Best Senior Dog Food on the Market (10 Top-Sellers)

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The Feeding Requirements of Senior Dogs

Has your dog started to show signs of muscle loss, muzzle turning gray, or memory loss? He has entered the senior dog group. What is the best senior dog food for your dog? The best food should provide a diet that will replenish him and delay some age-related changes in their advanced dog age. 

Aging pets have health problems such as weight gain and hip and elbow dysplasia– joint changes that can cause limping and pain. 

One of the key dietary requirements is protein when selecting the kind of protein for your mature pet, the quality of protein matters because aging dogs have more difficulty absorbing nutrients. 

Some dogs will require a few calories because of a decrease in their activity, making them gain weight when they are older. But, according to your vet’s recommendation, others lose weight and shouldn’t cut back on calories. Read our article and find out Effective Dog Weight Loss Strategies.

german shepherd dog eating food

Our Top Pick for the Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs

After thorough research, we chose the following dog foods because they contain above-average protein, below-average calories, and no high-risk preservatives. We also found that these do not have high levels of aflatoxins.

Our top pick is the Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food,

Below is a compiled list and reviews of 10 top seller choices of best dog food for senior dogs with scientific explanations of why we find them worth your time to read through.

How to Switch to Senior Dog Food

Switching to senior foods when your dog has attained that age is crucial in the senior dog’s nutritional journey. Therefore, it is important to gradually transition once you have identified the right food for your dog. The ideal duration is between 7 to 10 days, ensuring that the transition is complete by the 14th day.

Take longer to transition if your dog is prone to stomach upset. First, introduce small amounts of new foods alongside the current diet. Then, day by day, increase the amount of the new foods you are introducing while reducing the amounts of old food until the transition is complete. 

If you are not sure how to go about it, consult your vet. Your veterinarian is a crucial part of your dog’s health whom you should consult when considering a dietary change, especially for a senior dog.

What is the Best Senior Dog Food?

The following are some the best senior dog food we have reviewed for you:

1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food(Best Overall)

2. Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food with Real Meat(Best for senior dogs)

3. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult & Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken(Best for large breeds)

4. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food(Best for senior dogs)

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice(Best senior dog food for arthritis)

6. Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ Formula Dog Food(Best for senior dogs)

7. IAMS Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken, All Breed Sizes(Best for senior dogs with stomach issues)

8. VICTOR Super Premium Dog Food – Purpose – Senior Healthy Weight(Best for senior dogs)

9. ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food, Grain-Free, High Protein, Fresh and Raw Animal Ingredients(Best senior dog food for dogs with allergies)

10. Diamond Naturals Dry Senior Dog Food Formula with Protein, Probiotics, Superfoods, and Antioxidants(Best for all breeds)

What Should I Look for in Senior Dog Food?

AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement

AAFCO requires that foods provide recommended amounts of required nutrients regardless of their stage. However, AAfco approval does not mean that the food effectively manages and prevents diseases in your senior dog.

Nutritional adequacy statement, states whether the food in question meets a balanced nutritional standard for your dog based on the nutritional levels established by AAFCO. It also states at which life stage ((growth/lactation, adult maintenance, or all life stages) of your dog you should give that particular food.  

AAFCO has developed two nutrient profiles for dogs: adult maintenance and growth/lactation, for which foods must meet at least one. Some labels claim the food covers all life stages. However, those foods provide enough nutrients for an animal’s growth and reproduction and maintain a healthy adult, including senior and geriatric dogs.

Calories

Carbohydrates and proteins are sources of calories. Carbohydrates make up about 50% of our dog’s diet. Fiber is found in carbohydrates and helps your dog in bowel movements. Some common sources of fiber include rice, pasta, grains, peas, and even potatoes. 

However, senior dog foods should contain fewer calories because most of these dogs are less active. In contrast, others have trouble maintaining a healthy weight, meaning that they should cut back on calories.

Beware of manufacturers who use carbohydrates as fillers instead of protein to bulk up the food because protein tends to be more expensive than carbohydrates. Instead, you will find premium foods with high-quality complex carbohydrates to give fiber and sustain energy.

Protein

Senior dogs use protein to build and maintain muscle tissue that they lose due to their advanced age. Other protein functions help strengthen the immune system, grow and develop your dog’s skin, produce hormones, and regulate metabolism while healing damaged tissues. 

