The Best Senior Dog Food Choices in 2021

Last Updated August 26, 2021

Nutrition is important across the lifespan. Even for a mutt, getting the right nutrients in sufficient amounts can help support the different growth, development, and maturation needs of dogs in various stages of their existence. Like the elderly among us, senior pooches will typically require specialized diets both to meet their age-appropriate nutrient requirements and to improve their declining functionality as a result of advancing age. Owners of elderly dogs should thus, invest in high-quality, age-appropriate nutrition for their pets. You can start with our own selection of the 10 best senior dog foods you can ever find in the market today.

The 10 Top-Rated Senior Dog Foods

Editor's PicksProduct NamePriceRating
Best OverallBlue Buffalo Life Protection FormulaCheck Price on Amazon4.7
Premium PickORIJEN Senior Biologicall Appropriate Dog FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.6
Best for Cognitive FunctionWellness Complete Health Senior Dog FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.5
Best Fresh Dog FoodThe Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog FoodCheck Latest Price 4.6
Best for Small BreedsHill's Science Diet Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.7
Best for Sensitive StomachsDiamond Naturals Senior Dog FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.6
Best for Large BreedsIams Mature Adult Large Breed Dry Dog FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.5
Best Wet FoodWellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.7
Best L.I.D.CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Senior Limited Ingredient Chicken Dog FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.6
Best Food for ArthritisNutro Ultra The Superfood Plate SeniorCheck Price on Amazon4.7
*Ratings are from Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart at the time of publication and can change



The BLUE Life Protection Formula dry dog food for senior dogs is specially formulated to provide your senior dog with the best possible nutrient profile to support its vital functioning as it grows older. It comes with a mixture of chicken and brown rice for the right combination of tissue-maintaining protein and energy-giving healthy carbohydrates sans the angst related to wheat, corn, or soy.

BLUE boasts of its proprietary LifeSource Bits formulation which packs 7 health-giving minerals and vitamins in their age-appropriate amounts into easily digestible dry kibbles. It’s also packed with the right amounts of omega-3 fatty acids for healthier coat and skin while also aiding in the enhancement of canine immune functioning. It may not be the best senior dog food based on the number of customer reviews, but it sure can provide an exceptional balance of the right nutrients to support the optimum functioning of an aging dog.

Take a look at our Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review.

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Chicken as its principal source of meat-based protein

LifeSource Bits formulation

Contains joint-friendly nutrients

Enriched with essential fatty acids

No artificial and harmful ingredients 

  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 17
  • Weight: 30 pounds


ORIJEN Senior Biologicall Appropriate Dog Food

Orijen’s senior dry dog food has been selected as our premium pick for pet parents owing to the high percentage of animal ingredients resulting in a densely packed source of protein. Protein is essential for muscle recovery in older dogs that struggle with mobility. Additionally, their choice to include fish in the ingredient mix provides a rich source of omega fatty acids to assist in the care of your dog’s skin and coat. 

They have even taken the added care to coat their biscuits infreeze-dried liver to provide an irresistible natural flavor. All elements of the Orijen have been carefully selected to provide a well-balanced premium meal experience for your pooch. The only thing we should point out with this particular food is the fact that the bag does not seal shut, and so you may want to keep a clamp nearby to lock in the freshness. ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free is one of 5 dog food recipes included in our review of Orijen Dog Food.

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Rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals

Packed with protein to muscle recovery

The first 5 ingredients are raw or fresh elements

Contains 85% fish and poultry ingredients

Coated with freeze-dried liver for natural flavoring

  • Brand: ORIJEN
  • Model: 101297
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs, 13 lbs, 25 lbs


The Wellness senior dog food is one of the best-selling senior dog food brands that you can expect to deliver high-quality kibbles for your aging mutt. Each kibble is specially formulated using only the highest possible quality chicken for optimum protein and fatty acid. Augmenting the nutritional benefits of premium chicken are antioxidant-rich blueberries and spinach and omega-3 fatty acid-rich flaxseed. It also has a sufficiently higher proportion of protein in each kibble, accounting for not less than 22% while its fat is at 10% minimum.

The Wellness Complete Health Natural dog food for older dogs also comes fortified with taurine which is essential for optimal cognitive functioning. This can be handy among senior pooches that may already be showing signs of cognitive decline. If not the addition of essential fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals should help promote healthier cognitive function. It contains no artificial, harmful, or allergenic grains and other substances. If you believe in what people are saying about the Wellness Complete Health, you’d definitely want it for your senior mutt, too.

