Your dog needs a delicate balance of nutrients in his diet to support his long-term health and wellness.
Though all dogs need protein to support lean muscle mass and fat for energy throughout his life, there are certain nutrients which become more important as your dog ages – glucosamine is one of them.
Keep reading to learn more about the importance of glucosamine for dogs and the top sources to look for in dog food. You’ll also receive our top 7 picks for the best dog food with glucosamine.
What is the Best Joint Health Dog Food with Glucosamine?
Why is Glucosamine Important for Dogs?
As your dog gets older, he is likely to slow down in more ways than one. Not only will he become less active, but his metabolism will slow down as well. This means that you’ll need to be extra careful not to overfeed him, because you don’t want him to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.
Another thing to keep an eye on as your dog gets older is his joint health.
Osteoarthritis is very common older dogs and it is a painful condition that occurs when the cartilage between the bones wears down, causing them to rub against each other. In addition to cartilage damage, many senior dogs also develop stiff and painful joints which can limit their mobility.
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in high concentrations in healthy cartilage.
The glucosamine in your dog’s body helps keep his joints strong and limber. Unfortunately, his natural production of glucosamine slows down as he gets older which puts him at an increased risk for arthritis and other joint problems.
So, what is the solution? To increase your dog’s dietary intake of glucosamine to supplement his body’s natural production of this joint-supporting nutrient. In addition to supporting joint repair, glucosamine helps to lubricate your dog’s joints and reduces inflammation which also reduces his pain.
According to research, dogs need about 20mg of glucosamine per pound of body weight per day. This means that a 50-pound dog needs roughly 1,000mg of glucosamine daily. Though glucosamine supplements are available, you can also increase your dog’s intake by choosing a high-quality, glucosamine-rich dog food.
What to Look for in a Good Glucosamine Dog Food?
If your dog is suffering from advanced arthritis or severe joint pain, your veterinarian might recommend a glucosamine supplement or an injection. For long-term joint support, however, a glucosamine-rich dog food is a better choice.
So, what do you look for in a good glucosamine dog food?
First and foremost, you want to choose a nutritionally balanced dog food made with high-quality ingredients. The shorter the ingredient list, the better – this simply means that there is a lower risk for triggering food allergies and products made with fewer ingredients are less likely to contain artificial additives and things that don’t add any nutritional value.
In addition to considering the quality of the dog food as a whole, you also need to think about the quality of the ingredients and their bioavailability. Bioavailability simply refers to how much of any given nutrient your dog’s body is capable of absorbing and utilizing. Generally speaking, animal-based ingredients are more bioavailable than plant-based ingredients for dogs. Bioavailability is particularly important for glucosamine because it won’t do your dog any good if his body can’t actually use it.
When it comes to glucosamine-rich ingredients, here are some of the best for dogs:
- Shellfish shells
- Beef trachea
- Chicken feet
- Pork tails
- Green-lipped mussels
- Beef knuckle bones
These ingredients may not sound appetizing to you, but they are rich natural sources of glucosamine for your dog. Other types of cartilage and raw bone are also valuable sources of glucosamine for dogs.
Once you’ve determined that the product contains adequate glucosamine content, you should also make sure that it provides for your dog’s other nutritional needs. Adult dogs need a minimum of 18% crude protein in their diet to support lean muscle mass and a minimum of 5% crude fat for energy as well as skin and coat support.
Dogs do not have specific needs for carbohydrates, but digestible sources like whole grains, beans, legumes, and starchy vegetables can provide energy as well as dietary fiber and essential nutrients. You might also look for beneficial supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics.
Now that you have a better understanding of what a good glucosamine dog food looks like, you’re ready to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 7 picks for the best dog foods with glucosamine.
The 7 Best Dog Foods with Glucosamine
The best glucosamine dog food will not only contain adequate glucosamine levels, but it will also meet your dog’s basic nutritional needs through the use of healthy, high-quality ingredients. Here’s our top pick for the best dog food with glucosamine:
Overall Best Dog Food with Glucosamine
Specifically designed to support the unique needs of senior dogs, this Wellness Complete Health Senior Recipe Dry Food is protein-rich and easy to digest. This formula features deboned chicken as the main ingredient with chicken meal as a supplementary source of protein. With whole-grain carbohydrates and plenty of dietary fiber, this recipe is easy to digest and nutritionally balanced. You’ll also be glad to know that it contains guaranteed levels of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for joint and hip health. Plus, it is completely free from fillers, by-products, and artificial additives.
