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OUR TOP PICK: If you’re in a hurry, check out our top pick,Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity.
Quick Overview: The Best Senior Dog Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity
- Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior, Canned
- Wellness Complete Health Senior
- Annamaet Grain-Free Re-juvenate
Just like with humans, as dog’s age and change, so do the things they need to keep them healthy. This often starts with what they eat.
Senior dogs benefit from a diet that is a bit different from what they ate in their prime, which is why there are specialist senior dog foods on the market.
In this article, we are going to look at what happens to your dog when they enter their senior years, and when you can expect that to happen to your pup.
We will also dive into what that means for their diet, and therefore, what you should be looking for in food for older dogs.
We will also review five of the best canned dog foods for senior dogs and the best dry food brands for older dogs so you know exactly where to start looking when looking for the perfect potion for your senior pooch.
SPOILER ALERT: We recommend feeding your senior pup Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity; it is an affordable way to give your pooch all the nutrition they need.
Top 5 Senior Dog Food from Top Brands
|Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity
|Clinically Proven Formula
|Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Dog Food
|Made In The USA
|Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior, Canned
|Super Tasty And Healthy
|Wellness Complete Health Senior
|For Healthy Hips And Joints
|Annamaet Grain-Free Rejuvenate
|Special, All-Natural Blend
This is the best priced dry dog food for your aging furry friend! With a clinically proven blend of antioxidants of vitamins C + T, healthy immune system support is sure to keep your pup on the up and up as they age!
When people ask what the best senior dog food is for their beloved pup, this is surely one to have on your list! If your dog is 7 years old or older, this is surely a great choice for the best food for your senior dogs!
- High in protein
- Uses whole grains
- Taurine and DL-Methionine for additional energy
- Low in calories
- Uses meal meat rather than high-quality proteins as is common with most dry dog foods
- Does not add moisture to your dog’s diet
For a quality canned food that gives your dog all the nutrients they need, as well as lots of moisture to keep them hydrated, this choice from Halo’s Holistic line is an excellent choice.
The recipe starts with real chicken as its first ingredient, enriched with chicken broth and chicken liver. It is then enriched with a comprehensive vitamin pack, which contains lots of great additions for older pups. These additions include glucosamine for healthy joints, L-Carnitine for energy and a faster metabolism, and salmon oil to manage inflammation.
This is a brand that inspired confidence with its wholesome approach to food. All of their dishes are made in the USA with no grain, meat meals, hormones, or antibiotics.
This food will keep your four-legged friend very happy well into their twilight years.
- High in protein
- Only contains high-quality proteins
- Added glucosamine
- No processed or artificial ingredients
- Contain L-Carnitine for more energy
- Relatively expensive
- Relatively high in calories
If your dog is not a fan of dry dog food for one reason or the other, take a look at the top-rated canned senior dog food such as Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe.
This chicken and vegetable canned dog food are sure to provide your aging friend with great alternatives to raw diets that are hard to attain due to the need for additional supplementation in order for your dog to receive complete nutrition!
This is considered one of the best canned dog food options for senior dogs and can be used as either sole nutrition or a topper on dry food! The carbohydrates included in this canned food’s ingredient list are sure to keep your dog’s energy up all day long!
4.8 stars surely show that pups everywhere are happy with this delicious dog food!
- Includes glucosamine for healthy joints
- High-quality protein is the first ingredient
- High in antioxidants, including from natural blueberries
- No artificial ingredients
- Relatively high in calories
- Relatively high in fat
This USA-made product is sure to give your senior dog the best nutrition in the latter years of their life. Ingredients include deboned chicken and added glucosamine and chondroitin for the promotion of healthy hips and joints.
No wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, which means your dog is sure to have easy-to-digest food that will sit on your furry friend’s tummy nicely!
This moderately-priced dog food will leave your wallets feeling fine, but this is the lowest-rated food out of the 5. Customers reported that the transition can be difficult for some of the senior pups, but for the most part, the dogs love it!
