Best Wet Dog Food for Seniors 

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dog eating canned food

Senior dogs need a little extra support, especially with their nutrition. As their body ages, it slows down. But that doesn’t mean your old dog’s life has to be boring and sedentary!

Wet dog food can provide them with plenty of nutrition, including essential vitamins and minerals, to perk them back up. 

Our favorite wet dog food for seniors is Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula canned dog food. 

It’s pea-free, contains whole grains for better digestion, and is the perfect texture for older dogs — even those without teeth. 

And we have more of the best senior wet dog foods, too — including an option for dogs with sensitive tummies or who need a high-protein diet. 

Our Best Wet Dog Food for Seniors 

10 Wet Dog Foods for Seniors Reviewed 

The wet dog food formulas below follow AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog to new dog food, consult with your veterinarian. 


Best Overall

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% Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 326 kcal/can 
  • Key Feature: Pea-free dry dog food with whole grains for digestive support 

Your senior dog deserves to be spoiled with delicious and nutritious food. When it comes to wet or canned food, one of the best is Wellness Complete Health. 

This formula contains premium protein with real deboned chicken, whitefish, and chicken liver. And these real animal sources provide a savory flavor and glucosamine and chondroitin. These aid in limber joints and lean muscle mass.

Ground barley, sweet potatoes, and carrots help support a robust immune system and digestive function. They contain prebiotic fiber, which aids in food absorption and regularity. And the vegetables pack vitamin A and C for an immune boost. 

This is pate-style senior dog food, and the texture is perfect for dogs who can’t chew through meats or chunks.

This formula is free of peas, corn, wheat, and soy. It also doesn’t include meat by-products or artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. 

Dog owners love that the food has ingredients sourced right in the US. But many note that the food can be messy and smells fishy. 


Best Grain-Free Food

Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Trio Pate Senior Wet Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Trio Protein Chicken Lamb Fish Senior Wet
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Spinach, Tomatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 8% Crude Protein, 5% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 98 kcal/tray
  • Key Feature: High-protein and grain-free senior wet dog food with antioxidants 

First, let’s talk about the calorie content of this food. While Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Trio Pate Senior wet dog food is high in protein, it’s low in calories — even when small dogs enjoy it.

So this food is best used as a topper, special treat, or mixed in with other foods or with homemade options. 

This recipe contains deboned chicken, lamb, and whitefish as the primary animal sources. These help provide upwards of 32% Crude Protein (when measured on a dry matter basis).

Chicken and lamb contain omega-6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin, while whitefish has omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive function. 

Instead of grains, this senior dog food adds apples, yams, and spinach to their food for complex carbohydrates. And these ingredients contain vitamin A, C, and beta-carotene for eye health and to reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles. 

Blueberries and dried pumpkin are also included in this food. These superfoods are a great source of antioxidants, boosting your dog’s immune system. 

This formula is free of GMOs, chicken meal and by-products, corn, wheat, soy, grain, and artificial additives.

Parents loved how this food fixed their dog’s digestive issues. And many note that their coat and skin seem to be healthy and itch-free


Best With Grain

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew Canned Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Stew Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Brown Rice, Carrots
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 4% Crude Protein, 2.8% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 82% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 305 kcal/ can
  • Key Feature: Lower-protein dog food with l-carnitine for muscle and metabolic support 

Does your dog’s diet and digestion do better with grains? If so, Hill’s Science Diet Mature Adult wet dog food is a delicious way to provide balanced nutrition and gentle grains for easier digestion.

It starts with real chicken and pork liver, which provide flavor and taurine for heart health. Plus, they have l-carnitine, which aids in a boosted metabolism and muscle recovery. 

It’s important to note that while Hill’s Science Diet contains real animal meat, it is lower in protein. So it’s made for older dogs who may need lower-protein diets, like those with beginning stages of kidney or liver issues. 

Brown rice and a medley of vegetables like peas and carrots come smothered in gravy to make them more enticing to eat. And they provide a myriad of nutrients, like selenium and magnesium, which boost energy levels. 

Chicken fat and soybean oil in this senior dog food contain glucosamine for limber joints and essential fatty acids for healthy brain function, and a shiny coat. 

Senior dog owners note that this food does contain larger chunks of certain ingredients like real chicken. Many admit that the pieces can be too big for dogs that don’t have teeth or need softer food. 


Best for Small Breeds

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Canned Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 7.5% Crude Protein, 4.5% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 396 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat wet dog food for small energetic breeds

Do you have a fiesty and active small breed? Even though your dog is aging, that doesn’t mean that they’ll lay down and sleep all day. And many small breed dogs can keep their energy levels going almost their whole life with the right food.

That’s where Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior wet dog food comes in. It’s got plenty of calories, protein, and fat for small energetic breeds.  

