Your dog is walking around cute and plump, and he’s become the warmest and fluffiest pillow on your bed. However, you cannot deny that he’s on the chubby side.
Maintaining your dog’s weight at any age will help keep his weight in check. This means regular exercise, a healthy diet and probably way less table scraps.
So what do you do if you’ve bypassed the stage of fighting against glucosamine risks and are now at that point where your veterinarian insists you buy the best dog food with glucosamine? The first thing you need to do is make sure to buy the safest dog food.
Every online advertisement for dog food for joint health or the best dog food for arthritis may not be tested by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
Look past all the obvious ad space about dog food with glucosamine & chondroitin and make sure the brand, the ingredients, and your dog’s reaction to both are in alignment.
Best Dog Food with Glucosamine
Made with healthy fruits and vegetables, along with deboned chicken, this food combination helps support joint function and overall mobility.
- Available in five sizes (3 pounds, 6 pounds, 15 pounds, 24 pounds, 30 pounds)
- Deboned chicken
- Wholesome whole grains
The high-quality protein in this dog food combination helps build and maintain strong muscles. Your pup may get a boost in energy from the essential proteins and carbohydrates, along with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Then add in the antioxidant fruits from blueberries and cranberries. Before serving this as a final daily option, keep in mind what the “transitioning to blue” percentages are, too.
- No artificial flavors
- No preservatives
- The extreme reaction for some dogs, ranging from no poop at all for three days to diarrhea
- Verify the size of the food beforehand; some dogs avoided large pieces and others ignored smaller pieces
Small dogs should be fed one cup per day. Medium and large dogs should be fed two cups per day. Check out the Recommended Daily Chart to serve by the pound.
The national prebiotic fiber, along with other healthy food options, is geared toward dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs.
- Fish oil and sunflower oil
If your dog does not react well to poultry, no worries. There is no poultry by-product in this meal. The antioxidants in this dog food help support immune system health.
The omega-3 fatty acids help support healthy joints and mobility. The omega-6 fatty acids and zinc help nourish skin and promote a healthy coat.
- No artificial colors
- No artificial flavors
- Several dog owners warn of unbearable gas
- A few dog owners stated their dogs were acting “strange,” “lethargic” and “lost stamina”
Although the back of the bag confirms a money-back guarantee for a maximum of 60 days after the purchase, double-check to make sure Chewy will honor this same agreement beforehand.
This dry dog food is intended to support digestive and immune health with chicken as its number one ingredient.
- Shredded blend chicken
- Rice formula
- Live probiotics
Available in four different sizes (6 pounds, 18 pounds, 35 pounds, 47 pounds), this dry food combination has 26 percent of protein or an optimal protein-to-fat ratio to help keep your dog in tip-top shape. Vitamin A and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, assist with healthy skin and a lustrous coat.
- Natural meaty flavor
- Optimal protein-to-fat ratio
- Dogs may separate dry food from shredded options
- Described as “dog junk food” by one Labradoodle owner, who stated the dog devoured it and started to gain weight
There is a money-back guarantee agreement on the back of the bag. Make sure Chewy agrees to this same agreement or if the request should be made with the manufacturer directly.
Supported by an antioxidant blend of vitamins E and A, and minerals zinc and selenium, this blend should be highly digestible and promote healthy skin and coat.
- Rice formula
- Available in four sizes (8 pounds, 16.5 pounds, 31.1 pounds, 40 pounds)
This heart-healthy mix of protein-rich food is intended to make your dog be the best (s)he can be: bright eyes, healthy teeth and gums, and healthy joints. For dogs who love the crunch, this should be an enjoyable meal.
- No fillers
- Natural vitamins and minerals
- One reviewer reported maggots at the bottom of the bag
- Confirm storage instructions; another user reported that the food was moldy before it was halfway gone
The manufacturer confirms that the purchase price will be refunded if you are not satisfied. Ask Chewy ahead of time if they will honor this agreement.
This grain-free food has 34 percent of high-quality protein with real chicken as the first ingredient.
- Available in three sizes (4 pounds, 12 pounds, 24 pounds)
- Grain-free (no grain, wheat, soy)
- Chicken and sweet potato recipe
Powerful nutrients in this dog dinner recipe include antioxidants (for a healthy immune system), omega fatty acids (for healthy skin and coat) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to support brain and vision development.
There are also fruits and veggies such as carrots, dried kelp, and blueberries for beneficial fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants.
