We know you love your dog just as much as the rest of your family, and this is why it’s important to take extra special care of them when they get older. Providing the best senior dog food should be part of that care. A dog is normally considered senior when they reach ten years old, although some breeds are considered senior when they reach five to seven years. As your dog reaches their senior years, you need to be more careful with them as their demands are constantly changing and they might not have as much energy.
Senior dog owners will need to keep in contact with their vet regularly so you can make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your pup healthy. Older dogs should only consume food with fewer calories, because their bodies have problems with metabolizing and digesting foods. Switching your doggo to a senior dog food can give them the high quality food they need so the nutrient deficiency is met but the portion size is still under control.
Why is senior dog food so important?
Good nutrition is important throughout the whole of your dog’s life, but it is especially important when they reach their senior years. One of the biggest changes you will notice as your dog gets older is the decline in their energy levels. This is due to a reduction in the function of the organs and they could also be suffering from joint problems and arthritis. Because of this, they may like to lay down all day long and therefore do not need the energy from carbohydrates that comes with their regular food, so switching them to a specialized diet will help to reduce their calorie intake. Decreasing their calorie intake will also combat the issue of a decreased metabolic rate, so they do not suffer with obesity in their older years.
Increasing the amount of fiber you give your dog can help to maintain a healthy digestion system. If they are not moving as much, this will affect their digestive system and fiber can be a great way to combat the issue. You should also increase their water intake to reduce the risk of dehydration. If mobility is an issue or your dog doesn’t want to drink, you can look for a moisture-rich senior dog food to give them the liquid they need. Your dog will also benefit from a high-protein diet, which helps to maintain a healthy body weight and healthy muscle mass. High-protein also relieves pressure on the kidneys to help minimize the risk of developing kidney-related diseases.
What should I consider when buying senior dog food?
While the dog food should always be of high quality, there are three main things you should consider when buying senior dog food — the age of your dog, the ingredients of the dog food and the budget you have to spend on the dog food.
The age of your dog is a very important factor when considering what dog food you are going to buy. As your dog gets older and slows down, you should definitely start thinking about switching to a senior dog food. Every dog has their own needs — for example, a pregnant dog will need a high-calorie diet, where as a senior dog will need a lower-calorie diet. That being said, if your dog is still active in their old age, you can keep them other regular adult food until you start to notice any changes. It is important to consult with your vet though as they reach the later stages of life, to ensure they are getting the ingredients they need.
Meat is the best way to meet the adequate protein level for your senior dog. Certain foods such as egg, duck, poultry, pork, beef, chicken, rabbit, tripe and turkey are the best source of meat food ingredients. Fish is also good, with it being one of the main ingredients of wet dog food and also a source of protein in dry dog food. Oily fishes like salmon, tuna and mackerel are the main source of essential omega-3 oils. Barley, cereals, corn, maize germ, maize gluten and rice are the best source of grains for your dog.
Good quality senior dog food is going to come at a higher price than lower quality dog food. While it can be expensive, if you can buy higher-quality dog food for your pup, it will massively contribute to the overall health of your pup.
If you’re looking to buy a dog food specifically tailored to your aging pooch, take a look at the best dog food that we recommend below, all available on Amazon.
The Best Senior Dog Food
This nutrition dense dog food from ORIJEN is designed to nourish dogs at any stage of their life. Grain-free, this dog food is full of fresh and raw animal ingredients — free-run chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, herring and flounder that help to fulfil your dog’s needs of a biologically appropriate meat-packed, protein-rich diet. While 85% of this dog food is made from meat inclusions, incorporating a balance of meat, organs and cartilage or bone in ratios that mirror whole prey, 15% is made from healthy fresh fruit and vegetables. Together, these ingredients provide a varied and rich diet for your pup to keep them healthy no matter what age they are. This dog food comes in four different sized bags.
