Best Senior Dog Food

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So your pup isn’t young anymore. But, they’re still a kid at heart, and they deserve to have as much nourishment as they did during their puppyhood.

If you want to offer your senior dog a well-balanced diet during their golden years, you may be on the hunt for a new formula. Let’s talk about the best senior dog food so you can pick the right one for them. 

My favorite option is Halo Holistic Senior Grain-Free dry dog food

It’s full of proteins and healthy fats to keep your older canine feeling their best. And, with added vitamins, they’ll get a boost to their metabolism and immune system too. 

But, there are many other great senior dog food options, too — including those for sensitive tummies and picky eaters! Here are our favorite senior dog foods. 

Our Best Senior Dog Food

  1. Halo Holistic Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Dry Food)
  2. Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
  3. Ollie Dog Food (Best Fresh Food)
  4. American Journey Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
  5. Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Food)
  6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Dry Dog Food (Best for Small Breed)
  7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food (Best for Large Breed)
  8. ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Grain-Free)
  9. Nature’s Recipe Mature Dry Dog Food (Best for Picky Eaters)
  10. VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food (Best for Sensitive Stomachs) 

10 Best Senior Dog Food Reviewed 

The formulas below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog to grain-free food, please consult with your veterinarian. 


Best Dry Food

Halo Holistic Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Halo Holistic Senior Grain-Free Turkey
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Dried Chickpeas, Dried Lentils, Dried Peas, Dried Egg Product
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 387 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-fat dry dog food with non-GMO ingredients and DHA for senior dogs

Even though your dog is a senior, that doesn’t mean that they need to eat bland food that only contains nutrients. Instead, meet their nutritional needs with delicious kibble that includes non-GMO produce.

Halo Holistic Senior Grain-Free dry dog food starts with cage-free turkey, duck, and turkey liver. These ingredients provide protein for lean muscles and metabolism support, and taurine for a strong heart.

And, the turkey liver adds extra flavor, as well as iron for energy, to entice even the pickiest eaters to gobble up their food. 

Chicken fat and flaxseed keep this formula lower in fats. But, they still supply omega fatty acids and DHA to keep your senior’s mobility flexible. 

This recipe is free of gluten and wheat. But, it does include chickpeas, lentils, and peas. These offer fiber and prebiotics to keep older dogs regular and improve their gut health. 

Halo Holistic Senior doesn’t contain rendered meat, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s also made in the US. 

Dog parents love that the kibble is smaller, so their senior dog can chew easily. And, some note that this can also be an excellent formula for seniors with sensitive tummies. 


Best Wet Food

Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Senior Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Whitefish, Chicken Liver, Ground Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 7% Crude Protein, 3% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 326 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient wet dog food with grains and glucosamine for healthy joints

For dogs that need help chewing or who need a little extra moisture, wet food can help. Why not give Wellness Complete Health Senior a try? Not only does it provide nutrients, but it also comes in an easy-to-eat pate style. 

This wet food features deboned chicken, whitefish, and chicken liver for animal protein. And, the chicken includes glucosamine and chondroitin — essential acids to support joint health. 

Canola oil provides omega-3 essential acids. These help keep your dog’s joints supple but also gives your dog’s skin and coat a healthy shine. 

Ground barley, rice bran, and sweet potatoes offer easy-to-digest carbohydrates. These aid in easier digestion and offer vitamins like vitamin C for immune and gut health. 

Nutritionists and veterinarians formulated this recipe free of by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives.

Senior parents appreciate that this food is limited in ingredients. And, they also say it’s easier to measure since it’s more like a loaf than chunks.


Best Fresh Food

Ollie Lamb Dog Food

Ollie Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Butternut Squash, Lamb Liver, Kale, Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 74% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 1804 kcal/kg.
  • Key Feature: Minimally processed human-grade dog food for seniors that need more nutrition

As your dog ages, it can be hard to keep up with their needs and dietary changes. From a slowing metabolism to creaky joints, you want to offer them the vitamins and minerals that will keep them healthy as best you can. And you can do that without extra supplements or time on your part. Try Ollie. 

Ollie is a human-grade and minimally processed dog food that’s shipped directly to your door. And, because they use high-quality and natural ingredients, even you can eat their food (but we suggest you don’t). 

To find the best diet for your dog, you’ll start with Ollie’s online quiz. You’ll input their weight, height, breed, and activity level. And, you’ll also be able to talk about potential allergies and what you want out of the formula. 

