Best Senior Dog Food: Review

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  • Updated on: 08/13/2020

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 dog food for elderly dogs?

Image by alkemade from Pixabay

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

Your senior dog should not eat the same food that you’ve been buying since switching from eating puppy food. A senior dog’s body undergoes many different changes as dog ages and these changes should be taken into consideration  From preventative measures that help your dog stay healthy to managing age-related diseases, the best food for older dogs 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.

Is your sweetheart a senior? If so, it’s high time to switch to another food, but it can be complicated to figure out the best senior food to feed them. As your fur baby ages, he will need a balanced senior dog food that is low in calories, high in fiber, and contains a moderate amount of protein and fat. Choosing a well-balanced senior dry dog food formula is vital for overall health, well-being, and helps extend your pooch’s lifespan. Use this list of the best rated senior dog foods to guide you through the options and choose the best senior dog food brand for you.

READ MORE: Stem Cell Therapy for Dogs

Best Dog Food Brands for Senior Dogs

Although many brands of dog food have quality advertising, drumming up customers, only a few are really of high quality. If you are in the hunt for the best food 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 food your veterinarian recommends for your dog’s specific needs.

Let’s dive right in…

Wellness

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 dog food brands.

Iams

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 senior dog’s health. The company’s mission is to design well-balanced dog food with unbeatable quality. It provides a money-back guarantee that your fluffy companion will love Iams food.

Purina

Purina is one of the oldest pet food 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 in dogs. 

Purina ProPlan is a top-class food recommended by vets. With the recent fame, the company continues to introduce innovations and meet any dog’s 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.

Hill’s 

This company holds one of the leading places on the list of dog food 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 of your senior dog.

READ MORE: Kidney Care for Dogs

The chart below is our complete chart with all best food for senior dogs:

Product

Features

Rating

Buy

Best for Small Breeds


Wellness Small Breed
Complete Health Senior

4.7 out of 5 stars

Price: from $16.49

AvoDerm Natural Small Breed Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

4.2 out of 5 stars

Price: from $16.34 

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Senior Chicken Dry Dog Food

4.6 out of 5 stars

Price: from $41.78 

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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Price: from $56.98 

Iams Proactive Health Small & Toy Breed Senior

4.7 out of 5 stars

Price: from $11.99 

Best for Large Breeds


Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Senior Dog Food

4.8 out of 5 stars

Price: from $47.42

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

4.8 out of 5 stars

Price: from $31.61 

IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food

4.7 out of 5 stars

Price: from $34.99 

Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Senior 7+

4.8 out of 5 stars

Price: from $14.49

Eukanuba Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

4.6 out of 5 stars

Price: from $49.49 

Best Dry Food


Hill’s Science Diet 7+

4.8 out of 5 stars

Price: from $51.99 

Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Dry Dog Food

4.8 out of 5 stars

Price: from $57.99

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food

4.5 out of 5 stars

Text

Price: from $39.89

Best Dry Food


Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality Dry Dog Food

4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: from $14.99

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

4.7 out of 5 stars

Price: from $9.98

Best Wet Food


Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food

4.7 out of 5 stars

Price: from $21.20

Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Trio of Proteins Wet Dog Food

4.7 out of 5 stars

Price: from $42.96

Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog Food

4.4 out of 5 stars

Price: from $34.08

Hill’s Science Wet Dog Food (7+)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: from $23.64 

Purina Pro Plan Senior Wet Dog Food

4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: from $22.68

Best Senior Dog Food Reviews

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

Best Senior Dog Food for Small Breeds

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior

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 your dog’s daily meal. The ideal balance of essential vitamins and minerals helps support good health, which senior small breed dogs really need.

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

This food 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.

         Features:

  • 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

Pros

Cons

  • 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
  • Limited availability in bag sizes

Back to the chart

AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice

AvoDerm Natural is a perfect choice for small breed dogs. 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.

Features:

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

Pros

Cons

  • Contains Californian avocado to keep your dog’s 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
  • The food is a little expensive

Back to the chart

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Chicken Dry Senior Dog Food

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 dog. The other ingredients – coconut and blueberries, also rich in nutrients and full of flavor, generate ideal health. This top-rated dry dog ​​food is crafted with GMO-free ingredients and does not contain by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial colors.

Features:

  • 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

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

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

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.

Features:

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

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

Iams Proactive Health Small & Toy Breed Senior

If you are looking for a top-quality dog ​​food 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 of your dog.

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 food for your small senior pooch.

Features:

  • The first ingredient is real chicken
  • Maintains a strong immune function with antioxidants
  • Supports bone health with a balance of essential nutrients for your small breed dog
  • Aids with digestion
  • Specially designed to meet the needs of your dog

Pros

Cons

  • 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 dogs

Back to the chart

Best Senior Dog Food for Large Breeds

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Senior Dog Food

Nutro enjoys the confidence of dog owners as a brand that uses ingredients from trusted farmers to contribute to prospering dog’s health at different life stages. The food 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.

Features:

  • Made from natural fibers to aid with digestion and antioxidants like vitamin E to promote better immunity
  • Rich in vitamins and nutrients
  • 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

Pros

Cons

  • Adequate protein level
  • Features fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Ingredients sourced from verified farmers
  • A bit pricey, but many dog parents claim it’s worth the price

Back to the chart

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

If you are on the hunt for more affordable kibble, Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Adult 7+ Formula Dry Dog Food is a good, inexpensive dog food for geriatrics. The primary ingredient is chicken, which helps develop your pooch’s heart and muscles, but this food contains a by-product meal.

