The Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs
As your dog ages, it is crucial to ensure its health. One approach to achieve this is to switch them to senior-friendly foods. This dog chow contains the ideal vitamins, minerals, and supplements ratio.
It can be tough to determine which dog food is optimal. To assist you, we analyzed hundreds of brands and thousands of verified reviews to determine the eight finest senior dog foods currently available.
8 Best Senior Dog Food
1. CANIDAE Pure Senior Recipe Dog Food
The CANIDAE Pure Senior Recipe is a diet for grain-free senior dogs with limited ingredients. This recipe has high protein levels, including chicken, turkey, sweet potatoes, and garbanzo beans. This dish does not include any artificial flavors or preservatives.
- Senior dog dry food free of grains
- Contains only nine ingredients
- Includes Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and probiotics for digestion. Contains necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain the body of an older dog.
- The volumetric protein content of 28 percent
- No wheat, corn, soy, or artificial ingredients.
- Made in America with domestically derived ingredients
2. Nulo Senior Dry Dog Food with Glucosamine
Nulo Freestyle Senior Dog Food is a good choice for your senior dog. It is grain-free and of high quality. The recipe also includes glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal joint support, probiotics for digestion, and L-Carnitine to support a slowing metabolism.
- Trout, turkey, salmon, and sweet potato-based, grain-free dog food for older dogs.
- 30 percent protein content with probiotics for improved digestion
- The use of glucosamine and chondroitin to enhance joint and hip health L-Carnitine, a metabolic booster for the elderly,
- The price of quality is more than other senior dog options.
3. Wellness Complete Senior Canned Dog Food
Wellness Complete Senior Formula is our top-recommended canned dog food for senior dogs. The menu features lamb, chicken, duck, and venison options. It is specially formulated by nutritionists to support the health of aging dogs. Its natural recipe contains no corn, wheat, soy, or animal by-products.
- Canned dog food for older dogs prepared with natural ingredients.
- Available in eight distinct protein-containing recipes
- Developed by nutritionists and veterinarians for the health of senior dogs.
- 32% protein content on a dry food basis
- Contains grains and vegetables
- Made in the U.S.A.
4. Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Food
Nutro Natural Choice Senior dog food contains natural ingredients that help keep seniors healthy and active. The food is more expensive than other senior dog food brands. Still, it is worth the price because all the ingredients are non-GMO. The recipe includes essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Natural dry dog food, including chicken as the primary ingredient.
- Formula formulated to maintain older dogs’ muscular and mental health Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
- Non-GMO, no maize, wheat, soy, or poultry by-products.
- Contains grains
- Minimum 24 percent protein by volume
- More expensive than other senior dog food
5. Eukanuba Senior Maintenance Dog Food
Eukanuba Senior Maintenance is good food for seniors over the age of 7. This food is high in protein and vitamins, glucosamine for joint health, and DentaDefense to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy.
- Senior dog food for medium-sized breeds over 7 years old and weighing 24 to 54 pounds.
- Poultry is the primary ingredient.
- Available for both large and small breeds.
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health; D.H.A., antioxidants, and minerals for brain health
- high 27 volume percent protein
- “DentaDefense” by Eukanuba inhibits tartar accumulation on teeth.
6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is specifically formulated for senior dogs. The diet consists of two components: a healthy kibble comprised of chicken, brown rice, flaxseed, blueberries, and sweet potatoes; and LifeSource Bits, a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants promotes the muscle and joint health of senior dogs.
- Genuine deboned chicken is the primary ingredient.
- Brown rice, flaxseed, blueberries, peas, carrots, cranberries, and sweet potatoes.
- 100 percent natural and free of by-products, wheat, soy, and artificial additives.
- LifeSource Bits are a combination of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
- Veterinarians and animal nutritionists determine the formulation.
- Minimum 24 percent protein by volume
- pricier than other options for senior dog food
7. Hill’s Science Small Bites Adult 7+ Dog Food
Hill’s Science Adult Small Bites comprises high-quality, easily digestible ingredients. Hill’s has an in-house team of 220 vets, food scientists, and PhDs who formulate the nutritional content specifically for your pet.
