The 6 Best Soft Foods for Senior Dogs In 2022—Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Liz Coleman
Updated: August 6, 2022

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Key Points:
  • Soft dog food can benefit senior dogs that deal with problems related to their joint health, sensitive stomachs, and weight gain. Wet dog food can give them a nutritional boost while appealing to their palates.
  • Dog foods for senior dogs shouldn’t contain too many calories, as some dogs put on weight as they age. They should have clean, wholesome ingredients like chicken or salmon, while also having vitamins and nutrients that are essential for dogs as they age.
  • Prescription dog foods are scientifically developed formulas with ingredients that address certain canine conditions. They tend to be more expensive than non-prescription ones. 

As our dogs get older their nutritional needs change, and they may prefer the taste and texture of soft food over traditional kibble. Senior dogs at risk of health issues like dental pain, arthritis, or weight loss can benefit from the nutritional boost and delectable taste of canned soft food. But which soft food for senior dogs is best for your special pooch?

Every senior dog is different, and his food should reflect that. We’ve found a number of dog foods tailored to address specific senior concerns like joint health, weight gain, sensitive stomachs and even options designed for small breed. Whatever health concerns your senior dog faces—arthritis, weight loss, or digestive issues—we have a soft dog food perfect for him.

So, what are the best soft foods for senior dogs in 2022? Read on to find out!

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for the 6 Best Soft Foods for Senior Dogs

  1. Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew
  2. Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew
    • A thoughtful blend of nutrients and fiber boosts digestive health
    • Savory stew is attractive to even the pickiest senior eater
    • Available in both beef and chicken flavors
    • Minerals help support heart and kidney health
    • Made in the USA and taste-tested and approved by dogs at the Hill's Pet Nutrition Center
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Advanced Mobility Support Loaf
  4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Advanced Mobility Support Loaf
    • Vet-created formula includes nutrients, anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to help with joint pain and mobility
    • This formula helps dogs maintain healthy weight
    • Tasty recipe ensures it's appealing to even the pickiest eater
    • Contains collagen to support joint and cartilage health
    Check Chewy
  5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Dog Food
  6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Dog Food
    • High-protein formula helps older dogs put on and/or maintain weight
    • Ingredients include items like grilled chicken, turkey, chicken liver, and organ meat
    • Complex carbs add nutritional support and enhance mobility for older dogs
    • Grain- and gluten-free
    • No corn, wheat, soy or artificial flavors or preservatives
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Loaf
  8. Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Loaf
    • Prebiotics promote overall gut health for sensitive stomachs
    • Calorie-filled to ensure older dogs can hold their weight
    • Fibrous formula keeps the digestive system moving smoothly
    • Antioxidants support immune and joint health
    Check Chewy
  9. Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Dog Food
  10. Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Dog Food
    • Formula of chicken, rice and veggies in a savory stew
    • Single-serve trays provide perfect portions for small dogs
    • Protein supports muscle maintenance
    • Ingredients support heart health and increase energy and vitality
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  11. Iams ProActive Health Senior Dog Food
  12. Iams ProActive Health Senior Dog Food
    • Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy heart, skin and joints
    • Quality formula and trusted brand at an affordable pricetag
    • Unique blend of ingredients promotes immune health and boosts energy
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

How to Choose the Right Soft Food for Your Senior Dog

Not all dog foods are created equal. But what makes one soft food superior to the next?

It’s helpful to understand your senior dog’s age-specific health needs. If you plan to switch to senior dog food, here are some features to watch for:

Lower calories

As our dogs get older, they may not need as many calories. Extra weight isn’t just about aesthetics—it can be hugely detrimental to your dog’s aging joints and heart. Look for soft food that doesn’t load your pup up with unnecessary calories. 

Healthy, high-quality ingredients

Search for foods with wholesome, clean ingredients like chicken and salmon. If you can, skip any foods with artificial flavors or preservatives. 

Supplemental nutrients

Your senior dog may need a boost in certain minerals and nutrients to stay healthy. Look for antioxidants for cognitive support, fiber for GI health, and omega-3 fatty acids for joint support. 

Enticing Taste

Your senior dog deserves the best-tasting food you can rustle up. A palatable taste and texture will be appreciated by senior dogs with diminished appetites or dental problems.

Cost

It’s easy to spend ludicrous amounts of money on pet food—but you don’t always have to. We’ve found plenty of budget-friendly options that don’t compromise on quality.

