The 6 Best Senior Dog Foods For 2020

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.

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Best Senior Dog Foods

Senior Dog FoodSpecificsOur Rating
Nutro UltraDry Food4.9
Wellness COREGrain Free4.8
VictorDry Food4.8
Nulo FreestyleGrain Free4.7
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. 

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