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Top 5 Best Senior Dog Food: Complete Guide [2022]

best senior dog food complete guide

As your dog gets older, her habits and moods change and you will notice significant changes in her eating routine. You need to find the best senior dog food to help your pet stay healthy.

One of the most common issues for senior dogs is eating too much. There comes a time in your pooch’s life when giving regular treats is no longer healthy.

You can easily wean your senior dog from overindulgence with a portion of high-quality senior dog food. She will not take long to accept her new diet.

Your responsibility as a dog parent is to choose a healthy diet that will boost the immune system, support strong joints, and maintain lean muscle mass.

Top 5 Senior Dog Food

#1. Nature’s Recipe Dry Senior Dog Food

Feed your pooch’s seniority with Nature’s Recipe Dry Senior Dog Food. A diet that will supply your dog with energy and help boost her immune system.

Key Ingredients:

  • Lamb meal
  • Ground whole wheat
  • Ground rice
  • Soybean hulls
  • Rolled oats
  • Chicken fat
  • Tomato pomace
  • Lamb digest
  • Flaxseed

This formula has all the natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your aging canine friend needs for energy, activity, and a healthy immune system.

Lamb meal is the first ingredient in this diet, which is great because it is an excellent protein source for building, healing, and maintaining body tissues.

Ground whole wheat is a good source of protein and energy. There’s also ground rice, which is a gluten-free carb source that is highly digestible.

Soybean hulls are an exceptional source of cellulose and insoluble fiber for boosting healthy digestion, gut, and stool.

Rolled oats are a good source of carbs and fiber for your senior dog. They also supply your pooch with omega 6 fatty acids for maintaining healthy skin and coat.

Chicken fat is a great animal-sourced fat that does not only provide your canine friend with energy but also helps her organs function properly.

Flaxseed ensures your dog has healthy joints. It has anti-inflammatory properties that support your pooch’s joints as well as a range of mobility.

Things We Like

  • Doesn’t contain poultry by-product, soy, or artificial flavors and colors
  • Contains gluten-free carbohydrates that are highly digestible
  • High-quality protein boost optimal muscle strength
  • Contains natural fiber for a healthy digestion
  • Supports joint health and range of mobility

Things We Don’t Like

  • A little bit expensive for its price

#2. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Senior Dog Food

Giving your senior dog the best takes time, especially when it comes to nutrition, and that is why you need the Hill’s Science Diet Dry Senior Dog Food.

Key Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken meal
  • Brewers rice
  • Cracked pearl barley
  • Egg product
  • Whole grain sorghum
  • Dried beet pulp
  • Brown rice
  • Soybean oil
  • Flaxseed

This amazing nutrition supplies your pooch with highly digestible ingredients, which boost energy, activity, and alertness levels in your senior dog.

It features a balanced set of vitamins and minerals that support a healthy kidney and a strong heart. Not to mention the vitamin E and omega 6 for healthy skin and coat.

Chicken is a remarkable source of lean meat, which ensures your pooch gets sufficient amounts of protein without adding lots of calories to the diet.

Your aging dog doesn’t need high amounts of carbohydrates in her diet. Brewers’ rice provides just enough carbs, which are highly digestible.

Cracked pearl barley is a good source of dietary fiber and protein for energy and smooth digestion, but may not be suitable for gluten-sensitive dogs.

Egg products are packed with riboflavin, selenium, iron, folate, vitamins A and B12, and essential amino acids for boosting skin, coat, bones, and teeth health.

Things We Like

  • Vet recommended diet for older dogs
  • Features natural ingredients that are safe for your pooch
  • Contains quality protein for maintaining lean muscle mass
  • Rich in vitamin E and omega 6 for skin and coat health
  • Contains essential minerals and vitamins for strong kidney and heart health
  • Supplies your pooch with clinically proven antioxidants

Things We Don’t Like

  • Gluten-rich ingredients may not be suitable for sensitive dogs

#3. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

Introducing Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food, nutrition that contains quality animal protein, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and whole grains.

Key Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken meal
  • Rice bran
  • Brewers rice
  • Whole brown rice
  • Whole grain oatmeal
  • Salmon meal
  • Dried plain beet pulp
  • Chicken fat
  • Pea protein

This diet features a trio of protein from salmon, lamb, and chicken, which is great because your elderly dog gets enough quality protein for maintaining her lean muscle mass.