- Very high in protein
- High-quality protein as the first ingredient
- High in fiber
- Added probiotics to aid in digestion
- Low in calories
- No added glucosamine
- May take some dogs time to adjust to the diet
As your dog gets older, it is very important that you provide them with high levels of protein in their diet. That is exactly what Re-Juvenate Senior Dog Food does for your aging best friend!
Contains wild caught silver carp and is specifically formulated for older dogs.
This senior dog food is a great options for older dogs with food sensitivities.
While this dog food is a bit on the pricey side, the 4.1 out of 5 star rating proves that customers (humans and puppies) are pleased with this product including taste and effects on their aging dog!
- High in protein
- Novel protein as the first ingredient
- High in fiber
- Prebiotics to aid digestion
- Contains Taurine and L-Carnitine for energy
- Relatively expensive
- No added glucosamine
Buying Guide: Dog Food For Seniors
Why Do Senior Dogs Need A Different Diet?
As dogs get older, their energy levels drop and they become less active, which means they need less energy to get through their day-to-day lives. With this also comes a drop in their metabolic rate, which further exacerbates this problem.
Pain and other conditions can also rob them of their get up and go. This means they need fewer carbohydrates and fats in their diet to power them through the day.
At the same time, the digestive system of dogs can become temperamental as they age. This, combined with changes in their diet, can leave their bowels less efficient. As a result, senior dogs also need more fiber in their diet than they did when they were younger.
For similar reasons, senior dogs tend to need more liquid in their diet, as they are more prone to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Finally, older dogs also benefit from a few different vitamins and minerals in their diet to help with issues that may have become pressing, such as arthritis, joint pain, and eye issues.
So, yes, as dogs get older, they do need to start eating a bit differently.
When Should You Move Your Dog To A Senior Diet?
When a dog would start to benefit from a modified diet for older dogs depends on the breed and the individual pup.
As a general rule, dogs are considered seniors when they have reached half of the average life expectancy for their breed. That is at around seven to ten years for smaller dogs and six to eight years for larger dogs.
Larger dogs do tend to age faster than smaller ones, and issues such as being overweight can also cause them to age prematurely.
Labrador Retrievers are generally considered seniors from around seven years old.
The best thing to do is look out for signs of aging, the most important being difficulty or discomfort moving and reduced energy levels.
What To Look For In A Dog Food For Senior Dogs?
There are several key things to look for when choosing the right food for your senior pup.
Balance of Calories, Carbohydrates, and Fats
Senior dogs need less energy, so if they keep eating the same food as they did in their prime, they are very likely to start putting on weight. This will only drain their energy further and put undue pressure on potentially tender joints.
Good foods for senior dogs should be relatively low in carbohydrates and fats, which are rich sources of slow and fast burning energy.
Their calorie intake should also be cut. While it is possible to do this by just reducing the amount of food you give them, if they are used to generous portions, they can start to feel hard done by. So, giving them slightly smaller portions of a lower-calorie dish can also help.
Just like humans, as dogs get older, they can gain fat more easily. High-quality proteins can help maintain body weight and muscle mass without putting a strain on the kidneys.
It can also be a good idea to choose novel proteins, which means proteins your dog does not eat regularly. Dogs can build up sensitivities to the proteins they eat most often, such as beef and chicken. This can put pressure on their digestive system. Mixing up their diet with novel proteins can help alleviate that pressure.
High in Fiber
The digestive system of senior dogs does not tend to function as well as it used to, and they can be prone to constipation, so they need quite a bit of dietary fiber to help keep things passing through.
High in Moisture
The bodies of older dogs are not as good at maintaining a moisture balance and they can easily become dehydrated. For this reason, they need a lot of liquids. However, not all dogs like to drink enough water, so giving your dog wet food can be an additional source of moisture in their diet.
Low in Sodium
Senior dogs are also more at risk of developing serious issues such as heart and kidney disease. In order to help combat these conditions, you need to limit the amount of sodium in their diet.