It starts with high-quality protein from tender pieces of chicken and chicken liver. These provide taurine for a strong heart and chondroitin for healthy muscle maintenance.  

This formula does contain grains — including brown rice, barley, and oatmeal. These provide prebiotic fiber for gut health and nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium for strong bones and energy. 

This is another pate-style food, so it’s excellent for dogs without many teeth. It doesn’t contain by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Small breed owners say that even their picky eaters gobbles up this food and their senior dogs prefer the easy to eat options. They note to be careful with the sodium content if your dog has any health issues. 


Best for Large Breeds

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Canned Dog Food

Halo Holistic Chicken Senior Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Oat Bran, Pea Flour
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 8.5% Crude Protein, 4.5% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 405 kcal/ can
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat wet dog food with l-carnitine for large breeds 

Large breed senior dogs shouldn’t eat wet dog food only, even when they don’t need as many calories or food. This is because one can of wet food even meet ¼ of their calorie needs (for most large breeds).

But it’s excellent as a food topper or special meal every now and then. 

With that said, Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior canned dog food is an excellent option for many giant dogs. It’s got one of the highest calorie contents on this list and comes packed with real animal proteins and plenty of healthy fats. 

It starts with whole chicken meat, chicken liver, and meat broth. These provide glucosamine for joint health and moisture for dogs who may not get enough water in the day. 

Oat bran and pea flour offer gluten-free fiber and vitamins like iron. These aid in immune support and help your dog keep a regular stool schedule. 

This formula is free of rendered meat meal, GMO produce, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Even though this is wet dog food, large breed owners say that their dogs haven’t had any dental issues when replacing dry foods with this.


Best for Weight Control

Evanger’s Classic Recipes Senior & Weight Management Canned Dog Food

Evanger's Classic Senior Weight Management Dinner
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Brown Rice, Guar Gum, Dried Kelp
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 7% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 301 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: Low-calorie and low-fat wet dog food for weight control 

Does your furry friend have issues with obesity? If so, you can still feed them a senior dog food and help them maintain a healthy weight.

Evanger’s Classic Recipes Senior & Weight Management canned dog food is tasty and low in calories. It’s also packed with protein, which is what many senior dogs prefer for flavor. 

This meat-based formula starts with real deboned chicken and broth. These provide natural sources of taurine for heart health and glucosamine for strong and limber joints. 

Brown rice and dried kelp pack a healthful punch with manganese, zinc, and vitamin C, which aid in metabolic support and a robust immune system.

Brown rice is gentle on your dog’s tummy and helps to keep them regular — especially because their gastrointestinal tract is slower. And dried kelp is high in antioxidants for an immune and cognitive boost. 

Besides the above-listed ingredients, there are only supplemented vitamins and minerals. So this food is also great for sensitive seniors or dogs with food allergies. 

This senior dog food is from preservatives, salt, fillers, corn, and soy. It’s also kosher certified and endorsed by the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc) as acceptable for your pet to enjoy during Passover.

Dog moms and dads say this food is perfect for larger dogs or dogs with slight insulin resistance. They note that their canine was able to lose weight and has more energy than ever before.


Best Budget Food

Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature Canned Dog Food

Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature Chicken Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth, Turkey, Chicken Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 7.5% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 395 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: Wheat-free and high-protein wet dog food for dog owners on a budget

Wet dog food can cost a small fortune — especially when feeding your dog many cans a day. But sometimes, we have to spoil our pups.

But that doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole paycheck! Instead, give Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature canned dog food a try. 

Like many formulas on this list, this wet dog food starts with real animal protein — like real chicken, turkey, chicken liver, and salmon. These lean proteins help your dog maintain muscle mass and strong joints. 

Whole grain brown rice, ground barley, and oatmeal contain prebiotic fiber to keep your pup feeling full and regular. And oats provide B vitamins and magnesium for energy support. 

Apples and cranberries add a boost of antioxidants for immune support. And not only that — apples are full of potassium and vitamin K, too — aiding in bone health. 

This senior dog food doesn’t contain by-product meals, wheat, corn, or soy. And it’s formulated without artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.

Canine owners say this is the only formula that has perked up their mature dog’s appetite. And, they admit that it’s easy to measure out and feed. 


Best Premium Food

Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Dog Food

Ziwi Peak Venison Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Venison Tripe, Venison Liver, Chickpeas, Venison Lung
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 468 kcal/can 
  • Key Feature: Whole-prey, high-protein, and premium wet dog food

Ziwi Peak makes wet dog food with natural animal meats, chickpeas, vitamins, and minerals. And it’s perfect for pet owners looking for a high-protein and grain-free option. 

This premium formula features whole-prey fresh meat, organs, and bones. The primary animal proteins are venison and New Zealand green-lipped mussels.

