FOOD & TREATS

Best Dog Food For Senior Dogs: Proper Health And Nutrition for Better Life

Best Dog Food For Senior Dogs
Anna Smith
Written by Anna Smith

The nutritional needs of your dogs will change as they age. Senior dogs for example, will require more than just the normal dog food you used to feed them. This is because dogs experience a change in their bodies as they age. They move slower or don’t eat as much as when they were younger.

As such, they require nutrition that addresses the change to their dietary habits and bodily needs. This is why knowing the best dog food for senior dogs is important. Senior and geriatric dogs need dog food with low-calorie-high-fiber content to prevent obesity and improve gastrointestinal function. Dogs go through 2 phases in their aging: maturity and seniority.

The latter starts at the midpoint of your dog’s life and it is during this phase that different kinds of nutrients are needed to fight against the effects of cell aging. When your dog becomes a senior dog he will need special nutrients and vitamins like antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, glucosamine, beta-carotene and lutein to boost the immune system and help your dog stay active and vibrant as he ages.

Older Dog is Eating

Dog food is usually wet or dry. Dry dog food is generally more available, affordable and easier to store. It does not require refrigeration and contain approximately 90% dry ingredients and 10% water. Dry dog food is more easily digestible compared to wet dog food because it is made by combining ingredients like meat and grain.

When choosing a dry dog food it is important to know about your senior dog’s nutritional needs and dietary requirements. Generally speaking, higher quality senior dog food contains the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals needed at this stage in his life.

Our top picks

ProductWeightFlavorTypePrice
Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog30 lbsChicken and brown riceDryCheck price on Amazon
Nutro
Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food
30 lbsNatural flavorDryCheck price on Amazon
Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food30 lbsLamb and riceDryCheck price on Amazon
Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food4 lbsDeboned turkey and peasDryCheck price on Amazon
Blue Buffalo Freedom Dry Dog Food24 lbsChicken healthy recipe grain freeDryCheck price on Amazon
Lotus Small Bite Dry Senior Dog Food5 lbsChickenDryCheck price on Amazon
Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula30 lbsSalmonDryCheck price on Amazon
Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food6 lbsChicken meal and riceDryCheck price on Amazon

Important Nutrients To Consider

The food for senior dogs contains a formulation of high quality and well-balance ingredients to help him meet his nutritional needs. Veterinarians advice pet owners to check the label of your dog’s food to ensure that it contains the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Most senior dogs require a diet that has fewer calories but still contain adequate amounts of protein and fat to combat obesity. Some vets allow pet owners to feed their dogs their regular dog food but in smaller quantities. However, there are dog foods that are specially formulated so that they are lower in calories but still give your dog the same feeling of fullness.

Dog Food Nutrients

There are also other dogs that have low appetite making them harder to feed. A check-up with your vet can rule out any problems but if the problem persists, a senior dog food that can address his nutritional deficiency due to disinterest in food is needed so that he remains healthy and alert.

When choosing the best food for senior dogs, it is important to know what it contains. The right kind of vitamins and minerals can help maintain your dog’s health so that he remains active, healthy and alert. Here are some of the most important vitamins and nutrients to include in your dog’s food.

Vitamin A and E

These vitamins play a big role in helping your dog burn fat faster and more efficiently. Aside from this, Vitamins A and E are antioxidants that can help your dog fight the signs of aging and diseases. They also contribute to your senior dog’s immunity, eye and skin health. They also prevent cancer and heart disease.

Dog Food

Look for dry dog foods that list liver as one of its primary ingredients as it is a good source of vitamins A and E. Other good sources include eggs, kidney, salmon and tuna.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 is needed by senior dogs for red blood cell formation, prevention and treatment of cataracts and for skin and hair health. Good meat sources include liver, chicken, rabbit, turkey, pork and lamb. Herbal sources are alfalfa, burdock root, hops and sage.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Protect your senior dog’s nervous system by ensuring that his dog food contains Vitamin B12. This vitamin also helps with digestion, improves concentration and protects against anemia. The dog food you choose should list liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, pork, turkey, alfalfa, bladderwrack, hops as dietary sources.

Senior Dog Food

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Dogs and humans benefit from Vitamin C in the same way; it boosts our immune system helping us fight disease. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that helps to fight against cancer and free radical damage. Senior dogs also benefit from Vitamin C because it is needed for proper tissue growth and repair.