- Dry dog food formulated for a senior toy or small breed dogs aged 7 or older
- Easy to eat, small-sized kibble
- Contains Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Vitamins E, A, B12, C, and D3, and dozens of other minerals and antioxidants.
- Contains grains
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Made in America
- Contains a reduced 16.5 percent protein content
8. IAMS Proactive Health Dry Food for Mature Dogs
IAMS Proactive Health is a good value for your money. It contains quality ingredients such as chicken, dried beets, carrots, flaxseed, and peas. It is also made without wheat, soy, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
- Dry kibble made with farm-raised chicken
- No wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives
- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for immune health
- Promotes healthy digestion with fiber and prebiotics
- Minimum 24% protein by volume
- Affordable compared with other brands.
Buying Guide for Senior Dog Food
This guide will cover topics like choosing a senior dog food, proper nutrition for older dogs, and a smooth transition to new foods. Always consult your veterinarian to provide your dog with the best treatment possible.
Do Senior Dogs Need Special Food?
As your dog ages, it is important to talk to your vet about what kind of food they should eat. This decision can vary depending on the dog’s breed, health, weight, appetite, and other factors. Usually, when people think about their dog’s senior years, they switch to a new senior food.
At What Age is a Dog Considered a Senior?
Dogs are typically considered seniors when they start to show signs of aging. This can be anywhere between 5-10 years old. This range is based on the breed of the dog: large dogs are typically considered seniors earlier in their life. While smaller dogs are considered seniors later in life, this is not the case for larger dogs.
Indicators of aging include modifications to:
- Sleeping Patterns
- Activity Levels
- Bathroom Behavior
- Cognitive Function
- Lumps and Bumps
- Dental Issues
As your dog transitions into senior years, vets typically recommend annual checkups.
A Primer on Dog Foods
There is no one way to decide when to neuter your dog. Many factors go into the decision. Our guide contains helpful information on the subject. Still, it is important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations due to your dog’s specific needs.
Types of Dog Food
There are numerous varieties of dog food. Choose the highest-quality food for your dog and your family.
Kibble, or dry food, is the most prevalent type of dog food. It is available in different bags and can be found at most pet stores.
Wet Food/Canned Food
Another option for feeding your dog is wet or canned food. Although many canines enjoy the flavor of wet food, it can be significantly more expensive than dry kibble.
Raw, Dehydrated, & Freeze Dried
Some people now choose to feed their dogs raw or freeze-dried food. They say that this is better because heat can strip away the nutritional content of food. But it is important to think about the pros and cons before deciding if this is right for your dog.
Food toppers are food bits that can be sprinkled on a dog’s food bowl. This is a great way to get your dog to eat food that they might not like the taste of. It can also help them get nutrients or supplements that they might not be getting from their regular food.
Homemade and Delivery Dog Food
Some people are now making their dog food at home. Some meal delivery services for pets will deliver homemade dog food weekly or bi-weekly.
Ingredients to Look for (and Look Out for) in Dog Food
It might be difficult to determine which elements in dog food are good and which ones are bad. We must read labels carefully to protect our pets’ health and well-being. Patrick Mahaney, a Wellness Vet, has compiled a comprehensive list of things to look for when buying dog food. Here are some general guidelines:
Ingredients to Look for:
- Natural preservatives: vitamin C, vitamin E
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Human-grade ingredients
- High-quality meat is the first ingredient
- Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids
- meals that are nutritionally adequate and balanced
Ingredients to Avoid:
- Chemicals and preservatives
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Propylene Glycol (P.G.), and Ethoxyquin
- Food dyes
- Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, and 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE) that’s often found in colors
- Rendered fat
- Feed-grade ingredients are of a lower quality than human-grade ingredients.
- Wheat and corn gluten
- Too much additional sugar
Proper Nutrition for Senior Dogs
Dogs need six things in their diet: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. The percentage of each nutrient in the diet will vary based on the dog’s breed and age. Determine the ideal ratio for your dog by consulting your veterinarian. This can be a complex calculation that considers your dog’s situation.
As dogs age, they tend to lose muscle mass. To counteract this, the American Kennel Club recommends that seniors follow a diet with at least 25% of all calories from protein.
