Dogs need the right nutrition through their different stages of life. One of the most critical steps in a dog’s life is the senior stage. Just like humans, senior dogs go through several issues, some of which include poor health and less mobility. They need specialized diets to help them go through this phase in their life with enough energy and good health.
The nutrients you feed the senior dog should improve its poor functionality abilities that occur due to the advancing years. The best senior dog food that you choose for your aging dog should contain high-quality ingredients that come with the appropriate nutrition for the dogs. It is for this reason that we reviewed the best senior dog food recipes in the market and came up with this selection below.
1 What Is The Best Senior Dog Food
- 1.1 Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food
- 1.2 IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food
- 1.3 Orijen Senior High-Protein, Grain-Free Premium Quality Adult Dry Dog Food
- 1.4 Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food
- 1.5 Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food
- 1.6 Purina One SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ Formula Dog Food
- 1.7 Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dog Food
- 1.8 Fromm Gold Nutritionals Senior Dry Dog Food
- 1.9 Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
- 1.10 Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Food
- 1.11 Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
- 1.12 Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- 1.13 Nulo Senior Grain-Free Dog Food
- 1.14 Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Aging Dry Dog Food
- 1.15 Halo Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food
- 2 When Should You Switch To Senior Dog Food?
- 3 How Old Is My Dog In Human Years?
- 4 How Much Food Should I Feed My Senior Dog?
- 5 Common Health Problems In Senior Dogs
- 6 What To Do If Your Old Dog Won’t Eat
- 7 Wrapping it up
What Is The Best Senior Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food
- Contains real chicken as the primary meat-based protein source
- Includes the LifeSource bits formula
- Contains ingredients that promote joint health
- Enriched with other ingredients that include minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids
- Does not contain any artificial additives
- Comes in a 30-pound bag
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food provides every nutrition need suitable for a senior dog. The recipe comes with a unique formula that contains a mixture of essential ingredients that help to give the senior dog with energy. The ingredients include chicken, brown rice, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamins.
Chicken is the primary protein ingredient, and it helps the dog to maintain more muscular and leaner muscles. The omega 3 fatty acids help to support the dog’s healthy skin and shiny coat. It also helps to promote a more robust immune system.
The diet uses the blue buffalo’s proprietary LifeSource Bits formulation to make easily digestible dry kibbles that are ideal for the aging dog. The meal also contains glucosamine and chondroitin that support mobility and joint health. It also contains L-Carniture that supports a healthy heart and muscles. It does not contain soy, wheat, corn, chicken by-products, or artificial additives.
IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food
- Consists of real chicken as the main primary source of protein
- Includes glucosamine for healthy joints
- Includes wholesome grains
- Does not contain allergen causing grains such as wheat, or soy
- No artificial preservatives and additives
- Comes in a 26.2-pound bag
IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food is another quality vet-recommended formula that contains a blend of ingredients that provide a senior dog with all the nutrition needs it needs. The primary source of protein in the formula is real chicken that helps to promote the growth of strong and lean muscles. The formula also contains wholesome grains that contain fiber, which helps with digestion.
It also includes a vibrant blend of antioxidants, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that provide the senior dog with a more reliable immune system, healthy joints, and bones and fight other issues that come with aging. The crunchy kibbles of the recipe are easily digestible, and they help to scrub the dog’s teeth and jaw by getting rid of plaque. Glucosamine and chondroitin are other essential ingredients that nourish health joints and lean muscles.
The food is ideal for dogs aged nine years and above. It also comes with a great flavor and garnishes of veggies, and fruits. The formula is free from allergen-causing grains, artificial preservatives, and additives.
Orijen Senior High-Protein, Grain-Free Premium Quality Adult Dry Dog Food
- Contains 85% animal ingredients
- Great transitional diet
- Raw ingredients from 6 animal, sources
- WholePrey ingredients
- No outsourced ingredients
- Does not contain synthetic additives or artificial preservatives
- Includes fresh fruits and veggies
Orijen uses ingredients that focus on the biological dietary needs of the dogs. The formula the highly reputable company creates focuses on raw meats that meet the wild appetites of the dogs. The protein-rich adult dry dog food also contains other ingredients that blend with the proteins to provide the dog with good health and a robust immune system.
The primary ingredients in Orijen meals consist of wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs, free-run chicken, and turkey, which deliver great nutrition to the senior dogs for more muscular and leaner muscles. Two-thirds of the proteins in the recipe are raw and come with a taste that the dogs love. Orijen prepares all the meals in their privately owned DogStar Kitchen with only regional and no outsourced ingredients.
