The Best Senior Dog Foods

The Best Senior Dog Foods


Dogs age just like humans do, albeit a lot faster. If you have a small dog who is 11 years old or a large dog who is 8, he’s considered a senior. Some senior dogs do just fine sticking to their typical adult diet, but others do better if they have food that is made especially for them. Some senior dogs tend to become more picky and lose weight, while others, because they are not moving around as much, tend to gain weight and need more fiber and less fat.

We looked at dozens of dog foods meant for senior dogs, as well as some low-fat foods that some senior dogs need, then we ranked them so you could decide which type is best for your aging friend. We considered nutrition, which ingredients they are made from, and how well Amazon customer’s dogs seemed to like them.

Best Senior Dog Food Overall

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Real meat protein and antioxidants help your dog live a long, healthy life.

The best senior dog food overall is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula. In addition to high-quality meat protein, this food contains antioxidants as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, which support joint health. This food contains only natural ingredients to support your aging dog’s nutritional needs.

The 5 Top-Rated Senior Dog Foods

*Ratings are from Amazon and might change over time.

Best Senior Dog Food Overall: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula made the top of our list of the best foods for senior dogs. The protein source is real chicken, and it contains no chicken by-products. It is also filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are important to supporting your older dog’s immune system. Glucosamine and chondroitin are added, too. These help ensure good joint health, which is particularly important for aging dogs, who often experience joint pain, arthritis, worsening hip dysplasia, and other joint-related maladies.

This is a 30-pound bag of their chicken and brown rice recipe. You can also purchase a 15-pound or 6-pound bag. Blue Buffalo is an American company and makes its food with real meat, fruits, and vegetables, so you can feel secure in the knowledge that the ingredients are both safe and nutritious.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Key Features:

  • 30 lbs
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe
  • Made with real chicken
  • No chicken by-products
  • Includes antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin added

Editor’s Pick: Wag Dry Dog Food

Editor’s Pick

Our editor’s pick for the best senior dog food is Wag Dry Dog Food. While this food is not expressly made for senior dogs, it has a lot of features that make it great for aging canines. First, it is 35 percent protein, which is important for maintaining muscle mass and ensuring proper immune system function. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for cognitive function in older dogs; it can also help relieve arthritis.

This formulation is made from real Australian lamb, but if your dog prefers beef, salmon, or turkey, those options are also available. Wag dog foods are made in the USA using trusted global ingredients. And if you order it from Amazon.com, you can save 40 percent off of your first order through Subscribe & Save. Just choose that option when you place the item in your cart.

Wag Dry Dog Food Key Features:

  • 30 lb bag
  • Lamb formula
  • No added grains
  • Contains 35% protein
  • Contains omega 3 fatty acids
  • Save 40% if you Subscribe & Save

Best Budget Senior Dog Food: IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food

Best Budget Senior Dog Food

IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food

Support your aging dog’s health without breaking the bank with this high-quality senior dog food.

IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food is a budget-friendly dog food formulated for seniors. This is a 15-pound bag of their chicken and whole grains recipe. Larger and smaller bags are also available. The first ingredient is real chicken, and the food also contains fiber and prebiotics, which are important to keep your dog’s digestive system running properly. The extra fiber can also help your dog feel fuller, which can cut down on overeating. This is important if he is putting on some weight in his later years.

This food also contains ingredients to help maintain your dog’s bone and joint health into the senior years, as well as antioxidants, including vitamin E and beta carotene. IAMS can be your partner in providing your dog with the nutrition he needs for an active and comfortable life.

IAMS Proactive Health Senior Dry Dog Food Key Features:

  • 15 lb bag
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Contains fiber and prebiotics
  • Good for digestion
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Maintains joint and bone health

Best Canned Senior Dog Food: Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity

Best Canned Senior Dog Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity

Poultry, spinach, and other ingredients keep your senior dog’s attention and encourage him to eat.

Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity is our top pick for canned dog foods made especially for senior dogs. Many times, older dogs lose interest in eating due to tiredness or a reduced sense of smell. This food contains turkey, chicken, oatmeal, spinach, and other ingredients that will keep him healthy and pique his interest in eating. This is the turkey and barley formulation, and it comes in a case of twelve 13-ounce cans.

The first ingredient is turkey, and there are no poultry by-products. The ingredients give your dog the energy he needs to be alert and active well into his senior years. The ground texture is good for dogs with missing teeth. This food also makes a great topper, if you prefer to feed dry food. Just mix a spoonful of it into your dog’s regular food and watch him perk up!

Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Key Features:

  • Twelve 13-ounce cans
  • Turkey is the first ingredient
  • No poultry by-products
  • Ground meat texture
  • Makes a great topper

Best Weight Management Food for Senior Dogs: Solid Gold – Fit & Fabulous

Best for Weight Management

Solid Gold – Fit & Fabulous

Help your senior dog keep a svelte figure with this nutritious weight-management food.

