The 6 Best Senior Dog Foods

As you get older, your needs change. You might need more sleep, need fewer calories, and more recovery time in between activities.

The same holds true for your dog. Your dog will probably sleep more, need senior dog foods, and not want to chase the ball as often. 

If you see this happening with your pet, it might be time that your dog needs senior dog foods.

We have listed the 6 Best Senior Dog Foods for your older pet.

See also  6 Best American Bulldog Dog Foods

Best Senior Dog Foods

Senior Dog FoodSpecificsOur Rating
Nutro UltraDry Food4.9
Wellness COREGrain Free 4.8
VictorDry Food4.8
Nulo FreestyleGrain Free 4.7
Blue BuffaloWet Food4.7
WelnessDry Food4.6

Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

Nutro has dedicated their company to three principles: simple, purposeful, and trustworthy. 

They choose simple, non-GMO ingredients as close to their natural form as possible. 

Each ingredient in their foods serves a purpose and is purchased only from trusted farmers and suppliers.  

In this way, Nutro feels that they are providing the best possible product for your pet.

The Nutro Ultra Senior dry dog food derives most of its protein from animal-based products. 

This is good because the meat-based protein contains all of the necessary amino acids needed by senior dogs.

There are no artificial colors or preservatives, another good factor for any dog food.  

Specifically tailored for adult dogs over five years of age, the Superfood Plate contains lean proteins, antioxidant-rich fruits, and vegetables. 

There are whole grains and healthy oils that will help your pet be at its best. 

Key Benefits Per The Manufacturer

  • Three lean animal proteins from farm-raised chicken, pasture-fed lamb, and salmon provide unique and complementary Amino Acids that work together to promote strong, lean muscles. Whole grains are nutrient-dense foods that nourish a healthy digestive system for proper nutrient absorption.
  • Premium natural diet is made for senior dogs, containing just the right amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Formulated to promote joint health while also maintaining a lustrous coat and healthy skin for your senior dog.
  • This is a specially made natural diet made for senior dogs. Naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin, the nutritional building blocks of healthy cartilage, helps keep joints healthy. The right fiber balance from whole ingredients promotes an ideal digestive environment to help absorb available nutrients.
  • Nutro has absolutely no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. This is a high-quality product that is produced in the manufacturer’s facilities to ensure safety and quality.
  • Nutro’s dedicated team of experts tailor their formulas to your pet’s life stage and health condition. They only use natural ingredients that they directly buy and can trace back to their suppliers.

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Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior 

Senior Dog Foods

Wellness Core has been producing high-quality dog food since 1997. They make their grain-free senior dry dog food using a significant amount of meat protein. 

Deboned turkey is the main ingredient in this product, and has a 32% protein level. 

There are no animal fats or other allergens such as wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

With a variety of superfoods like salmon oil, ground flaxseed, spinach, kale, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, this senior dog food contains essential amino acids and vital minerals.

Key Benefits Per The Manufacturer

  • Grain-free, delicious meal that includes complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your dog.
  • High concentration of animal protein made with added nutritional supplements to satisfy hunger and support the health of senior dogs.
  •  Contains only premium, all-natural ingredients with no meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  •  The nutrition-packed meal is backed by the Wellness Guarantee and proudly made only in the USA with ingredients you can trust.
  • Thoughtfully prepared to ensure the highest levels of quality and safety.

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 VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Senior Dog Foods

Victor dog food is a family-owned company in Texas that commits to the quality of their products. 

Their manufacturing plant was based close to their raw materials so that their ingredients would be fresh during the making of it.

Victor Senior Healthy weight is an excellent choice for less active older dogs or an adult dog that needs to reduce their overall weight.  

It has 27% protein and 11.5 % fat.

This multi-protein, nutrient-dense formula tailors to breeds that are susceptible to joint issues by adding glucosamine and chondroitin. 

The Victor Senior dog food is high in fiber to help with digestion.

Key Benefits Per The Manufacturer

  • Composed of 78% meat protein with premium-quality beef, chicken, fish, and pork meals.
  • Nutrient-dense recipe with glucosamine and chondroitin for long-term joint health.
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, and amino acids.
  • Includes L-carnitine to help convert fat to energy for lean muscle development.
  • ·Formulated with ingredients to promote healthy immune and digestive systems.

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Nulo FreeStyle Grain-Free

Senior Dog Foods

A relatively new dog food brand, established in 2009, Nulo specializes in premium ingredients and high protein content. 

Geared toward senior dogs, this Freestyle formula is grain-free for sensitive stomachs.

 L-carnitine supports metabolic, and glucosamine and chondroitin help hips and joints move more freely. 