Check for senior dog foods with 18% to 23% protein levels, but other nutrient content could vary widely. Any premium dog food should have the first ingredient listed as protein. These foods include fish, fish meal, liver, and eggs. In addition, some food makers may use never-before proteins such as kangaroo, buffalo, bison, and goat.

Some manufacturers use beans and grains such as rice, wheat, and barley. They are not a definitive source of protein like animal protein, but when combined with other foods, they become a great source of amino acids that dogs require.

Other ingredients;

Vitamins and Minerals

All healthy senior dogs require vitamins that assist the body in fighting diseases, regulate metabolism, absorb minerals and grow and function normally. Premium diets will have all minerals and vitamins that our dog requires.

Your dog’s body maintains and stores fat-soluble vitamins in its liver and fat tissue. Your dog’s body will replace water-soluble vitamins like vitamin B and C as they are flushed out daily. Ensure the foods your dog eats have the right balance of vitamins.

Iron, calcium, phosphorus, and nitrates are some minerals and inorganic compounds to grow and properly function. Minerals assist in maintaining salt levels in the bloodstream and building teeth and bones. So there needs to be the correct balance of minerals for your dog’s health, like vitamins.

Reputable dog food companies will conduct digestibility tests to ensure their foods are highly palatable so that your dog digests and absorbs the nutrients therein. In addition, these companies endeavor to make dog food tasty so that your dog can easily eat and digest the food.

senior dog eating food

Reviewing the Best Senior Dog Food on the Market

1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 11+ for Senior Dogs, Small Paws, Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe

Best Overall

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by Hill’s Science Diet

General Paragraph

Are you looking for a well-balanced, nutritious food blend for our small breed? Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws™ got you covered. They have tailored their food to support your aging canine 11+ years old dog. The small kibble is loaded with prebiotic fiber and will provide your little, older dog with enough fiber to aid its digestion. As a result, they have received our ‘best rated senior dog food’ award.

Brand: Hill’s Science Diet

Flavor/s: Chicken & Barley

Breed size: Small Breeds

Our rating out of five: 4.7 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Brewers rice, chicken meal, whole grain sorghum, whole grain wheat, cracked pearled barley

Type: With Grain

Calories: 374 kcal/cup (3774 kcal/kg)

Pros

  • Supports an older little dog’s joints and mobility using omega-3s from fish oil
  • Provides your small-breed dog with balanced minerals that support heart, kidney, and bladder health

Cons:

  • Best for small breed senior dogs.

Item form: Dry

Prescription requirement:

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
211/425
21/250
842/365
1057/888
1571 1/8112.5
2091 1/3113
25111 2/3167
30141 3/4175

Vet recommended: Yes

2. Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food with Real Meat

Best for Senior Dogs

Amazon’s Choice Award in Dry Dog Food by Merrick

General Paragraph

Your senior dog will love the Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food Real Chicken and Sweet Potato. We find it to be the best grain-free senior dog food. Merrick crafted this recipe with whole foods and deboned chicken and fish to make a delectable, nutritious food for your senior dog of all breeds. Some of the Amazon reviews attested to this food as for senior dogs that are very picky eaters.

Brand: Merrick

Flavor/s: Chicken, Sweet Potato

Breed Size: All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.7 out of 5 star

First five ingredients are whole foods and deboned chicken. 

Type: Grain-free

Calories: 3,603 kcal per kilogram or 381 kcal per cup

Pros 

  • Made with real whole foods, a healthy balance of protein, and a blend of whole grains to aid in digestion
  • Used on all breed sizes

Cons

  • Suitable for only senior dogs

Item form: Pellet

Prescription required

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
3 lbs 11/333
6 lbs32/367
10 lbs51100
15 lbs71 1/4 125
20 lbs91 1/2150
30 lb142200
40182 1/2250
50 lb233300
60 lbs273 1/2350

Vet recommended? Yes 

3. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult & Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken 

Best for Large Breeds

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by Nutro

General Paragraph

We highly recommend Nutro Natural Choice for your senior dog. It is the best large breed senior dog food we have come across so far; your dog’s nutrition is in good hands with wholesome ingredients and a perfect blend of protein and fiber. 

