant amounts of these additives.
A Word About Grain-Free Dog Foods
- It’s hard to stumble upon a grain-free dog food when choosing a diet for your pup. However, it might not be the wisest choice for your pet. In recent years, veterinarians have documented a spike in cases of dilated cardiomyopathy. This disease affects your pooch’s heart function. While treatable, it is also sometimes life-threatening.
- The concern rests with feeding pets a grain-free diet. That has prompted an investigation by the FDA to determine what role these foods have with this condition. Unfortunately, veterinarians have diagnosed the most cases in breeds that are also the most prone to arthritis. We recommend that you discuss this matter with your vet.
Choosing a Dog Food
- The most important thing when choosing a food for your dog is that it provides a complete diet with a reasonable number of calories. Many products tout the fact that they use whole meats in their foods. It is typically the first ingredient you’ll see in high-quality items. However, don’t let the contents fool you. Everything in the food is listed by weight with the largest first.
- While whole meats are healthy sources of protein, they also contain a lot of water. Dog foods that contain by-products or meals are not necessarily inferior. Some are more nutrient-dense.
- You’ll also see a lot of people foods in the ingredient list, with things like sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, and a host of other yummy-sounding ingredients. However, that doesn’t always mean they’re better, at least not from a nutrition standpoint. Many have minuscule traces of these foods. Their primary purpose is to sell you the product, not your dog.
Wet or Dry? That Is the Question
- Whether you choose wet or dry dog food is often a matter of preference. Some people find the smell and look of canned products offensive. Others appreciate the convenience of kibble. Both are valid reasons to choose one over the other. However, many pet owners combine them both because kibble is often cheaper than wet foods.
- It’s imperative that whatever product you choose that you measure what your pet is eating at every meal, especially if your pooch has a weight problem already. Here is one reason to consider canned foods. You know exactly how much you’re feeding him every time. You also know how many calories he’s getting every day to manage these conditions more effectively.
- If you prefer dry food, we recommend that you do not free-feed your pet and leave kibble available all the time. It’ll make it more challenging to get his weight under control without knowing how much he’s eating. We suggest that you leave his food down for about 30 minutes. Then, pick it up. That way, you’ll know how much he’s getting, and you’ll teach him to finish his meal promptly.
Hip dysplasia can cause pain and discomfort for your dog, but plenty of dog foods are available with added joint and mobility support. The Farmer’s Dog is the best overall dog food for hip dysplasia for its omega-3 and protein content. For the best value, choose Blue Buffalo. The premium choice is Purina Pro. For puppies, choose American Journey. Finally, the vet’s choice is Hill’s.