The Best Food for Old Dogs: Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy
When our dogs get older, we need to give them the best food possible to help them stay healthy and live a long life. We should not give them the same food we share with a puppy. We must pay attention to their changing nutritional needs and choose food that satisfies them. If you’re looking for good dog foods for older dogs, this is the place.
Quick Picks: Senior Dog Food Reviews
Senior Dog Food Reviews
1. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula is a good choice for keeping your senior dog healthy. It has the proper nutrients to help them stay healthy, and it also satisfies the needs of older dogs.
This Blue Buffalo food is perfect for senior dogs. It includes high-quality meat, vegetables, and fruits. And has a balanced nutrient profile that makes your dog happy and healthy. The protein content and chelated minerals help the food to be absorbed better.
2. Nutro — Wholesome Essentials Senior Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
This Nutro senior dog recipe is a good diet for your four-legged friend. It is made with clean ingredients and will help your dog stay healthy. The diet supports cognitive health and joint health in senior dogs.
This diet is also appropriate for dogs that develop food-related sensitivities as they get older. Expertly formulated GMO-free ingredients and extracted protein from farm-raised chicken help your senior dog to maintain a healthy metabolism. Rich in omega-three and omega-six fatty acids, this recipe helps keep your dog’s skin healthy and coat shiny.
3. CANIDAE — Grain-Free PURE Senior Real Chicken, Sweet Potato & Garbanzo Bean Recipe Dry Dog Food
Many older dogs develop food sensitivities and allergies. It can be harmful to their health. To ensure your old dog gets good nutrition, give them a diet specifically for seniors. This recipe is good because it is gluten-free, grain-free, corn-free, soy-free, and wheat-free, and it also helps with sensitive digestion. The CANIDAE limited-ingredient diet is good if you are looking for this diet.
This recipe for dog food is made from high-quality ingredients that won’t cause any allergies in your dog. Plus, dogs love the great taste of this kibble, which is made from chicken, sweet potatoes, and garbanzo beans.
4. ORIJEN Senior Grain
Orijen has designed a protein-rich diet for senior dogs. The diet is mostly animal ingredients, including deboned chicken and turkey meat. These ingredients are very nutritious and help keep old dogs lean and muscular. The food is also coated in the freeze-dried liver, which makes it taste great and encourages dogs to eat it all up.
Apart from that, the recipe list mainly contains healthy greens, lentils, and beans. And has multiple fruits like apples, berries, and pumpkin. And it provides vitamins and minerals that help your dog’s aging body. These provide carbohydrates, antioxidants, and additional protein.
5. American Journey — Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Senior
The American Journey high protein blend is a favorite for senior pet owners because of the excellent reputation the brand has. This recipe is designed specifically for old dogs, and it meets their unique nutritional needs.
This recipe is carefully made to be healthy for senior dogs. It includes a lot of ingredients that are good for their health, like nutrients that help their immune system and joints. It will help keep your dog healthy and active as they age.
6. Merrick — Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Senior
This recipe from Merrick contains high-quality ingredients like real chicken, sweet potatoes, and other good things for your senior dog. The formula has been tested before it was packaged to ensure it is safe and high quality.
Merrick’s grain-free diet is good if you look for healthy food to give your dog in its golden years. This food includes high levels of chondroitin and glucosamine to support our senior dogs’ well-used bones and joints. High-quality proteins are also beneficial for our older dogs, and this food has plenty of them.
7. Hill’s Science Diet — Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality Chicken Recipe
As your dog blows out the candles on his cake, it is an excellent time to think about a new diet for him. Hill’s Science Diet’s blend of high-quality chicken as the main ingredient and delicious kibble will make your dog happy. This diet is packed with nutrients that will support your dog’s health later in life.
8. Purina Pro Plan — Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula
Keep your aging dog healthy by giving her a diet that meets her nutritional needs. This recipe is packed with protein and other essential nutrients to help your dog feel satisfied and happy. The blend is also rich in natural prebiotic fiber, which is great for a sensitive dog’s diet.