From there, Ollie calculates a balanced and healthy diet for your pup. And, they give you a choice of four dog food recipes — including lamb, beef, chicken, and turkey. The lamb starts with deboned lamb and lamb liver and vegetables like butternut squash and kale

After making your recipe choice, the food will be delivered to your door fresh every two weeks. Each order comes with a feeding guide, storage container, and scoop for balanced nutrition. 

After switching to this food, dog owners have noticed a massive difference in their senior’s activity level and immunity. And, many love that they can choose allergen-free formulas too.  


Best Budget Food

American Journey Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Senior Salmon Grain Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 329 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and budget-friendly dry dog food with omega fatty acids for healthy brain function

Aging can mean rising costs. From extra vet visits to more supplements, you may need budget-friendly dog food to keep from overspending.

American Journey Grain-Free Senior kibble provides high-quality ingredients like the other guys. But, they can help support your senior’s health without all the extras.

The formula starts with real deboned salmon, turkey meal, and chicken meal. These animal proteins provide essential fatty acids for joint support and healthy skin. And, they also include DHA and glucosamine for metabolism support and aid in cognitive function.  

Coconut oil and flaxseeds provide medium-chain triglycerides and ARA. These help to support brain and eye health. Plus, they help your dog keep a shiny and healthy coat. Instead of grains, sweet potatoes and chickpeas provide high-fiber carbohydrates. 

Blueberries, rosemary extract, and marine microalgae are all high in antioxidants. These support your canine’s immune system and aid in digestion too.

This formula doesn’t include grains, corn, soy, or chicken by-product meal. And, they never contain any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Pet parents say that this food is perfect for sensitive tummies. And, they like how the kibble is a little moister, so their dogs don’t struggle to chew. 


Best Premium Food

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Grain Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Organic Potatoes, Organic Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 377 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Organic premium dry senior dog food with chondroitin for healthy joints

If you want to splurge on your aging pup, you can’t go wrong with Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior dry dog food.

This formula is USDA-certified organic and crafted in an organically certified US kitchen. And, they responsibly farm their animal proteins, so it’s a win-win for your dog and the environment. 

Organic farm raised chicken is the very first ingredient. It’s raised without added growth hormones or antibiotics. It contains natural glucosamine and chondroitin to help support healthy hips and supple joints. 

Organic sunflower oil and organic chicken liver provide both flavor and healthy fats. These keep your senior satiated and also aid in joint support. 

The produce in this recipe— including organic sweet potatoes, peas, and blueberries — is grown without synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides. These offer antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene. These aid in boosting your dog’s immune system. 

This formula is free of artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, and GMOs. It’s also made without corn, wheat, soy, chickpeas, and lentils. 

Pet owners don’t like how tiny the kibble is. But, they love the premium and organic ingredients, and that Castor & Pollux is a transparent brand. 


Best for Small Breeds

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 15.5% Crude Protein, 10.5% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 353 kcal/8-oz cup
  • Key Feature: Low-protein and moderate-fat dry dog food for small breed seniors

Got a small breed that’s a pup at heart? You can feed them a small dog-friendly dog food that’s also perfect for this stage of their life.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites food is made with wholesome ingredients and is lower in protein for small breeds to strengthen their digestive and immune systems. 

This formula starts with a savory chicken meal. This provides omega-6 fatty acids to boost coat health and nourish the skin. And, it also keeps the food lower in calories to keep your small dog from gaining too much weight. 

Cracked pearled barley, oats, and whole-grain wheat offer nourishing and soluble fiber. These aid in easier digestion and keep your dog regular. And this food supplements taurine and l-carnitine as well, for metabolism support and heart health. 

Since small dogs can be picky, Hill’s Science Diet adds chicken liver and apples to their food as well. These add flavor, along with more vitamins, to intrigue even the pickiest eaters. 

This recipe is crafted with a smaller kibble size for small senior dogs seven years and older. It doesn’t include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s also made in the US

Many dog moms and dads say that this food came highly recommended by their trusted veterinarian. They love that it’s reduced gassiness in their pups and that even their picky eaters gobble it up! 


Best for Large Breeds

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Senior Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 343 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Gluten-free dry dog food with chondroitin and chelated vitamins for large breeds 

Did you know that large breed dogs need extra fats and essential acids to protect their massive joints and muscles?

That’s why buying a “large breed” formula is so important. And, extra vitamins never hurt anyone either. So why not give Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed a try? 

This recipe starts with real deboned chicken and chicken meal. These provide l-carnitine — an essential fatty acid that aids in muscle maintenance. And, they also have omega-6 fatty acids and chondroitin for joint health and increased mobility. 

