Best Dog Food For Senior Dogs

best dog food for senior dogs

Welcome To Our Complete Guide To The Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs.

Helping You To Find Ways To Select The Best Dog Food To Match The Needs of Older Dogs.

Have you watched your beloved dog and companion grow from a lively pup into a mature and slightly (or mightily!) slower pet and wondered if his nutritional needs have also changed?

Have you been thinking of switching to a senior dog food?

If so, your hunch about your pet’s changing dietary requirements is right on the money.

In a hurry? Then check out five of our favorites here now:

Wellness Complete HealthDry Senior Dog Food, Added Glucosamine And Chondroitin
Nutro Ultra Wet Senior Dog Food, With Natural Glucosamine And Chondroitin
Nutro Feed CleanDry, Grain Free Senior Dog Food
Blue BasicsDry Limited Ingredient, Senior Dog Food
OrijenDry, Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Senior Dog Food

You can find out more about these in the detailed reviews below, along with plenty of other great options for the best dog food for senior dogs.

All animals have a shift in nutritional needs as they age.

The aging process can take a toll on bone and joint health, impact cognitive function, and affect the immune system.

A high-quality senior dog food is tailored to meet the special needs of your senior dog by including ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, and omega acids which can impact the effects of aging.

Maybe you’ve raised your senior dog from the very beginning of his lifespan, or perhaps you’ve adopted an older rescue dog.

Whatever the circumstances, the best dog food for senior dogs is definitely on the menu for your older furry friend!

What is the best dog food for senior dogs?

Dog food manufacturers offer a plethora of formulations specially tailored to meet the dietary needs of older canines.

The best dog food for older dogs is rich in fiber to help maintain gastrointestinal health, and has reduced calories and protein to match their decreased metabolic rate.

best dog food for seniors

In addition, the best senior wet dog food and the best senior dry dog food contain supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and glucosamine and chondroitin.

If you read the labels, you will find these ingredients prominently featured in specialized senior dog food formulations.

How to choose the best dog food for senior dogs

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have received a lot of attention due to claims that they can improve or maintain joint health.

Numerous studies have been performed in an effort to determine the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin on dog health.

One research study conducted in 2008 found that glucosamine and chondroitin, either alone or in combination with collagen, markedly alleviated arthritic-associated pain in dogs.

In addition, the supplements were well tolerated with no evident side effects.

Another study conducted in 2003 found that long-term glucosamine and chondroitin use may have a beneficial effect on canine spinal degeneration.

Antioxidants are also looked upon favorably for their potential to impact the effect of degenerative conditions such as arthritis and heart disease, as well as their role in supporting a healthy immune system.

Research done in a 2012 study found that an antioxidant-fortified diet may lead to improved cognitive performance in dogs.

One ingredient that should not be in the best dry dog food for senior dogs, the best soft dog food for seniors, nor the best wet food formulations, are alternative protein sources, including chicken by-products.

By-products are an inferior nutrition source and can upset delicate digestive systems.

Rounding out the list of undesirable ingredients are soybeans, corn, wheat, and gluten.

These ingredients are more difficult for dogs to digest and are commonly implicated in allergic reactions.

Still not sure which brand or type of food to choose for your older dog?

We’ve compiled a list of senior dog food reviews to help you choose the best, tastiest and most nutritional food to suit your older dog’s dietary needs!

Senior dry dog food

You may have noticed that your senior dog has a decreased appetite, or just doesn’t show the same interest in his food as he used to. This may be due to a reduction in his sense of smell or taste.

Any one of these premium dog foods will be sure to tempt him when mealtime rolls around!

Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+ Formula

Real chicken is the first ingredient in this highly rated Purina One Smartblend kibble, and loads of Omega-6 will benefit your dog’s skin and coat.

Naturally sourced glucosamine is included to support joint health and added vitamins in this Purina senior dog food include D-3, C, B-12, and E.

Check it out on Amazon here. 

Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Senior Dogs 8+

The special formulation for maturing dogs in Diamond Naturals Dry Food includes fiber and probiotics for easy digestion, as well as plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

Antioxidants include vitamin E and selenium, and there is zero corn, soy or wheat.

Check it out on Amazon here. 

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food

This Wellness senior dog food is made in the USA and contains only the finest, premium, all natural ingredients to pamper your pooch.

In addition to being simply delicious, the barley and deboned chicken are easy to digest. Glucosamine and chondroitin are both present to aid with joint health.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Best wet dog food for seniors

Your pooch’s ability to maintain a proper water balance decreases as she gets older. Dogs love the sound of canned, wet food being opened, and you’ll love the fact that it adds needed moisture to her diet.


This highly-rated NUTRO ULTRA Wet Dog Food boasts a blend of more than 10 vibrant superfoods and a combined protein source from chicken, lamb, and salmon.

Naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin are present to assist in maintaining healthy joints, as well as plenty of omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin.

Check it out on Amazon here.

BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Senior

This Blue Buffalo senior dog food comes in packages of twelve 12.5 ounce cans in either turkey or beef options.

Both tasty alternatives are absolutely 100% grain-free and contain zero chicken by-product, wheat, corn or soy to upset sensitive stomachs.

Check it out on Amazon here.

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Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food

These all-natural, superior Wellness Complete Health dog food ingredients (including premium chicken) are backed by the Wellness Guarantee.

In addition, the formula contains increased fiber and reduced calories to meet the needs of less active senior dogs.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Soft dry dog food for seniors

Older dogs often have difficulty chewing or getting food into their mouths.

