The Best Senior Dog Food (Review) of 2021

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  • Updated on: 02/01/2021

Canned, dry, grain-free… Feeding your fluffy four-legged friend can be a daunting task when you have so many options. As your pooch’s muzzle begins to turn grey, you may ask yourself – what is the best food for elderly dogs?

best-senior-dog-food-reviewImage by alkemade from Pixabay

The Best 20 Rated Senior Dog Food Reviews

Now let’s move on to the best products reviews for your furry family member. We have separated foods into dog size categories because small and large breeds have different nutritional needs.

The Best for Small Breeds

1. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior

Key benefits:

  • Well-balanced daily meal for small breed geriatrics.
  • Maintains heart health with a meticulous amount of sodium.
  • Designed to maintain a sustainable body weight.
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support hip and joint health.
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 help maintain a healthy coat and skin.

Elderly dogs need to stick to a balanced diet to stay healthy and happy in an advanced age. This kibble recipe is designed to fully satisfy the nutritional needs of daily meal. The ideal balance of essential vitamins and minerals helps support good health, which senior small breed really need.

All ingredients are natural and authentic. The recipe includes chondroitin and glucosamine, which are effective for healthy joints and hips.

This product includes the optimal level of calories and other useful ingredients to support a healthy body weight, proper digestive health, and shiny fur. It contains an adequate sodium level, which helps the pooch’s heart work properly.



  • Provides well-balanced nutrition.
  • Maintains a workable body mass.
  • Controlled sodium levels ensure heart health.
  • Effective for joints.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Expertly designed to support healthy skin and coat.
  • Affordable price.
  • Several flavors available.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Not found.

2. AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice

Key benefits:

  • No corn, wheat, soy, or artificial color included.
  • Convenient kibble size.
  • Premium natural ingredients with high health benefits.
  • Well-balanced nutrition.
  • Supports healthy immune function.

AvoDerm Natural is a perfect choice for small breed. It contains useful ingredients, which are easy to digest. If your pooch pal has a sensitive stomach, then decide on this kibble. Also, it includes antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.

AvoDerm Natural is designed to contain high-quality fats and oils. The right proportion of nutrients is essential to maintaining your pooch’s skin health. Sometimes a shortage or excess of certain nutrients can lead to thin or rough fur. Avocado oil will help support the skin and coat from the inside to protect your dog’s needs.



  • Contains Californian avocado to keep your skin and coat shiny and healthy.
  • Well-balanced proportions of nutrients for optimal growth.
  • Protects the immune system.
  • Free from corn and meat by-products.
  • Little expensive.

3. Nutro Ultra Small Breed Chicken Dry Senior Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Made from three sources of protein – chicken, lamb, and salmon.
  • Provides optimal nutrition and good taste.
  • Full of useful nutrients.
  • No soy, corn, wheat, and artificial colors.

Nutro Ultra provides the highest quality and nutritional value. This recipe includes natural and delicious ingredients to cater to your dog’s needs. This is a trio of high-quality protein from chicken, lamb, and salmon, where chicken is the first ingredient specially designed for older dogs.

It provides a complete and balanced diet for your pet. The other ingredients – coconut and blueberries, also rich in nutrients and full of flavor, generate ideal health. It is crafted with GMO-free ingredients and does not contain by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial colors.



  • Crafted with quality ingredients.
  • GMO-free.
  • Frequent safety tests.
  • Full of vitamins and nutrients.
  • May cause diarrhea in rare cases.

4. Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Contains botanical oils to promote mental sharpness.
  • Includes natural prebiotic fiber to maintain a healthy metabolism.
  • Crafted with the best ingredients from farmers the company knows and trusts.

This kibble is designed for small breeds and contains botanical oils that provide a fuel source for the brain in senior dogs. Also, it features real chicken as its first ingredient.

Small crispy pieces help keep the teeth of senior small dogs clean, as their small mouths are prone to plaque and gum recession, which can lead to dental disease.



  • The main ingredient is chicken meat.
  • Includes Omega-3.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Not suitable for geriatrics with sensitive stomachs.

5. Iams Proactive Health Small & Toy Breed Senior

Key benefits:

  • Maintains a strong immune function with antioxidants.
  • Supports bone health with a balance of essential nutrients for small breed.
  • Aids with digestion.
  • Specially designed to meet the needs.