The formula also incorporates other WholePrey ingredients that add to the protein. The other ingredients that mirror the WholePrey ratios include bone, cartilage, and organs. The recipe also includes fresh fruits and veggies delivered to the kitchen from Kentucky farms and orchards. The meal is grain-free, with no soy, wheat, corn, artificial additives, and preservatives.
Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food
- Features a blend of 15 superfoods
- Made from three protein-rich ingredients
- Non-GMO ingredients
- Enriched with a rich blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients
- Ingredients are joint-friendly
- Contains no artificial additives or preservatives
- Comes in a 30.7-pound bag
Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food features 15 superfoods that provide senior dogs with enough nutrition to keep them healthy and free from issues that come with aging. The formula includes a vibrant blend of proteins derived from three sources. The three sources are chicken, lamb, and salmon.
The other superfoods that blend with the proteins to provide balanced nutrition include kale, spinach, apples, blueberries, chia seeds, sunflower oil, coconut, flaxseed, pumpkin, carrots, egg, and tomatoes. The formula also provides the senior dog with glucosamine and chondroitin that give the dog the ability to support joint health that, in turn, helps to prevent health issues such as arthritis. The grain-free diet does not contain any wheat, soy, corn, or gluten. It is also free artificial additives and preservatives.
The fish oil content in the recipe helps to reduce inflammations by providing the necessary EPA. It also improves the ability of the immune system to fight off infections more efficiently. The formula is slightly more expensive than others in the market are, but it is worth the amount.
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food
- Contains chicken as the primary protein source
- Contains a blend of antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other precious nutrients
- All the ingredients are natural
- Includes taurine
- Comes in a 5.05-pound bag
- Easily digestible kibbles
Senior dogs need the most nutritious diets for their wellbeing. They also need to deal with aging with more strength and stamina, which they can only get from a rich diet. Wellness Complete Healthy Natural Dry Dog Food provides nutrition and health from a combination of high-quality ingredients. The formula contains chicken as the primary protein source ingredient.
Other ingredients include blueberries, which are high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, potassium, carotenoids, and fiber, and flaxseed, which help to support healthy skin and coat. Others include spinach, prebiotics, probiotics chicory root extract, and others. It contains no soy, wheat, corn, or fillers.
It is also free from artificial additives and preservatives. The all-natural formula is a product from the USA, and it comes with a fantastic flavor and taste. The ingredients also ensure that the dog’s immune system stays firm while the presence of taurine ensures that the dog’s heart stays healthy.
Purina One SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ Formula Dog Food
- Contains real chicken as the primary protein ingredient
- Veterinarian-recommended formula
- Highly digestible ingredients
- Crunchy kibbles and meaty morsels
- Contains glucosamine
- Uses SmartBlend formula to provide a complete diet
Purina One is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to quality dog food. The company focuses on delivering recipes that come with balanced ingredients to suit all the nutritious needs of the pets. The senior dog food from the company contains ingredients that help the aging dog to stay healthy irrespective of the advanced age.
It helps to improve the dog’s energy, promote a healthier coat and skin, and support a more robust immune system. The main protein ingredient in the formula is chicken with a mixture of brewer’s rice, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, and corn, among others. The formula also contains fish oil that provides omega 3 fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and zinc.
Another essential ingredient is glucosamine, which helps with joint and bone health. The omega 3 fatty acids help the senior dog to keep healthy skin and coat. The SmartBlend formula provides the senior dog with 100% complete nutrition.
Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dog Food
- Deboned chicken is the primary source of protein
- Delicious taste
- Consists of whole foods
- Infused with minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, antioxidants, and other quality nutrients
Merrick Pet Care Company makes dog recipes with wholesome ingredients. The nourishing, healthy approach also goes into making the senior dog food. The formula of the grain-free recipe contains deboned chicken as the main ingredient. It provides the senior dog with more energetic and leaner muscles.
The formula also includes other ingredients such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and high levels of glucosamine that ensure the senior dog keeps a healthy skin and coat. Fiber-rich grains in the mixture help with smooth digestion and other nutrients that promote the dog’s immune system and overall health. Other whole food ingredients in the formula include blueberries, sweet potatoes, apples, and peas. It does not contain fillers, wheat, soy, corn, or gluten.