Read in-depth brand review here.

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Designed specifically for promoting optimum wellness in aging mutts

All natural ingredients with chicken as its principal protein

Filled with antioxidant-rich nutrients

Contains essential fatty acids

Contains taurine

  • Brand: Wellness Natural Pet Food
  • Model: 89145
  • Weight: 5.05 Pounds


The Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog Food

We’ve been a lover of this particular subscription-based fresh food brand for some time. The Farmer’s Dog is unmatched for freshness. Specifically designed to have minimal ingredients, to help pet parents keep a close eye on everything their dog is consuming, it is perfect for anyone trying to minimize the risk of allergens. Dogs notoriously become more sensitive to environmental factors as they get older, much like humans. With intolerances cropping up left right and center.

This fresh food is made to order and can be frozen until you need it. The founders of The Farmer’s Dog have an unmatched empathy with their customers, owing to the fact that the brand was created due to personal experiences with owning a dog that struggles with digestive distress caused by unknown allergens. The natural flavors and moist texture has proven to be irresistible.

Read in-depth review.

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The first ingredient is real USDA beef

Relatively low carbohydrate content

Packed with plenty of moisture and protein

A clear cut, limited ingredient recipe

Uses a subscription-based service

  • Brand: The Farmer’s Dog
  • Model: n/a
  • Weight: 25 lbs, 55 lbs


Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science has transferred its extensive knowledge of adult dog foods into perfectly formulated senior dog food. They have been careful to avoid artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives in order to limit the number of potential allergens. However, what makes this a great choice for particularly small dogs is the choice to design the biscuits in small, easy pieces. Small breed dogs often struggle with standard-sized dog biscuits, as they can be hard work enough to chew through without having their mouth completely filled by one or two. Seeing as older dogs are more likely to struggle with day-to-day tasks in general, it is only fair to make their meal times as easy as possible.

This food contains plenty of omega fatty acids to look after your little dog’s fur, as well as a carefully balanced fiber content to assist your tiny pooch with digestion. The only problem you may run into when it comes to the Hill’s Science senior dog food is the lack of variety available. Some dogs can be terribly picky eaters, and if your pup has a problem with chicken, you may find yourself struggling to get them adjusted to the change.

You might also want to have a detailed look at Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food.

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Contains vitamins C and E to support the immune system

No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Includes omega-6 fatty acids to support an active lifestyle

Highly digestible protein to maintain healthy muscles

High-quality fiber to support healthy digestion

  • Brand: Hill’s Science
  • Model: 2533
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs, 15.5 lbs


Boasting of a unique probiotic formulation, the Diamond Naturals dog food for older dogs beyond 8 years of age provides exceptional gut-friendliness so that all of its packed nutrients are absorbed relatively well by your pooch. The Diamond is filled with vitamins and minerals from a variety of superfoods, helping ensure optimum health for the aging mutt. It also contains substances that strengthen the joints to allow for greater movement so mutts can continue to enjoy being active.

The formulation includes chicken with quinoa and chia seeds added into the mix to provide your mutt with essential amino acids. It also contains omega fatty acids as well as healthy fruits and vegetables for optimum nutrition. Its antioxidant profile is also remarkable as it is filled with some of the most powerful substances to fight oxidative stress that is usually heightened with aging.

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Gut-friendly probiotics

Formulated with joint-friendly nutrients

Filled with antioxidants

Contains no allergenic grains

More affordable pricing 

  • Model: 074198608430
  • Weight: 35.8 Pounds


Iams Mature Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Iams Proactive Health dog food is particularly popular owing to the carefully selected formula designed to assist large breed senior dogs in keep active and fit throughout their lives. Large dogs, in particular, can have a hard time with mobility in old age due to the very common joint problems they are prone to developing. As a result, keeping your large dog active can be hard work. The Iams ProActive mature adult food line is not only a fantastic source of protein to enable your large pooch to recover at the end of a long day, but they have also made a point of including calcium to protect and strengthen their bones and joints.

Additionally, they have included prebiotics and high-quality fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system, which is extremely helpful when you consider that large dogs often struggle with constipation due to slower digestion. Just keep in mind that, much like Hill’s Science food, this particular line is only currently available in chicken flavor. Though this can be beneficial as it keeps the protein simple, it can also be difficult with picky eaters.