You also need to think about how much salt your dog is eating. The A.K.C. suggests reducing your senior dog’s salt intake but not eliminating it. Salt enhances dog food flavor, yet most commercial dog foods already include excessive sodium. Senior dogs with hypertension, heart, or kidney problems must consume a diet reduced in salt.
Common Senior Dog Ailments & Foods to Help
Here are some common problems with getting older, including food supplements or tips that can help.
Senior dogs are more likely to have dental or gum problems. That’s why brushing their teeth at least a few times per week is important and taking them to an annual cleaning. Dogs can benefit from dental chews and treats, but they should only be used to supplement their regular dental care.
Joint Pain or Arthritis
Dr. Heather Frankfurt, a veterinarian from Texas, suggests M.S.M., chondroitin, and glucosamine for joint health. If your older dog has joint discomfort or stiffness, consider supplementing their diet with a joint supplement. Additionally, certain breeds may be susceptible to joint or movement disorders.
Raising your dog’s food and water bowls will allow them to eat and drink without bending over. You can either purchase or create your elevated dog bowl.
General Health & Aging
One of the best ways to keep your dog healthy is by giving them antioxidants. Antioxidants can help keep your dog young and healthy. You can give your dog antioxidants by feeding them fruits, vegetables, berries, and turmeric. You can also give them food that includes antioxidants.
Obesity shortens the lifespan of a dog and raises the chance of numerous health issues, including cancer, diabetes, joint pain, and arthritis. To prevent your senior dog from becoming overweight, ensure they get adequate exercise and consume the appropriate number of calories based on their activity level.
Impaired Cognitive Function
As your pup gets older, it may have problems with its cognitive functions. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can aid in this process. A veterinarian specializing in food therapy, Dr. Judy Morgan, suggests giving your dog sardines or fish oil supplements. Most commercial dog foods contain Omega fatty acids from fish oil or flaxseed oil.
Making the Switch
When you find the ideal dog food, you should gently transition your dog to it. This will help avoid stomach upset, diarrhea, and other difficulties in your dog. Follow this schedule as a simple rule of thumb:
- Day 1: 90% old food, 10% new food
- Day 2: 70% old food, 30% new food
- Day 3: 50% old food, 50% new food
- Day 4: 30% old food, 70% new food
- Day 5: 10% old food, 90% new food
- Day 6: 100% new food
Do not feel like you have to measure your dog’s food exactly by the ounce. Instead, add more food every day based on these general percentages.
Some dogs with sensitive systems or gastrointestinal issues may take longer to adjust. If you notice any new issues, be sure to contact your vet. Get in touch immediately if there are any serious issues or a drastic change in their appetite.
It might be difficult to want to change foods if your dog is a picky eater. Here are some ideas for encouraging you and your pet to try new things:
- Do not feed your dog table scraps or human food.
- Limit their food’s time on the table to 30 minutes.
- Avoid unneeded sweets
- Consider adding a topping to their food to enhance its flavor.
If you can’t get your dog to eat, you can try feeding them a high-protein diet to get still the nutrients they need.
Why Do Seniors Need a Special Diet?
All older dogs may not require a specific diet. They maintain a healthy weight if you feed your dog high-protein dog food. There are no health concerns. Your veterinarian believes a different diet could address it; you can continue to provide your dog with the same food.
Many senior dogs, however, require a particular diet. Several factors contribute to this being the case. Initially, a dog’s age, energy level, and metabolism diminish. Due to these changes, dogs no longer require as many calories as they once did.
Senior dogs will more likely develop obesity without selecting a diet with fewer calories. Obesity can place a great deal of burden on a dog’s body, leading to various health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. Some senior dog diets are designed for weight loss, while others are more focused on weight control and maintaining a dog’s healthy weight.
Seniors often have joint problems, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Obesity in a dog will increase pressure on the joints and exacerbate common issues.
In addition to aiding in maintaining a healthy weight, senior dog diets are formulated to alleviate these joint issues. Many old foods are also simpler to digest to assist with stomach sensitivity, constipation, and other digestive disorders.
Additionally, as a dog ages, it requires a more considerable quantity of high-quality proteins. Senior dog foods have adequate amounts of protein to suit these requirements.