Fromm Gold Nutritionals Senior Dry Dog Food
- Comes in a 5-pound bag
- Contains chicken as the primary protein source
- Formulated to meet all AAFCO levels of nutrition
- Made in the USA
- Ideal for aging less active dogs
- Maintains a holistic approach to a balanced and complete nutrition
Fromm Dog Food products come with high-quality premium ingredients that meet all the nutritional needs of the dog. The senior dog formula contains chicken as the primary protein source ingredients, and it blends with other nutrients to retain the perfect balanced diet. The top ingredients promote the healthy growth of the dog’s muscles.
It also contains probiotics to aid in smooth digestion and a vibrant blend of omega 3 fatty acids that ensure the dog keeps a healthy skin and coat. The formula also consists of allergen-free grains that include oatmeal, brown rice, and barley.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
- Made with chicken, lamb, or salmon as primary protein sources
- Contains balanced minerals that support healthy heart and kidney
- Contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and vitamin E for healthy coat and skin
- Clinically proven antioxidants
- Great-tasting ingredients
- No artificial additives or preservatives
- Made in the USA
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food is a high-quality senior dog’s recipe that comes in a 5-pound bag. The main ingredients in the recipes include either chicken, lamb or salmon that provide the senior dog with healthy and leaner muscle build. Other essential ingredients in the formula include balanced minerals that promote the dog’s healthy heart and kidneys.
It also provides omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E that promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. The USA made formula contains only natural ingredients and does not have any artificial preservatives or additives. All the ingredients are from suppliers that meet stringent quality standards, which make the recipe highly safe and nutritious for the senior dog.
Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Food
- Contains high protein cage-free chicken as the main ingredient
- Include a probiotic formulation
- Includes a vibrant blend of superfoods rich in vitamins and minerals
- Contains essential amino acids and omega fatty acids
- Does not contain allergenic grains
Superfoods contain high nutritious properties that help to improve and support the health of a dog. The Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Food boasts of several superfoods that include pumpkin, chia seeds, blueberries, and kale that provide the formula with proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, and minerals. The primary ingredient in the formula is cage-free chicken, which helps to support and promote the dog’s lean muscle and bone growth.
The formula also consists of K9 strain probiotics, which is a beneficial bacterium that promotes healthy digestion and a robust immune system. The levels of proteins and fat in the formula help with maintaining an ideal body condition. The recipe also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and bones. The meal is free from allergenic grains such as soy.
Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
- The main ingredient is beef
- Contains wholesome grains
- Weight control ingredients
- Ideal for dogs with sensitive digestion
- Includes glucosamine and chondroitin
- Fortified with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids
- Contains L-Carniture
- Made in the USA with locally sourced ingredients
If you have a senior dog that needs extra care, you should get the Victor Senior Healthy Weight for its nutrition needs. The formula is ideal for older dogs that have a less active lifestyle as it helps to boost up their energy levels. The ingredients in the recipe also help with weight control, allowing the dogs to lead a healthier life during their senior years.
The nutrient-rich formula is also suitable for dogs prone to joint issues, which is a common problem with senior dogs. The main ingredient in the recipe is a beef meal with a mixture of whole-grain brown rice, grain sorghum, brown rice, chicken fat, menhaden fish oil, and other nutrient-rich ingredients. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin that support the healthy development of joints and bones.
The Victor Core Advanced proven ingredients promote a healthy digestive system and immune system. The formula is gluten-free with no soy or corn, and it does not contain any artificial additives or preservatives. The USA made recipe contains allergen-free wholesome grains and L-Carniture that help with healthy digestion.
Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Limited ingredients
- Ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- HealthPlus formula in every bite
- Comes in 6 different protein flavors
- All recipes made in the Canidae kitchen
Canidae makes all their recipes in a state of the art Texas facility. The senior dog formula contains chicken as the primary protein source ingredient alongside other nutrient-rich simple, and wholesome ingredients. It does not contain any corn, wheat, or soy. The formula is also free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. The grain-free formula is ideal for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs and weak digestion systems.
The formula contains probiotics to help with healthy digestion. The recipe has 7 to 10 limited ingredients with high nutrition values that ensure the dog gets optimal health. The whole foods in the formula include sweet potatoes, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
Fatty acids in the mixture support healthy skin and coat while the proteins promote strong and lean muscles. You can also feed the same formula to dogs throughout all their stages of life.
