|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dry Dog Food|
|Best Canned||Purina Pro Plan Adult 7+ Complete Essentials Chicken & Rice Entree Wet Dog Food, 13-oz can, case of 12|
|Best for Large Breeds||Hill’s Science Diet Adult 6+ Large Breed Dry Dog Food|
|Best for Small dogs||Wellness Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food|
|Best for Weight Loss||Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low Calorie Dry Dog Food|
- The #1 Best Overall senior dog food is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dry Dog Food.
- There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right food for your senior dog — such as whether they need food to help with weight loss, or whether they need something to promote joint health.
- Not every type of senior dog food is equal, and it’s important to consider the amount of protein that is in it as well as the additional vitamins and minerals.
As dogs age, their dietary needs change. Senior dogs are less active than their younger counterparts and may face more health issues such as sensitive stomachs, joint problems, or constipation. Their specific needs often call for a change in what food you are feeding them.
Senior dog foods are specially formulated to meet the needs of aging dogs, usually around eight years or older. If you’ve started looking for new food for your older pet, you may have noticed that there are many options on the market. Whether you’re looking for the best vet recommended senior dog foods, budget-friendly options, or a splurge-worthy option for your beloved companion, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to discover our top recommendations for the best senior dog foods on the market. You’ll feel good knowing your dog has their nutritional needs fulfilled while also enjoying their tasty new food!
The Top Picks for Senior Dog Food: Ranked for 2022
#1 Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dry Dog Food
Our selection as the best overall senior dog food is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dry Dog Food.
Wholesome chicken is truly the first ingredient in this chicken and brown rice formula that seniors are sure to enjoy. This high-quality protein helps older dogs maintain their muscle mass and continue building new ones.
In addition to high-quality protein in the formula, other healthy ingredients include garden vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The best part about the formula is that it excludes poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. The food is not only made using all-natural ingredients, but also has added vitamins and minerals to help maintain the organ function of senior dogs.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are also added into the food to help seniors maintain joint health and mobility. The essential proteins and carbohydrates are also targeted to meet the specific needs of a senior dog. Additionally, Blue Buffalo added their signature Lifesource bits to this formula. These anti-oxidant-rich bits are designed to support a dog’s immune system and promote a healthy oxidative balance.
Choose from a 6-pound bag, 15-pound bag, or a 30-pound bag. The food also comes in varying types based on small, medium, or large breed dogs. Compared to other, more expensive brands, Blue Buffalo is a budget friendly option that doesn’t forfeit quality or quantity.
However, the downside of this dog food is that some pet owners have found that their dogs do not like the additional “Lifesource bits” and will not eat them.
Pros and Cons of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dry Dog Food
|This food contains high-quality protein to help older dogs maintain their muscle mass.||Some dogs do not like the Lifesource bits.|
|Made with healthy ingredients such as garden vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.|
|This food is free from artificial flavors or preservatives.|
|It includes glucosamine and chondroitin to help seniors maintain joint health and mobility.|
|It has added vitamins and minerals to help maintain the organ function of senior dogs.|
2. Best Canned: Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 7+ Wet Food
If you’re looking for canned dog food for your pet then our selection is the Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 7+ Wet Food.
This formula features a beef and rice formula with gravy that dogs are sure to enjoy. Made using real beef, this food is completely free from artificial flavors and preservatives. It is specially designed to deliver the ideal protein to fat ratio for senior dogs to help them maintain a healthy weight and body condition.
If your senior’s coat has been looking dull, then this is also a good choice as the omega-6 fatty acids in the formula help to promote a healthier coat and skin.
However, pet owners have reported that not all dogs like this food.
Pros and Cons of the Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 7+ Wet Food
|This food is made using real beef.||Not every dog likes this food.|
|It is completely free from artificial flavors and preservatives.|
|It contains omega-6 fatty acids which help to promote a healthier coat and skin.|
|It is uniquely designed to deliver the ideal protein to fat ratio for senior dogs|
•Ideal wet dog food for 7+ years of age
•Formulated protein:fat ratio for healthy weight & body condition
•Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin & coat
3. Best for Large Dogs: Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed 6+ Dog Food
If you’re looking for senior food for large dogs then Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed 6+ Dog Food is specially designed with easy-to-digest ingredients that will meet the specific requirements of older large dogs.
This senior dog food features a tasty chicken meal, barley, and rice recipe to keep your senior dog excited about mealtime. It has added glucosamine and chondroitin to address the joint problems that many older large dogs face. The formula is also enhanced with minerals designed to target a healthy heart and kidneys in older dogs. Additionally, the added vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids help to promote a healthy coat.
Hill’s Science Diet is one of the top vet recommended brands which means that you can be sure that your pet is only eating food that is top quality.
