As dogs age, they become less active, their immune systems weaken, their cognitive function can slow, and their joints can deteriorate. These are just some of the health issues that mature canines’ experience. While taking your pooch to the vet for regular well-visits is crucial for his overall health and well being, feeding him a well-balanced dog food that is formulated to meet his unique nutritional needs is just as important.
But there are so many different senior dog foods on the market, which can make it hard to decide which option you should feed your senior dog. In our review, we offer important information that can help you make the best choices for your aging furry friend.
To help you find the best possible food for senior dogs, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best dog food for older dogs.
Best Senior Dog Foods
The first product on our list for the best food for older dogs comes from Diamond Naturals. Many pet owners rely on Diamond Naturals dog food to provide their pooches with the nutrition that they require at any stage of life. Their Real Meat Recipe Premium Specialty Senior Dry Dog Food is specifically made for canines that are 8 years of age or older.
Instead of featuring protein as the first ingredient like many other dog formulas, whole grain brown rice is the first ingredient in this recipe. Since brown rice is easier to digest than protein, it’s better for sensitive tummies, an issue that many senior dogs suffer from. Protein is the second ingredient, so it still offers a healthy dose of this vital nutrient. In this formula, the protein is sourced from premium cuts of deboned chicken. Other ingredients include healthy (and tasty) fruits and vegetables, like peas, oatmeal, kale, blueberries, oranges, quinoa, kelp, coconut, spinach, carrots, papaya, and chia seed.
All of these ingredients contain a wealth of essential vitamins and minerals and are regarded as “superfoods”, so you can rest assured that your pet will be getting the nutrition that he needs. The addition of antioxidants helps to reduce the effects of oxidative stress, an issue that can plague older dogs and cause a number of serious health issues. This recipe is also formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin, two ingredients that are proven to improve joint health, which is very important for senior dogs.
What We Like About It
- Contains a bevy of healthful fruits and vegetables that offer the nutrition senior dogs need
- Features easy to digest carbohydrates
- Offers naturally occurring antioxidants for improved gut health
- Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin for stronger muscles and joints
- Made with cage free chicken
- Grain free; no wheat, soy, or corn
- Free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
- Made in the USA
Reasons to Complain
- Some customers said that the kibble was too hard for their mature dogs to chew
- A few pet parents reported that their dogs’ weren’t fond of the flavor
Final Verdict: Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe Premium Specialty Senior Dry Dog Food is specially formulated for older pups. It features a unique blend of fruits and vegetables and is formulated with essential nutrients to deliver optimal health for aging dogs.Check Price on Amazon
Purina dog food is also among the most reputable brands on the market, with countless pet owners around the globe relying on their various formulas to deliver optimal nutrition for pets of all ages and sizes, including Bull Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Pugs, Westies, Collies, and every other breed you can think of. Purina One Smart Blend Vibrant Maturity is a dry dog food that is specifically made for adult pooches that are 7 years of age and older.
The first ingredient in this Purina recipe is premium cuts of chicken, which will provide your pup with the protein that he needs to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. It also contains glucosamine that has been procured from natural sources to further strengthen those joints. The addition of botanical oils that are proven to enhance cognitive function will keep your furry pal mentally alert.
The blend features a combination of tender morsels and crunchy kibble that will satisfy your canine companion and keep him well nourished throughout his older years. However, do note that this recipe does contain soy, corn, and wheat, so if your pup is sensitive to these types of ingredients, you might want to consider another option on our list. Based on the reviews, however, pet parents who use this recipe say that their dogs love the taste and notice improved energy levels.
