As the proud owner of a senior pup, you may be wondering about the best senior dog foods. Do dogs really need senior dog foods when they’re older? What are the benefits, as well as the disadvantages, of senior dog formulas?
When choosing food for senior dogs, there are several things to consider first. If your dog has any health conditions, changing their diet may aggravate their condition. Some foods contain ingredients that support joint health, while others do not. And, perhaps most importantly, every dog is different! While one dog might benefit greatly from a senior formula, another may be just as healthy on their current diet. To find out more about the best senior dog foods, read on with us.
14 Best Dog Foods For Seniors Dogs
When looking for the best senior dog foods, all the options available can be quite overwhelming. This, along with the lack of AAFCO guidelines for what a senior dog needs, can be daunting. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most trusted foods, tasted by senior pups and reviewed by satisfied pet parents. If your dog has any underlying health conditions, always talk to your vet before changing their diet.
1. Eukanuba Senior Dry Dog Food
Power your senior dog’s active lifestyle with Eukanuba Senior Dog Small Breed dry food. This diet supports your dog’s body, energy, and mind. High-quality chicken is the main ingredient, as your senior dog deserves the best protein. With glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, this diet helps to keep their joints and muscles limber.
And, lastly, DHA and antioxidants support your pup’s healthy brain function. One cup of Eukabuna Senior Dry Dog Food contains 387 calories, and 29% crude protein, 17% crude fat, and 1.7% crude fiber. Many pet parents love the fact that this diet contains ingredients to support the joints of older dogs. Other pet parents have had issues with the quality of the product, stating that bags arrive torn, or kibbles appear rancid.
- Supports overall health
- Promotes healthy joints and bones
- Contains DHA for brain development
- It is pricey
2. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Senior Dog Food
Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food offers premium nutrition to fuel your senior pup’s best life. Its main protein sources are deboned turkey and chicken meal. To support the joints of your older dog, this diet contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. To support whole-body health, it also contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and probiotics.
For dogs with a grain allergy or intolerance, this diet may be a good choice, as it is made without grains. If your dog has no dental problems, this diet may be suitable for them with its crunchy texture. Overall, this diet contains 32% crude protein, 12% crude fat, and 5% crude fiber. Pet parents love how effective this diet is at boosting their senior dog’s energy levels and joint movement. However, some dogs have had trouble with diarrhea and sickness after eating this food.
- Rich in essential fatty acids
- Supports joints and bones
- Contains probiotics for healthy digestion
- Some dogs experienced diarrhea and sickness
3. Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+
Nourish your senior pup’s body and mind with the Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind formula. With chicken as its main ingredient, this senior dog food offers a quality source of protein. The inclusion of Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A promotes healthy skin and coat, while glucosamine and EPA support joint health and mobility. Lastly, probiotics help to boost the number of beneficial bacteria in your pup’s gut.
This kibble contains 29% crude protein, 14% crude fat, and 3% crude fiber. Because this diet has a dry, crunchy texture, it may not be suitable for senior dogs with dental problems. The majority of pet parents commend this food for its effectiveness and tastiness! Many dogs seem to become more alert when on this diet. However, this diet doesn’t go down a treat with every dog, and some cannot be convinced to eat it.
- Promotes healthy and shiny skin and coat
- Contains glucosamine and EPA for healthy joints and bones
- Rich in essential fatty acids
- Not suitable for dogs with dental problems
- Not for picky eaters
4. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food 7+
Hill’s Science Diet for Senior Dogs is a premium diet made for your dog’s aging needs. Made with chicken meal as its protein source, this diet also offers fruits and vegetables as healthy sources of fiber. It also provides vitamin A supplementation alongside Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Lastly, it also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your pup’s joints moving freely.
On a dry matter basis, this diet contains 18.7% crude protein, 13.7% crude fat, and 2.4% crude fiber. One cup of this diet contains 353kcal. Many customers trust this food and note how effective it is at keeping their senior dogs active and full of life. Some owners find that their dogs experience diarrhea when on this diet, though.