The only drawback to this product is that some owners have reported that fussy pets sometimes don’t like it.
Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed 6+ Dog Food
|Hill’s Science Diet is one of the top vet recommended brands.||Sometimes fussy pets don’t like this food.|
|The added glucosamine and chondroitin promote healthy joints.|
|It includes vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids to help promote a healthy coat.|
|It is enhanced with vitamins and minerals for a healthy heart and kidneys.|
- Senior dog food for large breeds
- Glucosamine & chondroitin for joint health
- Easy to digest
- Additional vitamins and omegas for healthy skin and coat
4. Best for Small Dogs: Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Senior Dog Food
For pet owners with small dogs then we have selected the Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Senior Dog Food as it is specially formulated with wholesome ingredients and added vitamins for smaller breeds.
Turkey is the main ingredient in this food which means that the higher protein needs of your senior dog are met. Oats and other wholesome grains are also included in the formula to meet the other dietary requirements of senior pets. This food does not include harmful ingredients such as fillers, meat by-products, or artificial flavors and preservatives.
This food is designed to address the five signs of wellness in small dogs. The first is a healthy coat and healthy skin with the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals added to the formula. Next, is your dog’s digestive health. Probiotics, prebiotics, healthy fiber, and chicory root extract are added to aid digestion.
The optimized blend of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in this formula helps ensure your senior pet’s energy level remains as high as possible. Next, the calcium-phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin C in the formula work together to keep your dog’s teeth, gums, and eyes healthy. Finally, this food can also help support a healthier immune system with its mix of high-quality protein, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
Although this food certainly has a lot of things going for it, the triangular shape of the kibble is not suited to every dog.
Pros and Cons of the Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Senior Dog Food
|This food includes vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy immune system.||Not every dog likes the triangular-shaped kibble.|
|Probiotics, prebiotics, healthy fiber, and chicory root extract are added to aid digestion.|
|This food does not include any fillers, meat by-products, or artificial flavors and preservatives.|
5. Best for Weight Loss: Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low Calorie Dry Dog Food
If you’re worried about canine obesity and the potential problems associated, then take a look at the Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low Calorie Dog Food.
Obesity in dogs can pose a serious threat to overall health but, specifically, joint health. The deteriorating joints have added weight, making them become weaker, faster. This low-calorie formula is uniquely designed to help dogs to safely lose weight and avoid obesity and other possible health risks. This food contains targeted amounts of L-carnitine which helps a dog’s body convert fat into energy to facilitate weight loss. The blend of fiber and protein added to the food will ensure your dog feels satisfied after making the switch to a lower-calorie food.
The main ingredient in this food is chicken meal, a high-quality protein. Some of the other key ingredients include wholesome grains for digestive support and vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc to support a healthy immune system.
However, although this food is designed to be super tasty, some pet parents have reported having to mix other food in with it to encourage their pooch to begin to eat it.
Pros and Cons of the Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low Calorie Dry Dog Food
|The added L-carnitine helps dogs to convert fat into energy.||Some dogs do not like this food.|
|It includes wholesome grains to aid digestion.|
|The unique low-calorie formula is designed to aid weight loss.|
Why Do Seniors Need a Special Diet?
Not all senior dogs require a special diet. If you are feeding your dog a higher protein dog food, they are maintaining a healthy weight, and there are no health issues that your veterinarian thinks could be addressed by new food, then you can keep your dog on their current diet.
However, many senior dogs do require a special diet. There are a few reasons why this is the case. First, as dogs age, their energy level, and metabolism decreases. As these decrease, dogs don’t require as many calories as they used to eat.
Without choosing a lower calorie food, some senior dogs can be more prone to becoming obese. Obesity can put a lot of strain on a dog’s body, which may result in a wide range of problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. Some senior dog foods are formulated for weight loss, while others are directed more at weight control and helping a dog maintain their current healthy weight.
Many senior dogs also have joint problems, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. If the dog becomes obese, this will put more pressure on their joints which can exacerbate these problems.
In addition to helping keep dogs at a healthy weight, senior dog foods are also formulated to improve these joint problems. Many senior foods are also formulated to be easier to digest to help with sensitive stomach issues, constipation, or other digestive concerns.
As a dog ages, it also requires greater amounts of high-quality proteins. Senior dog foods include the right amount of protein to meet these needs.
Our Criteria: What to Look For in Senior Dog Food
Deciding which food to feed a senior dog can be quite difficult and there are a lot of factors to consider. Consulting with your veterinarian before starting the search is very important. The vet can help identify any health issues that may need to be addressed by diet and offer suggestions on the type of ingredients that are best for your dog. They can also weigh your dog to see if your dog is at a healthy weight or if food for weight control is required.