If you are looking for a top-quality product that will appeal to older dogs and help them stay away from health problems, you should choose the one that matches the size and breed.

This perfect recipe contains chicken meat, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and fiber for optimal digestion.

Dogs may have sensitive stomachs, which can only worsen with age, making this kibble the best one for your small senior pooch.



  • The first ingredient is real chicken.
  • Vets recommend Iams.
  • Supports sturdy bones and joints.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Promotes better immunity to help avoid potential health problems.
  • May not work for all dogs, as it is strictly suitable for senior.

The Best for Large Breeds

1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Senior Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Made from natural fibers to aid with digestion and antioxidants like vitamin E to promote better immunity.
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints and hips.
  • Crafted with GMO-free ingredients, this recipe does not contain by-product meal, corn, wheat, or artificial colors.

Nutro enjoys the confidence of pet owners as a brand that uses ingredients from trusted farmers to contribute to prospering health at different life stages. The product maker strictly follows a “feed clean” philosophy. Nutro is considered a premium brand for credible recipes, and its products are expensive, but the high quality is worth the price.

This recipe is not super caloric and maintains the health of your active mature dog. This brand adheres to high-quality standards and offers a wide range of well-balanced products. This is a perfect choice for an inactive fluffy companion with a tendency to pile on pounds.



  • Adequate protein level.
  • Rich in vitamins and nutrients.
  • Features fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
  • Ingredients sourced from verified farmers.
  • A bit pricey.

2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Adult 7+ Formula Dry Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Starts with chicken as the first ingredient and mixed with other quality protein sources.
  • A highly-digestible formula.
  • Contains glucosamine to help maintain healthy joints at an advanced age.

If you are on the hunt for more affordable kibble, this choice is a good, inexpensive product for geriatrics. The primary ingredient is chicken, which helps develop your pooch’s heart and muscles, but it contains a by-product meal.

Even dogs entering old age can have a sharp mind and remain active with this product. This kibble includes glucosamine to strengthen joints and hips. It not only meets the nutritional needs but also maintains healthy digestion.



  • Vets recommend Purina.
  • Affordable.
  • Helps with sore joints.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Boosts energy.
  • May cause diarrhea in rare cases

3. IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Starts with farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient.
  • Boosts energy.
  • Reinforces the immune system in mature dogs with vitamin E.

This product is one of the best-selling in the larger breed category. It strengthens your pooch’s joints and helps fight the signs of aging. It improves an immune system to keep your dog’s body fit and healthy. It also helps keep teeth plaque-free.

Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are available as fruit and vegetable garnishes. Pet parents also like that it does not upset sensitive stomachs.



  • No by-product meal.
  • Specially designed for aging large breeds.
  • Increases energy and metabolism.
  • Designed with necessary vitamins and minerals to cater to the specific nutritional needs of aging large breeds.
  • Promotes muscle support in senior dogs.
  • Some dogs may not prefer the taste.

4. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Senior 7+

Key benefits:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain hip and joint health.
  • Aids with digestion.
  • Features calcium and phosphorus that help your pooch maintain strong bones.

If you are searching a high-quality product, Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Senior 7+ is a good choice.

Your elderly dog will appreciate the excellent nutrition that helps him feel healthy and fit. It addresses your pooch’s nutritional needs and fulfills nutrient-rich requirements of his everyday meal. This recipe includes glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain hip and joint health and helps increase metabolism in pets that are not as active as before.



  • No artificial ingredients.
  • 80% protein from animal sources.
  • Improves immunity in mature dogs with wholesome fruits and vegetables.
  • Supports healthy digestion.
  • Not found.

Eukanuba Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • No by-product meal, wheat, corn, and soy joints at an older age
  • Contains glucosamine to help maintain healthy.
  • Crafted with antioxidants to boost your pooch’s immunity.

Eukanuba takes into account all needs of senior large breed dogs. If your pet tends to pile on pounds, this kibble is a great option because it contains optimal amount of fats and carbohydrates to keep your pooch’s weight under control.

The senior formula includes chondroitin and glucosamine that are effective for healthy joints and hips. It also features antioxidants to maintain a strong immune system and ease the aging process.



  • Expertly designed for large breeds.
  • Offers well-balanced nutrition.
  • Controls weight.
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and joint support.
  • Some aging dogs don’t like the taste.