Prescription Vs. Non-Prescription Soft Food for Senior Dogs: Pros and Cons Compared

In your search for soft senior dog food, you’ll encounter both prescription and non-prescription foods. Both types of dog food can provide the key nutrients and calories your senior dog needs to thrive. Your vet can help you choose which type is best for your dog.

  • Prescription Dog Food: Scientifically developed formulas with key ingredients that target specific canine conditions, from joint issues to urinary problems. They’re only available through a vet’s approval, and they tend to be more expensive. 
  • Non-Prescription Dog Food: Readily available—and usually at a lower price than prescription foods—non-prescription dog food offers pet owners convenience.

Our Criteria and Experience: Why We Chose the Best

We at A-Z-Animals want your senior dogs to age gracefully. That’s why we investigated the best wet dog foods on the market to help them only deal with issues that arise in old age like arthritis, sensitive stomachs, weight management, and skin issues. We also want them to enjoy their mealtimes. There’s no denying that dogs both young and old love wet dog food. We researched the foods that not only taste good, but will benefit your senior dog in multiple ways. The foods we have recommended are vet-approved, formulated with vitamins, minerals, and healthy ingredients that target the different areas we’ve discussed. We included a couple of options by Royal Canin which do require a prescription, but the others provide many benefits essential to senior dogs to help them thrive. Read on to discover our top recommendations for the best wet dog foods for senior dogs.

#1 Best Overall: Hill’s Science Diet 7+ Savory Stew Senior Food

The best overall soft food for senior dogs is the Hill’s Science Diet 7+ Savory Stew Senior Food. Developed to promote good health during your pet’s golden years, Hill’s Science Diet 7+ blends important nutrients and fiber to keep your dog’s digestive system running smoothly. It also incorporates lean protein to help him achieve his ideal body weight. 

Wholesome ingredients like chicken, peas, and carrots will restore your dog’s youthful energy. Meat, veggies, and brown rice are smothered in luscious gravy, making this savory stew a smart choice for picky eaters. In testing, dogs gave the taste two paws up! 

Features we love:

  • Available in chicken or beef flavors
  • Balanced minerals support heart and kidney health
  • Taste-tested and approved by dogs at the Hill’s Pet Nutrition Center
  • Made in the U.S.
  • No prescription required
Best Overall
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew
  • A thoughtful blend of nutrients and fiber boosts digestive health
  • Savory stew is attractive to even the pickiest senior eater
  • Available in both beef and chicken flavors
  • Minerals help support heart and kidney health
  • Made in the USA and taste-tested and approved by dogs at the Hill's Pet Nutrition Center
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#2 Best for Joint Health: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Advanced Mobility Support Loaf

Diminished joint health is a common concern for senior dog owners. With Royal Canin’s Advanced Mobility Support soft food, you can protect Fido’s joints against everyday wear and tear. This veterinary-exclusive includes select nutrients, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to support mobility and overall well-being. 

An overweight dog is more likely to suffer from limited mobility. Royal Canin helps maintain your dog’s ideal body weight with balanced calories and fat content, so he can keep moving and enjoying the activities he loves.

We’ll admit that the steep price may deter some shoppers. But the added nutritional benefits are worth it for many happy dog owners. 

We have one minor warning: this Royal Canin recipe includes turmeric extract for natural yellow coloring. Turmeric stains, so keep this food away from household items you’d rather not turn a striking shade of yellow.

Features we love:

  • Collagen supports joint and cartilage health
  • Provides antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Highly palatable 
Best Joint Health
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Advanced Mobility Support Loaf
  • Vet-created formula includes nutrients, anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to help with joint pain and mobility
  • This formula helps dogs maintain healthy weight
  • Tasty recipe ensures it's appealing to even the pickiest eater
  • Contains collagen to support joint and cartilage health
Check Chewy

#3 Best for Weight Gain: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Senior Dog Food

High protein is essential for senior dogs looking to put on a little weight. Blue Buffalo Wilderness packs a protein punch with grilled chicken and turkey. Healthy ingredients like chicken liver, organ meat, and complex carbohydrates add nutritional value and support your dog’s mobility well into old age. 

If your dog is accustomed to dry kibble, try mixing this food into his regular dinner. It will motivate finicky eaters to finish their plate.