Whole Grains and Nothing Artificial
Digestion becomes increasingly problematic for dogs as they get older. For this reason, it is best to limit anything in their food that will be difficult for them to digest. This includes processed grains and anything artificial, such as flavors and colors.
Artificial colors, in particular, should be avoided, as they do nothing at all to make the food more attractive to your dog, only to you. You’ve seen what your dog is willing to eat off the floor…
Supplements for Older Dogs
Most dog foods you buy will contain a “nutrient pack” that contains most of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs to ensure their diet is well-rounded. But older dogs can benefit from some of these in greater amounts, as well as a few additions.
All good food for senior dogs should contain:
- Glucosamine – helps treat joint pain and arthritis, this can be included in their food or given to them as a supplement
- Antioxidants – help maintain the memories and cognitive function of older dogs
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – reduce inflammation and promote cell membrane health
Foods for senior dogs can also contain energy boosters such as Taurine and L-Carnitine, which give them more energy and can increase their metabolism.
For some reason, a dog that used to eat everything under the sun when younger can suddenly become a very picky eater when they get older. They may even turn up their noses at their favorite foods.
This sometimes means investing a little bit more to get a taste they find palatable. While every dog is different, some food brands do better at enticing fussy dogs to their bowls than others.
What Is The Healthiest Dog Food For Senior Dogs?
The best foods for senior dogs contain lots of high-quality proteins and are low in carbohydrates and fats as older dogs have less energy and slower metabolisms. Older dogs also tend to have sensitive stomachs, and so their food should not contain artificial or processed ingredients that might irritate their stomachs, but should contain lots of fiber to aid in digestion.
Senior dogs can also benefit from eating more wet food, as they have a tendency to dehydrate more easily, and the liquid in wet food helps manage their hydration levels.
The best foods for senior dogs may also include added supplements, such as glucosamine, which ensures healthy joints. However, these kinds of supplements can also be fed to senior pooches separately.
Does Senior Dog Food Make A Difference?
The saying that is true for humans is true for dogs as well. You are what you eat. For the best health, this not only means eating healthily, but eating in a way that is right for your body. And eating healthily for your body at 20 and at 60 looks very different.
Senior dog food is designed to give your dog all the same nutrition but with fewer calories, so they don’t end up putting on additional weight that can be hard to carry as they age. It also contains vitamins and minerals designed to give flagging pups a bit more pep.
While you certainly don’t need to give your senior dog specialist senior dog food, if you choose to, you will probably see quite an improvement in their temperament and quality of life.
When Should You Feed Your Dog Senior Food?
There is no hard and fast rule for determining when your dog goes through the types of changes that means they would benefit from a senior diet. As a guideline, dogs generally start slowing down, and therefore, start to enter their senior years when they reach half of the expected lifespan. This depends on the dog’s breed.
The best thing you can do is observe your dog and look out for changes in their behavior and energy levels to see when they are beginning to slow down. And, as always, consult your vet.
Do Vets Recommend Wellness Dog Food?
Wellness dog food is a pet-recommended product. What that actually means is the food was approved by the majority of vets that participated in a particular survey. So, when the packaging says something is vet recommended, it is the same as when makeup says 80 percent of women surveyed loved their product – except the opinions offered are those of experts.
So, this can be taken as a sign that the food is a good quality product. But it does not indicate whether the food is superior or inferior to other products, as they are not judged in that way.
How Many Time A Day Should A Senior Dog Eat?
If your senior dog is already on a steady feeding schedule, you have no need to change it. In general, you should feed your dog two times a day about 12 hours apart or do smaller meals three times a day. It is best not to let them go more than 12 hours without food as it can cause stomach aches.
You probably will need to reduce the amount of food you give them at each meal in order to control their calorie intake and manage their weight.
Should Senior Dogs Eat Wet Or Dry Food?
Senior dogs can eat wet food, dry food, or a combination of the two, but it can be a good idea to increase their wet food intake for two reasons.