Give these soft, tender dog food alternatives a try if a dry dog food is too hard, and a wet dog food is too messy, for your special needs pet!

Purina Moist & Meaty Steak

Available in a box of 36 6-ounce pouches, this tender Purina Moist and Meathy dog food is guaranteed to provide complete and balanced nutrition for adult canines.

Made with real meat, the food can be portioned out and kept fresh in a re-sealable pouch.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Purina Moist & Meaty Dog Food Rise & Shine

These irresistibly tender nuggets of Purina Moist and Meaty are made with real bacon and come in a convenient stay-fresh pouch.

You can purchase the Bacon and Egg flavored formula in a box containing 12 6-ounce packets.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Best senior dog food grain free

You may be able to ease digestive discomfort in your dog by providing him with a grain-free dog food. These excellent choices come highly rated by pet parents.

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Dog Food

Real chicken is the number one listed ingredient in Crave Dry Dog Food, making for a 34% high-protein, grain-free dog food.

This delicious option also includes essential ingredients to aid in healthy digestion as well as weight management for overweight dogs.

Check it out on Amazon here.

NUTRO Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food

Pasture-fed lamb is the number one ingredient of Nutro Feed Clean, and it is complemented in abundance with a healthy, unique blend of easy to digest vegetables and fruits.

This grain free option is made in the USA and is available in 4, 12, and 24 pound bags.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Beef & Egg Recipe

Available in 3 and 13 pound bags, this premium Purina Beyond Natural dog food is both gluten and grain free and there is no soy, corn or wheat to upset delicate digestive systems.

Beef is the number one ingredient in this highly rated senior dog food.

Check it out on Amazon here. 

Limited ingredient senior dog food

Does your older dog find it hard to process certain foods? Then the best dog food for senior dogs in your household might be one with limited ingredients.

Orijen Original Dry Dog Food, 4.5 lb

Made especially with the senior dog’s needs in mind, this high-quality Orijen Senior dog food is grain free and contains limited ingredients to aid in digestion.

The recipe includes 85% poultry, fish and eggs and 15% fruits and vegetables, all sourced in the USA.

Check it out on Amazon here.

BLUE Basics Limited-Ingredient Formula Senior

Available in convenient 4 or 24 pound bags, this top-rated Blue Basics Senior Dog Food offers a single animal protein source.

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In addition, pumpkin and pea are included to aid in the digestive process and omega fatty acids are present to promote coat and skin vitality.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Wet

Hundreds of happy pet parents have given excellent ratings to Natural Balance Limited Ingredients canned dog food.

The delicious varieties include duck and potato and wild boar and brown rice. Each formulation is guaranteed to provide complete and balanced nutrition for your special pooch.

Check it out on Amazon here. 

What is the best dog food for senior dogs?

The best dog food for senior dogs is not only balanced and complete, it contains ingredients that have the potential to affect the conditions commonly found in aging. Such as bone and joint deterioration, digestive issues, and unhealthy weight gain.

Your older dog requires a well-balanced diet that is generally lower in calories and fat, higher in fiber, and features a high-quality protein.

Glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids are popular ingredients included in specialized senior dog food as a means of addressing these issues.

We’d love to hear your feedback about any of our senior dog food reviews, or about a senior dog food that you recommend!


  • AKC
  • D’Altilio, M., et al, Therapeutic Efficacy and Safety of Undenatured Type II Collagen Singly or in Combination with Glucosamine and Chondroitin in Arthritic Dogs, Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, 2008
  • Dust, J.M., Chemical composition, protein quality, palatability, and digestibility of alternative protein sources for dogs, Journal of Animal Science, 2005
  • Fahnestock, M., et al, BDNF increases with behavioral enrichment and an antioxidant diet in the aged dog, Neurobiology of Aging, 2012
  • Fascetti, A.J., et al, Taurine deficiency in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy: 12 cases (1997–2001),
    Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2003
  • Murray, S.M., et al, Raw and rendered animal by-products as ingredients in dog diets, Journal of Animal Science, 1997
  • Neil, K. M., The role of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in treatment for and prevention of osteoarthritis in animals, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2005
  • Swanson, K.S., et al, Diet affects nutrient digestibility, hematology, and serum chemistry of senior and weanling dogs, Journal of Animal Science, 2004
  • Van Blitterswijk, W.J., et al, Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplementation to treat symptomatic disc degeneration: Biochemical rationale and case report, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2003

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. We just adopted a large breed senior dog (age 10) from the shelter that came from 2 different abusive homes. He has lost some teeth, 1 extracted in the shelter and some are broken. His appetite is great and he eats both dry (softened with water or broth) and wet food. I want to give him a healthy diet. He has Osteoarthritis in both elbows but his left leg is worse, with a bad swollen wrist. From x-rays, the shelter vet gave a prognosis of bone cancer but my vet says it may be an old injury that never healed properly. Still doing diagnostic testing.
    His elbow may be the reason he is limping and non-weight-bearing on that leg. Which food do you recommend and should he be on glucosamine/chondroitin supplements? He has been on pain Rx for months, already.

  2. Question: Can I feed my senior dog Nutro Ultra Senior canned food only? I’ve heard it’s only supposed to supplement the dry kibble.

    Comment: The 5th ingredient in the Nutro Ultra Senior canned food is “wheat gluten” 🙁

  3. Thank you. We have a senior golden whippet so we’re going to alter her diet a little. A three y.o. black lab whose diet is good. A puppy pitbull and her diet is ok. I’m thinking they’ll all be eating in separate rooms! That’s ok…they’re our babies!