Nulo Senior Grain-Free Dog Food
- Contains five main protein ingredients
- Free from soy, wheat, corn
- Does not contain artificial preservatives, or additives
- Contains chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy muscles and a robust immune system
- Contains a blend of quality nutrients that provide overall good health
- Contain L-Carniture
- Delicious, tasty, easily digestible kibbles
The natural production of glucosamine and chondroitin slows down with the aging of dogs. You can help to increase the production of the two by feeding your senior dog with Nulo Senior Grain-Free Dog Food. The meal comes with tasty, crunchy kibbles that are ideal for the senior dogs aging jaws and digestive system.
The first three ingredients in the mixture are rich in proteins. It also contains L-Carniture that helps to support fat metabolism in the senior dog’s system. The probiotics content in the formula helps to promote healthier, stronger immune, and digestive systems. The kibbles are easily digestible, and they come with a tasty flavor.
The first five ingredients in the formula are deboned trout, turkey meal, salmon meal, yellow peas, and sweet potato. The proteins help to support lean and strong muscles and a healthy heart. The formula contains no wheat, corn, soy, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavorings. The ingredients also help with weight control and minimizing health issues such as arthritis.
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Aging Dry Dog Food
- Ideal for dogs aged 8 years plus
- Supports healthy joints and bones
- Regulates healthy intestinal transit
- Promotes healthy skin and coat
- 100% balanced and complete natural nutrition
- No artificial additives or preservatives
When it comes to specialized formulas for different stages of growth of dogs, Royal Canin provides the best-balanced diets. The recipe for aging dogs contains a blend of quality ingredients that support the aging joints and bones of the senior dogs while at the same time building a more reliable immune system. The formula is ideal for dogs aged 8 years and above.
It is also the healthiest transit diet for the dogs as they start their senior years. The kibbles come with a savory aroma and desirable flavors. They are easily digestible and come in a highly satisfying texture. The kibbles also help to support healthy jaws and dental formula.
The main ingredients are a chicken by-product meal, brewer’s rice, corn, wheat, chicken fat, and brown rice, among others. The easy to digest proteins support stronger muscles, better immune system, and overall good health. It also contains antioxidants and fatty acids that promote healthy skin and coat.
Halo Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food
- Contains whole meat as the primary protein source
- Formulated especially for older dogs
- Non-GMO ingredient
- Easily digestible ingredients
- Does not include any meat meal
- No antibiotics
Halo is a holistic dog meal that provides for whole meat as the main ingredient, with no meat meal. The grain-free senior dog recipe contains reduced fats and calories that match the decreased activities and metabolism of the senior dogs. The ingredients also help with weight management and the promotion of stronger and leaner muscles.
The formula contains fatty acids derived from non-GMO plant sources and vitamin E that help to promote healthy skin and shiny coat. It also includes other essential ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and L-Carniture that help to encourage healthy joints and bones and the dog’s overall health. The food is easily digestible and easy on the stomach. It does not contain artificial preservatives or additives.
When Should You Switch To Senior Dog Food?
While the aging of a dog is not a sickness, it comes with several health issues and diseases that need attention. One of the ways to keep them healthy is by switching to an entirely new diet. It is not an easy thing deciding when to switch to senior dog food, as there are several factors to consider. Some of the things you should consider before switching are the breed of the dog, health problems, and genetics.
What this means is that you do not have to switch dog food simply because brands market foods for dogs once they reach a certain age. You also have to take into consideration the changes that affect your dog’s nutritional needs. Some of the things that affect the dog’s dietary needs include weight gain, loss of muscle, a decline in kidney functions, lowering of the immune system, and joint issues such as arthritis.
Though dogs can continue to feed on the same diet even in their senior years, adjusting or transiting to a new one comes with benefits for many breeds. A new menu for senior dogs comes with nutrient adjustments that include lowering phosphorous and calcium levels for a healthy kidney, decreasing calories, and fats to prevent weight gain, and increase fiber intake for better digestion.
Others are using supplement vitamins and minerals for more energy and providing enough proteins for strong and lean muscles.
How Old Is My Dog In Human Years?
One of the hardest things to figure out about dogs is their age, especially if you have an adopted one. Dogs mature faster than adults do, which makes it even harder to figure out their real ages. Breed and size of the dog also determine how quickly or slow they mature. Smaller dog breeds live for more years than the larger breeds, and they develop faster in their early years.
According to research findings by the American veterinary medical association, a one-year dog equals to 15 human years. A dog in its second year equals to nine human years and, after which, five years for a dog equal to one human year. The chart above can help you with the calculation of dog’s years to human years.