9. Blue Buffalo — Wilderness Senior Chicken Recipe Grain
Even an older dog’s food should not be different from their natural ancestral diet. This particular formula by Blue Wilderness includes a range of holistic ingredients to keep up with a high nutrient profile for your older dog. With chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the primary source of protein, the finest ingredients craft this grain-free formula to support your dog’s health in her senior years.
10. Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult
One of the main reasons to recommend Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Dog Food is its many beneficial nutrients for senior dogs. The food provides protein from real chicken, antioxidants, prebiotics, etc. It ensures that your dog gets all the amino acids they need to remain muscular and active.
The recipe for this food also includes prebiotics, which improves gut health and helps the body to absorb nutrients better. The food is enriched with nutrients that support bone health and keep joints functioning properly. Antioxidants in the food also help to strengthen immunity, and fibers improve digestion.
11. VICTOR — Senior Healthy Weight
Your older dog’s activity level might go down as they get older. It is natural. But you don’t have to worry about your dog being overweight in your senior years. You can keep them at a healthy weight by feeding them Victor Senior Healthy Weight dry dog food. This food is rich in chondroitin and glucosamine, which help keep your dog’s bones and joints healthy. This food is good for pet parents with less active adult dogs because it helps maintain weight without compromising nutrients.
12. Nulo — Freestyle Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free
This recipe has a lot of protein and is grain-free. It is good for older dogs because it will help them stay healthy. The protein in this recipe comes from turkey meal, deboned trout, deboned turkey, and salmon. This recipe is also rich in natural vitamins, calcium, and phosphorous, which help keep your dog’s bones strong and immune system healthy.
13. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
Feed your senior dog this turkey-based recipe from Wellness to help boost his health and activity level. The grain-free formula is packed with nutrients and will not cause your dog to have a sensitive digestive system. Serve your furry friend a meal full of goodness and protect his health in his golden years.
14. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
If you want to give your senior dog a healthy and active lifestyle, try this turkey-based recipe from Wellness. It is grain-free and full of good nutrients without artificial flavors that might upset your dog’s sensitive stomach. Serve your furry friend a meal packed with beneficial ingredients to keep him healthy as he ages.
Dog Food Guide for Older Dogs
Senior dogs have unique nutritional demands. As your dog ages, its dietary needs may change. Pet parents may wonder if “senior dog food” is necessary. Best senior dog food? How do you feed an old dog? Check out how our fresh dog food changed 13-year-old Bailey’s life.
Our pet nutrition specialists answer common inquiries about elderly dogs.
Below are the responses of our pet nutrition specialists to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about older dogs.
What Age Does a Dog Become a Senior?
No medical definition of a senior dog exists. Size and weight vary by dog. Giant dogs (like Great Danes) live shorter lives and are considered seniors at 5 or 6 years old. Beagles and other small breeds can live to 8 or 9 years old.
Many older canines are still healthy. Future genetic testing may reveal how and when senior begins.
Signs of Aging in Dogs Include:
- Vision concerns; Moles and other skin disorders; Weight loss or increase; Bad breath, excessive drooling, and other dental issues.
- “Aging” and “geriatric” are different. Vets commonly refer to elderly dogs as those in their later years. Most will show the above indicators of aging and maybe a few more severe symptoms, including:
- Memory loss; behavioral changes (confusion, rage, or other personality changes); difficulty maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- wasting away muscle mass;
- Increased urination (which may be a sign of renal illness) or urine incontinence;
- Osteoarthritis; and Mobility impairment.
As your dog ages, watch for these indicators and give him regular exams. Most veterinarians advise twice-yearly visits for senior dogs to perform a thorough physical examination. And blood tests to detect changes in organ function or other internal issues. They can recommend senior dog nutrition and examine which symptoms and indicators may benefit from a diet modification.
Differences Between Senior and Regular Dog Food?
Is there a difference between senior, adult, and “all life stages” dog food? No. Some food products may be the same yet packaged differently. According to our experts, dog foods claiming to be for seniors are unregulated, which causes misunderstanding.