Many senior dogs begin to gain weight as they become less active. If your pooch needs a weight-management food, we recommend Solid Gold – Fit & Fabulous. This formulation is grain-free and made with tasty Alaskan pollock, which contains whole grains. If your dog is more of a poultry fan, there’s another flavor, which is grain-free, made with chicken, sweet potatoes, and green beans. In addition to the main ingredients, there are antioxidant-containing superfoods such as pumpkin, broccoli, and sesame oil.

Your older dog will benefit from the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are good for joint health as well as a soft, supple coat. This food also contains fiber and prebiotics, which help with digestion as well as helping your dog to feel more full and satisfied. It comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

Solid Gold – Fit & Fabulous Key Features:

  • 24 pounds
  • Contains Alaskan pollock
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Includes fatty acids
  • Has fiber and prebiotics
  • Can help manage weight
  • Satisfaction guarantee

Who Should Buy Senior Dog Food

Anyone who has a dog who is getting up there in years should talk to their veterinarians about whether switching to a senior dog food makes sense. Dogs who have lost teeth or who have gotten less interested in food might do best with a canned food formulated for seniors. Those who are sensitive to grains would do well with a grain-free food for seniors. If your Good Boy or Good Girl could stand to lose a few pounds, a weight management food might be just what he or she needs during their golden years. Your current dog food brand might also have a senior variety; you might want to start with that. If not, ask your vet for his or her opinion on which type of senior dog food is right for your dog.

Best Senior Dog Food Overall

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Real meat protein and antioxidants help your dog live a long, healthy life.

Important Features to Consider

Any food that you purchase for your senior dog should have some features, and other features are completely optional and dependent on your (or your dog’s) preferences. Here’s what to consider:

  • Ingredients. Your first priority should be avoiding any ingredients that your dog is allergic or sensitive to. Many senior dogs can’t eat grain; if this is the case for your dog, look for a senior dog food that is grain-free. If he is allergic to any specific type of protein, corn, soy, or other ingredients, be sure to check the label carefully before buying. Here’s a list of the best foods for dogs with allergies, if you need more ideas than the ones in this article.
  • Flavors. Some dogs will eat anything that doesn’t eat them first, and others only like one or two flavors of dog food. Canned food tends to smell and taste more strongly, so if your dog is pickier than he has been in years past, consider looking for a nice, smelly canned food to pique his interest.
  • Dietary needs. Does your dog need a low-fat or weight management food? Maybe he needs a food that is very digestible or one that contains more protein or more fiber. Ask your veterinarian if your dog has any dietary needs that need to be addressed, and look for a food that will meet those needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is senior dog food necessary?

The answer to this really depends on your individual dog. Many dogs can continue to eat the same food they’ve eaten throughout their adult lives well into their senior years, but others will begin to have issues like sensitive stomachs, unwanted weight loss, or weight gain. Your vet can advise you as to whether a senior dog food makes sense for your dog.

How is senior dog food different?

Senior dog food has more fiber to help an older dog’s digestion. It can also be more flavorful and have a stronger smell, because older dogs sometimes become pickier and less interested in food. In some cases, senior dogs need weight management food because they begin to put on weight. We have reviewed a few weight management foods below, but you can also find more in our list of the best low-fat dog foods.

What should you feed an old dog who won’t eat?

If your older dog isn’t interested in eating anymore, you should first visit your veterinarian, who can tell you if the problem is a health issue. If it’s just a lack of interest in food, you can get him more interested by switching to canned food or by adding canned food, diced cooked chicken breast, or a bit of plain yogurt to his dry food. There are also mix-ins you can buy that can make food more interesting and, in some cases, more nutritious.

What’s the best dog food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs?

You might need to use a grain-free senior dog food if your dog is intolerant or sensitive to grains. There are also foods available for adult dogs with sensitive stomachs that you could try. Talk to your vet to determine whether the problem is simply a diet issue or an actual health condition.

Other Senior Dog Foods We Reviewed

Best Senior Dog Food Overall

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Real meat protein and antioxidants help your dog live a long, healthy life.

In addition to the ones reviewed above, we looked at an additional 20 senior dog foods so we could tell you about the best of the rest. These did not make our top 5 list, but they’re still good options to consider feeding your older dog. They are split up into categories to make it easier for you to find the type that is best for your older pet.

Grain-Free Senior Dog Foods

CANIDAE Pure Senior Recipe


CANIDAE Pure Senior Recipe

With just 10 ingredients and no grains, this food is great for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs. Probiotics and antioxidants are in every bite.

Key Features:

  • 24 pounds
  • Limited ingredients
  • Contains antioxidants

Cost: $65

Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free


Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free

This is an organic food with lots of superfoods and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin.

Key Features:

  • 10 pounds
  • Nothing artificial
  • Good for joint health

Cost: $50

Halo Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food


Halo Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food

Your senior dog will enjoy whole poultry with no by-products or “meal” ingredients. This formula has fewer calories and more fiber than the regular adult formula.

Key Features:

  • 10 pounds
  • Made with real poultry
  • Non-GMO vegetable ingredients

Cost: $40

Merrick Senior Grain Free with Real Meat


Merrick Senior Grain Free with Real Meat

This food is made of real protein (chicken in this case) and healthy vegetables, including tasty and nutritious sweet potato. Great for joint health, too.