Liver, kidney, heart and fish are good meat sources of Vitamin C.

Calcium, Phosphorus and Vitamin D

These ingredients help to strengthen your dog’s bones and teeth. They also help prevent cancer, regulate heartbeat and boost immunity. Animal by-products are good sources of these nutrients.

Dog Food

Iron

Healthy blood is needed for proper transport of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Iron can also help prevent anemia in older dogs. High quality meat and animal by-products are good sources of this mineral.

Omega Fatty Acids and Glucosamine

Senior dogs struggle with movement and mobility. Omega fatty acids and glucosamine can help support your dog as he gets older by strengthening the bones and joints and preventing arthritis. Salmon and other fatty fishes, raw parsley and spinach are good sources of these minerals.

The best way to determine if you are buying good quality senior dog food is by reading the label. They are usually hard to read but they contain vital information that you need to ensure that your dog is getting the nutrition he needs to stay healthy.

Dog Food Label

Ingredients list are tricky to discern and do not tell you the quality of the ingredients, it does give you an idea of what’s inside the dog food. This is especially important if your dog has allergies or certain dietary requirements. It is also useful if you want to feed your dogs certain proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Nutritionally, there are very few guidelines being used to ensure that your senior dog is happy and healthy. The most important thing to do is to observe whether your dog is losing or gaining weight as they reach their senior years.

Dog Food Label

The right dog food for senior dogs contain ingredients specially formulated to help fight signs of aging so that they can remain healthy and keep active. Here are some of the best dog foods available for senior dogs.

Top Product Reviews

Learning about different dog foods can make you become more aware of the ingredients used in making it. The right combination of ingredients can greatly improve the health of your senior dog. Here are our reviews of some of the best dog foods for senior dogs.

Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog Chicken & Brown Rice

Weight: 30 lbsBlue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog

Dog Food Type: Dry

Best use: Providing key nutrients, supporting healthy oxidative balance

The Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog is specially formulated with the health of senior dogs in mind. Blue’s Life Protection Formula is made with delicious protein-rich chicken. It contains a precise blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants selected by animal nutritionists and veterinarians.

The 7 antioxidants listed in this product are apples, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, pumpkin and spinach combined to support your dog’s health and wellbeing.

The chicken and brown rice ingredients in this product can help your senior dog to stay energetic and active while maintaining their muscles. The vitamins and antioxidants it contains can benefit and support their immune system.

The Omega 3 & 6 fatty acid helps maintain a shiny coat and healthy skin while the Calcium, Phosphorus helps maintain strong bones and teeth. This product also contains glucosamine for healthy joints and to protect your dog’s mobility.

The protein, carbohydrates and anti-oxidant combination of Blue Senior Dog Chicken can help provide senior dogs with the nutrition they need.

We love that Blue uses natural ingredients and real chicken meat in making this product. Aside from meat the product also contains green tea, fruits and vegetables so that dogs get the best from meat and herbal ingredients.

PROS:

  • Contains antioxidants that boost immunity and combats cancer
  • Dry dog food, easy to store
  • Has small breed and large breed variants
 CONS:
  • High protein can make some dogs sick

Related: Some dogs prefer wet dog food. Blue manufactures the same dog food like the Senior Chicken Dinner and other varieties that contain the same ingredients, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Check the price on Amazon

Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

Weight: 30 lbsNUTRO ULTRA Senior Dry Dog Food

Dog Food Type: Dry

Features: Superfood blend, made with no by-product

Best use: supporting healthy joints and improving immune system

Support healthy joints and strong immune system with the Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food. The manufacturers of this product use balanced ingredients to enhance the health of your senior dog with every bowl. This product uses chicken, lamb and rice for their dog food.

The first two ingredients are a good source of protein for your dog. It also contains salmon meal which is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.

The well-chosen ingredients of this product provides aging dogs with a good amount of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to assist aging dogs with their nutritional requirements.

It also contains a good dose of glucosamine and beta carotene to help them maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Other noteworthy ingredients include whole chia seeds, dried kale, dried spinach, dried blueberries and whole flaxseed.

The premium ingredients used in the product can help your dog thrive even as they are getting older. The balance of whole grain, protein and superfoods is one of the reasons why many consumers buy this product.