Find out more about Iams Dog Food.

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Features real farm raised chicken as the first ingredient

No fillers, additives, or preservatives

Contains key nutrients to support joint and bone health

Includes prebiotics and fibers to promote healthy digestion

Contains antioxidants for immune system support

  • Brand: Iams
  • Model: 61752
  • Weight: 15 lbs, 30 lbs


Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog Food

Wellness has created the Complete Health senior formula with your dog’s health in mind. It is a highly nutritional formula that was carefully compiled with the help of veterinarians and dietary professionals. You’re getting extremely balanced, high-quality food with Wellness. Of the first four ingredients for this delicious wet food, three of them are fresh chicken (none of which are chicken meat meal), and the fourth is whitefish. There are no unnecessary filler ingredients, just the essentials for keeping your dog healthy in their old age.

Wellness has been careful to include calcium, to strengthen your pup’s bones and joints, as well as vitamins and minerals to maintain and support your dog’s overall health, including cognitive, visual, and audial. If you’re looking for wet dog food filled with high-quality deboned chicken, then you need to look no further. However, keep in mind that this is not a grain-free formula, and so it may not be the best senior dog food for pups with grain sensitivities.
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Features a rich savory flavor great for picky eaters

Balanced with premium protein and vegetables

Formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians

Designed to support the immune system as overall health

Contains all essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

  • Brand: Wellness
  • Model: 49215
  • Weight: 6o z, 12.5 oz


CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Senior Limited Ingredient Chicken Dog Food

Chicken is the number one ingredient in the Canidae Pure senior dog food range. The delicious, flavourful formula has been carefully developed with just 9 key ingredients including chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, peas, potatoes, sun-cured alfalfa, chicken fat. Senior dog food with limited ingredients can be a great way of monitoring your dog’s allergies and is often recommended as the best senior dog food for delicate pups. This particular type of limited ingredient food. 

Canidae’s senior dog food is filled with probiotics and antioxidants to encourage smooth digestion, whilst also containing omega fatty acids to care for their skin and coat, which can often dry out with older dogs. The food comes in small biscuits that can make mealtimes run much smoother for your pup, as the smaller biscuits are much less effort. So if you’re wanting to narrow down your dog’s diet in order to monitor this intake, Canidae’s Pure LID food may be the best senior dog food option for your pooch. If you want to find out more about their company, product lines, and recall history, read our overview of CANIDAE Dog Food.

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Grain-free with no corn, wheat, or soy

Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Filled with probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.

First five ingredients are filled with protein

Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints

  • Brand: CANIDAE
  • Model: 93163
  • Weight: 4 lbs, 12 lbs, 24 lbs


Featuring 12 superfoods, Nutro’s ULTRA senior dog foods formulation provides a healthier and more nutritious way of supporting your elderly pooch’s aging body. Its protein content is sourced from a blend of chicken, salmon, and lamb and mixed with 12 of the world’s superfoods that include sunflower oil, tomatoes, flaxseed, coconut, egg, pumpkin, spinach, kale, blueberries, apples, carrots, and chia seeds.

The chicken meal provides an exceptional source of chondroitin and glucosamine for optimum joint health as arthritis and other disorders of the joints are major health issues among elderly canids. It also doesn’t contain wheat gluten, soy, or corn so you’ll feel safer if one of your concerns is that your pooch might be allergic to these grains. The fish oil content helps provide for the necessary EPA which can aid in the reduction of inflammatory processes while also augmenting the ability of the immune system to ward off infections that are common in the elderly. Nutro’s ULTRA dog food for older dogs is quite expensive though. But if you’re looking for the best in senior canine nutrition, you won’t go wrong with the ULTRA.

Check out our Nutro Dog Foods Review.
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Inclusion of 12 superfoods

Protein-rich from 3 different sources

Packed with joint-friendly substances

Enriched with essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals

No preservatives and artificial ingredients

  • Brand: Nutro
  • Model: 10162678
  • Weight: 30.7 Pounds


Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Canned Dog Food

We all know canned dog food is nearly irresistible for any pooch. And whilst it may have the potential to be the fattier or more expensive option, it’s hard to say no to their adorable little faces, even in their old age. The likelihood is that your dog hasn’t had a canned meal since the puppy food phase, so if you’re thinking of switching your senior dog over to canned food you need to do it properly. Add small amounts of the canned food to their biscuits, to begin with, slowly introducing more and more over the course of a couple of weeks.

