Our pups are a big part of our lives. My dog, the Bruiser, is my best friend, and he’s getting “up there” in age. He’s been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, so when it comes to the best dog food for joints and bones, I’m not playing around.
The key component to healthy joints and bones is a balanced mix of high-protein, magnesium-rich veggies, and Glucosamine and Chondroitin (which help repair damaged cartilage in the joints and improve orthopedic health). If you’re looking for the best dog food for joints and bones, these are the ingredients you’re looking for.
But how do you know which one to choose? What brand is easy on the tummy? What dog food is smelly? Are there any that are hard to open or won’t close the way they’re supposed to?
Dogs’ diets are pretty similar to ours in many ways, though there are foods like onions and garlic that are toxic to them. Meat, potatoes, and vegetables in an ad-hoc stew is quite suitable for a dog. So, when you parent a dog with health problems you probably don’t ask yourself can dogs eat Nutella, have Doritos, or eat Cheetos here and there? Yes, they can digest it, but if you are like most dog parents you want the best special food for your pup.
These special dog foods are expensive, and you don’t want to waste time and money trying one after another to find the perfect one for your bestie!
Fear not. We spent all the time researching so you wouldn’t have to. Here are the 10 best dog food for joints and bones:
Our Best Dog Food Reviews and Comparisons
1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed dry dog food (phew, that was a mouthful!) that supports large breeds’ joint health and promotes strong bones. It comprises wholesome ingredients (like chicken meal and rice) that are geared toward improving mobility and promoting healthy cartilage and joints in your pooch.
- Natural, high-quality ingredients
- Vitamins E and C and antioxidants support a healthy immune system
- Omega-3 fatty acids to improve mobility
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
What We Like About Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed
Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility not only helps with stiffness and joint health but also supports a shiny coat and is easy to digest. Plus, dogs love the taste of these kibbles!
Always a significant advantage: Hill’s Science Diet is a vet recommended dog food. Vet approval and recommendation is still one of the biggest factors in my choice of dog food.
What We Don’t Like About Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed
We may mention bags a lot here, but it’s essential to keep your dog’s food fresh and safe. Likewise, you don’t want to fidget with it every time you feed Fido. Unfortunately, this bag is tough to open and will most likely rip when you try.
Regarding the smell of this food: I don’t like the smell, but my roommate doesn’t mind it. I guess it’s a personal preference. Or maybe she’s secretly a dog.
The kibbles are too big for some automatic feeders and tend to get stuck, so take that into account if you use them frequently.
One more thing: it doesn’t have as much Glucosamine as the others (Hill’s has 250 mg/ppm), and the other dry dog foods are about 400-800 mg/ppm). I’m no expert, but I’m reasonably sure that, in this case, more = better.
- Promotes shiny coat
- Vet recommended
- Easily digestible
- Tasty (at least dogs think so!)
- The bag is hard to open and close
- Less Glucosamine than other dry dog foods
- A little smelly…
2. Eukanuba Small Bites Adult Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food
Eukanuba Adult Small Bites dry dog food is the tiny, bite-sized kibble for dogs who need or prefer smaller pieces. With chicken as its #1 ingredient, it contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin sulfate, and animal proteins to promote joint strength and health.
The included vitamins and DHA support healthy brain function. An ideal blend of carbs and fats boosts an active lifestyle, and Eukanuba’s 3D DentaDefense helps reduce tartar buildup.
- Chicken is the #1 ingredient
- Targets body, mind, and energy
- Small, bite-sized kibble
- Eukanuba’s 3D DentaDefense reduces tartar
What We Like About Eukanuba Small Bites Adult Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food
The small kibble is just right for any dog who needs help with joint and bone health but also likes little bites (AKA pretty much any dog smaller than a golden retriever). Bruiser is a medium-sized dog and has a hard time with the bigger kibble. These are also great for his sensitive, old teeth.
The ingredients are high-quality and, in turn, are easy on your furry friend’s tummy. There are fewer issues at petty time, too, as it helps digestion and decreases the stool amount.