Fish oil, flaxseed, and chicken fat provide vitamin E and omega-3s for healthy skin and a shed-free coat.  

Blue Buffalo adds blueberries, cranberries, turmeric, and even probiotics for antioxidants and immunity-boosting vitamins. These keep your dog’s digestion regular and aids in brain and immune system support. 

While this formula is gluten-free, it does contain grains like brown rice and whole grain barley. But it’s free of corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meals. 

Large breed pet parents love the chelated vitamins that this food includes. But, they do admit that their dogs seem to “pick” at the food, so some recommend a food topper. 


Best Grain-Free Food

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Turkey Giblets
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 8% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 417 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and grain-free “whole prey” food for solid muscles and bones

Seniors need all the help they can get for their muscles, joints, brain health, and heart. Protein, healthy fats, and plenty of vitamins can help them stay strong, maintain weight, and keep their joints limber.

And, with ORIJEN, they’ll also get kibble made from raw and sustainably sourced animal proteins. 

Their Senior Grain-Free dry food starts with chicken, turkey, flounder, giblets, and liver. And, they use the “whole prey” method, using all of the organs, meat, and bones from the animal.

This provides l-carnitine for healthy muscle mass, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, and extra vitamins like iron for immune support.  

The meats are also added to the recipe raw. ORIJEN uses refrigeration and freezing as the sole preservation method to remove harmful gut bacteria.

Then, while gently cooking the kibble, they add pollock oil and chicken fat. These provide omega fatty acids to boost brain function and help reduce inflammation in the gut. 

This grain-free formula is made right in the US. It doesn’t include any corn, wheat, or soy. 

Dog owners who prefer grain-free diets recommend this food if your dog has loose stool or mild bloating. They think the food is high-value but think it’s worth it for their aging dogs.  


Best for Picky Eaters

Nature’s Recipe Mature Dry Dog Food

Nature's Recipe Mature Lamb Rice
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 338 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-fat dry senior food made with natural lamb for picky eaters

So, you’ve got a picky eater on your hands. This can usually happen as your pup gets older because their body and metabolism start to slow.

But, if you’ve ruled out any health issues, but are trying to get your pooch to eat, Nature’s Recipe Mature dry dog food can help. 

This delicious limited ingredient diet meets the nutritional needs of mature dogs seven years and older, so it’s perfect for your aging pooch.

With protein-rich real lamb as the number one ingredient — it also helps support strong muscles. And, lamb is a novel protein, so it’s great for dogs who may have sensitivities. 

Nutrient-dense whole grains like rice, oatmeal, and barley supply fiber for healthy digestion. And, they also provide essential vitamins like calcium and vitamin D for bone strength. 

This formula is made without corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. 

Pet owners that switched to this noticed a considerable jump in their dogs’ appetite and less pickiness overall. And, many say you can add a little bit of broth to soften the food if needed, but it’s not as dry as other senior formulas. 


Best for Sensitive Stomachs

VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 11.5% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 360 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Lower calorie whole-grain dog food with probiotics for a sensitive stomach

Older dogs tend to have sensitive stomachs, food sensitivities, and lowered metabolisms. Because of this, it’s essential to avoid inflammatory ingredients and high-calorie formulas that can cause weight gain and additional health issues. 

VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight dry dog food is perfect for pups that need to reduce overall weight. And, it’s also high in fiber and includes probiotics to soothe the digestive tract.

High-quality beef meal, menhaden fish meal, and chicken meal provide sustained energy and l-carnitine for a metabolism boost. And, chicken fat provides DHA and glucosamine for joint health and a shiny coat.  

This recipe is also fortified with additional chelated vitamins and minerals, known as VICTOR’s VPRO blend. This mix includes prebiotics and probiotics, vitamin E, D, A, and calcium. These support your dog’s bones, muscles, and digestion. 

Seaweed, vegetable oil, and green tea extract boost flavor too. But, they also provide extra antioxidants for immune support, a win-win for your dog’s palate and health. 

Pet parents appreciate the simplicity of this formula’s ingredients. However, they say to avoid this food if your dog has allergies to proteins like beef or chicken. 


senior dog

Senior Dog Food Buying Guide 

Ready to switch your aging dog to senior food? Here’s what you need to know.

The Difference Between Senior Food and Adult Dog Food

As your dog ages, their activity level and metabolism change. Because of this, their bodies aren’t as supple and strong as they used to be.