We’ve chosen the Halo Holistic chicken recipe as the right senior dog food for pups making the transition to soft food owing to its high protein content and balanced formula. Using only fresh animal protein from a single source (chicken), along with nutrients and minerals to help your dog to metabolize their food more easily. This is certainly one of the best dog food choices for senior pups. And as a little added extra, Halo has earned the badge of “Animal Welfare Certified” for their farming methods.

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Contains only whole chicken meat

Features sustainably sourced ingredients with no GMO products

No artificial ingredients or meat meals

High-quality fiber ingredients aid digestive health

Smooth texture and rich flavor is perfect for fussy pups

  • Brand: Halo
  • Model: 194491
  • Weight: 13 oz cans


If your senior pet happens to be not drinking too much water or is currently sick that its appetite is somewhat affected, you might want to give it this Homestyle Recipe wet dog food for senior dogs. It contains about 78% moisture to keep your pooch well-hydrated even if it is no longer drinking from its bowl. The BLUE Homestyle is available in single-ingredient proteins such as beef, chicken, lamb, fish, and turkey. 

Each of these recipes are formulated with the right amounts of nutrients especially chondroitin and glucosamine for healthier joints, helping prevent arthritis or promoting optimum mobility. The Homestyle contains hearty and healthy whole grains as well as antioxidant-rich fruits for optimum nutrition. Since it is canned canine food, expect it to be pricier. As such, you might want to reserve this for really sick pets or perhaps mix it with their favorite kibble if in case its price is a major consideration. If not, then feeding it with Homestyle senior dog foods should be an excellent choice.

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Real meat-sourced proteins, amino acids, and fatty acids

Wholesome grains with additional antioxidant fruits and veggies

Some variants with novel sources of proteins

78 percent moisture

No allergenic grains like wheat 

  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 800442
  • Weight: 9.4 pounds


Royal Canin Small Breed Chunks in Gravy Pouch Dog Food

Packaged in an ultra-convenient easy-access storage box, these gravy-rich pouches are fantastic for fussy pups. With the addition of adapted phosphorus and antioxidants, it is particularly well suited to dogs that require a little bit of extra help with their digestive and urinary tracts. Seeing as this is a common problem with senior dogs, Royal Canin’s chunky gravy pouches fit the bill perfectly. Easily making this one of the best senior dog foods for small dogs.

Though these sachets may be best suited to small breeds, owing to the portion sizes, they can also act as a delicious mixer with dry food. So larger breeds can enjoy a little extra gravy on their dinner whilst still receiving the benefits that come with this carefully formulated Royal Canin food. The main downside to this food is the fact that the individual pouches are not resealable. Meaning you will either need to use the full pouch is one meal or find something to hold it closed, such as a paperclip.

Check out our detailed review of Royal Canin Dog Food.

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Available for dogs of all life stages

Antioxidant blend supports vitality and healthy aging

Adapted phosphorus content supports kidney health

Promotes healthy skin and coat with DHA and EPA

Comes in an easy-access convenient storage box

  • Brand: Royal Canine
  • Model: 724985
  • Weight: 3 oz pouches


CANIDAE All Life Stages Canned Dog Food

Ideal for supporting small breed dogs through their senior years. Canidae has done it once again! This delicious wet dog food is definitely among the best senior dog food choices owing to the irresistible flavoring and easy texture. As they get older senior dogs have a tendency to struggle with their teeth after years of chewing on chew toys and sticks. If your senior dog is exhibiting signs of experiencing dental difficulty then it would be a good idea to begin the switch to wet dog food. This is where Canidae comes in, with a recipe that contains carefully selected grains to keep your dog fueled throughout the day, and a delicious supply of protein drenched in chicken broth.


The formula has been carefully put together by veterinarians to ensure your dog gets everything they need in their diet with minimal effort on their part. Fortunately, the Canidae canned dog food can even be mixed with dry dog food, if you’re not quite ready to make the full switch yet. In fact, you can use it to add some extra flavor to dry food in general, whether or not your dog is experiencing dental trouble.