What We Don’t Like About Eukanuba Small Bites Adult Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food
Besides the fact that some picky dogs don’t like it (many picky dogs do), there really isn’t anything to say against Eukanuba Adult Small Bites.
- Easy-to-eat kibbles
- High-quality ingredients
- Potty time benefits!
- Smells yummy
- Reduces tartar buildup
- Picky dogs might not like it
3. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula Adult dry dog food boasts real chicken as its number one ingredient and is specially formulated for large breeds. With varying shapes and sizes, this dog food offers the nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life without getting bored with their meals.
This dog food is made with high-quality ingredients and formulated with high protein and precise fat levels to enhance and maintain your dog’s body condition.
- Real chicken #1 ingredient
- Large and hard kibbles and morsels
- For large breeds
- High protein and precise fat levels
What We Like About Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
First and foremost, Purina One SmartBlend is veterinarian recommended, which is a biiiiiiig plus in our book. It has added vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and 0% fillers. Plus, dogs love the mix of real chicken pieces with the contrast of the crunchy kibble.
If cost is a significant factor, Purina ONE SmartBlend is an excellent place to start. It’s one of the more affordable joint health dog foods on the market and might save you a few bucks. Don’t fret – it’s just as effective, if not more so than other brands.
What We Don’t Like About Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
We’re not big fans of the way the bags open. It would be nice if we could seal it back up.
Plus, one of our dogs had some kind of (mild) allergic reaction to this food and would not stop scratching. Oh, and the grain. What’s with all the grain?
- Vet recommended
- Real chicken #1 ingredient
- 0% fillers
- Some dogs may have allergic reactions
- More grain
- Bag isn’t re-sealable
4. Victor Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food
VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula is a dry dog food dense in nutrients and made with premium-quality chicken, beef, and pork meals. Specially formulated for adult dogs and large breeds, this brand is just right for active and sporting dogs prone to joint issues and need help with their digestive systems.
- Made of 81% meat protein with premium-quality beef, chicken, and pork meals
- Nutrient-dense recipe formulated to promote healthy digestive and immune systems
- Gluten-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy
- Prebiotics and probiotics
What We Like About Victor Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food
Dogs love the taste of this food! They can’t get enough of it (so make sure you follow feeding instructions). This brand is one of Bruiser’s and my favorites. It’s been a while since I saw him so active and playful.
If your dog has some digestive issues on top of joint pain, VICTOR’s is definitely the food you’re looking for. This dog food has both prebiotics and probiotics to promote healthy digestion and maintain a healthy digestive system. That means Bruiser is passing gas less often, and since we’re locked up in quarantine right now, that’s a huge mark in the PRO column.
The cherry on top? VICTOR’s doesn’t break the bank.
See Related Article: Best Food For French Bulldog Puppy
What We Don’t Like About Victor Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food
You can buy a 5lb bag of VICTOR’s or a 40lb bag – and nothing in between. Unless you have a pack of pooches, this might either lead you to go to the store every week or feeding your dog stale food (or worse, throwing it out).
This next point isn’t necessarily something to complain about, just something to keep in mind. This specific dog food isn’t formulated for puppies – its protein content is too high.
- Great for dogs that have allergies to other meat proteins
- Less gas (hallelujah!)
- High Glucosamine (800 ppm!)
- Only 5lb or 40lb bags, no other options
- Not for puppies
5. Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food
Dogswell Happy Hips dry dog food has real, hormone-free chicken as its main ingredient and offers oats, peas, brown rice, and barley as sources of healthy carbs. With Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate to support joints and bones, this medium-sized kibble is great for households with multiple pooches.
- Real chicken #1 ingredient
- High Glucosamine and Chondroitin (600 mg/ppm)
- Antioxidants and fiber-rich fruits and veggies
- Healthy carbohydrate sources
What We Like About Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food
My personal reason to love Dogswell Happy Hips is because of how happy and playful my dog was after eating it. He seemed the most spirited after trying this brand of dog food.