Some dietary considerations can assist dogs in managing age-related physical and medical changes. Senior dog diets may differ from adult dog diets in these ways:
- Nutrient adjustments
- Higher digestibility
- Softer texture and formulated to fight dental diseases
- Added joint supplements
- Added MCTs, omega-3s, and antioxidants
Nutritional Modifications Are Required for Senior Dogs
Depending on some factors, some older dogs may benefit from dietary changes (e.g., their activity level or underlying medical conditions). Some are:
- Vets are often asked, “How much protein does a senior dog need?” Senior dogs’ protein stores cycle over faster than younger canines; like humans, they might lose muscular mass. Extra protein provides amino acids that make aged dogs stronger and more mobile. Senior dog diets should have 75 grams of protein per 1,000 calories. Use our pet food nutrient calculator to determine your dog’s protein-to-calorie ratio.
- One caution: Phosphorus content increases with protein, thus minimizing phosphorus consumption in elderly dogs with kidney illness. Once the condition reaches a particular stage, phosphorus restriction becomes critical. Protein restriction in these dogs is contentious. Higher-protein diets have never been linked to dog renal illness.
- Some elderly canines may require more or less fat. The elderly cannot gain weight. If your dog is losing weight, a medical condition may be affecting its appetite, calorie needs, or digestion. If muscle mass is the issue, a high-protein diet is crucial; your vet may recommend a higher-fat diet if your dog is skinny for another cause. Obese elderly dogs may need a low-fat diet.
- Some senior dogs require extra fiber. Soluble fiber feeds bacteria, whereas insoluble fiber adds volume to the feces that bacteria can’t break down. Mixed fibers, like psyllium, help support the older dog’s digestive system. A high-fiber diet may help senior dogs with constipation. Some senior diets may contain less fiber than usual since fiber may reduce nutritional absorption. It’s unclear if more or less fiber is helpful for senior pets.
- Senior dogs should have lower calorie density. How many calories a senior dog need is difficult. Some old foods are more calorie-dense than others. Whether your dog needs to gain or lose weight affects the calorie density (calories per cup). Tips:
- It is more than 450 calories per cup of kibble or 50 grams of fat per 1,000 calories.
- It is less than 350 calories per cup of kibble or a premeasured diet.
Because elderly dogs are less active, lower-calorie diets are often best. As dogs age, their activity levels decline by one-third to one-half. Thus they need fewer calories. Portions matter! A vet may recommend a high-protein, high-calorie diet for senior dogs losing muscle mass.
Consult your vet to establish what’s best for your dog and make adjustments.
This study discusses senior dog nutrition. AAFCO does not recognize senior, geriatric, or mature dog food nutritional profiles (AAFCO). That means old food doesn’t guarantee a specific amount of protein, fiber, or other nutrients.
Senior Dog Food Requires Higher Digestibility
How aging affects dogs’ ability to digest nutrients is currently being explored. Despite changes in a dog’s intestines, colon, and bacterial microbiome, aging alone does not reduce its ability to digest nutrition, according to a 2005 study. Food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, and pancreatitis are among the most common digestive disorders that demand dietary modifications in senior dogs.
With or without medical concerns, the healthiest diet for an older dog is a customized one. Senior dog meals target digestion-related changes by adding soluble fiber (a prebiotic) and fat (to make the food denser calorically or aid digestion). Most dogs don’t need these changes. Every age dog digests food differently. If your senior pet doesn’t like food, try another.
Fresh dog food is more accessible for the body to break down and absorb nutrients than processed kibble or raw diets.
Dog Food for Seniors to Fight Dental Disease
If your dog is in between dental cleanings or has lost teeth due to dental disease, switching to soft food may be beneficial (e.g., canned, raw, or fresh). Senior dogs with loose or diseased teeth may have trouble breaking kibble.
Many dental dog foods are regular feeds with increased moisture added. Some feature substances to fight oral issues, including:
- Additives like sodium hexametaphosphate or citric acid help prevent calculus from forming.
- Probiotics, or beneficial microorganisms, may help dogs’ oral health.