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Can be used with dogs of all sizes and life stages

Formulated by veterinarians

Chicken broth provides delicious flavor

Does not include wheat, corn, or soy

Wholesome grains provide pups with energy

  • Brand: CANIDAE
  • Model: 47023
  • Weight: 12 x 13 oz cans


Nutro Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nutro is easily among the best senior dog food choices on our list. It is a natural, easily digestible dry dog food designed to keep your old dog fighting fit. The use of farm-raised chicken and lack of by-product meal and fillers in this recipe shows that Nutro cares about quality. They have even chosen to include whole grain brown rice as an individual source of carbohydrate to fuel the day’s activity, whilst avoiding potentially troublesome ingredients such as corn, wheat, and soy. It is a carefully balanced diet for a senior dog to be fueled by. 

With Nutro Natural Choice your dog will be given excellent support for their immune system, with the help of essential antioxidants. Additionally, their old bones will be well protected owing to the fact that Nutro was careful to include plenty of calcium in this formula, which avoiding GMO ingredients. The only issue you may stumble across with this food is that though it is a high-quality recipe, it is not grain-free. So just take care if you have a dog with grain sensitivities. Nutro Senior Chicken & Brown Rice is one of 10 recipes included in our review of Nutro Dog Food.

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High-quality chicken is the first ingredient

Made with non-GMO ingredient

Free from chicken by-product meal, wheat, corn, and soy

Includes calcium to support strong bones and joints

Essential antioxidants strengthen the immune system.

  • Brand: Nutro Natural Choice
  • Model: 86824
  • Weight: 13 lbs, 30 lbs

Best Senior Dog Food Buying Guide

Do Older Dogs Need Special Diets?

One of the most important physiologic changes that occur with aging is the slow decline of the dog’s energy levels. It is not really because they have grown lazy but rather because of the reduction in the function of organs that are associated with mobility. They may already have arthritis or other joint problems that can significantly impact their mobility. The pain and discomfort associated with these conditions can make moving quite frustrating. As a result, senior dogs may prefer to simply lie down all day long. When this occurs, they no longer require too much energy coming from carbohydrates.

As such, one of the essential dietary changes that elderly mutts will undergo is a reduction in their carbohydrate and fat intake since carbs are the primary source of calories for energy and fats providing highly concentrated forms of energy. However, while older mutts will benefit from reduced caloric intake, they will need more fiber in their diets as these can help facilitate normal digestion and the more efficient movement of bowels. Immobility has a negative effect on gut peristalsis so introducing fiber into their diet will help facilitate the removal of these wastes in the gut.

Another reason why their diets need to be lower in calories is that their metabolic rates are significantly reduced. Coupled with inactivity, they are now more prone to the development of obesity and its associated metabolic problems.

Older pooches will also require more water as the inherent ability of their body to balance water decreases with age. The risk for dehydration and fluid and electrolyte imbalance is amplified with reduced water intake. That is why it is crucial to offer older dogs clean and fresh drinking water. However, if mobility is a problem or if the pup doesn’t want to drink, then giving them moisture-rich dog food should suffice.

Older mutts also require low-sodium and low-fat diets as the risk for metabolic problems is increased exponentially if they are fed too much of these nutrients.

Since mobility is a major issue among older canids, you can provide them with supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin, although there are many dog food formulations that already contain these two substances. These molecules can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis and other conditions of the articular surfaces by improving the production of synovial fluid and by increasing the flexibility of the joint capsule. Overall, these lead to improvement in their mobility, although experts recommend weight management can also provide the same benefits.

Older pooches also benefit from higher-quality proteins. It should be noted that proteins help in the maintenance of healthy body weight while also keeping muscle mass. High protein intake also relieves pressure on the kidneys, further minimizing the risk of developing kidney-related canine diseases.

In a gist, senior canines require high protein, high fiber, low fat, and low carbohydrate diets. They will also benefit from micronutrient-rich canine chow.

Dog eating at home

Are There Health Problems that Can Affect the Diet of an Elderly Dog?

The elderly diet we described above is specifically for normal, healthy senior dogs. Unfortunately, if they have existing health problems, their diets may have to be specialized to account for the nutrient requirements of these health problems.


Almost all aging dogs present with arthritis which is characterized by inflammation and immobility of the affected joints. It is almost similar to arthritis experienced by humans. Inflamed and painful joints will limit mobility that you don’t want to move at all. Elderly dogs with arthritis can benefit from supplementation with chondroitin and glucosamine. If these substances are already present in your pooch’s diet, then there clearly is no need for supplementation. Additionally, one can include alfalfa, ginger, papaya, and celery in their canine food as these natural ingredients have been shown to reduce some of the symptoms of articular conditions.