- Helps maintain lean muscles
- Energy enrichers from fiber-rich chickpeas and sweet potatoes
- Several reviewers confirmed their dogs turned away from the food once served
- Even adding hot dogs and chicken didn’t work to trick some dogs into eating it
For dogs who have a hard time with grains, this option may help them avoid upset stomachs and dog skin concerns.
This family-owned natural dog food product has added vitamins, minerals, and taurine for well-being. It’s a combination of turkey, blueberries, spinach, and flaxseed.
- Available in two sizes (4 pounds, 12 pounds)
- Deboned turkey and oatmeal recipe
- Chicory root extract
If you’re trying to get your dog’s weight under control, this healthy option has an optimal calorie count. With guaranteed levels of omega-3 fatty acids from ingredients such as salmon oil, this should be helpful in improving their skin and coat health.
Included ingredients (calcium, phosphorous, vitamins A, and C) are also an essential way to improve your dog’s teeth and gums.
- No meat by-products
- No fillers or artificial preservatives
- May result in diarrhea, according to some reviewers
- One Shih Tzu reported a severe rash on the dog’s upper chest and upper front legs
This dog food is specially formulated for small-breed dogs.
This large-breed dry dog food combination is made to promote strong muscles, and healthy bones and joints. It has wholesome fiber and natural prebiotics for healthy digestion.
- Available in three sizes (15 pounds, 30 pounds, 38.5 pounds)
- Chicken fat and farm-raised chicken
- Beet pulp
In addition to the ingredients above, this dry food combination also includes wholesome grains and a garnish of carrots. Formulated with L-carnitine, this dog food combination assists in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Your dog should enjoy the texture of the crunchy kibble, which doubles as a plaque-reduction option and to reduce tartar build-up. Of course, you can always find healthy treats to reduce dog bad breath, but this dry food mixture should do the trick, too.
This large breed dog food is intended for dogs that are 51 to 90 pounds and giant breeds (more than 90 pounds). They should be a minimum of 2 years old.
- Promote health digestion
- Keep teeth clean
- Several dogs didn’t enjoy the food or avoided it altogether
- Even after two or three bags, one owner complains the dog still has nonstop gas
If this isn’t the right option for your dog, Chewy confirms that there is a money-back guarantee.
Intended for large breeds, who are at least 18 months or older, this non-GMO combination of dog food is rich in nutrients and flavorful enough to make your dog curious about the new addition to his dish.
- Farm-raised chicken
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
Partnered with trusted farmers and suppliers, these high-quality ingredients are formulated to support healthy joints and healthy immunity.
Ideally, it should keep your large dog slim and fit. The rich ingredients are also intended to promote healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat.
- No chicken byproducts
- No artificial flavors, by-products, soy or wheat
- Even with a slow introduction, one owner confirmed the dog had explosive diarrhea
- Big belly-bloating was a side effect with other dogs, along with mushy stool
There is a money-back guarantee from the manufacturer but check with Chewy beforehand to confirm it will honor this same agreement to get a refund for the unused portion.
This dry dog food is mainly made up of a wholesome combination of Texas beef and sweet potatoes. Intended for adult dogs of all breeds, it has enough omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Deboned beef
- Lamb and salmon meal
- Vegetables (peas, sweet potatoes)
Available in three sizes (4 pounds, 10 pounds, 22 pounds), this allergy-friendly meal is a grain-free recipe that also includes apples and blueberries.
Although dogs who do like poultry could eat it, it is especially intended for dogs who are sensitive to poultry ingredients. The poultry-free formula is locally grown in Merrick’s Texas facility.
- Fosters healthy hips and joints
- Highly digestible meat proteins
- Packaging has changed on some bags; may no longer have the Velcro sealing
- One reviewer described the food as “sticky,” not even soggy
Produced in small batches, each dog food recipe is closely monitored to ensure it has the perfect balance of nutrients in each bag (and on the level).
Family-owned since 1970, this adult pet food combination is made with beef, fish protein, and real fruits and vegetables.
- Pasture-raised beef protein
- Vegetables and fruits (kale, blueberries, carrots, papaya)
- Fiber-rich ingredients (chia seed, pumpkin, dried kelp, coconut)
With a combination of nutrient-rich components, this dry dog food supports your canine’s digestive health.
Diamond Foods dog recipes include 10-20 percent superfoods in all like kale, blueberries, chia seeds, pumpkin, quinoa, coconut, and spinach, which means if your dog likes this one then it’s a fair chance he’ll like other healthy options.