This formula has 30% protein and 12% fat. 

Key Benefits Per The Manufacturer

  • Grain-free senior formula that is free from chicken and egg proteins
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin aid in proper hip and joint health
  • Includes L-Carnitine to support an older dog’s metabolism
  • Contains pure probiotic strains to aid in proper digestion
  • Calcium and phosphorus help your dog maintain strong bones while wholesome vegetables and fruits support optimal immune health

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Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe 

Senior Dog Foods

An advantage of Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle Senior Chicken dinner with vegetable canned dog food is that it is not a hard kibble that might be tough on older teeth.

This wet dog food is soft and easy to digest. Made with protein-rich lean chicken, the Chicken Dinner recipe contains no by-product meals, corn, soy, or wheat. 

This makes it easier for senior dogs with sensitive digestive systems.  

Ground brown rice provides complex carbohydrates, and peas and barley give energy to your senior dog.

 Key Benefits Per The Manufacturer

  • 12-pack of 12.5-ounce cans.
  • Starts with real chicken to help support healthy muscle maintenance.
  • Serve as a special treat, mixed with dry food or all on its own as an entree.
  • Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and mobility.
  •  Does not contain any by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

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Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior

Senior Dog Foods

For your smaller senior dog, Wellness Deboned turkey dry dog food will provide them with essential proteins. 

Turkey is an excellent source of high-quality protein and fatty acids. A smaller kibble size helps the senior dog chew without discomfort. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin will help small hips and joints move with less pain. Peas are a great source of protein and fiber. 

The turkey and peas recipe contains no wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

  Key Benefits Per The Manufacturer

  • Complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your senior small breed dog
  • Supports heart health with controlled sodium levels
  • Formulated for weight maintenance
  • Includes Glucosamine & Chondroitin to help maintain hip and joint health
  •  Omega 3 & Omega 6 help keep healthy skin and coat

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Grain-Free Options

Some pet owners would like to provide grain-free food for their pets, and there are options out there to do so. 

Best Grain-Free Diet For Your Dog will give you options for your pet that will not have the grains that are sometimes hard on sensitive digestive systems. 

As Your Dog Ages

Much like humans, changes occur in a dog as they age. Those changes can affect their nutritional needs. 

 While there needs to be more research done on aging in dogs, an observant pet owner will notice differences in their pet as they age.

An older dog will be less energetic, tend to gain weight, and lose some of the muscle that they had in their younger years.

If you have an older dog, you might also notice a change or decline in their immune and kidney functions.

Nutrition Is Important In Older Dogs

 For a pet of any age, the right nutrition will be an important factor in their continued good health.

 Good nutrition can be an advantage in preventing or managing some diseases and adding to your dog’s overall well-being.

Determining exactly when, or even if, your dog would benefit from senior dog food will depend on what you and your veterinarian decide.

Logically, the dietary needs of an older dog are undoubtedly different from that of a young adult dog.

Be An Observant Pet Owner

But it is not always a given that the older dog needs switching to senior food. 

That is where you, as an observant pet owner, will have insight into how your pet is doing on an adult diet.

If you see that they are gaining some weight on the same amount of food and are not exercising those calories off like they used to, it might be time to think about switching.  

There Needs To Be More Research

As was mentioned before, there is no exhaustive research on the subject of aging dogs and the type of food they should eat.

Because there are no guidelines or irrefutable evidence that all older dogs need senior food, there will be some confusion around what is right.

 Like people, pets are individuals and have their individual needs based on age, activity, underlying conditions, and general health.

A common belief is that an older dog should consume less protein to keep the animal from gaining too much weight. 

But vets have learned that lowering proteins in older dogs foods have a negative effect by contributing to muscle loss. 

 What is believed at this point is that older dogs would benefit from diets that provided an optimal protein level.

Stages Of A Dog’s Life

Puppy Stage

Senior Dog Foods

 Concerning nutrition, three stages in a dog’s life are important for specific dietary needs—puppy, Adult, and Senior.

 The first stage is when your dog is a puppy. During this time, dog food that promotes growth is essential for a puppy.

 The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets the standard for pet food in the United States.  

The AAFCO says that puppies need food with a higher protein level and high-calorie count while growing. Otherwise, they could have stunted growth or become ill.

 Foods rated for reproduction cater to pregnant or lactating female dogs.

Adult Stage

The second stage of life is the adult stage. A pet owner needs to be careful that their dog doesn’t continue on puppy food after they have achieved adulthood. 

Puppy off and foods that are labeled “all life stage” may have excessive fats and nutrients that your adult dog does not need. 

The AAFCO states that you should look for a dog food that is rated “adult maintenance” for the time that your dog has passed puppyhood and before they are a senior.

