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10 Best Senior Dog Food Options To Keep Your Dog Feeling Young

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on August 4, 2023
iHeartDogs is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

There are lots of great senior dog food options on the market, but how do you know which one your furry friend needs? As our dogs age, their dietary requirements evolve. Senior dogs are usually less active and have a slower metabolic rate compared to younger pups. Also, they might be more prone to weight gain, have less efficient digestion, and develop age-related health conditions like arthritis or kidney disease.

Thus, foods formulated specifically for senior dogs are important for the health and longevity of older pups. To help you find the best option for your canine companion, we’ve compiled a list of ten great senior dog foods. For the safest transition, consult your vet before switching the food and provide a gradual switch.

Senior dog waiting for food

Buyer’s Guide: Senior Dog Food

There are lots of dog food options labeled for senior dogs, so how do you know which ones are the best? Here are a few aspects to look out for.

Age-Appropriate Ingredients

Any dog food can be appropriate for senior dogs, as long as it has age-appropriate ingredients. Senior dog food is usually geared toward dogs 7 years or older because it’s low in calories and fats while focusing on common health areas like weight management, muscle mass maintenance, digestive help, and joint support. These formulas are very different than what a puppy would need.

Special Dietary Needs

Some senior dogs may have specific health conditions, such as kidney disease, obesity, or dental issues. Look for senior dog foods that cater to these conditions if needed. For example, dogs with dental issues may need softer food, like fresh or canned. Also, overweight dogs may benefit from weight control formulas.

Quality of Ingredients

Like any pet food, the quality of ingredients in senior dog food matters. Look for foods with whole, recognizable ingredients and avoid those with too many fillers like corn, wheat, or unnamed meat meals. The protein source should be the first ingredient listed.

Flavor

Even the highest-quality senior dog food won’t do any good if your dog refuses to eat it. Consider your dog’s flavor preferences when buying food. Many senior dog foods contain several animal proteins to make them more flavorful, but if you know your dog has a favorite meat, seek out a formula that contains it.

Texture

Kibble is the most common type of dog food, but it might not be the right texture for every senior dog. Older dogs are often prone to dental problems, so dry food may hurt their teeth. If that’s the case, consider fresh or canned dog food to keep your pup comfortable.

Price

For many dog parents, price plays a huge role. Higher prices often mean higher quality, but you shouldn’t have to break the bank to feed your dog. So, look for the best quality food within your price range. It can help to look at reviews from other pet parents to see if they found the food to be a good value for money.

Senior dog eating canned food

Best Senior Dog Food

Ollie Fresh Dog Food
  • Fresh, human-grade formulas
  • Personalized to fit your senior dog's needs
  • Vet-formulated recipes
  • Good for weight management, digestion, and maintaining muscle mass
  • Food delivered right to your door
  • Get 65% off your first box!

Ollie dog food may not be specifically for seniors, but customizable fresh dog food is a great way to keep older dogs healthy. When you sign up for Ollie, you’ll answer a series of questions about your dog’s lifestyle and health needs. Then, Ollie will recommend an appropriate recipe and portion sizes to ensure your senior dog stays in shape.

The high-quality, vet-formulated recipes use real, human-grade ingredients, including a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables, ensuring that your dog is getting a balanced diet packed with essential nutrients. Some ways that the recipes are tailored to senior dogs include lower calorie content for weight management, increased fiber for better digestion, and optimal levels of protein to maintain muscle mass. Plus, Ollie meals are freshly cooked and delivered to your doorstep, making feeding your senior dog both convenient and nutritious.

Try Ollie now and get 65% off your first box!

Orijen Senior Dry Dog Food
  • High-protein kibble
  • Includes chicken, turkey, and fish
  • Includes fresh fruits and vegetables for natural vitamins and minerals
  • First five ingredients are nourishing protein sources
  • Good for maintaining healthy weight and digestion

Orijen provides a variety of high-protein diets to dogs with whole animal ingredients, but this kibble is geared specifically toward aging dogs. It includes nourishing protein sources, including free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs. This high protein content is crucial for maintaining muscle mass in older dogs, even as their activity levels might decrease. Also, Orijen’s formula is low in carbohydrates and has no grain, making it an excellent choice for senior dogs prone to weight gain.

It also includes a blend of fresh fruits, vegetables, and botanicals, providing a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber to support overall health and digestion. With 85% quality animal ingredients, Orijen Senior Dry Dog Food offers a concentration of protein that emulates the natural, meat-based diet that dogs are evolutionarily designed to eat, ensuring your senior dog gets the nutrition they need.