What We Like About It
- Features real animal protein as the first ingredient
- Fortified with glucosamine for improved joint health
- Contains a wealth of essential vitamins and minerals to support an aging pup’s overall health and well-being
- Pet owners say that their dogs love the taste and can easily consume the blend of crunchy kibble and meaty morsels
- The infusion of botanical oils promotes increased cognitive function
Reasons to Complain
- Some reviewers reported that the bag was opened when they received it
- Others have said that the found the food had an odd smell
Final Verdict: Purina One Smart Blend Vibrant Maturity Adult 7+ Formula Dry Dog Food offers the nutrients that older dogs need to thrive. It’s fortified with glucosamine for joint health and botanical oils that improve mental clarity. The majority of customers who use this product report positive results.Check Price on Amazon
If you are looking for a grain free dog food that is made with all natural ingredients, then Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Dry Dog Food is definitely an option that is worth considering.
Just like all other Blue Buffalo dog food products, this formula is made with real protein that is sourced from the highest quality animals; in this recipe, the protein is sourced from deboned chicken and chicken meal. Combined with glucosamine and chondroitin, these ingredients are proven to foster stronger joints by supplying pups with the vital nutrients that are needed to strengthen their muscles. So, if you have a senior dog that is prone to hip dysplasia, such as a Great Dane, a Saint Bernard, or a Dachshund, or if he has already been diagnosed with this condition, this dog food might be able to help improve his mobility and ease his pain.
It’s also made with natural carbohydrates, such as brown rice, barley, oatmeal, peas, and flaxseed, so it’s easier to digest. There are absolutely no grains, like corn, wheat, or soy, so if your pet is sensitive to these ingredients, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that he won’t be aggravated by eating this food. Other premium ingredients include sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes, turmeric, kelp, and a bevy of vitamins and minerals to offer your aging dog a well-rounded meal that will improve his overall health. Dog owners say that their pets’ love the taste and that they are very pleased with the results.
What We Like About It
- Completely free of grains
- Features natural, easy to digest carbohydrates
- Contains a wide variety of healthy fruits and vegetables
- Infused with essential vitamins and minerals
- Contains Blue’s exclusive Life Source Bits, which contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Reasons to Complain
- Some pet owners have said that the price is a bit on the high side
- Others have said that they had issues with the bag when they received it
Final Verdict: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Dry Dog Food is specifically formulated to offer your pet the well-balanced nutrition that he needs to support his health as he ages. Featuring the best natural ingredients and free of additives, preservatives, and artificial colors, you can have confidence knowing you will be feeding your pet a safe and healthy dog food.Check Price on Amazon
Next up on our list of the best food for senior dogs is a Nature’s Recipe dog food. This is another manufacturer of pet food that is highly regarded for creating recipes that contain the highest quality ingredients to support optimal nutrition, and this formula is made to specifically improve the health of older dogs.
Featuring healthy, lean sources of carbohydrates, like brown rice, oatmeal, and barley, this food is easy to digest and will help to maintain the energy levels of your aging furry pal. It also has fewer calories than many other dog food formulas, so it can be considered a dog food for weight loss. Feeding dogs of any age, but particularly older dogs, too many calories, can lead to weight gain, which can wreck havoc on their joints and tendons.
As long as you feed your pup as directed and provide him with plenty of exercise (fit your pup with a comfortable dog harness and take regular walks), he should stay fit and trim. Formulated with a wealth of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, zinc, iron, calcium, and so many more, your older four-legged family member will be able to retain his health when you feed him this well-balanced, highly nutritious food.
What We Like About It
- Completely free of grains
- Features healthy and easy to digest carbohydrates
- Reduced calories to maintain a healthy weight
- Formulated with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals
- Made with premium ingredients
- Most pet owners say that their dogs love the taste and that the kibble is easy to chew
Reasons to Complain
- Some pet owners that reviewed this product said that the price has increased
- Others have stated that they believe the formula has changed
Final Verdict: If you are looking to feed your senior dog a high quality food that you can be sure will offer him the vital nutrition that he needs to thrive, Nature’s Recipe Senior Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is a great choice. It’s made with wholesome ingredients, features essential nutrients, and will keep him satisfied.Check Price on Amazon
If your senior dog is finicky or is having trouble eating dry kibble because of dental health issues, then feeding him a wet dog food that is specifically formulated to meet his needs is a great option to consider. Wet food is softer than dry kibble, so it is easier for older dogs – particularly those that suffer from dental issues – to chew. It also has a more robust flavor that mimics the taste of the food that dogs would have eaten in the wild, which means that your senior pooch might find it more palatable.