Chicken meal is an excellent source of glucosamine, sulfate, and chondroitin. Glucosamine ensures the cartilage tissues of your pooch are healthy.

Rice bran in this diet serves as a functional feature in your pooch’s food. It helps your dog fight diseases, such as obesity and stomach problems.

Another relatively new ingredient is whole grain oatmeal, which is a good source of carbohydrates and linoleic acid. It also contains soluble fiber for regulating blood glucose.

Salmon meal is an excellent source of high-quality protein for your aging dog, which helps maintain healthy body weight and lean muscle mass.

Dried plain beet pulp supplies your senior dog with sufficient amounts of gentle fiber to boost gastrointestinal tract health. It also improves colon health.

Things We Like

  • Lean chicken helps maintain muscle mass
  • Contains glucosamine for supporting healthy cartilage tissues
  • Functional ingredients help fight diseases
  • Soluble fiber regulates blood glucose
  • Gentle fiber boosts gastrointestinal health

Things We Don’t Like

  • Possible to receive a defective bag

#4. Nulo Grain-Free Senior Dog Food

Introducing Nulo Grain Free Senior Dog Food, freestyle nourishment that ensures your dog gets all the nutrients she needs at her old age.

Key Ingredients:

  • Deboned trout
  • Salmon meal
  • Turkey meal
  • Yellow peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pea fiber
  • Deboned turkey
  • Chicken fat

Unlike conventional brands that you are used to, Nulo doesn’t depend on chicken proteins or eggs. Instead, they use healthier alternatives.

Fish is an exceptional protein source for your pooch, it helps maintain strong muscles. Also, fish is a reliable source of omega 3 for healthy skin and coat.

Your senior dog will love the taste of turkey in her diet. Apart from being a great protein source, turkey is low in calories and highly digestible.

Instead of grain, Nulo features yellow peas, which contain antioxidants, resistant starch, insoluble and soluble fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins.

Chickpeas supply a good amount of protein and fiber. They also supplement your pooch with magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, manganese, selenium, copper, zinc, phosphorous, and folate.

Sweet potato is a natural, healthy, and safe treatment for your senior dog. This ingredient has a high amount of dietary fiber for a healthy digestive system.

Chicken fat ensures your dog gets a good amount of high-quality fat, which is great because it boosts energy and improves skin and coat health.

Things We Like

  • Healthy trout maintain strong muscles
  • Omega 3 and 6 boosts healthy skin and coat
  • Grain-free recipe is safe for sensitive dogs
  • Low carb formula helps to maintain ideal body weight
  • Contains chondroitin and glucosamine support strong joints

Things We Don’t Like

  • Smell of the food may be pretty awful

#5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food

Introducing Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food, nutrition made of the finest natural ingredients that are enhanced with minerals and vitamins.

Key Ingredients:

  • Deboned chicken
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Flaxseed
  • Peas and carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Brown rice

The first ingredient is chicken, which is great because it provides your pooch with healthy protein for maintaining muscle mass.

Sweet potato provides your pooch with fiber for boosting healthy digestion, beta-carotene for enhanced vision, and antioxidants for fighting cancer.

Cranberries have many health benefits for your dog. They help prevent cancer, fight bacteria, reduce plaque and tartar buildup, and improve bladder health.

Peas are a great source of dietary fiber, minerals, and essential vitamins. It is gentle and goes easy on the digestive system of a senior dog.

Carrots help improve the dental health of your canine friend. They also supply your pooch with fiber, potassium, and vitamin A.

Blueberries are amazing low-calorie nourishment for your hound. They contain vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants, which support a healthy immune system.

Brown rice has high amounts of antioxidants, which is great because it helps improve as well as maintain a good level of blood sugar.

Things We Like

  • Chicken helps maintain muscle mass
  • Sufficient fiber for boosting healthy digestion
  • Dietary fiber improves the health of the digestive system
  • Chondroitin and glucosamine boost joint health
  • No by-products, preservatives, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors

Things We Don’t Like

  • It May not be a great choice for some breeds

Buying Guide

The most important thing to always take into consideration is your dog’s digestive system. Not all diets are friendly to the digestive system of an older dog.