The Best Dry Foods

1. Hill’s Science Diet 7+

Key benefits:

  • Provides a blend of antioxidants, vitamin E and C to maintain a strong immune system.
  • Supports a well-balanced diet for kidney functions.
  • Contains Omega-3 fatty acids to keep skin and coat noticeably shiny and healthy.

After hitting seven years old, your pooch may become less active. The wrong choice of food can lead to various health problems. Hill’s Science Diet is expertly designed for those dogs, which are over seven years old and trying to boost their energy with unimpaired health.

First-class nutrition scientists formulated this kibble with all-natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. This food offers a complete nourishment, which rounds up nutritional needs. Pet parents are happy to feed their older dogs regularly with this product.



  • Works great for dogs over seven years old.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • No artificial colors.
  • Highly-digestible.
  • Tasty and easy to digest.
  • Vets prefer this food as the No. 1 for senior dogs.
  • 100% money-back guarantee for any dissatisfaction.
  • Affordable.
  • Only one flavor available

2. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Dry Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Natural ingredients.
  • The adequate amount of ingredients.
  • A blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keeps a healthy immune system.

This product provides well-balanced food, from which your dog will benefit health-wise. There are no by-products, bones, or fillers. Your senior dog will like to get this in every meal and become happy. It also contributes to prospering health and keeps him strong and healthy.

As the age progresses, dogs suffer from a variety of diseases, such as joint pain or obesity. Hill’s is a great option to prevent these health problems and extend the lifespan.



  • Minimal processing to retain nutrients.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Great flavor to increase appetite.
  • Quality control.
  • High pricing

3. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Contains glucosamine and calcium for firm bones and joints.
  • Taurine supports a healthy heart.
  • No by-product meal, wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors.

This dry kibble is a great choice to address the nutritional needs of senior dogs’ daily meals. It is not only designed to improve your pooch’s physical condition, but the taste also encourages eating the food at the right time. Even picky dogs will like it. After observing all these benefits, pet parents begin to offer this healthy kibble to their aging pets regularly.

The delicious recipe provides adequate nutrition to older dogs. They carry some carefully selected ingredients such as chicken, white fish, brown rice, and vegetables. All of these ingredients ensure balanced nutrition for geriatrics.



  • Grows shiny skin and fur.
  • Strengthens joints and bones.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Controls proper weight.
  • May cause diarrhea in rare cases

4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality Dry Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Contains high-quality ingredients to enhance digestive health.
  • Protein, phytonutrients, and L-carnitine boost your pooch’s energy.
  • Vitamins C and E promote better immunity.

If you are looking for a kibble that will be easy on your dog’s stomach, consider this Hill’s option, which contains no harmful grains, fillers, or artificial flavors.

Instead, this food features natural and healthy ingredients that will keep your pet safe from various diseases. Here, chicken is the main source of protein.



  • Chicken is the first ingredient.
  • Many positive reviews.
  • Comes with antioxidants for a healthy brain.
  • A bit pricey.

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Natural Dry Dog Food for Senior Dogs

Key benefits:

  • High-quality protein helps maintain healthy muscles healthy joints and bones.
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support.
  • A blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keeps a healthy immune system.

This dry kibble from Blue Buffalo is crafted with real meat, veggies, and fruits. This product is quite tasty and rich in protein. It also contains garden vegetables and wholesome grains to help maintain healthy digestion.   

When it comes to brown rice, it is a highly digestible ingredient, which aids modest nutritional value. An adequate amount of protein sources generates the ideal health of your senior dog. This formula does not include corn, wheat, soy, or artificial colors. Pet parents highly recommend this dry kibble for nutritional value and reasonable price.



  • Starts with real meat as the first ingredient.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Highly digestible.
  • No by-product meal, wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors.
  • Only one flavor available

The Best Wet Foods

1. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Starts with real meat as the first ingredient to help maintain healthy muscles.
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain joint health.
  • No by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial colors.

While most options on this list are dry, this wet food is also available for aging dogs. The primary ingredient is chicken, which provides protein and amino acids for your fluffy companion.

This recipe includes brown rice and barley, which are easy to digest. It also features fruits and vegetables to sustain well-being. This product also does not contain a by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, or any artificial fillers. Thus, even pooches with allergies may eat it safely.



