Owning a senior dog can be a bittersweet time in your life. While you have all these wonderful memories together and a close bond, you also have to watch their health and mobility decline. Keeping our dogs around for as long as possible is a goal that all pet owners have.
The reason there are no guidelines for nutritional recommendations for senior dogs is because they all have different needs. The food type and nutritional profile of the best food for a senior dog with chronic kidney disease are very different from that required by a senior dog with arthritis. For this reason, it is very important to consult your veterinarian about what is the best food choice for your beloved senior dog. That said, we put together a list of the best dry food for senior dogs for you to have an idea of the best products in the market.
The best thing you can do to ensure that they live their last few years to the fullest is to give them high-quality dog food that fits their specific needs. Listed below are our reviews of the 8 best dry dog foods for senior dogs.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2022
|Best Overall||Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food||
|Best Value||American Journey Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food||
|Premium Choice||NULO Freestyle Senior Dry Dog Food||
|Blue Buffalo Senior Chicken and Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||
|Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dry Dog Food||
The 8 Best Dry Dog Foods for Senior Dogs
1. Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food– Best Overall
Merrick is another top producer of dog food that uses real deboned chicken and sweet potatoes as the first ingredients. The recipe is grain-free and does not contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. Because it uses more carbs, it isn’t ideal for dogs that need to maintain their weight. Some dogs are also sensitive to some of the ingredients. Merrick does make its dog food in the United States but does not use American ingredients.
2. American Journey Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food – Best Value
American Journey is a dog food brand that prioritizes dog health in many ways. Some of the ingredients in this food are hard to digest, but others offer tons of benefits. Triglycerides from coconut oil health support brain health, and glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health. It is also rich in fatty acids and fresh fruits and veggies. It’s a bit pricey for the amount you get, but it can be worth it for some dog owners.
3. NULO Freestyle Senior Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
While NULO Senior Dry Dog Food is more expensive, there are a lot of benefits wrapped up in one package. The kibble contains probiotics that aid in digestion along with calcium and phosphorus for stronger bones and joint support. Nulo does not use any grains in this recipe, instead including sweet potatoes and peas, plus deboned trout as the primary protein source. The kibble is also free from chicken and egg: two major allergens for some dogs.
4. Blue Buffalo Senior Chicken and Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Another excellent senior kibble recipe from the Blue Buffalo Wilderness brand is the Senior Chicken and Grain-Free Dry Food. It is veterinarian and nutritionist recommended and enriched with antioxidants and healthy complex carbs without using grains. Some of the clean ingredients listed include sweet potatoes, chicken meal, blueberries, carrots, and cranberries. They do use tapioca starch, though, which isn’t a good ingredient for some dogs with sensitivities.
5. Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dry Dog Food
The Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Food uses essential proteins needed by every dog, with chicken at the very top of the list. Each bite is rich in healthy omega fatty acids that come from non-GMO foods. Some reviews report that their dog’s digestion didn’t improve with this food, however, it is great for supporting a healthy immune system.
6. Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food
Sometimes when our pets age, their feces start to smell more than usual. Wellness Complete Health Dry Food uses unique ingredients, such as Yucca schidigera, to aid in reducing foul odor from dog feces and support healthy digestion. The company cooks each batch with fresh ingredients and lots of high-quality protein. While there are many good ingredients on the label, there are also some that are a bit more suspect, including loads of pea protein.
7. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Goodness Senior Dog Food
This senior recipe from Canidae made their kibble with simplicity in mind. It is designed for senior dogs and free from corn, soy, grain, wheat, and any artificial ingredients. The 9-ingredient recipe may be simple, but it also has probiotics and omega fats to support overall health. This kibble is on the more expensive side, so some might not be able to fit it into their budget. The company is also not open about where their food is made and could have some people questioning where the ingredients come from.
8. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
Blue Buffalo is a company that has been committed to making healthy dog food for years. It offers lots of recipes, but the Life Protection Formula is the best overall dry dog food for seniors. This recipe uses real meat as the first ingredient and enriches it with the perfect number of vitamins and nutrients to support joint health and balance their weight. The company does not use corn or wheat but focuses on easy-to-digest foods instead. Because of all these energy-dense nutrients, though, it might not be the best food for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dry Dog Foods for Senior Dogs
You’ve spent years enjoying your dog’s company and as they head into their golden years, give back to them with high-quality dog food that is specifically designed with seniors in mind. Don’t know what to look for? Use this quick buyer’s guide to help you make informed decisions about your pet’s kibble.
Choosing Quality Foods for Senior Dogs
Ask Your Vet
Your vet is the best person to ask when searching for new dog food for seniors. Seniors need a catered diet to help support their health and suit their medical requirements.
Higher Protein, Lower Fat
Senior dogs can’t burn off fat the same way they did when they were younger. Dogs lose some of their natural vigor as they age. Look for recipes that are low in fat but still high in high-quality protein.
Some senior dogs struggle with moisture content. Don’t rely on dry dog food alone if you can help it. The best thing for dogs is to give them veterinary formulated fresh food but if that is not possible then a mix of healthy wet and dry food—some brands even offer wet food that pairs with their kibble.
Steer Clear of Artificial Ingredients
Artificial ingredients aren’t good for any animal. Refrain from buying dog foods that use artificial flavors or preservatives in their recipes in order to keep your dog’s bodily system working as efficiently as possible.
These reviews should help you find the perfect kibble for your dog as they age. There are many companies out there who pride themselves on the product they produce. Because of that, we find that brands like Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is one of the best overall foods for senior dogs. There are also other foods, like VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight or Nulo Freestyle, that are still healthy while fitting a wide price range.
The food you feed your senior pet can make a huge difference in their final years, and focusing on their diet and health is going to keep them by your side for as long as possible.
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