Made with the most wholesome ingredients, like real animal proteins and easy to digest carbohydrates, this formula will keep your pet satisfied and health. It’s also fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin to improve his joint health and help stave or ease the pain and reduced mobility that is associated with hip and elbow dysplasia. Other prime ingredients that are featured in this wet dog food formula for senior dogs include tomatoes, spinach, carrots, brown rice, peas, oatmeal, and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals to ensure optimal health for your aging pooch.
What We Like About It
- Made with wholesome, natural ingredients
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Fortified with essential nutrients to ensure optimal health and deliver balanced nutrition
- Easy to chew and more palatable for picky eaters and dogs that have dental health issues
- Most pet owners say that they are very pleased with the product and that their dogs love the flavor
Reasons to Complain
- Contains gluten-based products, so if your pet has sensitivities to these ingredients, you might want to consider another option
- Some users said that the cans were dented when they received them
Final Verdict: NUTRA ULTRA Senior Wet Dog Food is made with the highest quality ingredients to deliver balanced nutrition for senior dogs. The morsels are tender and easy to chew, and the recipe delivers a very palatable flavor that your pooch will love.
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Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind is a carefully crafted recipe made specifically for senior dogs. This dog food uses high-quality protein, including chicken as the first ingredient. And, the addition of botanical oils, omega-3 fatty acid and essential vitamins and minerals, Pro Plan Bright Mind is a complete meal..
- The recipe features enhanced botanical oils that have been shown to promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs ages 7+.
- Pro Plan adds EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid, and glucosamine to help support joint health and mobility.
- The 29% protein and 14% fat recipe blend helps maintain lean muscles and support an ideal body condition
IAMS Proactive Health helps maintain a strong immune system in mature adult dogs. Antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene meet the specific nutritional needs of senior dogs. IAMS works toward the overall health of your dog, including oral health.
- Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient in this formula and promotes muscle support in aging dogs.
- Crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
- Wholesome grains provide essential nutrients and carbohydrates for healthy energy.
Nutro Max Natural uses carefully sourced ingredients to create a special dog food blend meant for senior dogs. Nutro Max has no fillers and uses only high-quality ingredients. Nutro Max can be mixed with water and wet food to create a softer food for dogs that struggle with oral issues.
- Nutro Max is made in-house with carefully sourced ingredients.
- The specially created recipe has no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat or soy protein.
- Nutro Max can be served as is or mixed with wet food.
Hill’s Science Diet is the #1 veterinarian recommended brand. This formula uses specific ingredients to support the needs of an aging dog. Omega-3s and antioxidants work to keep a healthy coat and skin.
- The formula in Hill’s Science sSupports an older little dog’s joints and mobility using omega 3s from fish oil.
- The special antioxidant blend is created to support a mature dog’s immune system.
- Nourishing omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E help maintain a senior dog’s healthy skin and shiny coat.
Nulo Senior is a grain free recipe that contains no corn, wheat or soy. Nulo only believes in sourcing the highest quality ingredients and is also free of artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives. Nulo is proud to manufacture their food in the USA.
HIGH MEAT/LOW CARB proprietary formula 80% animal-based protein for more amino acids and better flavor using fewer carbs and low glycemic ingredients
- The Nulo Senior blend is a high meat and low carb proprietary formula with 80% animal-based protein.
- Nulos’ patented BC30 probiotic supports healthy gut flora, aids in food digestion and metabolism regulation..
- Added anti-inflammatory Glucosamine and Chondroitin promote joint flexibility and pain relief.