Key Features:

  • 12 pounds
  • Contains whole foods
  • No fillers or preservatives

Cost: $40

ORIJEN Senior Dog Food


ORIJEN Senior Dog Food

This grain-free senior dog food includes ingredients like cage-free eggs, free-run poultry, and wild-caught fish. Everything is minimally processed for maximum nutrition.

Key Features:

  • 25 pounds
  • Ethically sourced ingredients
  • Minimally processed

Cost: $100

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Senior


Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Senior

Nutrient-rich, this food contains real poultry and no grains. It contains guaranteed levels of omega fatty acids for joint and coat health.

Key Features:

  • 4 pounds
  • Good for hips and joints
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $18

Weight Management Senior Dog Foods

Diamond Naturals Light Dry Dog Food


Diamond Naturals Light Dry Dog Food

Made with pasture-raised lamb, this weight-management food is great for the older dog who has become less active. Contains antioxidants for good health.

Key Features:

  • 30 pounds
  • Made with real lamb
  • Highly digestible

Cost: $35

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food


Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food

This weight-management food is made for larger breeds. Prebiotics and natural fibers will ease your older dog’s digestion and omegas will keep his coat shiny.

Key Features:

  • 30 pounds
  • Made for large breeds
  • Supports a healthy heart

Cost: $50

Nutro Ultra Weight Management


Nutro Ultra Weight Management

Your dog will find the chicken, lamb, and salmon combination of this food to be irresistible, and the proteins and superfoods will keep him healthy.

Key Features:

  • 30 pounds
  • Contains superfoods
  • No fillers

Cost: $40

Other Dry Senior Dog Foods

Diamond Naturals Dry Senior Dog Food


Diamond Naturals Dry Senior Dog Food

Chicken, egg, and oatmeal create an easy-to-digest food that your older dog will love. It also contains antioxidants to support good health.

Key Features:

  • 35 pounds
  • Easy to digest
  • Contains antioxidants

Cost: $40

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 11+


Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 11+

This food is formulated for small dogs who are at least 11 years old. It contributes to a good heart, bladder, joint, and bone health.

Key Features:

  • 4.5 pounds
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • For small dogs

Cost: $15

Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food


Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

This high-quality dog food contains protein from several sources; the first ingredient is real chicken. It also has a variety of superfoods for excellent nutrition.

Key Features:

  • 30 pounds
  • Made with high-quality ingredients
  • No fillers or anything artificial

Cost: $60

Royal Canin Large Aging Dog Food


Royal Canin Large Aging Dog Food

Made for large, aging dogs, this food promotes healthy digestion, supports joint health, and helps your dog maintain a healthy and active life.

Key Features:

  • 30 pounds
  • Strong aroma
  • Easy to digest

Cost: $60

Wellness Complete Health Senior Dog Food


Wellness Complete Health Senior Dog Food

Deboned chicken, barley, and antioxidants keep your aging dog looking great and feeling his best. This food can boost his energy and support his immune system.

Key Features:

  • 30 pounds
  • Contains antioxidants
  • No by-products or fillers

Cost: $40

Canned Senior Dog Foods

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe


Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe

This is a tasty and appealing pate-style dog food that is formulated for senior dogs. It contains high-quality protein for muscle maintenance.

Key Features:

  • Twelve 12.5 ounce cans
  • Pate-style
  • Contains real chicken

Cost: $22

Hill’s Science Diet Senior Wet Dog Food


Hill's Science Diet Senior Wet Dog Food

This easily digested food contains ingredients to contribute to the heart and bone health that your dog needs to thrive in his senior years.

Key Features:

  • Twelve 12.8 ounce cans
  • Includes minerals senior dogs need
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $24

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Senior Wet Dog Food


IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Senior Wet Dog Food

This pate-style food contains real chicken and rice with an aromatic flavor to entice your dog. Contains omega fatty acids for joint and coat health.

Key Features:

  • Twelve 13 ounce cans
  • Contains fatty acids
  • Includes real broth

Cost: $18

Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Senior 7+


Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Senior 7+

The combination of beef and rice covered with beef gravy will stimulate your older dog’s appetite. It has an optimal protein-to-fat ratio for weight maintenance.

Key Features:

  • Twelve 13 ounce cans
  • Includes aromatic gravy
  • Has omega fatty acids

Cost: $23

Royal Canin Canine Health


Royal Canin Canine Health

This enticing food contains pork and other proteins in a tasty gel. This company was founded by a veterinarian and the food was made with a pet nutritionist.

Key Features:

  • Twelve 13.5 ounce cans
  • Contains flavorful gel
  • Formulated for older dogs

Cost: $33

Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Dog Food


Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Dog Food

High-quality chicken and yummy sweet potatoes create a savory pate. This food is filled with nutrients to support heart, joint, digestive, and immune system health.

Key Features:

  • Twelve 12.5 ounce cans
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Savory taste

Cost: $35

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