PROS:

  • Promotes joint health and immunity
  • Contains good balance of protein, carbohydrates and grains
  • Contains antioxidants
 CONS:
  • Expensive
  • No flavor variety

Related: The Nutro Ultra Wet Dog Food is the wet version of the above. Like the dry version, it contains protein from chicken, lamb and salmon sources.

Check the price on Amazon

Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food

Weight: 30 lbsEagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food

Dog Food Type: Dry

Features: Quality ingredients, all-natural

Best use: Daily fuel for active dogs

Eagle Pack has been making dog food for over 25 years. Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food is composed of the right balance of fats, proteins, antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids to fuel your dog’s daily activities.

This product uses high quality protein as their first ingredient to ensure that the dog food is highly digestible. It also contains wholegrain and fiber such as brown rice and oatmeal for healthy digestion and firm stools.

The dog food formula is created with adult dogs in mind. Aside from wholegrain and protein, it also contains chicken fat which is rich in linoleic acid, a type of Omega 6 fatty acid. Other noteworthy ingredients include brewer’s dried yeast, sardine meal and flaxseed.

Some pet owners frown on the use of brewer’s yeast for dog food as it can trigger food allergies. However, if your dog is not allergic to yeast, Eagle Pack’s product is perfectly fine for eating.

This dog food is specially formulated for adult dogs. This means that it could be high in caloric content which can lead to weight gain and even obesity.

PROS:

  • No corn or wheat products
  • No animal by-products
  • No artificial flavors and preservatives
  • Different flavor varieties
 CONS:
  • Brewer’s yeast can trigger allergies
  • Not formulated for senior dogs

Check the price on Amazon

Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Weight: 4 lbsWellness Complete

Dog Food Type: Dry

Features: Small breed senior formula, complete and balanced everyday nutritional

Best use: small breed senior dogs

Small dog breeds are popular because they are easy to care for and are very cute. Senior small dog breeds need proper nutrition too which is why they need Wellness Complete Health Dry Food. This senior dog food supports joint and hip health, digestive health and weight maintenance.

The manufacturers of this dog food uses «human grade» non-gmo ingredients to produce their dry and wet dog food lines. As such they are considered as a premium dog food maker. Their dog food does not contain eggs, animal by-products, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, artificial flavors and preservatives to prevent allergic reactions.

The company specializes in small dog breeds and their products are created with a good balance of protein, vitamins and minerals to support small senior dogs. Their kibbles are smaller compared to other brands for easier chewing and smaller mouths.

Each scoop also contains the right amount of caloric content to prevent weight gain. Their formulation contains low levels of sodium to support better heart health. Their senior formula is made with deboned turkey and peas with added glucosamine and chondroitin for healthier hips and joints.

PROS:

  • Made from natural ingredients
  • Does not contain ingredients that trigger allergy
  • Smaller sized kibbles
 CONS:
  • Very slight difference in kibble size (according to users)

Check the price on Amazon

Blue Buffalo Freedom Dry Dog Food

Weight: 30 lbsBlue Buffalo Freedom

Dog Food Type: Dry

Features: All-natural ingredients, high quality protein and complex carbohydrates

Best use: Diet without grains

Some dogs don’t do well with grains which is why they need Blue Buffalo Freedom Dry Dog Food. Blue Buffalo’s freedom line is grain-free and gluten-free to prevent your dogs from getting allergies. The senior recipe is made using deboned chicken so it is rich in high-quality protein. This is essential for muscle development and to meet the energy requirement for an active life.

Freedom Grain also contains the right amount of glucosamine for mobility and joint health. It also has Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy coat and skin. It is also contains LifeSource bits to support a healthy immune system and does not contain corn, wheat, soy or poultry by-products.

Overall, this is a good product to consider if you are looking for something gluten-free and grain-free to feed your senior dogs. The Freedom line has formulation to meet the nutrition need of different dog breeds as they approach their senior years.

PROS:

  • Gluten-free and grain free
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Prevents allergies
 CONS:
  • No flavor variety

Related: For dogs that require protein-rich grain free diets, the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food is a good choice to consider. It is made with more of the meat dogs love to feed the spirit of the wolf that lives in your dog.