  • Great option for finicky dogs.
  • Great for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies.
  • Includes real pieces of veggies.
  • Highly digestible.
  • Quite expensive

2. Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Trio of Proteins Wet Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Starts with real meat as the first ingredient and pieces or veggies.
  • No by-product meal, wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors.
  • Features the best ingredients from verified farmers.

If your senior dog needs softer food, this product may be a great option for your furry family member. It contains lamb, chicken, and salmon as a source of protein.

Made from natural ingredients, this product matches the tastes of senior dogs and addresses their nutritional needs. High-quality ingredients promote better immunity, digestion, and ensure a complete and balanced diet for mature dogs. The manufacturer also guarantees 100% satisfaction, otherwise, you will get your money back. Pet parents appreciate this product because it boosts energy and makes them look like they are still young puppies.



  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen joints.
  • Highly digestible.
  • Rich in moisture and delicious.
  • Crafted with GMO-free ingredients.
  • Several sources of protein.
  • High pricing.
  • This type may not be suitable for dogs with dental problems.

3. Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition for aging dogs.
  • Enhances digestive health.
  • Good option for pets with reduced appetite.

This canned formula is expertly designed to help your dog stay healthy. It fulfills nutrient-rich requirements of your pooch’s daily meal and tackles the problems that mature dogs may face.

This is definitely a top-class food as it is slightly more expensive than other brands. However, many pet parents claim it is worth the price as it uses 100% natural ingredients. This formula is low in calories and is designed to provide everything an older dog needs as the age progresses.



  • No artificial ingredients.
  • Available in three different can sizes.
  • 100% natural ingredients.
  • Quality control.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Low in calories.
  • Suitable for all breeds.
  • Great for healthy skin and fur.
  • Not found.

4. Hill’s Science Wet Dog Food (7+)

Key benefits:

  • Contains key nutrients that keep your older dog healthy.
  • Uses a blend of minerals to keep your pet safe from various diseases.
  • Provides high-quality protein to promote muscle support.

This product is one of the most popular on the market. The best thing about this food is that it is mainly made from beef. It provides a very large amount of protein per gram.

Hill’s Science also features many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants. Thus, it rounds up nutritional needs. However, with beef fat, this product may be too high in calories for dogs with weight problems.



  • Vets recommend Hill’s.
  • Natural ingredients.
  • Easily digestible.
  • High-quality protein.
  • Includes a blend of vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Small pieces for easy chewing.
  • Slightly high in fat.
  • Shorter shelf life.

5. Purina Pro Plan Senior Wet Dog Food

Key benefits:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids help to grows healthy skin and shiny fur.
  • An optimal fat level supports a healthy body weight.
  • Pet parents may use this product in addition to Purina Pro Plan kibble or as a complete and balanced diet.

This product features a good combination of reasonable price and high quality. It is high in protein and low in calories, and this formula will be very attractive for pooches because beef is its primary ingredient. There are many minerals and vitamins from which your fluffy companion will benefit health-wise. While many manufacturers use by-product meal, this one avoids this practice.



  • Reasonable price.
  • Crafted with real meat.
  • Soft pieces.
  • Easy to digest.
  • No artificial flavors.
  • Designed for dogs after hitting seven years.
  • Shorter shelf life.

The Best Food Brands for Senior Dogs

Your senior dog should not eat the same food that you’ve been buying since switching from eating puppy’s. A body undergoes many different changes as dog ages and these changes should be taken into consideration  From preventative measures that help your pet stay healthy to managing age-related diseases, the best one is specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of a senior.

Dogs older than seven years are typically considered seniors, but the breed also plays a significant role in this classification. As a rule, “larger breeds do not live as long as smaller breeds. Thus, for a giant breed, five years may be the autumn of his life, and for a small pooch, it may be ten,” explains Gary Richter, MS, DVM, CVC, CVA, owner of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in California.

READ MORE: Stem Cell Therapy for Dogs

Although many brands have quality advertising, drumming up customers, only a few are really of high quality. If you are in the hunt for the best options for your cuddly companion, then you have come to the right place.

Before you choose any food for your senior dog, make sure that you know the reason why you are switching the diet of your dog. That’s why it is so important to schedule regular wellness visits with a veterinarian and discuss any diet changes your furry friend requires, including the best your veterinarian recommends for your dog’s specific needs.

