This article was updated on October 29th, 2021
Finding dog food for senior dogs isn’t difficult at all, in fact there are many formulas specifically designed with older dogs in mind.
BUT, just like younger dogs, seniors are not all the same, and no one single dog food formula is going to be the right choice for every golden oldie.
It’s up to you to choose one that has the right balance of ingredients for YOUR best friend.
This page features the premium brands and very best formulas for senior dogs of all sizes/breeds.. and who are in overall good health.
Before you get started, here’s a ‘glossary of terms’ that might help you negotiate the minefield of abbreviations and ingredients in most dog foods. It helps to know what’s in each formula, and why they’re there.
- ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) – a powerful antioxidant which helps maintain a healthy immune system.
- Antioxidants – protect against cell damage & inflammation caused by excess ‘free radicals’.
- Chondroitin – a natural anti-inflammatory (useful against joint inflammation & arthritis).
- DHA – Omega-3 fatty acid protects eye and brain health.
- Digestive enzymes – help the body efficiently digest food and absorb nutrition.
- Glucosamine – naturally occurring substance that provides joint support.
- L-Carnitine – an amino acid which helps maintain healthy metabolism and protect against heart disease.
- L-Lysine – essential amino acid that helps with growth and cell regeneration.
- Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids – important for healthy cell function and structure.
- Probiotics – the so-called ‘good’ bacteria that help maintain balance in the digestive system.
- Taurine – an amino acid that helps maintain heart health.
- Vitamin E – a natural preservative. Also known as ‘Mixed Tochopherols’.
- Vitamin C – anther natural preservative. Also labelled as ‘Ascorbic acid’.
Use these quick links to jump to the category you’re most interested in, or simply scroll down to see them all…
- Dry Food for Medium Sized Breeds
- Dry Food for Small Breeds
- Dry Food for Large & Giant Breeds
- Canned Food for Seniors
- If your older dog has a health condition, check out this page for the best dog food choices for him/her…. Best Food Choices For Senior Dogs With Health Problems
- Dog Food For Healthy Senior Dogs – Medium Breeds
- If your older dog is in generally good health (no heart, kidney, liver or weight problems, and isn’t diabetic) then a premium adult dog food is still an excellent choice.
- At this point there’s no real need for the reduced fat/protein levels in most senior dog foods, but for a healthy dog they can still be a healthy option.
- Many owners feel reassured by the fact that these formulas have the ‘old dog’ in mind, and that can’t hurt.
- Here are some of the best quality adult dog foods on the market….
26% protein, 15% fat, nutritious ingredients, no artificial preservatives, omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine & Chondroitin.Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Grain Free Organic Senior Recipe :
Lean protein, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
Wellness Natural Pet Food Super Mix Dry Dog Food for Seniors:
22% protein, 10% fat, omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids, Glucosamine & Chondroitin. Well-balanced, nutrient rich formula. Lower calorie formula. Live digestive-support enzymes.
AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal Senior Dry Dog Food
High quality ingredients, Optimal nutrition, Vitamins, minerals & antioxidants, Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids, Protein: 20%, Fat: 10%, Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Senior Health Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe, 24-Pound Bag
High quality, natural ingredients, proteins 28%, fat 12%, Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids, Glucosamine & Chondroitin, prebiotics and probiotics, live yogurt cultures, digestive enzymes, and natural fiber.
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
- Best Dog Foods For Small Breed Senior Dogs
- Small, toy and miniature breed dogs have different nutritional requirements from their bigger dogs… and that remains the same even in old age.
- Little dogs generally need a formula that is energy-dense and high calorie. This means higher levels of protein and fat.
- To help keep their blood-sugar levels balanced, and avoid hypoglycemia, they also need extra fiber.
- The fact that these formulas are manufactured with smaller kibble pieces is also important… especially for puppies and senior dogs.
- For healthy seniors in this group, an adult dog food that is specifically formulated for small breeds is a good fit.
- Here are a few of the best….
WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]
- Best Senior Dog Foods For Large Breeds
- Large and giant dog breeds have their own unique dietary requirements, and dog food formulas take that into account.
- For a healthy, older dog in this category a formula specifically designed for large-breed adults is a good choice.
- Many of the large-breed senior formulas tend to be aimed at weight-control, and if your senior isn’t overweight then he/she doesn’t need a low-calorie or low-fat diet.
- But if Fido is on the heavy side, and is also a senior (bear in mind big dogs live shorter lives, so getting old happens faster for them) then a senior formula can fit the bill too.
- Both adult & senior formulas for large breeds have bigger kibble pieces, designed to bigger mouths and discourage ‘chow hounds’ from gobbling it all down (this is only minimally effective in my experience!).
- Here are some great options….
- Canned Dog Food For Senior Dogs
- As a general rule, I personally feel that canned dog food is only a reasonable choice for small and tiny breeds, weaning puppies and senior dogs (either tiny ones, or those with dental problems).
- Canned food has less nutrition per cup than dry kibble, and large and giant breed adults usually can’t eat enough canned food to get the amount of nutrients they need to stay healthy.
- Plus, canned food doesn’t help keep teeth/gums clean and healthy, and jaws strong. BUT it does have a role to play for certain dogs, and at certain ages.
- If your senior dog is a little ‘un, has difficulty chewing, or is picky and needs to be encouraged to eat, then a premium canned dog food might be a good choice.
To see some the types of dog food recommended for dogs with health issues, check out this page: Best Food Choices For Senior Dogs With Health Problems.
Read more about senior dog nutrition:
- 9 Tips from Our Veterinarians to Help Your Old Dog Eat More
- Weight Loss In Old Dogs: Our Veterinarians Share What To Do
- Older Dog Not Eating? 2 Vets Explain What to Do
- How To Keep Weight on an Older Dog
- The Best Supplements For Older Dogs
- About Senior Dog Supplements
26% protein, 15% fat, nutritious ingredients, no artificial preservatives, omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Lean protein, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
22% protein, 10% fat, omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids, Glucosamine & Chondroitin