This means that regular dog food may have too many calories and too much fat and protein. 

Senior dog food formulas focus on higher vitamins and minerals, omega fatty acids that help joints, and probiotics for easier digestion.

They’re also lower in calories and are usually softer for seniors who may have difficulty chewing. 

What to Look For When Buying Senior Dog Food

What should you look for when buying senior dog food? Here’s what to keep an eye on.  

Meat Content 

All dogs need protein — but especially seniors. Protein helps them maintain muscle mass, keeps their heart healthy, and provides other immune and digestive support vitamins.

For protein, focus on real animal meat or high-quality meat meals as the first ingredients. 

Healthy Carbs

Carbohydrates should be a part of your aging pup’s diet. But older dogs can have difficulty digesting simple carbs and grains like wheat, corn, or even soy.

So stick to whole and complex grains, like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and even sweet potatoes. 

Fats and Oils  

Senior dogs need fats and oils. These provide energy and nutrients like glucosamine, chondroitin, zinc, and more. These all aid in healthier joints, muscle mass, and brain function.

But, the quality of fats you feed your dog is essential too. Focus on more nutritious options like coconut oil, canola oil, flaxseeds, fish oil, and meat fats. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Commercial dog foods offer vitamins and minerals in the proper ratios for dogs as per AAFCO recommendations.

But, senior dogs need slightly higher percentages of vitamins like glucosamine, l-carnitine, and taurine to give them more energy. Senior formulas make sure to include these nutrients. 

senior yorkie

Ingredients to Avoid When Buying Senior Food

Most senior dog food formulas include high-quality and wholesome ingredients to make the best food possible. But, a few components may be included that you should try to avoid

First, focus on natural animal proteins, not meat by-products. These are what are left over after the cooking process, so your pooch won’t get as many nutrients from them. And, avoid “natural” flavoring when possible, too, since it’s usually a by-product. 

You should also avoid artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. These are unnecessary, and there are many natural ways to flavor and preserve dog food. So instead of potentially causing harm to your dog, buy formulas without them. 

If your dog is sensitive to grains like wheat or gluten or can’t have soy or corn, you should also avoid those ingredients. However, these ingredients aren’t harmful to most dogs, just those who may not digest them well. 

Is Dry or Wet Food Better for Seniors?

This depends on their needs. Wet food is easier to eat, has more water content for dogs who may not get enough, and is easier to digest.

But dry kibble keeps teeth clean and is more affordable, especially if you have a large dog. 

You can talk to your veterinarian about which option would fit your dog best. But, you can also mix the two to give your canine the best of both worlds. Just remember not to overfeed them. 

Our Verdict

As you can see, there is no shortage of some of the best dog foods for your old pal. There are many great options for you to choose from, depending on their specific needs. 

Of course, my top choice is Halo Holistic Senior Grain-Free dry dog food

It’s got everything a senior dog could need, with a taste they’ll love to eat each day. 

But you can’t go wrong with any of the choices we’ve talked about. Whether your dog needs wet food or if you want to splurge, there is an option on our list. 

FAQ

Want to know more about buying senior dog food? Here are a few common questions and our answers. 

When is a dog considered a senior?

For small breeds, 7-9 years old is considered a senior. Large and giant breeds don’t typically live as long as smaller dogs, reaching seniorhood between 4 and 6 years. 

Should all older dogs eat senior food?

Yes, or dog food that’s labeled “fit for all life stages.” They need healthy fats like glucosamine and extra vitamins to protect their aging immune system. Senior dog food formulas fit those needs and offer easier to eat and digest ingredients, so they’re a better option than regular food. 

How much food should I feed my senior dog?

This will depend on their size, weight, and breed. It will also depend on the formula you choose and its nutritional content. Be sure to feed your dog according to the manufacturer’s instructions. And, if you feel your pooch isn’t getting enough nutrition, consult with your vet. 

Does my senior dog need more protein?

Senior dogs need about 20% Crude Protein from their dog food, per AAFCO recommendations. Many senior formulas offer more than that, so your canine shouldn’t need any more than what their food has. 

It’s important to note that many senior dogs need less protein, since their bodies aren’t working as hard or as active. This is why a senior recipe is so important to switch to as your dog ages since they will provide the correct amount.  

What do I feed a senior dog with no teeth?

You can feed them dehydrated food that has been rehydrated or canned food. Remember to cut any large chunks into smaller pieces or make the food smooth by mixing in a little extra water. 

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AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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