To help you with the further determination of your dog’s age, look for the following clues. The first clue should be the teeth. A dog at 8 weeks should have the baby teeth formed. If you notice that the dog has some unformed baby teeth, then it is less than eight weeks. By 7 months, dogs of all breeds should have a complete set of permanent white and clean teeth.
By the second year of their life, the dog’s teeth look dull with some yellowing of the back teeth. Between the third and fifth year, you will notice that the teeth have tartar buildup and wear. Between five and ten years, dogs have ear on the teeth accompanied by several teeth ailments.
Between the ages of 10 and fifteen years, the dog’s teeth have massive tartar buildup, with some teeth missing and others worn out completely. A look at the joints, bones, internal organs, and muscles can also determine the age of the dog, but only a qualified vet can help with the assessment. If your dog shows signs of stiff legs, loose skin, cloudy eyes, and graying hair, then you should know that it is in its senior years.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Senior Dog?
Dietary changes for dogs change with the years. What you feed a puppy with is not the same as what you feed an adult or senior dog. The things that change in dietary formulas include the type of ingredients, portions, and the number of feeding times. Senior dogs have less active lives and susceptible to weight gain.
They are also vulnerable to several other health issues, some of which include arthritis, poor eyesight, kidney, and respiratory issues, digestive problems, and many more. Older dogs need more proteins in their diets. The ratio of proteins to calories should be 75 grams:1000 calories. Depending on the body weights of the dog, you can reduce or add fats to the diets.
You also need to add more fiber to the food to improve digestion. If you want your senior dog to gain weight, you should feed it with at least 450 calories per serving. If you want it to lose weight, you should reduce the calories to 350 per serving. If you are having trouble coming up with a feeding program, you should consult your vet for help
Read next: How Much Should I Feed My Dog
Common Health Problems In Senior Dogs
Every pet owner wishes that their dogs would stay young and active forever, but a time comes when they grow old and become less active. The aging process also comes with health issues, which, if left unattended, get out of control. The most common health problems of a senior dig are as follows;
Joint and bone problems
Joint issues are a common issue with older dogs. They develop osteoarthritis, which leads to pain and stiffness. The issue does not have a cure, but the right nutrition can help to maintain healthy joints.
Vision and hearing difficulties
The ears and eyes of a senior dog also go through tissue degeneration, which leads to blindness and deafness.
Cancer is another common health issue with older dogs though not all of them fall victim. Early cancer screening helps to rule out any problems.
Just as older people lose their memories, so do dogs as they get older. Some of the symptoms they display when dementia kicks in are unnecessary barking, confusion, whining, and disorientation, among others. Certain ingredients can help dogs improve their cognitive functions.
Obesity is a common health problem among senior dogs. One of the reasons for this is that they become less active, which prevents them from burning any calories. Obesity also leads to other issues such as diabetes and even cancer. The solution for this is changing the diet formulas to include fewer carbs and fats exercise helps the dogs to lose extra fat.
Older dogs also lose their kidney functions, which you can control with the right nutrition and medication.
As the dogs get older, they develop GI and incontinence issues such as UTI. Diarrhea is also another indication of GI. To help improve this, you should feed the dog with the right nutrition that does not cause any sensitivity and pay a visit to the vet.
The heart is also another body organ that gets the brunt of the aging process. The symptoms that come with this are coughing, breathing difficulties, vomiting, and loss of consciousness, among others. Again, you can prevent this by feeding the dog with the right ingredients that include taurine in the formulas.
What To Do If Your Old Dog Won’t Eat
Another challenging issue with older dogs is eating problems. Many of them become fussy eaters, and persuading them to eat is not an easy thing to do. The lack of appetite could be due to underlying health issues or just the aging process and laziness to eat. You can change this by ensuring that you make the meals as appealing as possible.
Mix dry foods with wet foods, feed the dogs more often with fewer amounts, increase their activity levels, and minimize treats and snacks in between meals. Wet foods add gravy and broth to dry foods, which makes it more tasty and appealing. Give the dog’s warm food so they can appreciate the flavor and taste more.
Wrapping it up
Raising older dogs is challenging as their demands are much more than the ones for younger dogs. Senior dogs develop several health issues that come with aging and less activity. If you want to avoid regular visits to the vet, you can start by feeding your senior dog with formulas that contain the highest quality ingredients.
The ingredients should have balanced nutrients that help to improve and support the overall dog’s health, which includes stronger leaner muscles, healthy digestion, stronger joints, bones, teeth and jaws, healthy coat and skin, and much more. The above formulas all come with ingredients that will see your senior dog enjoy the best last years of their lives.