This Blue Buffalo Life Protection Forumla dog food for adult dogs comes in a chicken and brown rice recipe, with the first ingredient being a real, deboned chicken. This high-quality protein helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles and the wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit help promote a healthy immune system. The essential proteins and carbohydrates in this dog food help meet the energy needs of adult dogs and this food also features fish oil containing omega-3 & 6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin. Also included in this dry dog food is BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits.
This is a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, to support immune system health, life stage requirements and a healthy oxidative balance. This dog food is available in three different sizes and also comes in a fish and brown rice recipe or a lamb and brown rice recipe.
This canned wet dog food from Hill’s Science Diet is made specifically for dogs over the age of seven and approaching their senior years. Made with high-quality protein to help your dog maintain lean muscle, this senior dog food is made with easily digestible ingredients that mature dogs enjoy. By using balanced minerals it supports your older dog’s heart and kidney health to keep them looking and feeling young and active.
This senior dog food is formulated to support healthy skin, coat and stool and comes in three different flavors for your dog — chicken and vegetable stew, chicken and barley and turkey and barley. It can also be combined with dry dog food as a supplement. This dog food comes in packs of twelve cans.
This dry dog food from Nutro is designed with senior dogs in mind, made with real farm-raised poultry and all natural ingredients, plus vitamins and minerals for complete and balanced nutrition in every bowl. This senior dog food promotes healthy skin and coat and fur health, as well as providing great support for a health immune system and digestive system. While it not only tastes great, the crunchy kibble scrubs teeth as your dog chews to reduce plaque and tartar build up.
This dog food does not contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives so you know that everything you are putting into your dog’s body is natural. It also contains no corn, wheat or soy protein. This food comes in chicken or beef flavor — two flavors you’ll dog will love.
This high meat and low card Nulo Senior dog food is made from a grain-free recipe containing no corn, wheat, soy or artificial colors and flavorings to keep your dog healthy in their senior years. The first five ingredients include deboned trout, turkey meal, salmon meal, yellow peas and sweet potato — the trout and turkey containing amino acids that work together to support lean muscle mass and a healthy heart.
The fruits and vegetables with vitamin C and E work to support immune health and there is also glucosamine and chondroitin included in this food to help support joint and hip function and overall mobility. The addition of L-carnitine helps the metabolism of fats for dogs that aren’t quite as active as they used to be to make sure your dog’s weight stays healthy. This senior dog food comes in three different sizes.
Similar to the Blue Buffalo dry dog food mentioned above, this food comes in a chicken and brown rice recipe but this particular variation is designed for large breed senior dogs. With quality protein from real chicken and wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit, this senior dog food helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health and promotes overall mobility with the essential proteins and carbohydrates to help maintain energy requirements for a healthy lifestyle.
This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, which is a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to help with immune health, life stage requirements and a healthy oxidative balance. This dog food is made with only natural ingredients and does not contain any poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, artificial colors or flavors.
Made for small breed senior dogs, the PURINA Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND dog food is designed for dogs over the age of seven. The main ingredient in this dog food is chicken and it also features enhanced botanical oils to promote alertness and mental sharpness, helping to nourish your dog’s mind and help them think more like they did when they were younger. This dog food is rich in arginine — an essential amino acid — as well as in DHA and EPA from fish oil.
Also present are antioxidants including vitamins C and E and B vitamins including folic acid. The highly digestible formula promotes nutrient bioavailability to deliver optimal nutrient absorption within your dog’s body and the small kibble size is perfect for smaller dogs. The high quality protein has a great ratio to fat so your dog maintains an ideal body condition so they can stay active.
The Wellness senior formula canned dog food gives your dog whole-body health that you can see. Focusing on five main things — the skin and coat, digestive health, eyes, teeth and gums, energy and immunity — the high quality ingredients help develop and support your dog as they age. Made with delicious premium meats such as chicken, wholesome grains like flaxseed and fresh fruits and vegetables like sweet potato and carrots, these ingredients provide the perfect balance of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are both delicious and nutritious.