Choosing a dog food with high-quality protein is important for dogs of all ages, but even more so for senior dogs. As tissues become damaged with age, protein can help these tissues rebuild themselves. Senior dogs need food with high amounts of high-quality protein.
If your dog is suffering from kidney problems, they will still need protein, but the amount they require will be less. Check with your veterinarian to make sure you are feeding them the right amount of protein for their overall health.
Unless your dog has an allergy to grains or is dealing with immune system issues, it is best to look for foods with whole grains in them, rather than grain-free options. Grains deliver amino acids that can be used to build tissues and keep the body healthy.
Finally, as you’re looking for the right food for your senior dog, look for foods formulated with natural ingredients. Stay away from anything with artificial flavors or artificial colors. You should also avoid dog foods with fillers, such as corn or soy.
Wet vs. Dry Dog Food: Pros and Cons Compared
As you read above, there are both wet and dry senior dog foods on the market. If you’re trying to decide which option is right for your dog, consult the list of pros and cons below to help you make a decision.
|Dogs often prefer the taste.||Not as budget-friendly.|
|The higher moisture content keeps dogs hydrated.||It needs to be refrigerated once opened.|
|It contains a higher amount of protein to match a senior’s needs.||It has a shorter shelf-life.|
|It is easier to chew and eat, especially for dogs with dental problems.||It can lead to more dental problems.|
|It has a long shelf-life.||The formula often contains less protein.|
|It helps to keep a dog’s teeth cleaner.||It is difficult for many seniors to chew.|
|It lasts for a long time.||Dogs don’t seem to like the taste as much.|
The Best Senior Dog Food: Summary
There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best senior dog food for your beloved pet. However, the most important thing is to make sure that you cater for the specific needs of your dog — whether they need something to promote joint health, or whether they need something to help them lose weight. That’s why we’ve explained what to look for in senior dog food and carefully considered a wide range of food to help you make that perfect choice.
- The Best Wet Food for Senior Dogs — Are you looking for a wet food diet for your older pup? Look no further.
- The Best Joint Supplements For Dogs That Actually Work — Joint supplements are an excellent addition to your senior dog’s diet.
- Best Dog Food Brands: Reviewed — Our top choices for dog food brands that are best for healthy, happy pups!
Best Senior Dog Food: Reviewed for You FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What should I feed my senior dog?
The best food for your senior dog will vary depending on his or her size, breed, age, and health issues. Seeking vet recommended ideas from your dog’s veterinarian and foods that target specific health concerns your dog is facing can help you select the right food to meet their needs.
Is wet food better for older dogs?
Wet and dry dog food are both suitable options for seniors. However, some seniors suffer from teeth issues, a sensitive stomach, or other problems that may make wet dog food a better option for them. If you notice your senior is having trouble chewing dry dog food or doesn’t seem as interested in eating as he once did, you may want to consider switching to wet dog food.
Why do older dogs need special food?
All older dogs don’t necessarily require senior dog food. However, some senior dogs develop health issues, such as joint problems, constipation, or sensitive stomachs, that may be better controlled with a senior food. Weight control is also important for many senior dogs that are obese. Senior foods are often formulated specifically to help dogs reach their ideal weight.
Do older dogs need more protein or less?
Contrary to what many may think, the older a dog is, the greater his or her need for protein is. As a dog ages, their muscles can break down, so they need higher protein foods to replace this wasted muscle mass.
Should all older dogs eat senior food?
No, switching to senior dog food is not always needed. Many older dogs will do fine when they are fed a balanced diet that contains sufficient protein. If you are unsure whether you should switch your dog to senior food, consult with a veterinarian.
Some older dogs develop health issues that may indicate that it is time to switch to a food formulated specifically for seniors. These health issues may include sensitive stomachs, joint problems, and constipation.
What is the number one cause of food-related illness in senior dogs?
Obesity is the number one cause of food-related illness in senior dogs. Obesity can be problematic for younger dogs too and puts strain on a dog’s joints despite their age. However, since seniors often are already dealing with joint issues such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, or arthritis, this extra weight can be an even greater problem.
Many seniors require about 20% fewer calories than they did when they were younger. This is due to a decrease in their metabolism and less energy to get as much exercise as they once did.
How much food should I feed my senior dog?
The amount of food your senior dog should eat will vary from what another senior dog should consume. The dog’s weight can be used to help you determine how much food to feed them based on the recommendations on the bag or can. However, other factors such as breed, metabolism, and health issues can also impact how much food your dog should eat. Work with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate serving size to help your dog maintain or reach a healthy weight.
How do I determine my dog’s ideal weight?
Even within the same breed, a dog’s ideal weight can vary. If you are not sure whether your dog is at an appropriate weight, or if they need to lose or gain weight, check with your veterinarian. They can help you assess their current weight and develop a plan to help them reach their ideal weight.
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