Senior Stage

The third stage is the senior life stage. Older dogs can have medical issues like arthritis and need pet food containing glucosamine to help with mobility. 

At this point, you should consult with your vet to know what your pet needs from the diet they are getting.

Breed And Health

 Your dog’s breed and health are going to play a big part in when they might need to be on senior dog food.

 A smaller breed dog tends to mature faster, but after reaching maturity, they age more slowly. 

They might not be considered a senior dog until they are 10 or 12 years old.

A larger dog breed might be considered a senior at 5 or 6 years of age. The majority of vets believe a dog of 7 or 8 years to be a senior.

 Just like us, as a dog ages, their health and stamina slowly decline. It might take their bodies longer to repair injuries and maintain normal body functions.  

They get stressed easier and find it harder to adapt to changes in their environment. 

As we said before, their metabolism slows down, and your dog may require fewer calories.

If your older dog has health problems, like failing kidneys or diabetes, they should be on a diet that caters specifically to that problem. 

That is where your vet will be able to advise you best.

As your dog ages, routine veterinary exams and blood testing will help determine what diet is best for them to be on.

Pet manufacturers do not have a standard for “senior” dog food ingredients, so it will be up to you and your vet to research what would be best for your pet.

What Should A Good Senior Diet Have?

 An older dog will need a well-balanced diet.  It should be lower in calories and higher in fiber. 

An older dog needs fewer calories if they are not as active and fiber in their diet helps with their digestive process. 

There needs to be adequate protein and fat in their food. Most senior diets have a fat level between 8 to 12%. 

There are specially formulated senior dog foods that will be lower in calories but help create a feeling of fullness in your dog. 

The higher fiber in senior dog foods will help with constipation that older dogs are prone to, so those foods have fiber around 3 to 5 %. 

In Conclusion

When making dietary changes for your dog, be sure to consult with your veterinarian. 

Your vet knows your pet and will also be able to conduct tests to see what your pet might be missing in their current food.

If your vet suggests senior dog foods, be sure to introduce the new product slowly. Start by mixing the previous dry kibble with the new product. 

Use ¼ new to ¾ previous product over a few day’s time. Gradually increase the ratio until your dog is switched over to the new product entirely.

 Just as you do, your pet will experience changes as they age. And you will be there to help them adjust to this time in their life. 

Simple Safety Tips For Your Dog This Autumn

Autumn is a beautiful time of the year, and it is a time when it is especially nice for both you and your dog. 

The days are milder, not so hot and humid, and a lovely time to be out of doors.

While you are enjoying fall, keep in mind some simple safety tips that will keep your pooch happy and healthy during this season.

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Autumn Simple Safety Tips

 #1 It Is Mushroom, Flower, and Nut Season

Autumn is the time of year when mushrooms are in season. They will be popping up around your yard and along trails in the woods. 

While most mushrooms are non-toxic, a few can cause life-threatening issues if your pet ingests them. 

Mushrooms can be hard to distinguish between toxic and non-toxic. It is best to be safe rather than sorry and assume that all mushrooms growing out of doors are bad for your pet.

Be on the lookout for other plants that might be toxic to your pet. Berries and some flowers can cause intestinal problems. 

Autumn Crocus is a fall flower that is highly toxic. It can cause vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, along with liver and kidney damage if ingested by your pet.

Pictures of Autumn Crocus

If you see your dog eat any of these flowers, you should get them to your vet immediately

Black walnuts can be poisonous to your dog and lead to seizures and tremors. 

Acorns can cause intestinal distress, so it is best to keep your pet from chewing or ingesting any such items they find when out of doors.

There is a list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List from ASPCA that you should familiarize yourself with to better protect your pet.

#2 Fall Yard Clean-Up

Autumn is also when you will find that things have been blown into your yard by fall winds. 

If you have fruit trees, rotted fruit will have fallen and drawn bees. 

A bee sting, not only painful, can cause an allergic reaction in your pet. There will also be seeds and stems that aren’t good for your pooch to eat. 

Check for broken branches and sharp sticks that could cause injury when your pet is running about in the yard. 

A good fall clean up of your yard is a simple safety tip that will help keep your pet safe in the fall.

#3 Rat And Mice Poison

Autumn is the time when mice and rats start looking for a warm place to spend the winter. They will be seeking shelter in garages, sheds, and homes. 

No one likes rodents moving in, so many homeowners will take steps to eliminate the problem by using rodenticides. 

These poisons are often in the form of bait blocks or granules placed outside on the ground. 

Unfortunately, manufacturers treat these poisonous baits to smell like something appetizing; peanut butter, for instance. 