- Contains fruits and vegetables
- High in essential fatty acids
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and bones
- Some dogs experience diarrhea
- Some dogs become gassy
5. ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in your dog’s diet, and ORIJEN takes this to the next level. Each bite of ORIJEN Senior Dog Food contains boneless chicken, chicken liver, boneless turkey, whole eggs, walleye, salmon, and pea fiber, among other sources. Overall, this diet contains 38% crude protein, 15% crude fat, and 8% crude fiber.
It’s also made with Omega-3s and Omega-6s to support a silky smooth coat. Lastly, it contains plenty of chondroitin and glucosamine to support your dog’s joint health. The main problem with this diet is the size of the kibbles. Some smaller senior dogs may struggle to pick up and chew on each piece. However, most pet parents love the boost this diet gives to their dogs’ health.
- High in protein
- Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 for a smooth coat
- Promotes healthy bones and joints
- Kibbles can be hard for some dogs
- Inconsistent texture
6. Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Food provides complete, natural nutrition to suit your senior dog. This tasty food is made with chicken, egg, and peas to deliver premium protein to your dog. As well as this, probiotics and healthy fiber sources help to keep your dog’s digestive health in its prime. Lastly, it contains sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support your dog’s joints.
One cup of Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Food provides 318 kcals. Overall, it contains 25% crude protein, 11% crude fat, and 4% crude fiber. The most common complaints about this diet are issues with diarrhea, vomiting, and gas. The texture of the kibbles is also quite hard, which could be difficult for some senior dogs to chew.
- Made with premium protein
- Supports joint health
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Some dogs experienced vomiting, diarrhea, and gas
- Kibble can be hard for some dogs
7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Important disclaimer: The Amazon stock of this food has been associated with sickness in dogs. If you are interested in buying this food, we recommend checking Blue Buffalo’s store locator to find a store near you that sells this diet.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is made using some of the finest ingredients on offer. Its main protein source is deboned chicken. Its other benefits include an array of vitamins, antioxidants, and vital minerals for your dog’s health. There are even plenty of probiotics that will help to keep your dog’s digestive system working like it used to. While this food contains glucosamine, it does not contain chondroitin.
All of these ingredients are combined into what BLUE calls “LifeSource Bits”, which are cold-formed to help retain their potency. One cup of this diet contains 377kcals. Overall, it contains 24% crude protein, 14% crude fat, and 5% crude fiber. Happy customers report that this diet keeps their dogs’ coats shiny and boosts their energy levels!
- Made with the finest ingredients
- Contains lots of probiotics
- Boosts energy level
- Does not have chondroitin
- Some bags caused sickness in dogs
8. IAMS Mature Adult Dry Dog Food
IAMS Proactive Health Mature Chicken formula brings out your dog’s best at any age. With farm-raised chicken as a key source of protein, this dry food is made to support healthy joints and bones with a balance of key nutrients. Its other sources of protein include chicken by-product meal and dried egg. A blend of prebiotics and fiber also promotes healthy digestion for your dog.
Plus, this tasty dry food supports your dog’s immune system with an array of antioxidants. Not only this, but it contains Omega-6 fatty acids to support their skin and coat’s condition. One cup of this food contains 350kcals, 24% crude protein, 10.50% crude fat, and 5% crude fiber. Pet parents love and trust this food for its ability to support their dogs’ health.
- Good source of protein
- Promotes healthy joints and bones
- Supports digestive system
- Strong pee smell
9. CANIDAE Pure Senior Recipe
Important disclaimer: The Amazon stock of CANIDAE Pure appears to be different from what owners find in their local pet store. We recommend checking with CANIDAE’s website to locate a store near you.
CANIDAE Pure is a limited ingredient formula that offers a well-rounded meal to your senior furry friend. This no-grain food is made with wholesome, hypoallergenic foods that are sure to soothe a sensitive stomach. Each bite contains chicken, turkey meal, peas, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals to support your senior dog’s aging body.