Features we love:

  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors or preservatives
  • First ingredient is grilled turkey
  • High moisture content keeps dogs hydrated
Best for Weight Gain
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Dog Food
  • High-protein formula helps older dogs put on and/or maintain weight
  • Ingredients include items like grilled chicken, turkey, chicken liver, and organ meat
  • Complex carbs add nutritional support and enhance mobility for older dogs
  • Grain- and gluten-free
  • No corn, wheat, soy or artificial flavors or preservatives
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#4 Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low-Fat Dog Food

Does your senior pooch have a troublesome tummy? If so, Royal Canin offers a Veterinary Diet dog food that will have him feeling like his old self in no time.

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low-Fat Dog Food delivers enough calories to energize your older dog, but not so many that he becomes overweight. Prebiotics maintain your dog’s gut health, while fiber keeps his digestive system moving along smoothly. The low-fat content makes this soft food easier to digest, and omega-3 fatty acids promote GI health.

This recipe also supports your dog’s urinary health with ingredients that prevent bladder stones. It requires a veterinary prescription.

Features we love:

  • Palatable texture
  • Higher fiber levels
  • Antioxidants support a robust immune system
Best for Sensitive Stomachs
Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Loaf
  • Prebiotics promote overall gut health for sensitive stomachs
  • Calorie-filled to ensure older dogs can hold their weight
  • Fibrous formula keeps the digestive system moving smoothly
  • Antioxidants support immune and joint health
Check Chewy

#5 Best for Small Senior Breeds: Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws Stew

This stick-to-your-ribs stew is a savory option for your small or toy breed senior dog. Featuring gravy-covered chicken, brown rice, and nutrient-packed vegetables, it’s no wonder why Hill’s Small Paws Stew is a small dog favorite. 

This dog food is perfectly portioned for your petite pooch. It delivers just the right amount of protein to support strong muscles for aging dogs. It’s also easy to digest. 

Features we love:

  • Convenient, single-serve trays
  • Savory, natural ingredients that dogs love
  • Supports heart health
  • Increases energy and vitality
Best for Small Breed Seniors
Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Dog Food
  • Formula of chicken, rice and veggies in a savory stew
  • Single-serve trays provide perfect portions for small dogs
  • Protein supports muscle maintenance
  • Ingredients support heart health and increase energy and vitality
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#6 Best Budget-Friendly Option: IAMS ProActive Health Senior Pate

IAMS ProActive Health products are proof you can find quality dog food at a reasonable price. With its winning taste and complete nutrition, this Senior Chicken and Rice Pate delivers much of the same nutritional benefits as more expensive brands.

Omega-3 fatty acids maintain your senior dog’s brilliant coat and keep his skin healthy. Wholesome grains provide the energy your senior dog needs to live his best life.

Features we love:

  • Added vitamins and minerals for senior health
  • Slow-cooked with natural, wholesome animal proteins
  • Promotes a strong immune system
Best Budget-Friendly Option
Iams ProActive Health Senior Dog Food
  • Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy heart, skin and joints
  • Quality formula and trusted brand at an affordable pricetag
  • Unique blend of ingredients promotes immune health and boosts energy
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Summary of the 6 Best Soft Dog Foods for Senior Dogs

RankBest ForProduct
1OverallHill’s Science Diet 7+ Savory Stew Senior Food
2Joint HealthRoyal Canin Veterinary Diet Advanced Mobility Support Loaf
3Weight GainBlue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Senior Dog Food
4Sensitive StomachsRoyal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low-Fat Dog Food
5Small BreedsHill’s Science Diet Small Paws Stew
6BudgetIAMS ProActive Health Senior Pate

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About the Author

Liz is a freelance writer who loves putting pet owners in touch with top-rated, life-enriching pet products. She shares her home in Western New York with 2 cats, 2 zebra finches, 1 husband, and an animal-loving daughter. Visit her at Lizwritesforyou.com.

The 6 Best Soft Foods for Senior Dogs In 2022—Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Should older dogs eat soft food?

This is largely a matter of preference. Older dogs can benefit from the boost in hydration and palatability of wet food. Soft food is also gentler on weak teeth and gums.

What is a good soft food for older dogs?

The best soft food for your older dog will be both nutritious and delicious. We think Hill’s Science Diet Savory Stew Senior Food offers the top benefits we’re looking for: wholesome savory ingredients, key nutrients, and lean protein. This food doesn’t require a veterinary prescription, and it’s even taste-tested by resident dogs at the Hill’s Pet Nutrition Center.