Let’s dive right in…


If you have a bee in your bonnet about a healthy lifestyle and want to buy a reasonably priced commercial food, Wellness may be an excellent option for your aging dog. The manufacturer’s mission is to fuel a pooch’s overall well-being through complete and balanced nutrition. It features a blend of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics to aid with digestion. Wellness has been in the dog food business for a long time, and the company continues to provide a role model for many veterinary-recommended brands.


This manufacturer strongly believes in the power of natural nutrition. When it comes to mature dogs, Iams formulas combine useful ingredients to contribute to prospering health. The company’s mission is to design well-balanced food with unbeatable quality. It provides a money-back guarantee that your fluffy companion will love Iams food.


Purina is one of the oldest manufacturers in the U.S. that provides high-quality nutrition for an affordable price. Over recent years, the company has done much of the published nutritional research. 

Purina ProPlan is a top-class food recommended by vets. With the recent fame, the company continues to introduce innovations and meet any unique needs. Their commitment to drive pet food forward and conduct hard research on pet welfare pushes them to do more from year to year.

Nutro Ultra

Nutro Ultra firmly believes that all aging pooches deserve the best nutrition. The company adheres to a “dogs first” philosophy, and its products are designed with the cutting-edge knowledge and rich experience of experts in the nutritional industry. They use only natural ingredients in each of their recipes, based on the belief that such products are safer and tastier for our furry family members.

Nutro food is a perfect example of the best diet, containing high-quality ingredients like animal proteins and fiber. There are no by-products or artificial flavors, and you can be sure that each formula has been carefully designed to provide a complete and balanced diet.


This company holds one of the leading places on the list of the best brands recommended by vets. Hill’s has been a forerunner in quality control and AAFCO food standards since 1939. Their quality and safety standards are so strict that they are modeled after human food makers, so your senior dog receives food that fulfills nutrient-rich requirements of his daily meal. The company believes that complete and balanced nutrition can generate the ideal health.

READ MORE: Kidney Care for Dogs

FAQ –  Frequently Asked Questions

what are the best foods to feed my senior dogPhoto by Shea Rouda on Unsplash

RELATED ARTICLE: My dog is getting old, what should I do?

🐕 When Is a Dog Considered a Senior?

Some people believe that one human year equals seven canine years, it’s not all as easy as it sounds. You may bake a birthday cake for your pooch pal every year, but there is no official age when cute bundles of fur are branded with a senior label. Sooner or later, all dogs join the “golden age club,” and there is no way out of this. When it comes to the aging process, each individual breed ages at a different pace. To further complicate the issue, just think that dogs come in a huge range of genetic and phenotypic variability. There are nearly 400 pure breeds.
Dogs are the most diverse type of mammals across the globe, varying in shape, color, and size. Size (even more than breed) is considered to be the main factor affecting a lifespan. Smaller breeds are known to get old much slower than giant ones [1] . It is interesting to note that this runs counter to the rate of living theory, which states that the smaller the creature, the less it lives.
This theory has its basis in some evidence, which confirms that small animals with a faster heartbeat die younger. It would be interesting to know what exactly makes a small dog live much longer than a giant dog. So far, there seems to be no concrete evidence other than a hypothesis derived from a study that needs further investigation. Does the lack of an age boundary line mean the inability to determine when a dog is considered old? Well, the great news is that based on your pooch’s weight and size, you can find out the age of your four-legged friend. Here is a table with some approximate estimates [2][3] .

Dog's Size

Age Considered Senior  

Small – 25 lbs or less

10-12 years

Medium – between 25 and 60 lbs

8-9 years

Large – more than 60 lbs

6-7 years

[1] [4]

🐾 What Is the Best Thing to Feed an Old Dog?