ORIJEN Senior is made in DogStar’s Kitchen in Kentucky and is proud to source only high-quality ingredients. This dog food was formulated to be biologically appropriate and grain-free. And, ORIJEN uses fresh food, delivered to their kitchen, like free-run chicken.
- ORIJEN Senior dog food offers a diet with whole animal ingredients, like free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish and cage-free eggs.
- ORIJEN’s ingredients are fresh and delivered in their most natural form and supplied by trusted vendors.
- ORIJEN dog food is made in their DogStar Kitchen in Kentucky.
Merrick is proud to offer high-quality meat, fish or poultry as the number one ingredient. This special blend is formulated with senior dogs in mind and contains ingredients like Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to support joint health. Merrik never uses any fillers and is free from corn, wheat, soy and gluten.
- The first ingredient is deboned meal, fish or poultry to build muscle mass and promote energy.
- The Merrick Grain Free senior dog food recipe includes real, whole foods like sweet potatoes, peas, apples, blueberries.
- This grain free senior dog food recipe contains Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat plus glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain dog’s hip and joint function.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best Food for Senior Dogs
What type of food should you feed a senior dog? At first glance, the answer to that question might not seem difficult; but in reality, selecting the right food for your mature furry friend can be a lot harder than it appears. There are so many different dog food brands and formulas on the market, from grain free dog food to low protein dog food, and from dog food for allergies to dog food for sensitive stomachs. With so many options to choose from, figuring out which food will offer your four-legged family member the nutrition that he needs during his senior years can be very daunting.
Why Senior Dogs Need a Specialized Diet
Senior dogs, like senior people, can develop a number of health issues. These issues can include arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, gum disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, kidney disease, and liver disease; and these are just some of the issues that they can develop.
The best way to help prevent these conditions – or ease them if they have already developed – is to offer your senior pup a well-balanced diet that is specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. With that said, senior dog foods are different from dog food for puppies or adult dogs, contain specialized nutrients that are intended to improve the health of mature adult dogs.
The Best Senior Dog Food: Factors to Consider
Just because a dog food says that it is made for senior dogs doesn’t mean that it actually offers the nutrition that your aging dog needs. To ensure you are selecting a formula that will actually meet the nutritional needs of your pooch, make sure you read the label and consider the following:
- Premium ingredients. Just like dog food for canines of any age, the best dog food for senior pups should be made of premium quality ingredients. That includes real sources of animal protein (read the label to make sure that the type of animal that the protein is sourced from is listed), real fruits, and real vegetables.
- Added nutrients. As mentioned, mature dogs require a perfect blend of certain nutrients to ensure that they are as healthy as possible. Make sure that the food you are choosing contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, and copper. You should also consider looking for a recipe that is formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin, which help to support the development of lean muscle mass and maintain joint health to reduce issues like hip and elbow dysplasia , which can cause significant pain and reduce mobility.
- Free of artificial ingredients. A premium quality senior dog food should not contain any artificial ingredients, like preservatives, flavors, or colors. These ingredients can cause adverse reactions in canines and can contribute to a number of health conditions.
How We Chose the Best Senior Dog Food
So, how did we decide which senior dog food options are the best? We enlisted the help of veterinarians and animal nutritionists, who helped us assess the ingredients in various types of dog foods that are formulated for senior dogs. We also read through countless reviews from pet owners. Based on the information that our panel of experts offered and the information that we acquired from the reviews we read, we were able to narrow down the wide selection of options to the five formulas that are featured in our review.
Each of these five formulas are made with the highest quality ingredients, are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, and have been found to offer outstanding results to improve the health and well being of senior dogs.
Summing It Up
As your furry pal ages, it’s important to make sure that you are offering him a well-balanced diet that meets his unique nutritional needs. All of the pet foods that are listed on our review are premium quality ingredients and receive the stamp of approval from our panel of experts. If, however, you are going to opt for another formula, make sure that you carefully read the labels to make sure that it is made of the best ingredients to support your pet’s needs.