- Pros: Deboned chicken as the first ingredient, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, guaranteed levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, fiber-rich with probiotics for digestion, no artificial additives
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not a grain-free recipe
6 More Top-Rated Dog Foods with Glucosamine
If our top pick doesn’t seem right for your dog, don’t fret – there are plenty of other options! Here are six more top-rated dog foods with glucosamine that we recommend:
If you don’t mind spending a little more for quality, this Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken & Oats Dry Food is a great choice for senior dogs. Made with cage-free chicken and digestible whole grains, this recipe is also rich in joint-supporting nutrients. This recipe not only contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, but it also contains glucosamine hydrochloride for supplementation. With fresh fruits and vegetables, this recipe offers excellent bioavailability for key nutrients and it also contains dried fermentation products for probiotic support.
- Pros: Protein-rich chicken and chicken meal, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables for bioavailability, natural and supplemental glucosamine sources, probiotics
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, somewhat expensive, not a grain-free recipe
Formulated for breeds of all sizes, this Victor Performance Formula with Glucosamine Dog Food is a great choice for older dogs. Made with protein-rich meat and poultry, this recipe will support your dog’s lean muscle mass for healthy weight in his old age. It features balanced levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, as well as plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joints. This formula is free from corn, wheat, and soy, plus it doesn’t contain any artificial additives. You’ll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion.
- Pros: Numerous sources of animal protein, balanced omega fatty acids, natural and supplemental glucosamine for joint support, digestible whole grains, no artificial additives, probiotics
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken or beef ingredients, not grain-free
Formulated for large breeds, this Diamond Naturals Large-Breed Lamb Meal & Rice Formula is a great choice for older dogs as well. It contains protein-rich lamb meal as the main ingredient with digestible whole grains like brown rice and cracked pearled barley. This formula is rich in antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrient absorption as well as healthy immunity. It also contains prebiotic fibers and probiotic supplements for healthy digestion, plus glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. It also contains plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
- Pros: Protein-rich lamb meal as main ingredient, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and veggies, prebiotic fibers and probiotics, plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin, rich in omega fatty acids
- Cons: Not a grain-free recipe
A gluten-free and grain-free recipe, this Now Fresh Grain-Free Large-Breed Adult Recipe features turkey, salmon, and duck as the main ingredients and primary proteins. This recipe contains zero grains, relying on digestible carbohydrates like peas, fruits, and veggies for energy, fiber, and essential nutrients. In addition to being grain-free, this highly digestible recipe is free from artificial additives, rendered meats, and by-products. To support your large-breed dog’s healthy bones and joints, this recipe is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin, plus it contains plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Overall, it’s a very good glucosamine dog food and it offers excellent digestibility thanks to prebiotic fiber and dried fermentation products for probiotic support.
- Pros: Several sources of fresh animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, good source of glucosamine and chondroitin, no artificial additives, highly digestible
- Cons: Fairly expensive compared to other brands
If you’re looking for a good glucosamine dog food, try this Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large-Breed Adult Recipe. This protein-rich recipe is formulated for digestibility and joint support. It features deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the main ingredients and primary sources of protein, plus digestible grain-free carbohydrates for energy and essential nutrients. This formula is completely free from byproducts and artificial additives, plus it contains the ideal balance of protein and fat to support your dog’s healthy body weight. You’ll also be glad to know that it is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support plus omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
- Pros: Several sources of quality animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, glucosamine for joint support, no byproducts or artificial additives, rich in omega fatty acids for skin and coat
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, may be too high in fiber for some dogs
The Blue Buffalo company offers a wide variety of dog food formulas for specific needs, including the needs of senior dogs. This Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Recipe is protein-rich to support your dog’s lean muscle mass with controlled fat content to prevent overweight and obesity. More importantly, however, it contains natural sources of glucosamine as well as a glucosamine hydrochloride supplement for joint support. This recipe contains 18% crude protein and 10% crude fat with plenty of fiber for healthy digestion, as well as probiotic supplements.
- Pros: Deboned chicken as the first ingredient, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, controlled fat content, natural and supplemental sources of glucosamine, calcium and phosphorus for bone health
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not a grain-free formula, could be higher in protein
Glucosamine Dog Food – A Final Word
If you want to ensure that your dog remains happy and healthy well into his senior years, consider choosing a good glucosamine dog food. By putting to work what you’ve learned here about this joint-supporting nutrient, you can make a smart choice. If you’re still not sure where to start, simply choose one of our top 7 picks reviewed above.