The Best Soft Foods for Senior Dogs: Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Liz Coleman
Updated: December 12, 2022
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall soft food for senior dogs is Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew.
  • 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 their food should reflect this. 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 them.

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

  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

The Top Picks for the Best Soft Foods for Senior Dogs

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

The best overall soft food for senior dogs is Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew.

This food is developed to promote good health during your pet’s golden years by blending important nutrients and fiber to keep your dog’s digestive system running smoothly. It also incorporates high quality lean protein in the form of real chicken to help them achieve their ideal body weight. This food also includes wholesome ingredients such as brown rice, peas, and carrots. Also, this is all covered with a delicious gravy to create a tasty meal that even the fussiest eaters will love.

However, although this food has a lot going for it, a small number of customers have complained that the size of the chunks are too large for smaller dogs to eat easily.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew

ProsCons
This food includes real chicken to provide high-quality protein.The chunks are quite large which may not be suitable for some smaller dogs.
It includes nutrients and fiber to promote a healthy digestive system.
Other ingredients include brown rice, peas, and carrots.
This food is coated in a delicious gravy to encourage even fussy eaters to eat.
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 Dog Food

Diminished joint health is a common concern for senior dog owners which is why we recommend the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Advanced Mobility Support Loaf Dog Food.

This veterinary-exclusive diet is specially formulated by experts and includes a variety nutrients, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to support mobility and overall well-being. This food is specially designed with an adapted calorie content to help dog’s maintain their ideal weight, therefore also supporting their joint health.

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 also 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.

Pros and Cons of the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Advanced Mobility Support Loaf Dog Food

ProsCons
This food is a prescription only diet and is specially formulated by experts.This food is a more expensive option.
It includes a variety of nutrients, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to support mobility.It contains turmeric extract which can stain household items yellow.
It has an adapted calorie content to help maintain an ideal weight.
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 Turkey & Chicken Grill Dog Food

Sometimes older dogs can lose a little weight, so for those that need help putting it back on we recommend the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey& Chicken Grill Dog Food.

High protein is essential for senior dogs looking to put on a little weight and this food packs a protein punch with grilled chicken and turkey pieces. It also includes healthy ingredients like chicken liver, organ meat, and complex carbohydrates add nutritional value and to support your dog’s mobility well into old age. 

Another great feature of this food is that it is completely grain and gluten free. It is also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. If your dog is accustomed to dry kibble then you can mix this food into their regular dinner. It can also be fed on its own too.

Unfortunately, some pup parents have reported that there is an inconsistency in the color and texture of the food as sometimes it is thick while other times it is more of a soupy mixture.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains grilled chicken and turkey pieces to provide high quality protein.The texture is inconsistent.
It contains complex carbohydrates to add nutritional value.
This food is completely grain and gluten free. It is also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
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 Gastrointestinal Low Fat Loaf

We know that sometimes your senior dogs can have sensitive stomachs, which is why we suggest the Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Loaf.

This food is a veterinarian-exclusive diet which is specifically designed to aid dogs with both long and short term digestive issues. It contains highly digestible proteins and prebiotics which are aimed at promoting a healthy digestive system.

This food has a low fat content which makes it ideal for older pups that have difficulty digesting it, yet it still provides enough calories to ensure that it meets their nutritional needs and provides them with enough energy to stay active. The uniquely adapted levels of fiber also helps to achieve this. The added omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA also help to maintain GI health.

However, this food does have a couple of drawbacks, with the main one being that it is a more expensive option. Also, some customers have reported inconsistency between the cats, with some being more runny than others.

Pros and Cons of the Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Loaf

ProsCons
This food is veterinarian-exclusive.This food is expensive.
It has a low fat content to aid pets that have difficulty digesting fat while still providing sufficient calories to meet their daily needs.There is a lack of consistency in the texture of the food between cans.
It has added omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA to maintain GI health.
It contains highly digestible proteins and prebiotics to promote a healthy digestive 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 Adult 7+ Small Paws Dog Food

We know that your smaller pets need looking after to, which is why we recommend Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Dog Food for smaller seniors.

This delicious food is specially formulated for small breed dogs over the age of seven and provides a perfect portion size for their smaller mouths. This food is made from completely natural ingredients such as chicken, brown rice, and vegetables. These are all coated in a tasty gravy to entice even the most picky pets to lick their bowl clean.

This food contains high-quality protein which helps to support lean muscles and keep your pet in the very best overall health. It is also made with an easy-to-digest formula so that your little senior can digest it properly.

Unfortunately, a small number of customers reported that their pets didn’t like this food.

Pros and Cons of Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Dog Food

ProsCons
This food is made from completely natural ingredients.Not every dog likes this food.
It contains high-quality protein to support lean muscles.
Each packet is the perfect portion size for smaller breeds.
It has an easy to digest formula.
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 Dog Food

For owners looking to feed their senior on a budget we have selected IAMS ProActive Health Senior Dog Food.

This food contains top-quality ingredients such as real chicken to create a meal that is packed full of protein. It is specially designed to provide a balanced and nutritious meal for your pup with the addition of vitamins and minerals to promote a strong and healthy immune system. It also includes omega fatty acids to provide a healthy coat and skin. Another great thing about this food is that it can be fed either on its own or mixed with your pup’s favorite dry kibble.

The only drawback to this food that we could find was that some owners found it made their pets quite gassy.

Pros and Cons of IAMS ProActive Health Senior Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains real chicken to provide high-quality protein.It can make some dogs gassy.
It has added vitamins and minerals for a healthy immune system.
Omega fatty acids are added to promote a healthy coat and skin.
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

How to Choose the Right Soft Food for Your Senior Dog

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. 

High-Quality Ingredients

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

Prescription vs. Non-Prescription Soft Food for Senior Dogs

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: This food contains scientifically developed formulas with key ingredients that target specific canine conditions, from joint issues to urinary problems. However, they’re only available through a vet’s approval and they tend to be more expensive that non-prescription options.
  • Non-Prescription Dog Food: This food is readily available and usually has a lower price than prescription foods. Non-prescription dog food is also much more convenient to buy.

Our Criteria: 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.

Up Next…

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 Best Soft Foods for Senior Dogs: 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.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.