Rodents will carry these bait blocks or graduates with them to snack on at a later date. 

This means that your pet might come across bait in your backyard that was set out by a neighbor four houses down from you.

 Manufacturers make these baits in a color (usually a bright green) that is not natural to be a warning to people, but your beloved pet is not going to know the difference. 

Periodically check your front and back yard, garage, sheds, and under bushes for any poisons carried into your yard.

safety tips

#4 Watch For Antifreeze

Autumn is generally when people will check the coolant in their vehicles and add more antifreeze if needed. 

Spills from changing or adding coolant are dangerous for your pet. 

Antifreeze tastes sweet to your dog, and so they will be eager to lap it up. That could be fatal for them. 

When out on a walk, please don’t let your pooch drink from puddles on the road or excess water along the curbing. 

This water could have the remnants of antifreeze from the vehicles that use the roadways. 

Another good reason not to let your dog drink from puddles is that they can have germs like Giardia that can sicken your pet. 

Pet supply stores and online stores sell water containers specially made for supplying your dog with fresh water when you are out on a walk or a hike in the woods.

#5 Beware Of Fleas And Ticks

This simple safety tip for your dog is one to practice year-round, but it is no less important in the fall. 

Many species of ticks survive well into the winter. There are many fallen leaves and damp areas around shrubs and plants that these fleas and ticks love to hang out in. 

Just as you would do throughout the year, be sure to check your pooch regularly for fleas and ticks. 

Check each time you come in from a walk in the woods or you have been on trails to make sure that they have not picked any unwelcome hitchhikers. 

If you do notice that fleas have taken up residence, but sure to address this right away. Bathe your pet with The Best Flea Shampoo for dogs 2020. 

Fleas have a life cycle that needs breaking, or they will continue to perpetuate misery on your poor dog. 

They can also infest your home, so it is best to nip it in the bud as soon as you see the evidence that your dog has fleas

Safety tips

#6 Snakes And Wildlife

Depending on where you live, running across a snake can be no big deal or a life-altering event. 

During the hotter months, snakes will often be sunning themselves with a full belly. 

While summer finds the highest incident of snake bites, the fall also poses a risk. 

As the months get colder, snakes will be on the move and a bit bad-tempered. 

They are preparing to hibernate, and so are focused on that task and not too happy when someone crosses their path to interrupt that task. 

Be familiar with what type of snakes are in your area and which ones are venomous. 

Know their habits and habitats so that you can avoid those areas and your pooch will benefit from your knowledge.

This is also when other creatures like skunks, raccoons, squirrels, and deer are active. A tussle with a raccoon would not be pleasant. 

Even more unpleasant would be a disagreement with a skunk. The evidence of that encounter would be prevalent in your house for a week or more. 

Squirrels and deer are also very tempting for your pet to chase and probably never catch. 

But while they are on the chase, they could get lost or hurt on any number of things (like barbed wire) off the beaten path. 

So keep them on a leash and keep an eye out for anything that might create a temptation for them to take up the chase.

#7 School Is In Session

Autumn is the time that kids are heading back to school. That means that families are stocking up on back to school supplies. 

Crayons, magic markers, glue sticks, pens, and pencils seem to sprout as if by magic from every nook and cranny in the house. 

The majority of these items are made from non-toxic materials because children will mainly use them. 

We all know that children have a habit of putting everything in their mouths, and so these items need to be safe. 

While that may be the case, you also know that your pooch is not going to stop at one crayon if a full box presents itself for consumption. 

Gnawing on a #2 pencil will create sharp wood fragments that won’t do your dog’s intestinal system any good. 

It is best to think of your pet in the same way you would a toddler. Put things up where they are not able to be reached. 

Know that they would not be able to comprehend what might be dangerous. Understand that all things look like fun and nothing is a bad idea.


#8 Halloween And Holidays Are Around The Corner

For many of us, this is one of the favorite times of the year. The holidays are looming, and that means candy and sweets and lots of delicious treats. 

Your pooch thinks so too. They are just as enticed by the good smells and candy in the bowl on the coffee table. 

Chocolate can be lethal for a dog. Be sure to keep Halloween and holiday candy up and out of reach, again, as you would do with a toddler. 

Most dogs will not limit themselves to one treat or two but will ingest all that there is. 

It is easy during the preparation times when we are busy leaving something forbidden within reach, and it takes just a second for your pooch to pounce.

In Conclusion

Autumn is a glorious time to be out of doors with your dog. If you follow these simple safety tips, you can keep your pet healthy and happy.

If you think your pet ingested something that they should not have, take them to your veterinarian or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 for more advice.