What to Do If Your Older Dog Refuses to Eat
It is concerning if your elderly dog stops eating. You become concerned when your dog is not consuming enough food to preserve its energy and health. Consider one or more solutions if you’ve observed a significant decrease in your dog’s appetite.
- Change to a wet food
- Try cooking meals at home.
- Add a food garnish or flavor enhancer to their existing meal.
- Try suggestions advised by their veterinarian.
Choosing the right food for an older dog can be rather challenging. Utilize the list of suggestions we’ve gathered below to aid your search.
Consultation with your veterinarian before beginning your search is essential. The veterinarian can help detect any health issues that may need to be addressed through nutrition and make recommendations regarding the best components for your dog. They can also weigh your dog to determine whether they are at a healthy weight or whether food for weight control may be necessary.
Choosing a dog food with high-quality protein is essential for all ages of dogs, but especially for senior dogs. As tissues deteriorate with aging, protein can assist in their regeneration. Old dogs require a diet rich in high-quality protein.
If your dog has kidney disease, they will still require protein, but in a lesser quantity. Check with your veterinarian to ensure that you provide them with the appropriate amount of protein for their health.
Whole-grain diets are better than grain-free ones unless your dog is allergic to grains. Grains contain amino acids used to build tissues and keep the body healthy.
Lastly, when searching for the best food for your senior dog, you should look for foods made with natural components. Avoid any products that have artificial flavors or colors. You should also avoid dog foods that include fillers like corn and soy.
Comparing the Pros and Cons of Various Senior Dog Food Varieties
There are both wet and dry senior dog diets available on the market. If you’re attempting to decide which choice is best for your dog, use the following list of advantages and cons as a guide.
Senior Dog Food: Advice & Tips
As pet owners, we want to do everything we can to ensure meals are as healthy and tasty as possible. Consequently, consider the following senior-specific advice.
Wet vs. Dry Food?
It’s an age-old question among pet owners: wet or dry food? While kibble is suitable for most senior dogs, wet food is simpler to chew and, therefore, a better option for some dogs with missing teeth. It also contains more water, which benefits dogs with kidney illnesses and is more delicious for picky eaters.
Most pet owners know how to keep kibble appropriately. (For the record: in the original bag and sealed container!) However, if you are transitioning your senior dog to wet food, there are several storage considerations to bear in mind. After opening, canned food should be refrigerated and stored well covered. Use the excess amount within three days to prevent contamination.
The caloric requirements of senior dogs may change, and they may benefit from smaller, more frequent meals. Consult your doctor to confirm that your puppy is receiving the correct amount and timing of food!
Elevating food bowls might make eating more comfortable if your dog has trouble with mobility.
Take it carefully when switching dog diets, especially with elderly dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive difficulties. Choose a food transition date, and consult with your veterinarian about adding probiotics as necessary.
Making new food for your senior dog does not have to be hard. You can follow the advice in this article and talk to your vet to ensure that the food meets your dog’s unique nutritional needs. If you take a little extra time and do some research, your dog can stay happy, healthy, and fit during its golden years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Dog Food for Seniors
Senior dog food is different from regular dog food. It has more vegetables and fruits, which are good for the dog’s blood sugar levels. Senior dog food is also lower in calories and higher in fiber. This food also has enough protein and fat for an aging dog’s body.
Since older dogs often have weaker teeth and gums, it is best to give them wet canned food. In addition, since they can’t exercise as much due to lower energy levels or joint issues, they need food with a lower amount of calories. We’ve found the best-canned dog food for senior dogs on the market today.
Eggs are safe for dogs and a great source of nutrition. Eggs have high levels of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals beneficial to dogs. Remember only to give your dog eggs if they come from a healthy chicken.
As a dog gets older, their dietary needs will change. As adults, we recommend that they eat two meals a day – one in the morning and one in the evening.
Small dogs are considered old when they reach 11 years of age. Medium-sized dogs are considered old at 10 years of age. Large-sized dogs are considered old at 8 years of age. And finally, giant-breed dogs are considered old at 7 years of age.
Many senior dogs have a slower metabolism and may not be as active as they used to be. This is because of things like arthritis. For this reason, we usually recommend feeding your dog 2% of their body weight as a guideline.