We like the healthy carbohydrate sources and fruits and veggies that add fiber and flavor. And the meat! Real, hormone-free chicken – precisely what I would buy for myself. Bruiser enjoyed the taste as well.
What We Don’t Like About Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food
Dogswell Happy Hips contains rice, which some dogs are allergic to. Bruiser isn’t, so we didn’t have any issues. If you have no qualms with rice, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
We don’t have much else to say against Dogswell, except maybe that we can’t get more! The largest bag available is only 22.5lbs. For those who have multiple large dogs, this bag won’t last long.
- Corn, wheat, and soy-free,
- Real, hormone-free chicken
- No added sugar; sulfites and sulfur dioxide-free
- Includes real superfood with fruits and veggies
- Rice ingredients
- Not available in more than 22.5lb bags
6. Blue Buffalo True Solutions Jolly Joints Natural Mobility Support Adult Dry Dog Food
A natural dry dog food formulated with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, Blue Buffalo True Solutions Jolly Joints Natural Mobility Support Adult dry dog food works great to rebuild cartilage and strengthen bones. High-quality ingredients like real chicken are enhanced with vitamins and minerals to improve your pup’s mobility naturally.
- Soy, corn, and wheat-free
- Real chicken; no chicken or by-product meals
- EPA from fish oil to support mobility
What We Like About Blue Buffalo True Solutions Jolly Joints Natural Mobility Support Adult Dry Dog Food
Another favorite of veterinarians! By now, you should know how important their recommendations are. This formula also includes tons of vitamins and minerals that give additional benefits and offer high levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
What We Don’t Like About Blue Buffalo True Solutions Jolly Joints Natural Mobility Support Adult Dry Dog Food
This brand is a kick in the wallet, but it’s worth it. Blue Buffalo is top quality and rarely disappoints.
In rare instances, some pups have experienced tummy problems resulting in stool issues. This isn’t common, but it’s worth mentioning. If your doggo has a sensitive stomach, maybe try another brand.
- Wheat and soy-free
- High Glucosamine (700 mg/ppm!)
- Real chicken as the first ingredient
- Added LifeSource bits, rich in antioxidants
- Adverse tummy reactions
7. Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult dry dog food is made with real beef, 65% protein, and healthy fat ingredients. These medium-sized bites offer a complete and balanced diet for all sizes and breeds.
Merrick’s dry dog food includes omega -3 and -6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin. This dog food comprises vitamins, minerals, produce, and fiber to help maintain a balanced diet. Added fruits and vegetables give your pup antioxidants and promote healthy nutrition.
- Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, and potatoes
- Produce, fiber, vitamins, and minerals for a balanced diet
- Omega -3 and -6 fatty acids
- Added fruits and veggies (blueberries!)
What We Like About Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
This dog food has added fruits and veggies to promote optimal nutrition. Blueberries and sweet potatoes give these kibbles extra flavor and vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more!
Merrick’s has high animal proteins, which is excellent for increasing Bruiser’s activity and mobility. It also comes in different flavors like chicken, salmon, and duck.
Finally, we like knowing our dogs are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals, and that’s definitely what’s happening here.
What We Don’t Like About Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
Again, it seems we can’t avoid container problems. The bag isn’t re-sealable (like it used to be, apparently), and unless you keep your dog food in a separate sealed container, it’s tricky to keep this food fresh.
- High animal proteins
- Available in different flavors
- Grain-free with no artificial preservatives
- High levels of Glucosamine (800 mg/ppm!)
- Bag not re-sealable
- Rare cases of itching
8. Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food is a dog food that is, you guessed it, prescription. You need to get authorization from your veterinarian before buying it, so don’t expect to waltz into your local pet store and walk out with a bag under your arm.
*There’s a reason Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care is only available with a prescription: this dog food is specifically formulated by veterinarians and nutritionists to address joint care and the medical issues associated with it. It’s not advised for all dogs. Moving on.
This #1 vet-recommend kibble comes complete with EPA, omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin. Controlled calories and added L-carnitine help maintain joint cartilage and weight, which eases the stress on bones and joints.
Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care is clinically proven to improve a dog’s mobility in 21 days and antioxidants are included to support a healthy immune system.
- Nutritionist and veterinarian formulated
- EPA, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants included
- Controlled calories and added L-carnitine
What We Like About Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care is THE #1 Vet recommended dog food for joint care. If you don’t have time to mess around, this is “the one.” These perfectly sized bits are great for any breed of dog that is suffering from joint issues.
Because it was concocted by veterinarians and nutritionists, we know it has everything possible that our dogs need to promote and maintain healthy joints and bones.
What We Don’t Like About Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d Joint Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
Ouch. That price, though. Well, what can you expect? Medicine is expensive, and you pay for results.
- #1 Vet recommended
- Results in 21 days
- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
9. Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed dry dog food is specially formulated to promote joint health and support bone strength in large breeds (though there are other versions for smaller breeds). Made with real chicken, this dry dog food promotes a healthy immune system and healthy digestion with a blend of prebiotics and fiber.
- Real, farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
- Premium-sourced protein to help maintain strong muscles
- Unique formula promotes joint health and bone strength
What We Like About Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Iams ProActive Health helps with joints and bones, yes, but it also aids in healthy digestion and supporting the immune system, which is perfect for Old Yellers like Bruiser.
Obviously, I’m going to mention that this is veterinarian recommended. As stated earlier, it’s paramount in my dog food decision-making.
Finally, Iams always has our back when it comes to our cash. It’s one of the most affordable brands that work just as well as the spendy top-shelves.
What We Don’t Like About Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Iams ProActive Health isn’t grain-free. This doesn’t bother many people (it doesn’t bother Bruiser and me), but it seems to irk enough of the population to warrant a reference. If it doesn’t bother you, then move along. We have no other concerns.
- Vet recommended
- Promotes healthy digestion and immune system
- Real (farm-raised!) chicken
- Not grain-free
10. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Lamb and Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
With lamb as its first ingredient, Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Lamb and Rice Recipe dry dog food provide high-quality protein for your dog. It contains antioxidants and omega -3 and -6 fatty acids for a healthy immune system and helps with the skin and coat.
This dry dog food is made with natural fiber to encourage healthy digestion and has added vitamins and minerals to boost and maintain joint health.
- Real, pasture-raised lamb #1 ingredient
- Omega -3 and -6 fatty acids and antioxidants
- For large breeds
- Natural fiber added vitamins and minerals
What We Like About Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Lamb and Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Lamb is a high-quality protein, and we are all for that. As dogs get older, they need to avoid junk food (I’m starting to identify with that), so it’s reassuring to know they’re getting quality ingredients.
The kibble is small, so it works for any dog who needs or prefers little chunks. And WHAT! Non-GMO? You don’t see that often in dog food.
What We Don’t Like About Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Lamb and Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Bowel issues. Not many dogs had a bad bowel reaction, but those who did experience some definitely didn’t want to try this food again.
- High-quality protein
- Small-sized kibble
- Rare tummy and bowel issues
All of these brands are great (that’s why they’re in this article!), but my personal favorite is Eukanuba Small Bites Adult Chicken Formula dry dog food. It’s perfect for households with multiple dogs of varying sizes and needs, and the price won’t scare your piggy bank.
Eukanuba Adult Small Bites has (you guessed it) bite-sized kibble for dogs who need or want smaller pieces. Its #1 ingredient is chicken and is formulated to target the body, mind, and energy.
Vitamins and DHA support healthy brain function, and an ideal blend of carbs and fats boost and help maintain an active lifestyle. Eukanuba’s 3D DentaDefense helps reduce tartar buildup, which has been great for Bruiser’s old and icky teeth.
High-quality ingredients are easy on my Bruiser’s tummy, and the formula helps digestion (and decreases the amount of stool). Some picky dogs may find Eukanuba Small Bites Chicken Formula unappetizing, but these are rare instances. Bruiser certainly doesn’t feel that way!