Gum Disease

While giving dry kibbles can help prevent, or at least minimize, the development of periodontal diseases, advancing age is always characterized by the deterioration of the integrity of tissues, bones, and teeth included. Because of the continuing degradation of tooth integrity, it becomes more susceptible to the development of tartar and plaques which can introduce bacteria and other harmful microorganisms into the deeper structures of the teeth until such time that these germs reach the gum tissue.

Although there are no diets that can help treat gum disease in dogs, there are those that can help retard the deterioration of the teeth’ structure. Calcium-rich foods, as well as foods that are low in starchy carbohydrates, can help. Calcium can strengthen the integrity of the teeth while reducing the intake of carbohydrates can deprive germs of energy to grow.

You may also like our review of the Best Calcium Supplements for Dogs.


If you think diabetes is inherently a disease among humans, you’re wrong. And while canids cannot be given insulin or even oral hypoglycemic agents, their diets can play a role in the development of diabetes.

Since the major culprit in diabetes is the abnormal accumulation of glucose in the blood, a canine diabetic diet is centered on reducing the carbohydrate content of food. This means that fewer carbohydrates will be converted into glucose. Additionally, increasing the fiber in their diets can also aid in the management of diabetes. Fiber gives bulk to the food and most of this is actually eliminated and never absorbed. As such, they don’t get converted into glucose. Moreover, providing food that is slowly absorbed can help prevent the abrupt increase or sudden spike in blood sugar levels. For diabetic senior canids, this might be tricky as they may have other problems that can compound their diabetes.

Find out more about the Best Food for Diabetic Dogs.


Visual changes are expected as your dog ages. The important thing to remember is that, if your older pet already has problems with its vision, a trip to your veterinarian will be necessary. More often than not your mutt will be given a diet that is rich in docosahexaenoic acid and beta-carotene. DHA is well-regarded in improving the nerve impulses transmitted across the eye structure while beta carotene can help enhance the function of photoreceptors inside the eye. Unfortunately, there are no diets that can really cure complete blindness.

Kidney Disease

Senior pooches that have kidney problems can benefit a lot from a well-designed renal diet that consists of low higher-quality proteins, low in phosphorus, and high in moisture. Maybe you lost us in the “low higher quality proteins”. What we meant is that your pooch requires higher quality proteins but in lower amounts. Because the kidneys are already dysfunctional, providing too many byproducts of protein metabolism can put additional strain on the kidneys. Too much phosphorus can also put added stress on the kidneys. Giving your pet pooch canned or wet dog food is ideal as the increased moisture content can help the kidney in its function; after all, the kidney relies on water to be efficient.


Elderly canines with cancer often have their immune systems substantially affected. If they are undergoing cancer therapy, most of their tissues are also damaged and these will need to be replaced. The diet of a dog with cancer should thus, include high protein, high fat, and grain-free. The reason is quite simple. Protein is needed to support tissue-building processes while fats are required to ensure the integrity of these newly-built tissues. Going for grain-free and non-allergenic foodstuffs can help prevent putting strain on the already-compromised immune system.

Read here our detailed review of Dog Food for Allergies.


Forgetfulness. That’s what dementia is to most people. Elderly pooches have it, too. Good thing dog chow formulations that are rich in Vitamins C and E, beta carotene, carotenoids, flavonoids, selenium, DHA, and EPA have been shown to be especially helpful in improving canine memory and cognitive functioning.

How to Choose the Right Food for Your Senior Dog

Choosing the best chow for your aging pooch is not really easy as these types of pets often have underlying medical problems that can compound their ability to process food. In most cases, they will also require special diets based on their existing health condition. So how do you choose the right food for your senior dog?

Take a look at our Dog Food Brands List.

Start with a Comprehensive Assessment by Your Vet

Your veterinarian can provide you with exceptional advice on what to feed your aging mutt depending on its health profile. If it has any of the common diseases that affect senior dogs as we have presented in the preceding discussion, then you must be made fully aware of specific diets. Unfortunately, if there are coexisting diseases that require conflicting dietary requirements, your vet can show you the best way to address such issues.