- No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives added
- No corn, wheat or soy filler
- One dog had such excessive shedding that her coat looked up “terrible,” according to the owner
- One dog preferred the lamb more than the beef
This dog food option is ideal for pets who just cannot handle the common byproducts in popular dog foods. Skip the corn, wheat, and soy for all-natural ingredients.
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is the tough tissue that cushions joints. Without the natural compound found in cartilage, glucosamine sulfate can be used to treat painful conditions such as inflammation and osteoarthritis.
Other forms of glucosamine include glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetyl glucosamine.
So why is this an issue for your pup? For dogs, especially older ones, arthritis is a major concern.
When the cushioning between the bones thins away, it can make the dog’s bones rub against each other. This can lead to dogs having a tougher time climbing, walking, and running.
While it can be an unfortunate result of aging, the process can also be escalated from trauma and diseases. There is no cure to prevent canine arthritis, but glucosamine supplements can alleviate the symptoms of joint damage. Chews are commonly used to prevent early arthritis in pets.
According to American Kennel Club, “No one knows exactly what the mechanism of action is, but glucosamine, an amino sugar, appears to improve the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, one of the building blocks of cartilage.” (1)
For dog owners who would like it incorporated into a dog’s food, glucosamine options can be combined with another natural substance, chondroitin sulfate.
The latter is also used to stimulate cartilage repair. Chondroitin is made from cow or pig cartilage.
It’s also derived from the shells of crabs, oysters, and shrimp. Laboratories can also synthesize it from plant sources.
Before allowing your dog to eat any of the above (or just handing the dog a plate of seafood or a slab of pork), check with your veterinarian first.
Choose from the options that a licensed pet health professional would suggest. Of course, you would always choose options that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved as dietary supplements.
But since they are not subjected to the usual FDA review and approval process as pharmaceuticals, you still should check with the veterinarian who knows the best options or common pet pitfalls.
What to consider when purchasing glucosamine dog food?
As mentioned above, although there are glucosamine options in the form of dog food, checking with a licensed pet professional is the safest and most obvious way to make sure your dog gets exactly what he needs.
In a report from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (via American Kennel Club’s site), they found that “preparations containing glucosamine provided a ‘moderate level’ of comfort, and were on a par with some prescription drugs.”
So just as some prescription drugs may work and may not, don’t expect each supplement to magically make your older dog run around like his puppy days. And as with any other medication, and sometimes food in general, there are side effects.
A few side effects that medical pet professionals have found include allergies, excessive thirst and urination, fatigue, insomnia, and an increasing concern about sugar substances for diabetic dogs.
The easiest, and probably the most stress-free option, of glucosamine, is in the form of flavored tablets, liquids, pills, or powders. Supplements can be found in pet-supply stores, veterinarian’s offices, and online sources.
Before buying random pet products online though, make sure they are only purchased from reputable online merchants. This is not the time to bargain buy with the cheapest seller.
If the veterinarian specifies a certain kind of tablet or capsule, buy that brand and that amount. But as with every option above, notice that there will not be a universal five-star review average for all of them.
Two dogs in the same household could react differently to the same meal. If one doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean you should just give up on glucosamine meals altogether.
You may just need to test out a small bag first to see how your dog reacts and get comfortable with the potential reactions to it. Maybe you’ll need to test out a few.
But under no circumstance should you try them out all at the same time. If your dog has a reaction to one but not the other, it will be that much harder to figure out where the winning meal is.
If you see alarming signs with one, consult your veterinarian first. Decide together whether to stop this meal. Ask that health professional should you try a new one or wait a few weeks (or days) with the old food before testing the doggie dish again.
What are the ingredients in glucosamine?
In addition to the animal ingredients previously mentioned, some chews will often have omega-3 fatty acids, glycosaminoglycans, and antioxidants.
However, there are other muscle-strengthening ingredients that are used for glucosamine in the food. Byproducts are usually done away with.
In its place are ingredients like real lamb, chicken feet, oxtails, pigtails, and beef as opposed to chicken “flavor” or beef “stock.” Some dry food will incorporate the ingredient in the form of capsules. Others, most of which are above, will use the real food.
So does that mean you should just skip the dry food altogether and go to your nearest butcher? While you certainly could make your own homemade meal, you would definitely have to do away with all the spices that humans normally add beforehand.
But another reason that the dry foods above are great options is that they incorporate other nutrient-rich needs: antioxidants, dietary fiber, and vitamins.