Brand: Nutro

Flavor/s: Chicken

Breed Size: Large Breeds

Our rating out of five: 4.8 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum

Type: Human-Grade, Molasses-Free, Natural

Calories: 3617 kcal per Kg 335 Kcal per cup

Pros

  • The manufacturers made this product  with non-GMO ingredients; corn, no chicken by-product meal, wheat, or soy
  • They designed it to help keep your large breed dog trim and fit

Cons

  • Not suitable for other breeds other than large dogs

Item form: Dry

Prescription required:   

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
50 232 3/4 – 3 1/4275- 325
60 273 1/4 – 3 2/3325- 365
80364 – 4 2/3400- 465
100454 2/3 – 5 1/2465- 550
120545 1/3 – 6 1/4567- 625
160736 2/3 – 7 3/4625- 775
200918 – 9 1/4800- 925

Vet recommended? Yes

4. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food 

Best for Senior Dogs

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by Nutro

General Paragraph

Can you imagine a dog food developed for its nutritional value and the dog’s amusement? Nutro Ultra has demonstrated that you do not have to compromise on the taste to achieve a balanced diet.  

Brand: Nutro

Flavor/s:Chicken,Lamb,Salmon

Breed Size: All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.7 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Brown Rice, Rice Bran,

Type: Dry

Calories: 3735kcal/kg or 442 kcal/ cup

Pros:

  • It has the features of a trio of proteins from chicken, salmon, and lamb especially formulated for senior dogs
  • Dog food kibble is made with real ingredients and provides complete and balanced nutrition for senior dogs.

Cons

  • It is suitable for only senior dogs

Item form: Dry

Prescription required

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
1571 1/4125
25 111 3/4 175
35162 1/4216
45 202 3/4288
55 243 1/4 325
65 293 2/3384

Vet recommended? Yes

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice

Best Senior Dog Food for Arthritis 

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by Blue Buffalo

General Paragraph

BLUE Life Protection Formula dog food for Senior Dogs understands that your senior dog has different nutritional needs than other dogs. We can confidently say that it is the best-wet dog food for senior dogs. Therefore, BLUE life has chosen its ingredients scientifically to give your aged canine friend a balanced diet. 

Brand: Blue Buffalo

Flavor/s: Chicken & Brown Rice

Type: Bundle/dry, wet food

Breed Size: Medium Breeds, All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.7 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice, Chicken Meal

Barley, Oatmeal

Type: Bundle/dry, wet food

Calories: 3405 kcal per kg or 342kcal per cup

Pros

  • It has meat as its first ingredient, followed by chicken meal as its next ingredient making it a great source of protein.
  • It’s suitable for senior dogs to help support joint health.

Cons

  • Suitable for senior dogs only

Item form: Dry

Prescription required

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
1571/2 – 1 ¼50- 125
16 – 257- 111 ¼ – 2 125- 200
26 – 40 11 – 182 – 2 ¾ 200- 275
41 t- 6018 – 272 ¾ – 3 ¾ 275- 375
61 -80 27- 363 ¾ – 4 ¾ 375- 475
81-100 36 – 454 ¾ – 5 ½ 475- 550
Over 100Over 455 ½ * + ½ (each additional 20lb)550 plus 9g

Vet recommended? Yes

6. Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ Formula Dog Food

Best for Senior Dogs

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by Purina ONE

General Paragraph

Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Adult 7+ Formula dry dog food will supply your senior dog with a 100 percent balanced diet and the right nutrition to thrive. Every serving will guarantee your dog the ultimate satisfaction and well-portioned nutrients with 100% complete and balanced nutrition.

Brand: Purina ONE

Flavor/s: Chicken

Breed Size: All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.7 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Chicken, Rice Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal,

Type: Grain-free

Calories

Pros

  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient in our high protein dry dog food
  • Senior dry dog food promotes mental sharpness and fuels your 7+ dog with healthy energy

Cons

  • Suitable for senior dogs only.

Item form: Pellet

Prescription required:

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
3-12 lbs1- 51/2 to 1 32-96
13-20 lbs6- 91 to 1-1/296-144
21-35 lbs 10-161-1/2 to 2-1/4144-216
36-50 lbs 16 -232-1/4 to 2-3/4216-288
51-75 lbs23-342-3/4 to 3-2/3 288-384
76-100 lbs35-453-2/3 to 4-1/2 384-480
100 lbs45 4-1/2 plus 1/2 cup (g) for each 10 lbs (5kg) 480 

Vet recommended? Yes

7. IAMS Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken, All Breed Sizes 

Best for Senior Dogs

General Paragraph

IAMS acknowledges that your senior dog is one of a kind and has demonstrated it in the amazing food they make. The real chicken will meet your dog’s nutritional needs as the first ingredient. In addition, it has a blend of fiber and prebiotics that help indigestion.