This senior dog food gives your dog balanced, natural nutrition, all with natural and delicious ingredients to provide a guaranteed great taste. This canned food is a great way to increase moisture intake if your dog is struggling to drink water and is a perfect compliment to dry formulas too.
Made with real beef, the PURINA Pro Plan SAVOR dog food is formulated for dogs age seven or older to help support their life stage and a healthy immune system. Made from high-quality protein, including real beef, and with highly-digestible rice, this wet dog food meets your older dogs nutritional needs. Giving your dog twenty-three essential vitamins and minerals, this dog food also contains omega-6 fatty acids help to support their healthy skin and coat.
It is also made with an optimal protein to fat ratio to help dogs maintain an ideal body condition and to keep their weight healthy as they get older. As this is wet dog food, it is a great option if your senior dog is struggling with drinking water, and can also be used as a supplement alongside dry dog food. This senior dog food is also comes in a chicken and rice flavor.
The AvoDerm senior dry dog food has many health benefits for your aging dog. Made with a pure mix of natural ingredients including lamb meal, chicken meal, salmon meal, chicken fat, avocado and peas, this wheat, corn and soy-free dog food not only promotes a healthy skin and coat, but also helps support healthy joints with natural chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. The avocado is rich in folate, potassium, niacin, essential fatty acids and many other nutrients essential for good health.
With DHA it supports good eye and brain health to keep your pup feeling young and and the antioxidant nutrients ensure a healthy immune system. The protein is of premium quality and there are no artificial colors or flavors in this dog food.
This dry dog food from CANIDAE is perfect for every stage of your dogs life, perfect if you have more than one dog in the house and dogs at different ages but want to keep them on the same food for ease. All Life Stages is crafted from chicken, turkey, lamb and fish meals providing an optimal level of nutrition for all breeds and sizes, without any corn, wheat, or soy. Probiotics are added to the kibble after cooking to help support healthy digestion, antioxidants are added to help support a healthy immune system, and omega-6 and 3 fatty acids are added to help support beautiful skin and coat. With five different varieties of the CANIDAE All Life Stages dog food, there’s a flavor that your dog will love.
The CANIDAE Pure Premium Dry Dog Food is made with eight key ingredients — lamb, goat meal, lentils, peas, tapioca, canola oil, venison meal and sun-cured alfalfa. This limited ingredient list ensures your dog is not subject to any nasty artificial colors or flavorings, nor corn, wheat or soy, and only eats high-quality natural ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. Each kibble has probiotics added to it after cooking to help support healthy digestion and antioxidants are also added to help support a healthy immune system.
This dog food also contains omega-6 and 3 fatty acids to help support your pup’s skin and coat and leave them looking and feeling great, no matter what age they are. This kibble also comes in chicken, duck, lamb, salmon and wild boar flavors, so you can find a flavor your dog loves.
Made with 70% animal ingredients, the Nature’s Variety dry dog food mimics a protein rich diet your dog would eat in the wild for maximum benefit. With no grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals or artificial colors or preservatives, the other 30% of this dog food is made up of vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients. It contains healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a soft and shiny coat, probiotics to support healthy digestion and antioxidants for immune system health.
With freeze dried raw coating, the kibble pieces gives pure nutrition to your dog, helping with their weight as they age and ensuring they stay healthy. This kibble is perfect for puppies, adults and senior dogs and is particularly useful if you have more than one dog in your home at different stages of their lives.
Designed for dogs over the age of eleven, the fist ingredient in the Iams Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food is chicken, giving nourishing, natural protein that helps to build strong and healthy muscles. Also included in this dog food are wholesome grains that provide essential nutrients and carbohydrates for energy, fruit and vegetables such as apples, blueberries, carrots and peas, and beet pulp, providing fiber and probiotics for healthy digestion. This dog food contains omega-3 and 6 for a healthy and shiny coat and is formulated to nourish healthy bones and joints.