Nutro Ultra Senior High Protein Dry Dog Food
  • Made with chicken, lamb, and salmon
  • Includes a blend of 15 essential superfoods
  • Good for dogs with allergies
  • Benefits the immune system and encourages vitality
  • Wet food option available

Nutro Ultra Senior High Protein Dry Dog Food includes a trio of proteins from chicken, lamb, and salmon, providing high-quality sources of essential amino acids necessary for maintaining muscle strength in older dogs. Its protein-packed formula also has a unique blend of 15 vibrant superfoods such as chia, kale, and blueberries, each chosen for their rich nutrient content and health benefits. This superfood medley supports a healthy immune system, encourages vitality, and nourishes your dog’s skin and coat.

Notably, this product is free from chicken by-product meal, corn, soy, and wheat, as well as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, making it a clean and wholesome choice, especially for dogs with allergies or sensitivities. The mix of nutrient-dense, high-quality ingredients ensures that your senior dog gets necessary support for overall well-being.

Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Dog Food
  • Made with 10 or fewer key ingredients
  • Chicken and sweet potato flavor
  • Good for digestion and maintaining muscle mass
  • Benefits the skin, coat, and joints
  • Good for dogs with allergies

Canidae PURE Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Dog Food meets the specific nutritional needs of older dogs while also catering to dogs with sensitive tummies. To accomplish that, this recipe is made with a limited number of ingredients, making it a fantastic choice for senior dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. The recipe’s primary source of protein is fresh chicken, which is highly digestible and helps maintain muscle mass in aging dogs.

This food is grain-free and features a variety of vegetables and legumes for additional fiber, supporting healthy digestion. It also includes added vitamins and minerals, as well as a probiotic mix to further assist with digestion. This senior dog formula focuses not only on providing quality nutrition but also on minimizing potential allergens, making it a thoughtful choice for maintaining the health and vitality of your senior dog.

Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food
  • Fresh, human-grade formulas
  • Made by veterinary nutritionists
  • Personalized to fit your dog's needs
  • Good for maintaining a healthy weight, digestion, and muscle mass
  • Food delivered right to your door
  • Get 50% off your first order

Like Ollie, Nom Nom is a great brand for senior dogs because it offers personalized meals to make sure your aging pup is getting everything they need. They deliver custom, pre-portioned fresh dog food right to your door, making feeding your pup more convenient than ever. Each meal is formulated by veterinary nutritionists and made with restaurant-quality ingredients to ensure your dog receives the highest-quality nutrition.

For senior dogs, Nom Nom can customize meal plans to help with lower calorie needs, digestion, and maintaining muscle mass. Plus, they can adjust for any specific dietary restrictions or health issues in older dogs, such as kidney disease or arthritis. Each meal is gently cooked to retain maximum nutrients and then vacuum-sealed for freshness, ensuring your senior dog receives a delicious, nutrient-packed meal every time. This service provides an excellent balance of convenience and tailored nutrition, making it an ideal choice for feeding senior dogs.

Find the Perfect Food For Your Senior Dog at Nom Nom and Take 50% off Your First Order

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dog Food
  • Includes beef, chicken, and fish
  • Good for joints, digestion, skin, and coat
  • Manages weight and muscle mass in senior dogs
  • Includes a blend of vitamins and minerals
  • Low fat and calorie content

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dog Food is premium kibble designed to cater to the nutritional needs of senior dogs, particularly those needing help with weight management. This formula features a well-balanced blend of proteins, fats, and fibers, including glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health – a key consideration for older dogs.

The primary protein source is beef meal, but the formula also includes chicken and fish. These meats provide ample protein to maintain muscle mass, while the lower fat and calorie content helps prevent unnecessary weight gain. Added L-carnitine also supports healthy metabolism. Notably, Victor uses a proprietary blend of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients known as “VPRO Blend” to promote digestive health and boost the immune system.

Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food
  • Only animal protein is chicken
  • Benefits joints, heart, skin, and coat
  • Helps manage weight
  • Good for dogs with allergies
  • Rich in superfoods like blueberries, spinach, and flaxseed

Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food is a top-tier diet specifically tailored to the needs of senior dogs. Crafted with carefully chosen ingredients, this formula supports overall health and maintains physical fitness in older dogs. The primary protein source is deboned chicken, a lean and highly digestible protein that supports muscle maintenance, while barley and peas provide fiber to aid digestion. Since chicken is the only animal protein, it’s good for dogs who are sensitive to other meat sources.

It also includes crucial ingredients for senior dogs like glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, taurine for heart health, and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. With its lower calorie content, it helps manage weight to keep your senior dog in optimal condition. This food avoids unnecessary items like corn, wheat, and soy to cater to dogs with allergies.

A Pup Above Fresh Dog Food
  • Sous-Vide cooking method for fresh food
  • Maintains healthy muscle mass and weight
  • Easy-to-digest, human-grade ingredients
  • Keeps dogs hydrated and is easy to chew
  • Kibble recipes available too

A Pup Above may not offer personalized meals like other fresh food brands, but it still has four fresh food recipes that can benefit aging canines. Its Sous-Vide cooking method ensures that the ingredients retain their nutrients and flavor, creating meals that are both nutritionally robust and delicious. Their meals are rich in protein from human-grade meats, promoting the maintenance of muscle mass, an essential factor for senior dogs.

