Best Dog Food For Senior Dogs

Score for Seniors:
Activity Level:
Weight: Pounds


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.

Choosing the best senior dog food

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….

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Grain Free Organic Chicken Recipe :

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.

  • 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….

Wellness Complete Health Natural, Small Breed

  • Four sources of healthy animal protein
  • Enhanced nutrient absorption & digestibility
  • Antioxidant fruits and veggies
  • Vitamins & minerals
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Protein: 28%
  • Fat: 15%

AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice, Small Breed

  • Optimal nutritional value
  • Rich in high quality fat & protein
  • Vitamins, minerals & antioxidants
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Nutrient-rich avocado
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Made in the USA

Holistic Select Natural, Small and Mini Breeds

  • High quality natural ingredients
  • Whole grains
  • Superior proteins
  • Enhanced digestibility & absorption
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Glucosamine & L-carnitine
  • Protein: 28%
  • Fat: 18%

Fromm Gold Small Breed Adult Dog Food

  • High quality holistic ingredients
  • Four sources of protein
  • Pro-biotics for digestive health
  • Salmon oil for skin & coat
  • Vitamins & minerals
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Made in the USA

ULTRA Small Breed Senior Dog Food

  • Wholesome, natural ingredients
  • Three lean animal proteins
  • Antioxidants from fruit & vegetables
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Made in the USA

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health, Senior Formula

  • Well-balanced nutrition
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Fruit & veggie antioxidants
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Vitamins, minerals & herbal blend
  • Low fat and low-sodium formula
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 12%
  • 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….

Wellness Complete Health Natural, Large Breed Health

  • Four premium protein sources
  • Optimal caloric density
  • Moderate fat levels
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Digestive support
  • Antioxidants
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Taurine
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 11%

ULTRA Large Breed Adult Dog Food

  • Three lean protein sources
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Nutrient-rich formula (incl. ‘superfoods’ such as salmon & rolled oats)
  • Antioxidants
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Made in the USA

Holistic Select Natural, Large and Giant Breeds

  • High quality, natural ingredients
  • Premium protein sources
  • Superior absorption
  • Glucosamine
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Taurine & L-carnitine
  • Natural digestive enzymes
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 14%

Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Large Breed Adult

  • Certified organic ingredients
  • No chemicals or artificial ingredients
  • Healthy fruits & vegetables for antioxidants
  • L-carnitine
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Healthy fiber
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Made in the USA

Natural Choice Wholesome Essentials, Large Breed Snr.

  • Lean protein & whole grains
  • Antioxidants
  • ALA & DHA
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Enhanced digestibility
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Protein: 23%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Made in the USA

NOW! Fresh, Grain Free Large Breed Senior

  • 100% fresh ingredients
  • Optimal balance of protein & fat
  • Grain free (therefore gluten-free)
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Pre & Pro-biotics for digestive health
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids
  • L-carnitine & taurine
  • Protein: 23%
  • Fat: 11%
  • Made in Canada
  • 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.

Wellness Complete Health Natural, Senior Recipe

ULTRA Holistic Superfood Senior Formula

Natural Choice Large Breed Senior Dog Food

EVANGER’S Natural Classic Senior Dinner

Newman’s Own Premium Dog Food

Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Formula

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:

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Grain Free Organic Chicken Recipe

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 Super5Mix Dry Dog Food, Just for Seniors Recipe, 30-Pound Bag

22% protein, 10% fat, omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids, Glucosamine & Chondroitin


  • Dr. Winnie, Veterinarian

    Dr. Winnie earned a Master in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria's Veterinary School. She is a full-time Veterinarian specializing in internal medicine for companion animals.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

1 Comment

  1. After reading your dietary recommendations for protein and fat I was taken aback that NOT ONE of the dog foods you recommended by brand name contained even close to the amount of protein you stated…..why is that?

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