The crunchy kibbles scrub your dog’s teeth with every bite, reducing plaque build up that can lead to dental issues in their old age and bad breath. L-carnitine is included in this dog food, helping to burn fat and maintain a healthy metabolism, so your pooch stays at the right weight as they age.
Made with high-quality ingredients, the Diamond Naturals Senior dog food provides nutrition for your older dog. Made with cage-free chicken, this, along with chia seeds and quinoa, provides protein for your dog’s bones and muscles, to help them stay active and fit. Also included are brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as kale, blueberries, carrots and papaya to give an optimal array of nutrients to your pup.
Powerful antioxidants from superfoods such as oranges and spinach ensure a healthy lifestyle and supported immune system, while levels of glucosamine and chondroitin included in this food helps with joints and cartilage. Omega fatty acids provide your dog with a healthy skin and shiny coat for overall well being too. Diamond Naturals dog food is also formulated with probiotics — beneficial bacteria that supports your dogs digestive system and helps them maintain their health and activity as they reach their senior years.
Senior Dog Food FAQ’s
How should I choose the right food for my senior dog?
Choosing the right food for your senior dog if they are suffering from various different health issues can be difficult. The first thing you should do is get in touch with your vet and see what they recommend, because they will be able to asses your dogs needs better in person.
Vet Recommended Food
Always listen to your vets advice. If your dog is suffering from general health issues that come with being older, such as joint pain or weakness, then one of the dog foods above will work for them. However, if your dog has health problems that have conflicting needs, you should talk to your vet and they can give you an in-depth analysis of what your dog should eating and the factors you should take into consideration.
Higher Quality Protein
As discussed above, protein is one of the most important ingredients in senior dog food. Protein helps to replace age-damaged tissue and can also help with your dogs kidney problems. High caloric fat negatively affects your dog’s health, so you should choose a senior dog food with higher quality protein and lower caloric fat.
Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food can be a great way to rehydrate your pooch if they will not drink water or are not mobile enough to get to their water bowl. Even though wet dog food is better for this, canned dog can be great because dogs love the smell and the taste. Canned dog foods come in different kibble sizes and help with dental care. That being said, dry dog food will always contain a higher ingredient of nutritional food, so if you can get your dog to take in water, you should be feeding them dry dog food.
While grain-free diets can be great for dogs with problems with their immune system, grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa are great sources of amino acids. Amino acids are forms of protein that don’t need to be broken down because they are already in their simplest form. Therefore, they are ready to be used by the body to help build tissue.
“No” To Artificial
Don’t buy any kind of dog food that has ingredients that are not natural. Artificial food is not good for your dog and may contain preservatives, flavorings and colorings that is not natural and should be stayed away from. They can have harmful effects on your dogs such as brain tumors, kidney damage and allergic reactions.
What health issues may affect my senior dog?
There are a range of health issue that your pup may experience in their senior years.
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints and muscles and almost all senior dogs are affected by it. Limping, tiredness, licking, chewing and irritability are all signs of arthritis that you should look out for in your dog. To reduce the side effects of arthritis you can include ginger, papaya, celery and alfalfa with their regular food ingredients.
Gum disease is another that often characterizes aging within dogs. While giving your dog dry food kibble can help keep gum and dental diseases at bay for as long as possible, as the tooth degrades it becomes more susceptible to the development of tartar and plaques that can introduce bacteria to the gums. Calcium can help to strengthen the teeth and reducing the amount of carbohydrates your dog eats can help prevent germs from growing. You can also brush your dogs teeth regularly.
Diabetes in dog can often be characterized by weight loss, increased urination, extreme thirst, dehydration, vomiting and lethargy and if you suspect your dog may be have diabetes, you should consult your doctor immediately. Although there is no complete cure for diabetes, it can be treated easily within dogs with a high-balanced diet with high-quality protein, carbohydrate and fiber. Regular outdoor walks can also help, as well as insulin injections.