Senior dogs need essential nutrients – fiber, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals – to stay healthy and thrive. During the aging process, a dog’s body undergoes changes requiring diet adjustments. The nutritional needs are different from younger ones.
“However, dietary adjustments may or may not be necessary for seniors. Many of them may continue to eat a quality commercial food expertly designed for adults and do not need to change this diet,” explains Lisa M. Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts[5].
When it comes to feeding, there is no one the best food for an elderly dog. Consult a vet and evaluate your dog before making changes to his diet because your dog may require a different feeding strategy. Just because your fluffy companion is a geriatric dog does not mean that he needs senior kibbles. “Many adult diets may be as or even more useful than foods marketed for seniors,” says Shmalberg, a DVM and veterinary nutritionist [6]. “Geriatric dogs usually require low-calorie food to prevent obesity and high-fiber diet to improve gastrointestinal health,” says Metzger, DVM, Diplomate ABVP, owner, Metzger Animal Hospital, State College, Pa., and adjunct professor, Penn State University.
When aging, dogs may also need more water. “The body’s ability to maintain water balance is decreased in the advanced age,” explains Mark Nunez, DVM, president, California Veterinary Medical Association. Make sure that your old friend has plenty of water [1].
The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA’s CVM) offers recommendations for pet food manufacturers and consumers. Have you ever read the information on your dog’s food label? Commercial foods are regulated by the FDA’s CVM, and they must include certain data on their labels. They contain the feeding instructions, the list of ingredients, and contact information of the manufacturer [5].

🐩 How Many Calories Does a Senior Dog Need?

One of several feeding issues associated with senior dogs is whether they need more or fewer calories. Some dogs tend to gain weight and lose muscle as they age, so diet recommendations for geriatrics usually include fewer calories. “Dogs entering old age need 20-50 percent fewer calories to maintain the same weight as younger ones”, says Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN, an associate professor of clinical nutrition at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in California[5].
At an older age, dogs require less energy. “One of the reasons is associated with a decrease in lean body mass (LBM). The main driving force of resting energy requirement is LBM, and LBM decreases with age that leads to increasing a body fat mass,” notes Dr. Larsen. Another reason for consuming fewer calories is a decrease in activity associated with age or diseases[7].
However, some mature dogs may require more calories in their food, especially if they are losing weight, explains Dr. Freeman [5]. “In overweight animals, reducing the number of calories will help prevent weight gain,” she says. “These excess pounds can cause other diseases.” “Yet, not all senior dogs gain weight with age, and some may get thin,” says Dr. Freeman.
“For mature dogs that lose weight but don’t suffer from any disease, you should choose a diet that is higher in calories to help prevent weight loss.” Dr. Larsen emphasizes that individual assessment is the best. “A case-by-case approach is indicated with regard to nutritional management plans since it cannot be assumed that all dogs entering old age need calorie restriction or increase,” she says[5].

🐶 How much to feed a senior dog?

Some commercial pet foods for older dogs are designed to be higher in calories and others, fewer. Determining the appropriate calorie density depends on whether your dog should gain or lose weight. Some general recommendations:

  • For gaining weight: approximately 450 calories per cup, or a high-fat diet with more than 50 grams of fat per 1,000 calories.
  • For losing weight: about 350 calories per cup, or a nutritional management plan with portions premeasured for your senior dog.
  • For maintaining weight: approximately 400 calories per cup.
Finally, it is important to have a conversation with your veterinarian to determine the best food to feed your senior dog so you can enjoy these golden years together, happy and healthy [6].

READ MORE: Low Fat Canned Dog Food reviews

Article Sources:

  1. Kam, Katherine. “Senior Dog Food: Meeting Aging Canines’ Nutritional Needs.” Pets WebMD,
  2. Farricelli, Adrienne. “When Is a Dog Considered a Senior?” PetHelpful – By Fellow Animal Lovers and Experts, 12 Jan. 2018,
  3. Morgan, Diane. “The Living Well Guide for Senior Dogs.” Amazon Kindle Edition,
  4. “Senior Dog Age: At What Age Is My Dog Considered a Senior?” Pet Central by Chewy, 26 June 2019,
  5. Wilson, : “Senior Dog Food: What Is the Best Thing to Feed an Old Dog?” Pet Central by Chewy, 16 Nov. 2019,
  6. Shmalberg, Justin. “Senior Dog Food Guide for Older Dogs” – Nom Nom.
  7. Coile, Caroline, and PhD Coile. “How to Feed the Senior Dog – American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 24 Oct. 2018,

ThePets is an informational website that features articles written by qualified veterinarians and professional writers. You can learn more about our editorial process. When selecting food for your pet, use Pet Food Finder, and search for the clinic to treat your pet using Vet Clinics Locator.

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