We’ve covered the subject of grains quite a bit on this website, most recently in our article about the best grain free dog food. The subject of this article is taking a look at the effects of a grain rich diet for dogs who suffer from arthritis – this has been a subject which has been discussed more and more lately on pet forums but there is very little help out there for owners of dogs with the condition.
Well, we aim to change all of that by answering the question and giving some advice on the best way forward.
Are grains that bad?
For normal dogs without pre existing conditions, grains are harmless and do provide healthy energy and nutrients to fuel your dog. We feel that grain free diets are a bit of a fad and akin to non-coeliacs eating gluten free food – you’re not going to get any benefit from it at all. However, some dogs can be allergic to certain grains and for them grains are a bit of a problem. Lastly, we have the subject matter; dogs with arthritis, to them food with a lot of grains can in fact make the condition worse.
Are grains bad for dogs with arthritis?
We do believe that grains should be avoided for dogs with arthritis or joint problems in general and there are a couple of important reasons for this. The first is that grains such as wheat, rice, soy, barley, rye and spelt increase blood sugar levels which in itself isn’t ideal for older dogs (the most likely to have arthritis).
Increased blood sugar levels can cause inflammation which can exacerbate existing conditions such as arthritis, leading to swelling, discomfort and pain.
Grains also contain gluten which can be difficult to digest for some dogs, especially older dogs. Gluten can sometimes be seen as a toxin which needs to be cleansed from the body and while doing so the immune system can cause inflammation which again causes aches and pains for dogs with arthritis.
This isn’t guaranteed to happen, mind you. Some dogs with arthritis can eat grains all day long and be fine with it but why take the chance?
Grains are not great for arthritis in dogs and should be avoided by switching to a grain-free diet. This will not make arthritis any better though, it will only ensure it doesn’t get worse when it can be avoided. The real benefits will come from regular exercise, a natural diet and therapy over time. Feeding them or not feeding them grains is but a drop in the ocean in the battle against arthritis.
Ronnie is the JugDog site editor and a dog expert who has lived and worked with dogs his entire life. Living in St. Helens, UK with his wife son and Jug Dog Jeff Ronnie spends most of time researching the answers to the burning questions of the dog community as well as reviewing the latest and greatest dog products.