Blindness is something that comes with the aging of both humans and dogs. If you think your dog is suffering from a sight-impairment, you should take them to the vet where they will most likely be put on a docosahexaenoic acid and beta-carotene rich diet. DHA helps to improve the nerve impulses transmitted through the eye while the beta-carotene can help enhance the function of the photoreceptors.
Senior dogs might suffer from kidney disease as a result of certain medications, ingesting toxins and infected food, as well as urinary obstruction, low blood flow to the kidney, infections and excessive phosphorus. Your dog will need lower amounts of protein in their food because too much protein metabolism can create extra strain on the kidneys. Wet dog food is also optimal as the kidneys require water to be efficient.
More than 50% of dogs develop cancer when crossing the ten year age mark. The common survival time is anywhere between two months and twelve months. A diet of a dog with cancer should include high protein, high fat and grain free to help replace tissue that has been damaged while undergoing therapy to reduce the cancer. Protein is needed to support tissue building and fats are needed to ensure the integrity of the newly built tissue. By removing grains from your dogs diet when they have cancer, this prevents putting strain on an already weakened immune system.
Dogs can get dementia just like humans can. Senior dog food containing vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, carotenoids, flavonoids, selenium and DHA have been show to improve cognitive function and canine memory.
What can you do if your senior dog refuses to eat?
It can be difficult when your dog refuses to eat or shows little interest in their food. This is quite common in older dogs. There are some things you should do and could try at home to get them to eat. Firstly, you should take your dog to the vet and see if there is an underlying medical condition that is causing your pup to not want to eat. If they have a stomach upset, they will be feeling nauseous and won’t want to eat. Equally, if they have cancer, they will lose their appetite.
You can try cooking your dog home-cooked meals or treats to get them interested in food again. Brown rice with chicken or lamb is a great option — just remember not to add anything poisonous to the food such as garlic or onion. If this does not work, you can try flavor enhancers to try to entice your dog to eat the food.
Extra Tips For Feeding
Your dog’s immune system will decrease as they age. Therefore the risk of them being infected by various diseases will increase. An antioxidant can be a great way to combat this. There are many supplement fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants to support your dogs health. Some dogs won’t be interested in eating these with their regular meal, so you can buy antioxidant capsules and mix them in with your dogs food.
Your dog may experience joint pain as they get older and lose interest in their food. There are lots of different joint supplements on the market that can help your dog stay feeling young and healthy. Experts recommend that once a dog has reached seven years old, they should start taking joint supplements.
Dental diseases can affect your dogs interest in food. While you should talk to your vet if you think your dog is suffering from tooth issues, you can switch their food to a soft food, so it is easier for them to chew.
Being overweight is a cause for concern whatever age your dog is, but your dog is more likely to experience weight gain with age. You should precisely measure how much food you are giving your dog to make sure you are giving them the right amount for their size and breed. You can also buy scales to weigh your dog, so you’ll know if they are overweight or underweight. If your dog eats too quickly, you can buy special bowls and food puzzles for them to eat out of to slow them down.
We know you love giving your doggo treats, especially senior dogs that are nearing the end of their life. Commercial treats can be full of calories and cause various diseases though, so you should try giving your dog healthier treats such as fresh fruits and vegetables. They’ll still love you just as much!
As your dog gets older, it can be difficult to know how to help them live their most comfortable senior years. Senior dog food has so many benefits. Reducing muscle and joint pain, giving them energy, combating dehydration and keeping them at a healthy weight. Remember to take into consideration your dog’s needs based on their existing health conditions and which type of foods are going to help them. There are many different health issues you should look out for as your dog ages. However, we know you can find a dog food in the list above that helps them to feel their best as they transition into their senior years, so your furry pal can stay as healthy as possible.