Healthy Ingredients

As dog parents, we believe healthy ingredients play a very important role in your dog’s life during her senior age.

You can easily know if a given food will be suitable for your pooch by checking the first six to ten ingredients on the label.

The first ingredient is normally real meat or meat meal. Meat is a great source of healthy protein for your pooch that helps with muscle mass maintenance.

Most foods nowadays tend to favor chicken or turkey as the first ingredient. This is probably because the meat from these birds is low in calories.

Your first six to ten ingredients should also feature things like sweet potato, fish, cranberries, peas, chickpeas, salmon meal, and whole-grain sorghum to mention a few.

One of the biggest challenges your dog faces in older age is aging joints. So, you need to ensure the food has glucosamine sources.

Glucosamine is a useful supplement for degenerative joint disease, arthritis, and disc degeneration. This nutrient helps to maintain healthy bones.

You also need components that support immune system health, including vital minerals, antioxidant-rich sources, and essential vitamins.

Wet or Dry Food

Choosing between the two might be a problem for new dog parents. For senior dogs, we recommend the nourishment of only dry food.

This is so, since dry nutrition is healthier, as wet food tends to contain needless amounts of by-products, sodium, sugar, and fats.

From our own experiences, wet food can cause stool to be more frequent, much softer, and more difficult to track.

Just make sure you read the labels carefully. Not all dry diets that are labeled “Premium” or “Holistic” or “Grain-Free” are ideal for your senior pooch.

Grain and Gluten-Free

Many dog parents ask about gluten and grain sensitivity in dogs. Gluten is usually found in wheat, rye, barley, wheat, durum, bulgur, and bran.

Some dog breeds are normally allergic to gluten and the most popular symptoms are skin infections, hair loss, itchy skin, and chronic ear infection.

So, in addition to her old age, you wouldn’t want to add all these problems to her old age. Avoid diets with gluten, if your pooch is allergic.

Instead, choose grain-free diets that use other alternatives, such as tapioca and potato.

Transition Time

You cannot generalize transition time because every dog is different and may need varying amounts of time to adapt completely to the new nourishment.

Most canines take to a natural diet very well and without complication. So, they may take a short time to transition, such as two weeks.

But some dogs may need a longer time span to get used to the food. This may be due to some underlying conditions, such as food sensitivity.

It is always advisable to consult your vet about your dog’s food change. The vet is in a better position to make recommendations that matter with respect to your dog’s health.


Q1. Which Food is better – Wet or Dry?

You can feed your dog any of these food types, but a dry diet is always better because it contains the ideal amount of ingredients and has a longer shelf life.

Q2. Are Dog Foods 100% Non-GMO?

That is what the label usually says, but small amounts of genetically modified materials may exist in the food because of cross-contact during production.

Q3. What is the Difference between Senior and Puppy Food?

Puppy nutrition is formulated for dogs who are two years or younger. On the other hand, senior diets are suitable for older dogs.

Q4. Which Senior Dog Food Brand is the Best Overall?

There are so many great brands of food on the market. But our research shows that these are the best brands for your dog: Nature’s Recipe, Hill’s Science, Nutro, Nulo, and Blue Buffalo.

Q5. Are By-Products Bad for Senior Dogs?

By-products are considered to be a safe addition in a senior dog’s diet by the Pet Nutrition Alliance. But some by-products, such as poultry feathers and hide are not ideal.

Final Thoughts

Our overall best nutrition for your older dog is Nature’s Recipe Dry Senior Dog Food. This diet is unlike any other, containing all the necessary nutrients your dog desperately needs at her age.

This diet supports healthy digestion, supports muscle and brain development, boost a healthy immune system, and supports strong joints.

Senior dogs are more sensitive to food change than junior ones. So, you want to make sure that the meal you serve her is what her body needs.

Always take into consideration the following: joint issues, a vulnerable immune system, depleting muscle mass, and most importantly weight.


Sherri Taylor

Sherri has been a lifelong dog lover. She is the founder of dfwdogquest.com. She created this website with only one mission in mind; to make sure every dog gets the best care it deserves. She is passionate about dog care and you can pick up the latest information on dogs from dfwdogquest.com

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