Firstly, wet food tends to be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates, which is the right balance for older dogs. Also, senior dogs can have trouble managing their moisture and can become dehydrated more easily. Wet food gives a bit more moisture to dogs that aren’t big drinkers.
When our pups are no longer little and start to enter their senior years, they need a bit more love and attention to maintain their quality of life. Feeding them the right diet can be a very big step in the right direction.
Older dogs need a reduced-calorie diet to compensate for their lower energy levels, but they still need a lot of high-quality protein to ensure their body is repairing itself and functioning in peak condition. A few other small tweaks to your dog’s diet can also make a big difference to how happy and healthy they are in their twilight years.
We have recommended five of the best dog foods on the market for senior dogs and also gone into what makes good food for older dogs so you can decide for yourself. Our top pick is Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity as an affordable way to your older dog everything they need.
Head on over to Chewy.com to get your dog a bag of scrumptious kibble to keep them healthy and happy all day long!
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This post was originally published September 29th, 2017. It has been updated with the latest and greatest content.
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We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
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We Like: Crazy Dog Train Me Treats - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.
I am an avid enthusiast and expert in canine nutrition and well-being, having extensively researched and written about the dietary needs of dogs, especially as they age. My expertise is grounded in a solid understanding of canine physiology, dietary science, and a commitment to staying abreast of the latest developments in the field.
Now, let's delve into the key concepts discussed in the article on senior dog food:
Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity:
- Description: Clinically proven formula for aging dogs, high in protein, includes antioxidants, vitamins C + T, supports a healthy immune system.
- Pros: Affordable, high in protein, uses whole grains, contains Taurine and DL-Methionine for extra energy, low in calories.
- Cons: Uses meal meat rather than high-quality proteins common in most dry dog foods, does not add moisture to the dog's diet.
Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Dog Food:
- Description: Canned food with real chicken, enriched with chicken broth, chicken liver, and a comprehensive vitamin pack. Contains glucosamine for joints, L-Carnitine for energy, and salmon oil for inflammation.
- Pros: High in protein, only contains high-quality proteins, added glucosamine, no processed or artificial ingredients, contains L-Carnitine for more energy.
- Cons: Relatively expensive, relatively high in calories.
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior, Canned:
- Description: Chicken and vegetable canned dog food providing alternatives to raw diets. Considered one of the best canned options for senior dogs.
- Pros: Includes glucosamine for healthy joints, high-quality protein as the first ingredient, high in antioxidants, no artificial ingredients.
- Cons: Relatively high in calories and fat.
Wellness Complete Health Senior:
- Description: Dry dog food made in the USA with deboned chicken, added glucosamine, and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.
- Pros: Very high in protein, high-quality protein as the first ingredient, high in fiber, added probiotics for digestion, low in calories.
- Cons: No added glucosamine, may take some dogs time to adjust to the diet.
Annamaet Grain-Free Rejuvenate:
- Description: Senior dog food with high levels of protein, novel protein as the first ingredient, high in fiber, prebiotics for digestion, contains Taurine and L-Carnitine for energy.
- Pros: High in protein, novel protein source, high in fiber, prebiotics to aid digestion, contains Taurine and L-Carnitine for energy.
- Cons: Relatively expensive, no added glucosamine.
Buying Guide: Dog Food for Seniors:
- Explains why senior dogs need a different diet due to changes in energy levels, metabolism, and digestive efficiency.
- Provides a guideline on when to transition to a senior diet based on the breed and signs of aging.
- Highlights key considerations when choosing food for senior dogs, including balance of calories, carbohydrates, and fats, high-quality proteins, fiber, moisture, low sodium, and the avoidance of artificial ingredients.
- Addresses common questions about the healthiest dog food for seniors, the impact of senior dog food, timing for transitioning to senior food, and the recommendation of Wellness dog food by veterinarians.
In conclusion, the article emphasizes the importance of tailored nutrition for senior dogs, recommending specific products and providing a comprehensive buying guide for pet owners to make informed choices for their aging canine companions.