Not only does this diet support your pup’s digestive health, but it’s few ingredients make it an option for dogs with dietary sensitivities, too. Overall, this diet contains 28% crude protein, 10% crude fat, and 5% crude fiber. A common note made by pet parents is that this diet is extremely tasty to their dogs. It may also help to soothe skin irritation for some dogs.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- Supports dog’s aging body
- Not for picky eaters
- Hard kibbles for dogs with dental problems
10. Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food
Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food is crafted with whole foods. Its first ingredient is real deboned chicken, providing quality protein to your dog’s muscles. In addition, excellent levels of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in this food help to support your dog’s skin and coat. Additionally, leading levels of chondroitin and glucosamine are here to support your dog’s aging joints.
This diet contains 30% crude protein, 12% crude fat, and 3.50% crude fiber, and one cup contains 370kcals. Many customers find that their dog’s skin is less irritated and their energy levels increase on this diet. It’s also an option for pups with grain allergies, as this formula contains no grain.
- Provides enough protein for aging dogs
- Promotes healthy bones and joints
- Gives balanced and complete nutrition
- Hard kibbles for dogs with teeth problems
11. Go! Solutions Carnivore Grain-Free Recipe Dry Dog Food
This grain-free recipe has 87% of protein from premium fish and meat. It contains New Zealand green mussels, plus taurine to support heart and eyes health. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to promote hip and joint health.
This dog food has 11 real animal ingredients including turkey, duck, whole eggs, deboned trout and salmon, and free-range chicken. Moreover, it has no artificial preservatives and by-product meals. It supports healthy digestion and overall health of your dog through good gut bacteria and additional digestive enzymes, prebiotic fiber, and probiotics.
- Contains dried chicory root
- Formulated by a team of pet nutritionists
- High in protein
- It has lots of ingredients
- Not for dogs with stomach sensitivities
12. Nulo Freestyle Senior Grain-Free Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
Nulo Freestyle is another grain-free senior formula that is free from egg and chicken proteins. It means that you don’t have to worry about your dog chicken allergies. It also contains chondroitin and glucosamine to help keep the joints and hip healthy.
To support your older dog’s metabolism, it contains L-carnitine and pure probiotic for proper and smooth digestion. It has calcium and phosphorus to help your dog maintain healthy and strong bones. Lastly, it has wholesome fruits and vegetables to improve immunity.
- Does not contain grain and chicken allergens
- Supports proper digestion
- Promotes healthy heart and eyesight
- Some customers wish for smaller kibbles
- High-calorie content
13. VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
Another dog food that is made in the USA is nutrient-dense and contains premium-quality chicken, fish, and beef. It provides high energy for your aging dog. Moreover, it contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep the joints and hips healthy.
It is fortified with essential fatty acids, protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for healthier growth. With its L-carnitine, it converts fat into usable energy for lean muscle development. It has a unique VPRO Blend that promotes high palatability and immunity.
- Highly digestible
- Contains essential fats
- Converts fat to energy to keep your dog active
- Some dogs produced smelly gas
- Kibble size is small for large dogs
14. Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature Chicken, Turkey & Duck Recipe Canned Dog Food
Chicken Soup for the Soul provides a healthy real chicken and turkey recipe, and canned dog food for senior dogs. It also contains salmon and duck for added protein and flavor that your dog will love. Another good news is, that it does not contain any corn, soy, and wheat.
It is 100% made in the USA with no artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. The protein content of this dog food makes sure that your senior dog will maintain its lean muscles and reduce fats in its body.
- Contains 78% moisture
- Has L-carnitine to help maintain a healthy weight
- Free from artificial additives and flavors
- Doesn’t have an enticing smell
- Not for picky eaters
Why Are Senior Dog Foods Important
Not all dogs need senior dog food. In fact, feeding your dog a senior diet, and perhaps paying a premium for it, could do more harm than good for your furry friend. For example, a senior dog with a heart condition should not eat a diet that is higher in sodium – yet, some senior diets will contain more sodium. Similarly, an older pup with kidney disease should not eat a diet that is higher in phosphorus and protein – but some senior diets contain more of both. As such, the needs of each and every senior dog vary a lot, and no one bag of food will be right for every senior dog. So, as always, it’s best to talk to your vet about your dog’s changing nutritional needs. Your vet can recommend a food that’s just right for your dog’s health, and won’t worsen any conditions that they have.