Always Choose Higher Quality Protein Sources

Protein is perhaps the most important macronutrient in aging canines. This is needed to support the ongoing tissue-building processes that aim to replace age-damaged tissues. Without protein, you will only be hastening the deterioration of your pet pooch. Even pooches with kidney problems can benefit from high-quality proteins, albeit in much lower quantities.

Make Sure to Include Wholesome Grains

A lot of folks are wary about the word ‘grain’. While grain-free diets can be beneficial to pooches with immune system problems, wholesome grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are exceptional sources of amino acids. These are proteins that no longer need to be broken down as they are already in their simplest forms. This means they are readily used by the body to build tissues.

Say ‘No’ to Artificial

No matter how well their marketing efforts go, don’t pick a product that comes with anything but natural ingredients. Everyone is already aware that anything artificially synthesized is not really good for you and for your pets. From preservatives to coloring to flavorings, as long as it is not natural, stay away from it.

Lounch time

What You Can Do If Your Senior Dog Refuses to Eat

Elderly dogs require the rights amounts of the right nutrients that are appropriate for their overall health. Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon that dogs can lose their appetite sometimes. This can have more profound effects on older canines. So what should you do then if your old pooch simply refuses to eat?

Check with Your Vet

It is important to check with your veterinarian why your pooch is not eating. Any disease or illness must be ruled out first before you can start enticing your pooch to eat. For example, if they have stomach upset, they will typically be nauseous, causing them to not eat. Also, if they have cancer, they will generally lose their appetite.

Try Home-Cooked Meals

Now is the time to cook some well-deserved treats for your pets. Just remember not to put any ingredient that is considered hazardous or toxic to pets such as garlic, onions, and many more. Cooked chicken with brown rice or even lamb with rice should help them get interested in eating again.

Consider Flavor Enhancers

This should only be done if your home-cooked meals don’t work. Sadly, many of these come with artificial ingredients so you have to look for those with natural flavor enhancers.

Elderly canines need special diets because of the changes in their body that are brought about by the aging process. Generally, they will require more high-quality proteins, fiber, and water and fewer fats and carbohydrates, especially the starchy ones. Older mutts also require specialized diets if they happen to have medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney problems, arthritis, cancer, dementia, and others. Choosing the right food for them is thus, crucial. To do this, you need to check with your vet the specific type of diet that your mutt needs, especially if it has a health problem. With the 10 best senior dog foods you can narrow your search for the most appropriate chow for your elderly mutt.


Depending on the breed, your dog could do with being moved over to senior food anywhere between 6-8 years of age. Especially large dogs, like Great Danes, tend to have a shorter life expectancy, so they may need to make the transition sooner. Equally, especially small breed dogs (under 20 pounds) are considered to be senior age when they reach around 10-years. Though most dogs would be considered “seniors” when they reach 8-years-old.

Older dogs metabolize their food more slowly and have more delicate digestive systems. Therefore you should make the transition as slowly as possible. If the transition is too quick you could cause digestive distress or stomach issues such as sickness and constipation. Ideally, it should take no less than 2 weeks to complete the transition. start by adding a small amount of the new food into their daily meals. As time goes on you will want to gradually shift the balance of your dog’s food over to the new food by adding more of their new diet and less of their old one with every meal until they are 100% transitioned.

In order to know just how much food constitutes a balanced diet for your four-legged friend, you will need to take a look at the portion size recommendations provided by the brand. Each dog food brand has a different amount they would suggest feeding senior dogs, dependent on fat content, carbohydrate content, protein content, and a number of other factors. It is important that you stick to these recommendations in order to maintain weight control, as older dogs often struggled with unhealthy weight gain as their metabolisms slow with age.

Your senior dog’s food needs to meet all of their individual requirements. The best senior dog food for your dog will have the correct amount of fat to keep your pup at a healthy weight, whilst providing them with plenty of protein for muscle recovery as well as mega fat acids to maintain healthy skin and joints. All of these elements can be found in both dry and wet older dog food, so the main thing to consider is texture and weight gain.

Wet food can be better for dogs that struggle with dental problems, but can be much fattier than senior dry dog food and as we all know, higher-calorie food often results in unnecessary weight gain. Whereas biscuits tend to be lower in fat but can be difficult for an older dog to chew. Select the type of food best suited to your pooch, then whittle your choices down according to content requirements; e.g. minerals, vitamins, protein, carbohydrates, etc.

Eloise Hands
Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.
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