The best dog food for senior dogs takes into account their age, but their other nutritional needs as well. Factors such as size and activity level are still important too. Switching to senior dog food should be done when your dog hits their older years. But choosing the best brand for him still matters. And this article will help you choose a perfectly tailored menu for their golden years.
All of these products were carefully and independently selected by the Labrador Site team. If you decide to make a purchase from one of the links marked by an asterisk, we may earn a small commission on that sale. This is at no extra cost to you.
Top Dog Food Choices For Seniors
In a hurry? Then check out five of our favorites here now:
|SENIOR DOG FOOD||BENEFITS||OUR RATING|
|Wellness Complete Health||Dry Senior Dog Food, Added Glucosamine And Chondroitin|
|Nutro Ultra||Wet Senior Dog Food, With Natural Glucosamine And Chondroitin|
|Nutro Feed Clean||Dry, Grain Free Senior Dog Food|
|Blue Basics||Dry Limited Ingredient, Senior Dog Food|
|Orijen||Dry, 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 ageing 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. For example by including ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, and omega acids. All of which can slow down 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 foods for older dogs are rich in fiber to help maintain gastrointestinal health. They also have reduced calories and protein to suit older dogs’ decreased metabolism.
In addition, the best senior wet dog food and the best senior dry dog food both contain supplements. Things like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and glucosamine and chondroitin. If you read the labels, you will find these ingredients feature prominently 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 markedly alleviated arthritic-associated pain in dogs. Either alone or in combination with collagen! 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, are low grade protein sources. For example 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 added 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. Including D-3, C, B-12, and E.
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.
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.
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.
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 their diet.
NUTRO ULTRA Wet Dog Food
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.
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.
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food
These all-natural, superior Wellness Complete Health dog food* ingredients 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.
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 Meaty 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.
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.
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.
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.
Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Beef & Egg Recipe
Available in 3 and 13 pound bags, this premium Purina Beyond Naturaldog food*
is both gluten and grain free. Furthermore, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ease conditions commonly linked with 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!
Affiliate link disclosure: Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.
- D’Altilio et al, 2008. Therapeutic Efficacy and Safety of Undenatured Type II Collagen Singly or in Combination with Glucosamine and Chondroitin in Arthritic Dogs. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods.
- Dust, 2005. Chemical composition, protein quality, palatability, and digestibility of alternative protein sources for dogs. Journal of Animal Science.
- Fahnestock et al, 2012. BDNF increases with behavioral enrichment and an antioxidant diet in the aged dog. Neurobiology of Aging.
- Fascetti et al, 2003. Taurine deficiency in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy: 12 cases (1997–2001), Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Murray et al, 1997. Raw and rendered animal by-products as ingredients in dog diets. Journal of Animal Science.
- Neil, 2005. The role of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in treatment for and prevention of osteoarthritis in animals. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Swanson et al, 2004. Diet affects nutrient digestibility, hematology, and serum chemistry of senior and weanling dogs. Journal of Animal Science.
- Van Blitterswijk et al, 2003. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplementation to treat symptomatic disc degeneration: Biochemical rationale and case report. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
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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.
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” 🙁
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!