These offer chondroitin and glucosamine for limber joints and mobility support. And mussels are high in essential fatty acids, reducing joint inflammation and keeping your aging dog sharp. 

Chickpeas are the only carbohydrate source in this food. They’re gentle and easy to digest, especially for grain sensitivities dogs. And they contain vitamins A and E, which are great for eye and to support healthy skin. 

The meats are free-range and wild-caught. So if you’re a pet owner looking for ethical and sustainable dog food, this is a great option.

This formula is free of TSPP, BPA, and carrageenan. And it doesn’t include grains, potatoes, soy, hormones, antibiotics, or growth promotants.

Pet owners recommend this food for highly active dogs, those who love raw or homemade meals, and even a picky eater. But they also admit that this food smells terrible, although they say their dog doesn’t seem to mind. 


Best for Sensitive Stomachs

Wysong Senior with Organic Turkey Canned Dog Food

Wysong Senior with Organic Turkey Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Organic Turkey, Brown Rice, Natural Flavor, Blueberry, Organic Barley Grass Powder
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 9% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 75% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 397 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited-ingredient wet dog food with antioxidants for sensitive tummies

It can be challenging to find a dog food that doesn’t cause your canine’s upset tummy. But, many wet dog food options can help provide more antioxidants, water content, and vitamins to aid gut health and keep your dog feeling good.

Our favorite option is Wysong Senior canned dog food. 

This formula starts with deboned organic turkey, which delivers protein and amino acids for lean muscle mass. And, it’s highly palatable, so even picky dogs will love it. 

This is a grain-inclusive senior dog food, with brown rice as the primary carbohydrate source. It provides insoluble fiber to clean out the digestive tract and keep your dog’s stool firm but easy to pass. 

Blueberries and organic barley grass powder are packed with antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

This also aids in gut health because your dog’s digestive tract is less likely to be inflamed, and it’s easier for them to fight off intolerances. 

Pet parents say be sure to switch to this food slowly, primarily if your dog is used to dry food. While it is gentle, the higher fiber content can cause diahrrea if changed too fast. 


Best Fresh Food

Nom Nom Turkey Fare Dog Food

Nom Nom Turkey Recipe
  • First 5 Ingredients: Ground Turkey, Brown Rice, Eggs, Carrots, Spinach
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 5% Crude Fat, 1% Fiber, 72% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 201 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat human-grade and fresh dog food
Get 50% OFF your first Nom Nom order!

No one likes looking in their fridge and cabinet to find them empty. If you’re tired of making trips to the pet food store, especially when in a rush, try getting your dog’s food delivered! 

Nom Nom offers customizable, fresh-made, and human-grade dog food that’s shipped right to your door.

Their food is packed with ingredients like ground turkey, brown rice, and carrots, just like you’d find in the grocery store. And they supplement vitamins and minerals, so you don’t have to measure them yourself. 

To get started with this specialized diet, you’ll take a quiz about your pup. The main questions include asking about your dog’s height, weight, body type, allergies, and activity level. Once you finish the quiz, Nom Nom calculates your pup’s caloric, protein, and fat needs. 

They make your dog’s food fresh every two to four weeks and ship it to you within 24 hours of being prepared. Plus, your dog can choose from multiple formulas — including turkey, pork, beef, and chicken. Got a picky pup? Sample all four! 

Each recipe is made in small batches and pre-portioned for easy mealtime feeding. 

Dog owners love this easy-to-feed and nutritious diet. But many note that they don’t like how much fridge and freezer space it takes up. 


wet dog food on plate

How to Choose Wet Dog Food for Seniors 

If you’re ready to switch your senior dog to wet dog food, here’s what you need to know. 

Wet Foods for Seniors: Specific Nutritional Needs

Yes, your senior dog’s nutritional needs will change as they get older. Once they hit their golden years, it’s time to focus on different food options — precisely a senior dog food formula. 

First, they’ll need slightly less protein, fat, and calorie content. This doesn’t mean cutting their servings in half or feeding them significantly less.

You only need to reduce each need by about 10-20%. For example, if your dog usually eats 30 calories per pound they weigh, feed them 25 calories per pound. Just remember that their vitamins and minerals needs still need to be met. 

Next, they need specific vitamins and minerals in more concentrated doses, like omega fatty acids. This is because as your dog ages, their bodily functions slow down. Thus, they need extra support to keep their systems running smoothly. 

Of course, always talk to your veterinarian before making any diet changes. They can help you develop the perfect nutrition and feeding plan for your senior. 

Is Wet Food for Seniors Better Than Dry Food?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to dog food. Depending on your dog’s needs, they may need wet food, dry kibble, or even both. 

Canned food is better for seniors with little or no teeth, who don’t drink enough water, or need concentrated vitamins and minerals.

Kibble is still an excellent option for many seniors and is typically higher in fiber and high-quality protein. Be sure to talk to your vet about the best options for your furry friend and their needs. 