Brand: Iams

Flavor/s: Chicken

Breed Size: All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.7 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Corn, 

Type: Grain-free

Calories: 3358 kcal/kg; 322 kcal/cup

Pros

  • It features real chicken as a key ingredient that helps support healthy joints and bones and provides a balance of key nutrients to help your dog.
  • IAMS makes its foods using science to ensure high-quality animal protein and does not add artificial preservatives, fillers, or flavors for balanced nutrition. 

Cons

  • IAMS made it to meet the needs of aging dogs

Item form: Dry

Prescription required:

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
311/331g
1051 | 3/4 – 176 – 102
2091 1/3 – 1 1/2136 – 153
30141 3/4 – 2178 – 203
40182 1/4 – 2 2/3229 – 271
50232 2/3 – 3271 – 305
60 273 – 3 1/2305 – 356
70 323 1/2 – 4356 – 407
80363 3/4 – 4 1/3382 – 441
90414 1/4 – 4 3/4432 – 483

Vet recommended? Yes

8. VICTOR Super Premium Dog Food – Purpose 

Best for Senior Dogs

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by Victor

General Paragraph

Victor made its dog food for older dogs whose activity levels have greatly dwindled. We find it one of the best senior dog food small breeds. This food is your plug for a healthy weight management, for your dog.  

Brand: Victor

Flavor/s: Beef

Breed Size: Small Breeds, Medium Breeds, Large Breeds, Giant Breeds, All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.7 out of 5 star

First five ingredients: Protein-Rich

Type: Grain-free

Calories: 3385 Kcal/kg or 360 Kcal/kg

Pros

  • The manufacturers formulated this superfood especially to help your aging dog with weight management
  • It’s a gluten-free dry dog-free formulated with gluten-free grains and L-carnitine to support lean muscle development

Cons:

  • Best for senior dogs

Item form: Dry kibble

Prescription required:

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
521/250
1057/888
1571 1/4125
20111 1/2150
30132200
40182 1/2250
60273300
80363 1/3333
100 454 7/8488

Vet recommended? Yes

9. ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food, Grain-Free, High Protein, Fresh and Raw Animal Ingredients 

Best Senior Dog Food for Allergies

Amazon’s Choice Award in Dry Dog Food by Orijen

One Amazon’s verified purchaser recommended Orijen senior dog food as convenient for dogs that struggle with poor digestion and allergies. This senior dog food also comes in handy for senior dogs with food aversions to foods with beef or fish.

General Paragraph

We find ORIJEN a biologically appropriate Senior dog food that nourishes your dog with fresh meat and a protein-rich diet. They made it with chicken, turkey, and fish rich in protein for proper balanced nutrition. 

Brand: Orijen

Flavor/s: Chicken 

Breed Size: All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.6 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken liver, deboned turkey, whole Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic flounder

Type: Grain-free

Calories: 3,630 kcal/kg, 414 kcal/cup

Pros

  • The manufacturers fortified this product with nutritious ingredients suitable for a balanced diet.
  • Helps senior dogs with allergies

Cons

  • It is suitable for only senior dogs

Item form: Dry

Prescription required

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
5-15 2-62/3 – 3/467- 75
15-25 6-113/4 – 1 1/875- 112.5
25-4011-181 1/8 – 1 2/3112.5- 167
40-6018-271 2/3 – 2 1/8167- 212.5
60-8027-362 1/8 – 2 2/3212.5- 267
80-10036-452 2/3 – 3 1/8267- 312.5
Over 100Over  453 1/8 + 1/2 for each additional 20lb312.5 plus 9gms

Vet recommended? Yes

10. Diamond Naturals Dry Senior Dog Food Formula with Protein, Probiotics, Superfoods, and Antioxidants

Best for All Breeds

Amazon’s Choice Award in Dry Dog Food by DIAMOND NATURALS

One purchaser of Diamond naturals recommended this product because it helped his senior dogs digest, increase energy levels, coat shine, and teeth strengthening. It also helped his senior dog, who is a picky eater.