The company also incorporates fiber-rich vegetables to aid digestion and includes nutrient-dense superfoods for added vitamins and antioxidants. The fresh, minimally processed ingredients are easier for senior dogs to digest, and the moisture-rich recipes can help keep them hydrated. A Pup Above also offers a few dry food recipes for dog parents that are interested in the formulas but aren’t ready to switch to fresh.

Try the Sampler Pack and get $50 off your first order!

Nulo Freestyle Senior Dry Dog Food
  • High in animal-based protein like trout, turkey, and salmon
  • Supports muscle maintenance in senior dogs
  • Good for skin, coat, and joints
  • Promotes healthy digestion and immune system
  • Beneficial for sensitive senior dogs

Nulo Freestyle Senior Dry Dog Food is a nutritionally dense food specifically formulated to cater to the needs of aging dogs. The product boasts a high animal-based protein content, primarily from deboned trout and turkey meal, supporting muscle maintenance in older dogs. What sets this food apart is its patented BC30 Probiotic for digestive health, making it an excellent choice for senior dogs, as digestive efficiency can decline with age.

This formula also contains L-carnitine to help metabolize fats for dogs who may be less active, and a balanced amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health. Also, it includes glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints. Free from any corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, and preservatives, this is a comprehensive diet that’s perfect for senior dogs, especially those with sensitivities.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog Food for Senior Dogs
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe
  • Contains a vet-formulated blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Boosts the immune system and energy levels
  • Supports joints and muscle maintenance
  • Designed for dogs 7 years or older

Blue Buffalo Senior Dog Food is a widely respected product that offers a well-rounded diet specifically designed for older dogs. The formula’s primary protein source is real meat from deboned chicken, which aids in maintaining healthy muscle mass in senior dogs. It includes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, supplying the necessary nutrients that help support immune system health and life stage requirements.

Key aspects for senior dogs include glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and mobility, and essential proteins and carbohydrates to maintain the energy requirements of senior pups. One standout feature is the inclusion of the company’s exclusive LifeSource Bits – a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals carefully selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage needs, and a healthy oxidative balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should You Switch a Dog to Senior Food?

The timing for switching a dog to senior food can vary depending on the dog’s size, breed, and overall health. Around 7-8 years is normal for most dogs, but you may want to switch sooner or later depending on your dog’s weight. Large breeds generally age faster than small breeds. When in doubt, consult your vet about if and when you should use senior dog food.

Is Senior Dog Food Necessary?

Food made specifically for senior dogs isn’t necessary for every canine, but it’s an easy way to ensure your dog is getting a diet that’s appropriate for their age. Senior dogs need fewer calories to prevent weight gain, higher fiber content for better digestion, and increased levels of key nutrients to support overall health and longevity. Some normal dog foods, such as fresh dog food companies, may be able to offer that, but it depends on the brand.

What’s the Difference Between Senior Dog Food and Regular Dog Food?

Senior dog food and regular adult dog food differ primarily in their nutritional composition to accommodate the changing needs of aging dogs. Senior dog food typically has fewer calories and more fiber. It also includes added supplements like glucosamine for joint health or fatty acids for cognitive function, which are crucial to address age-related changes. On the other hand, regular adult dog food is for maintenance and might not have those specific factors.

Can Senior Dogs Eat Puppy Food?

While senior dogs can technically eat puppy food, it’s not recommended. Puppy food is formulated with higher levels of calories, protein, and certain nutrients to support rapid growth and development, which could lead to unnecessary weight gain and nutritional imbalance in senior dogs. Instead, senior dogs should be fed diets specifically designed for their age, activity level, and health status to ensure appropriate nutrition.

Does Senior Dog Food Have Less Calories?

Yes, senior dog food typically contains fewer calories than regular adult dog food. This is because older dogs often have slower metabolisms and may be less active than their younger counterparts, making them prone to weight gain. The lower calorie content in senior dog food helps manage weight and promotes overall health in aging dogs.

Do Senior Dogs Need Soft Food?

Whether senior dogs need soft food largely depends on their dental health. If a canine has dental issues such as missing teeth, gum disease, or difficulty chewing, soft dog food for senior dogs can make eating easier and more comfortable. However, if a senior dog’s teeth and gums are in good health, they can continue to eat dry food.

Senior dog next to food and water

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best dog food for senior dogs involves considering their specific needs and health conditions. While this guide provides a solid starting point, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your pet’s diet. That way, you can make sure the diet is suitable for your dog’s specific medical needs. Proper nutrition is a key pillar of your pet’s health and is important in giving them the best golden years.

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