What to Look for When Buying Wet Dog Food For Seniors  

Before you buy wet food for your dog, let’s talk about what it needs to include. 

High-Quality Meat Protein

Just because your dog gets older doesn’t mean they shouldn’t maintain their muscle mass. And high-quality protein also supports better digestion, keeps their heart strong, and offers immune system support.

They’ll need less protein and calories for digestion and their metabolism, but it needs to be higher quality. 

Look at high-quality options like real animal meat or meat meals when it comes to protein. These ingredients should also be the first (or first few) on the list. 

Essential Fats and Fatty Acids 

Did you know that dogs get most of their energy from fat? That’s why essential fats are so important! And they contain nutrients like omega fatty acids, glucosamine, taurine, and chondroitin for healthier joints, lean muscle mass, and brain function. 

However, not all fats are created equal. While sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil are okay, focus more on coconut oil, fish oil, and fats from meats. And of course, keep fat to a minimum, since too much can cause weight gain. 10%-12% Crude Fat is advisable. 

Fruit and Vegetables

Dogs need fruits and vegetables for various reasons — including immune support, brain health, eye health, etc. 

However, fruits and vegetables (aka carbohydrates) shouldn’t make up more than 50%-60% of your dog’s food. This ensures they get plenty of protein and fat too.

Fruits and vegetables like blueberries, apples, spinach, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are great additions to any dog food. 

Enough Calories

Yes, your senior dog’s metabolism will slow down as they age. So, you shouldn’t be feeding them as much as you did in their puppy and young adult years. 

But they still need enough calories for energy production, alertness, and more. Be sure to talk with your vet about the minimum calories your canine needs.

Also, read the food manufacturer’s nutrient guides (on the back of the package) about how much food they recommend you feed your dog based on age and weight. 

Added Vitamins and Minerals

Luckily for you and your pooch, commercial dog foods already offer vitamins and minerals in the proper ratios per AAFCO recommendations. 

But, older dogs need a higher concentration of a few nutrients to ensure that they have metabolic, joint, muscle, and digestive support — since they develop many chronic diseases, like joint issues and heart problems. These nutrients include glucosamine, l-carnitine, chondroitin, omega fatty acids, vitamin c, potassium, calcium, and taurine

Choosing a senior-friendly dog food is essential, since they do all of the work and calculation for you. 

Texture

Some older dogs can be picky about their food, especially when it comes to wet food. There are many different types, too — including pate, canned food in gravy, chunks, and those with textures like ground beef. 

If you know your furry friend tends to be picky, only buy one can of each type of food before committing to a whole case. That way, you won’t have to waste food if your dog doesn’t like it.  

wet food and kibble

Ingredients to Avoid When Buying Wet Senior Food

Just like there are some ingredients that your dog needs, some are best avoided. Luckily, most dog food choices only contain top-quality, nutritious, and wholesome ingredients in their kibble or canned food. But, depending on your dog, you may want to keep an eye out for specific components.

The first is canned foods that don’t offer real meat or meat meals as the first (or top) ingredients. It’s crucial to avoid options that don’t have much protein or contain meat by-products.

While by-products aren’t always harmful, you need to know where they come from and how they’re processed. If a company can’t tell you, avoid that food.  

Next up, steer clear of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. Many dog food brands skip them altogether because they’re unnecessary. But some add them to “enhance” or preserve the food. However, these ingredients can cause harm to your dog, especially if they’re more sensitive.

Some other ingredients to avoid are wheat, soy, and corn if your dog is allergic to them. While many dogs can digest these ingredients, not all can. Avoid them if your dog has itchiness, watery eyes, or even indigestion. 

Last but not least, always stay away from BHT and ethoxyquin. These synthetic materials are safe for human consumption (in small doses) but can cause significant issues with your dog — including death.

While many canned dog foods avoid these ingredients already, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick read of the ingredients. 

Our Verdict

You don’t have to change your dog’s lifestyle entirely because they’re older. Instead, a few minor changes, like offering wet dog food as a topper or meal, can help them get more water, vitamins, and even protein to keep them healthy and happy. 

Our top choice is Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula canned food. 

It’s great for dogs of all breeds and sizes and contains enough protein and fat to keep your furry friend on the go all day. 

But we have other options too, and no matter your dog’s needs, you can find the perfect wet dog food for them. 

FAQs 

Can I mix wet and dry senior food?

Yes, you can mix wet and dry dog food. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much to feed your dog, and don’t overfeed them. 

Aging dogs are notorious for gaining weight, and too much food can exacerbate obesity and other health issues.

When should I switch my adult to senior meals?

This will depend on your dog’s breed and size. Most large dogs need to switch to senior foods by age 5 or 6. But smaller breeds start around 7 or 8. 

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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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