So, what are the benefits of senior dog foods? When lower in calories, as many senior dog foods are, you can help to stave off obesity in your older dog as they become less active. This is particularly a concern for dogs with joint problems, whose additional weight may put a strain on their bodies. Some senior dogs also benefit from the gentler, highly-digestible ingredients in senior dog foods. As they age, many dogs develop food sensitivities and become more prone to digestive upsets. Providing your pooch with food that’s easy for them to digest puts less strain on their tummy and allows them to get the most out of their meals.
Characteristics Of A Good Senior Dog Food
To date, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) does not set any official dietary requirements for senior dogs. This is partly because senior pups vary so much in their needs. Instead, the AAFCO requires that all bags of dog food should be labeled as: for growth, gestation, and lactation, or maintenance. This is called the “statement of nutritional adequacy.” Sometimes bags of dog food will say “for all life stages”, meaning that the food contains the nutrients to support the growth of puppies as well as adult dogs. So, to reiterate – there are no AAFCO guidelines for senior dogs. If this is the case, what makes a good senior dog food? Does such a thing exist?
A “good” senior dog food should be easy to digest, easy to eat, and support your dog’s joint health. By supporting your dog’s health with premium nutrition, you can help to manage any joint issues, digestive sensitivities, and more. A senior dog food manufacturer might do this by including glucosamine and chondroitin to support the joints or use few ingredients to reduce the risk of an upset tummy. You know your pooch best, so consider whether their current food is meeting their needs before switching to another diet.
Switching From Regular Dog Food To Senior Dog Food
When switching your dog’s food, it’s important to do so gradually to avoid tummy upsets. To transition to the new food, always start by mixing the new food with their old food. Over the course of seven days, gradually decrease the amount of the old food, whilst increasing the amount of the new food. Some dogs with sensitive stomachs may need a longer transition period. The key to a good transition is to monitor your dog’s response day by day. If at any point your dog shows a change in appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should proceed slowly. As always, it’s best to talk to your vet before making any drastic changes to your dog’s diet. This is especially important for senior dogs, as the needs of senior dogs vary widely from dog to dog.
Senior Dog Foods: FAQ
Have any more questions or concerns about the best senior dog foods? Feel free to check in with our Frequently Asked Questions section for more information. If in doubt about your senior dog’s food, always ask your vet for the advice!
Just as for adult dogs, the recommendation for seniors is two times per day. Ideally, this will be one meal in the morning, and one in the evening. Some dogs, however, will prefer to eat small portions more often.
As some senior dog’s age, their appetites decrease. To bring out their food’s taste and smell, some owners will add water to the food and serve it at room temperature. When we add water to our dog’s kibble, it becomes softer and easier to eat, which means that they are less likely to get an upset stomach.
There are several things you can do to feed a dog with few or no teeth. If they are used to dry food, you can try grinding it down in a food processor. You could also try adding warm water or chicken broth to the kibble to soften it. Some pet parents opt to switch to wet food as it is easier to eat. If your pet still struggles with wet food, adding a bit more water can make it smoother.
As senior dogs age, they often lose interest in food. One possible cause of this is the dulling of their senses. As such, one quick fix is to make your dog’s food more enticing. You can try adding warm water, low-sodium chicken broth, or small amounts of canned food to the top of your pup’s dry kibbles.
As always, it’s best to talk to your vet before drastically changing your dog’s diet, especially in their senior years. Many health conditions can be aggravated by specific things in your dog’s diet, such as sodium and protein content. And, if your pet is already doing well on their current adult food, there may be no need to switch at all. However, if you’re looking to support your dog’s joints, skin, and mental health, a specially-made senior formula might be just what they need.