Check the price on Amazon

Lotus Small Bite Dry Senior Dog Food

Weight: 5 lbsLotus Small Bite Dry Senior Dog Food

Dog Food Type: Dry

Features: 100% natural ingredients, original recipe

Best use: Baked in dry dog food

The manufacturers of Lotus Small Bite Dry Senior Dog Food use real ovens to make their dog food. Made with 100% natural ingredients, this dog food is a blend of natural proteins, fats, grains and added vitamins specially formulated for senior dogs.

Their recipe uses chicken and chicken meal which are good sources of protein. For carbohydrates, Lotus uses wholegrain to make the product more digestible. For fat, this product mainly uses plant-based sources although salmon meal is also used.

The Lotus brand is usually more expensive compared to your typical dog food products because the company bakes their kibbles in small batches using organic ingredients. Since their kibbles are baked and not extruded (puffed up), they are heavier and contain more food.

The baking process is slower but the results speak for themselves. The kibbles are healthier, aromatic and contain natural ingredients. The products are high-quality which also makes them more expensive.

Overall, the product looks good and is made with high quality ingredients using a unique process (for dog food). A cup of kibbles can contain more calories compared to the typical dog food due to the baking process. Follow the directions for feeding your senior dog to prevent weight gain or obesity.

PROS:

  • All natural ingredients
  • The baking process makes it healthier
  • More food in a cup
 CONS:
  • More expensive

Check the price on Amazon

Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula

Weight: 30 lbsTaste of the Wild, Canine Formula

Dog Food Type: Dry

Features: Grain-free, US sourced ingredients, made with real salmon

Best use: grain free diet

The Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula uses grain free formula with ingredients sourced from the USA. This premium brand contains above average protein content derived from salmon and ocean fish meal. Taste of the Wild makes dog food with the theory that modern dog still shares DNA with wolves.

The grain-free formula is made with potatoes and peas for a highly digestible meal for your energetic dogs. It also contains vegetables and fruits to deliver a dose of antioxidants and boost immunity.

For this recipe, Taste of The Wild combines salmon, salmon meal and oceanic fish meal to give your dogs a unique taste of the wild. The combination of protein, fruits, vegetables and vitamins in the dog food helps to promote better health, energy and taste sensation. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthier coat and skin.

This grain-free dog food is a good choice for dogs that cannot eat wholegrain due to food allergies. The dog food contains 32% protein and 18% fat which is higher compared to other dog foods. For better digestion, the company adds a mix of probiotics for healthy intestinal flora.

It also contains antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C and E to help protect against cancer and other canine diseases.

PROS:

  • Grain Free
  • Unique salmon flavor
  • High protein content
 CONS:
  • Not formulated for senior dogs

Check the price on Amazon

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Weight: 6 lbsHolistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Dog Food Type: Dry

Features: Digestive health support, all natural ingredients

Best use: Aging dogs

The Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food is a good choice for pet owners who want to boost their senior dog’s digestive health. This dog food has prebiotics, probiotics, natural fibers, enzymes and botanicals all specially formulated for overall digestive support.

Holistic Support uses the finest natural ingredients like fruits and vegetables for healthy digestion.

Holistic Select knows that the key to a healthy long life especially for senior dogs is a healthy digestive system. With this in mind, they need food that breaks down easily so that it can easily be absorbed and the nutrients transported all over the body. This strategy aims to make your dog healthy from the inside out.

The digestive enzymes in the dog food help to break down protein, starch and cellulose easily. The natural fiber helps to move the food around the body and for healthy daily output.

The formulation also supports the nutritional needs of senior dogs so the protein it contains also supports muscle maintenance while the glucosamine ensures healthy hip and joint health.

PROS:

  • Supports digestive health
  • Senior formula for aging dogs
  • All natural premium ingredients
 CONS:
  • More expensive
  • No flavor variety

Related: The Holistic Select Natural Canned Dog Food is available for wet dog food eaters. It also supports digestive health and contains all natural grain-free ingredients.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

The best dog food for senior dogs should meet their new nutritional requirements. Many dog foods label their products as «senior» dog food but it is still important to learn about their unique nutritional requirements and to choose a product that suits their needs.

Dog Food

Switching to senior dog food is highly recommended once your pooch has reached the middle years of his lifespan which can differ from breed to breed. Check with your veterinarian to know what your dog needs as he ages to ensure that he enjoys a good quality life.

Do you think that switching to senior dog food is beneficial? Which dog food do you think you will be buying? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below.

About the author
Anna Smith
Anna Smith

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna's passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed.

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