General Paragraph

Diamond Naturals is a dog food that provides holistic nutrition for your senior dog with ingredients that aid in digestion and joint and bone strengthening. This food contains optimal protein and fat levels to help your senior dog maintain ideal body condition, while for support for joints, we have chondroitin and glucosamine. It has fiber, and probiotics help support digestion even in sensitive pets. With naturally occurring microorganisms, it will aid your dog in digestion.

Brand: Diamond Naturals

Flavor/s: Chicken

Breed Size: All Breed Sizes

Our rating out of five: 4.6 out of 5 stars

First five ingredients: Whole grain brown rice, chicken meal, chicken, egg, peas, Oatmeal, Type: With grain

Calories: 3,400 kcal/kg (318 kcal/cup)

Pros

– Only quality ingredients used in our products

– Health source of vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbs

Cons

-It is not tailored for only senior dogs.

Item form: Dry

Prescription required

Weight of Adult Dog Weight of Adult Dog (kg)Feeding Amount (cup)Feeding Amount (g)
10-205-91 to 1 2/3100- 167
20- 309-131 ⅔ – 2 167- 200
30-4013-182- 2 1/4200- 225
40-6018-272 ¼- 3-1/2225- 350
60-80 27-363 ½- 41/4350- 425
80-10036-454 ¼ –  5425- 500

Vet recommended? Yes

FAQs on Senior Dog Food

When are Dogs Considered Senior?

There is no age set for when your dog is considered a senior, and it greatly varies among breeds and sizes. Most people consider a dog to be senior at the age of 7 years, but a lot can change from 5 to 12.

Your dog is considered a puppy from birth to 6 months; then, it transitions to adulthood until six. At this point, your dog will start exhibiting signs of old age. 

How Old is My Dog in Human Years?

As a general guideline by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 15 human years equals five years for a medium-sized dog. The second year for a dog equals nine years for a human. After that, each human year is approximately five years for a dog.

We have found larger-breed dogs to have a shorter lifespan than smaller breeds.

Do Older Dogs Require More or Less Protein?

Senior dogs require more proteins than other dogs because they lose muscle mass at old age, hence the need for protein. Protein helps your dog to build and maintain muscle tissues. However, when they lose muscles, it compromises their immune system making them more susceptible to diseases.

Experts recommend that the protein makeup of your senior dog’s food should be at least 25% of the dog’s daily caloric intake.

Should all Older Dogs Eat Senior Dog Food?

Whether to feed your old dog age-appropriate food will depend on his nutritional needs. Make it your goal to increase longevity by managing dental disease, obesity, cognitive dysfunction, dementia, and kidney disease.

How Much Food Should I Feed my Senior Dog?

Start your senior dog food that amounts to 2%of their body weight and adjust accordingly to suit its needs and activity. For example, a 50lbs (23kg) senior dog of moderate activity level would be eating roughly one 1 lb (0.5kg) of food per day.

Should My Senior Dog Eat Dry or Wet Food?

Dry food is better for many than wet food and does not spoil easily. However, senior dogs with dental issues will prefer wet food. It was, therefore, advisable to expose your senior dog to different types of food, especially if they are picky eaters, so that you may know their preferences.

Why Trust I Love Veterinary?

I Love Veterinary is a group of dedicated professionals dedicated to researching to verify these products with several years of experience in veterinary. We are committed to ensuring that all the products we recommend have been tested and verified to be the best. 

To get these reviews, we sifted through scores of information from canine and veterinary sources and read a great deal of dog food labels, read reviews, and talked to pet owners about their experiences with these foods.

senior dog eating food from bowl

Our Parting Words

At this point, we conclude our ten senior dog food reviews. We selected Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food because of its high-quality ingredients and nutritional balance. Merrick Senior Dry Dog Food with Real Meat came in second because of its ingredients, including deboned chicken and fish, and it is pocket friendly. Finally, in third place, we have Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult as our premium choice due to its high protein formulation and wholesome ingredients.

Hopefully, these reviews and the guide that comes with them will help you make the right choice for your older dog. First, you need to know the nutritional needs of your senior dog. That will determine the kind of food to give. Remember always to check the packaging of your dog food to know what amounts of calories the dog food contains to decide whether that’s the food you want to buy.