It’s more to these options than just throwing your dog a slab of meat or a bowl from the butcher. Let your dog enjoy the pet-safe berries and vegetables while enjoying different meat options.
Dog age and activity level
The goal is to catch your dog’s increasing painful issues early before it’s too late.
Because cartilage can’t just be grown and snapped back into place, treating the condition and ideally slowing down the thinning process comes down to being an observant dog owner first and foremost.
Although any joint can develop osteoarthritis, it will usually hit a dog in his limbs and lower spine.
German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers (or Golden Retrievers), along with other large breeds, tend to get hit the hardest. Some dogs will get hit harder than others due to things they cannot control such as age (it’s going to happen regardless) and genetics.
On the other hand, there are completely controllable circumstances that can help your dog along the way. Dog obesity, treating fractures and ligament tears, and improper nutrition are all things that can help slow down the aging process.
Even dogs who are highly active and in great shape can be at risk if there’s repetitive stress from flyball, dock diving, and agility training. Just as human joggers put added stress on their limbs, so can dogs.
(It’s no accident that gymnasts tend to be shorter people because of all the pressure on their joints. Size and activity level can often work hand-in-hand.)
In the options above, some are specifically intended for small breeds, large breeds or dogs of all breeds. Do not ignore this detail in the 10 options above.
There are different health needs (especially when it comes to bone strength and muscle) for large-breed dogs that may not be as much of a worry for smaller breeds, and the same can be said for smaller dogs who have their own set of health priorities.
As with dogs of all sizes, the meal size matters, too. If the glucosamine dog meals above are suitable for dogs of all breeds, pay attention to the directions on the back.
Only prepare that proportion size and transition amount so your dog can get used to the meal. Not only will this help him or her understand there’s something new on the menu, but it will also allow you to see how your dog reacts to the new healthier food options.
Easy to digest
Although the options above are all intended to make each pup’s digestive system better, there is no judge like your dog’s stomach.
While some dogs will gobble down anything with peanut butter, cheese, or meat on it (or anything else they find scrumptious), other dogs can be crafty. They’ll eat all of the food and spit out the pills individually.
For some dogs, you may have to actually put the medication inside of their mouths. For others, this is a nonfactor. Your dog will be the one to make that decision.
However, certain foods that are easy to digest (or that your dog is willing to test) may not always be kind to your carpet, floors, or even the grass. Follow the transitional process exactly as instructed.
Even if your dog loves the new recipe, high-fiber meals of any sort tend to do a number on the digestive system. Some dogs end up with diarrhea or moist stool for a short term.
Others have such a hard time that it never ends. And still, others have such a tough time that they avoid the food altogether. On the other hand, many of the 10 options above are proven names that have been in the dog food business for decades.
Once your pup gets past the change in the usual byproducts in cheaper brands, he should be able to digest and enjoy the food just fine.
It’s tough to see your dog age. You want instant results and to make the aging transition as easy as possible. Walk into a specialty pet store or even the pet aisle of a retail store, and all of the dog food products will try to sell dog owners on why they’re “the best.”
Depending on the breed and the needs of your particular dogs, these 10 options above may work. Then again, they may not. That’s why there are so many to try.
However, your veterinarian would be the most credible person to listen to before you purchase new food, chewies, and/or other medication. Then your dog is the second living being to listen to.
Every dog does not react to food or medication the same way, which means that you will need to pay close attention to your dog when transitioning him from one kind of diet to another.
As is common with humans, there may be initial disinterest in meals that aren’t as tasty as their favorites. Don’t let that stop you. But what should stop you is continuous physical illness or changes in your dog’s behavior.
Checking the dog’s dish to see how much is eaten is one thing. It’s up to the owner to take notes regarding what other behaviors change. It could be as obvious to anyone looking (ex. limping) or discrete (ex. more sleeping than usual).
If you see any drastic changes or no improvement, contact your veterinarian within an agreed-upon time to confirm whether these new meals should continue. You may just have to tough it out and let your dog get through a small change in behavior.
On the other hand, medication or healthy foods should not lead to your dog feeling worse than before over an extended amount of time.
- AKC Staff, 2019. Can Glucosamine Help Treat Arthritis And Joint Pain in Dogs?
Best Dog Food with Glucosamine
Maintaining your dog's weight will help keep his health in check. But if you've bypassed the stage of fighting against glucosamine risks, you have to make sure to buy the safest dog food with glucosamine.
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