Infected gums or teeth need a vet’s cleansing and care.
Added Joint Supplements for Seniors
Age and obesity increase a dog’s risk of developing arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin, cartilage precursors, may improve dog arthritis symptoms after a few months. According to research, EPA and DHA lessen joint inflammation and arthritis symptoms (like difficulty getting up, soreness, and lameness).
Many senior diets that advertise glucosamine, chondroitin, EPA, and DHA don’t contain enough. Unless your dog’s food is designated for joint health, you may need to add these.
Added MCTs, DHA, and Antioxidants in Dog Food
Dog’s age like people, losing memory and learning ability. Several studies suggest the following chemicals and nutrients may help lessen some of these effects and are added to some senior dog foods:
- Fats are called MCTs. Look for coconut or palm oil on food labels, or supplement with MCTs.
- Antioxidants such as carotenoids (beta-carotene) and phytonutrients. Fruits and vegetables include components that can affect a pet’s health. A minimally preserved fresh diet has antioxidants that haven’t deteriorated from processing and storage.
- You can supplement your dog’s diet with DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and algae oil. Start with 0.5 grams DHA per 1,000 calories.
What to Look for in Dog Food for Older Dogs
AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Ensure that any food you purchase has an AAFCO declaration stating that it is nutritionally complete and balanced before putting it in your shopping cart. Dog foods that the AAFCO has authorized have been put through rigorous testing to ensure that they offer complete and balanced nutrition for all phases of a dog’s life.
Because senior dogs are less active than younger dogs, their diets should contain fewer calories. Some dogs have trouble gaining weight as they get older, so their owners don’t have to worry about limiting their calorie intake. What would benefit your dog the most?
According to Megan McCarthy, DVM, who works for the Best Friends Animal Society, old formulations contain up to fifty percent more protein than average adult meals. It helps seniors maintain their muscle strength. Muscle is lost as a dog age. Examine your pet’s diet because some elderly dogs with medical concerns require a diet with less protein.
There are a lot of senior diets out there, and many promote the benefits of fiber for digestion, glucosamine, and chondroitin for joint health, and omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Discuss the contents of the bottle with your trusted veterinarian.
Your dog may have a tougher problem digesting meals over time. Keep an eye out for ingredients that the dog digest quickly or soft senior dog chow that is easier on the teeth and gums of older dogs. Dog food formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs may be easier for senior dogs to digest.
Read more: The Truth About Cat and Dog Food
Frequently Asked Questions About Food for Old Dogs
If your dog weighs 10 kilos or more, you should give them between 1/8 tsp and 1/4 tsp of turmeric every day. If your dog has any health concerns or is taking medication, it is best to speak with a veterinarian before adding turmeric to their diet.
In small doses, turmeric is safe for dogs and is often used as a color and flavor enhancer in dog food. However, the amount of turmeric typically found in dog food is not enough to provide any anti-inflammatory benefits.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing inflammation and pain, and discomfort. A potential benefit of turmeric for pets is cancer treatment. A 2016 study of several plant extracts reported that turmeric was the most effective in preventing the growth of dog cancer cells.
Some side effects of the medication include Stomach upsets or constipation, especially after taking too much at once. If your dog shows signs of this, you could start with a lower dose and then build-up to the recommended amount.
Turmeric can help with acute health problems within 2-3 days. It might take a while for chronic health problems to see a difference. Don’t get discouraged, and make sure that you’re giving your dog the correct type of turmeric (without any chemical additives).
Adding black pepper to turmeric helps the body absorb the curcumin better. The coconut oil in this recipe also makes the liver process the curcumin more slowly, so your dog better absorbs it.
Ginger is known to help digestion and calm a rumbling stomach. The best part is that it can offer these same benefits to our pets. When combined with turmeric, you will give your pet a boost in indigestion and joint support.
Turmeric usually does not have any severe side effects. However, some people might experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. In one report, a person who took a lot of turmeric (over 1500 mg twice daily) had an abnormal and dangerous heart rhythm.