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

Features:

  • 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

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food

This senior dog food 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. This food also helps keep your dog’s teeth plaque-free.

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

Features:

  • Starts with farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
  • Promotes muscle support in senior dogs
  • Boosts energy
  • Reinforces the immune system in mature dogs with vitamin E
  • Designed with necessary vitamins and minerals to cater to the specific nutritional needs of aging large breed dogs

Pros

Cons

  • No by-product meal
  • Specially designed for aging large dogs
  • Increases energy and metabolism
  • Some dogs may not prefer the taste

Back to the chart

Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Senior 7+

If you are searching a high-quality senior dog food, 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 dogs that are not as active as before.

Features:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain hip and joint health
  • Aids with digestion
  • Improves immunity in mature dogs with wholesome fruits and vegetables
  • Features calcium and phosphorus that help your pooch maintain strong bones

Pros

Cons

  • No artificial ingredients
  • 80% protein from animal sources
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Not as affordable to dog parents as other popular brands

Back to the chart

Eukanuba Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba takes into account all needs of senior large breed dogs. If your dog 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.

Features:

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

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

Best Dry Dog Food for Senior Dogs

Hill’s Science Diet 7+

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 your senior dog’s nutritional needs. Dog parents are happy to feed their older dogs regularly with this food.

Features:

  • Provides a blend of antioxidants, vitamin E and C to maintain a strong immune system
  • Supports a well-balanced diet for kidney functions
  • Highly-digestible
  • No artificial colors
  • Contains Omega-3 fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat noticeably shiny and healthy

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Dry Dog Food 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 your dog’s 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.

Features:

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

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food

This dry kibble is a great choice to address the nutritional needs of senior dogs’ daily meals. Wellness dog food 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, dog 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 food ingredients such as chicken, white fish, brown rice, and vegetables. All of these ingredients ensure balanced nutrition for geriatrics.

Features:

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

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

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

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 dog safe from various diseases. Here, chicken is the main source of protein.

Features:

  • 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
  • Comes with antioxidants for a healthy brain

Pros

Cons

  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Many positive reviews
  • A bit pricey, but many dog parents claim it’s worth the price

Back to the chart

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

This dry kibble from Blue Buffalo is crafted with real meat, veggies, and fruits. This food 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. Dog parents highly recommend this dry kibble for nutritional value and reasonable price.

Features:

  • Starts with real meat as the first ingredient
  • High-quality protein helps your senior dog maintain healthy muscles
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints and bones
  • A blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keeps a healthy immune system

Pros

Cons

  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Highly digestible
  • No by-product meal, wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors
  • Only one flavor available

Back to the chart

Best Wet Dog Food for Senior Dogs

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food

While most dog foods 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 your senior dog’s well-being. This wet dog food also does not contain a by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, or any artificial fillers. Thus, even pooches with allergies may eat it safely.

Features:

  • 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

Pros

Cons

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

Back to the chart

Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Trio of Proteins Wet Dog Food

If your senior dog needs softer food, Nutro Ultra wet dog food 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 canned dog food 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. Dog parents appreciate this wet food because it boosts their dogs’ energy and makes them look like they are still young puppies.

Features:

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

Pros

Cons

  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen joints
  • Highly digestible
  • Rich in moisture and delicious for senior dogs
  • Several sources of protein
  • High pricing
  • Wet foods may not be suitable for dogs with dental problems

Back to the chart

Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog Food

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 dog 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.

Features:

  • No artificial ingredients
  • Suitable for all breeds
  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition for aging dogs
  • Enhances digestive health
  • Low in calories
  • Good option for dogs with reduced appetite

Pros

Cons

  • Available in three different can sizes
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Quality control
  • Easy to digest
  • Great for healthy skin and fur
  • The price point keeps many dog parents away

Back to the chart

Hill’s Science Wet Dog Food (7+)

This wet food 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, this canned dog food rounds up your senior dog’s nutritional needs. However, with beef fat, this food may be too high in calories for dogs with weight problems.

Features:

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

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Back to the chart

Purina Pro Plan Senior Wet Dog Food

This wet food for seniors 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.

Features:

  • Designed for dogs after hitting seven years
  • Omega-3 fatty acids help to grows healthy skin and shiny fur
  • An optimal fat level supports a healthy body weight
  • Dog parents may use this wet food in addition to Purina Pro Plan kibble or as a complete and balanced diet

Pros

Cons

  • Reasonable price
  • Crafted with real meat
  • Soft pieces
  • Easy to digest
  • No artificial flavors
  • Shorter shelf life

Back to the chart

FAQ –  Frequently Asked Questions

Photo by Shea Rouda on Unsplash

🐕 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 dog’s 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 of older dogs 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 your senior dog, there is no one 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 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].

Useful sources

  1. Senior Dog: A Guide by Fred Metzger, DVM, Diplomate ABVP, owner, Metzger Animal Hospital, State College, Pa., and adjunct professor, Penn State University, Mark Nunez, DVM, president, California Veterinary Medical Association
  2. When is a dog considered a senior? by Adrienne Farricelli, certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of “Brain Training for Dogs”
  3. The Living Well Guide for Senior Dogs – Diane Morgan, Wayne Hunthausen, DVM
  4. At what age is my dog considered a senior by Dr. Sarah Wooten, practicing veterinarian, certified veterinary journalist
  5. Choosing the best food for older dogs by Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN, an associate professor of clinical nutrition at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in California, Lisa M. Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts
  6. Senior dog food guide by Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM and veterinary nutritionist
  7. How to feed senior dog by Caroline Coile, PhD

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