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The Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs

The Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs

As our canine companions age, they are likely to find themselves with different dietary needs or even tastes. Today our Palmdale vets answer questions about geriatric care, and what the best dog food for older dogs is.

At what age is my older dog considered elderly or geriatric?

There is not a one size fits all answer to this question. Expected lifespans for dogs vary based on breed and size. As a general rule of thumb, small dogs can be expected to live 15-20 years, while larger dogs usually live from around age 12 to age 15.

Bigger dogs age faster and are considered to be "older" around the time they turn 6, while small dogs generally pass into middle age at around 8 years old.

Do senior dogs have special nutritional needs?

Yes, there are two major things to consider when determining the best dog food for senior dogs. 

The first is to try and keep it calorie-low. Just like with people, a dog's metabolism slows down as they age. In order to prevent obesity, it is important to make sure our elder pups aren't chowing down just a little too ferociously!

The second is trying to make sure their diet includes high-fiber options. Constipation is painful in its own right, and it can lead to further gastrointestinal issues when it becomes severe enough; maintaining gastrointestinal health is a common obstacle for older dogs, so the best dog food for senior dogs will have lots of fiber to help them stay healthy and regular.  

What health issues will the best dog food for senior dogs help prevent and treat?

Senior dogs who are suffering from diabetes, kidney failure, or liver disease are liable to require special diets that will help keep their condition under control. It is best to consult with a vet about your dog's diet if they are sick and you are concerned about the impact of their diet.

Dogs who have or are at elevated risk for heart disease benefit from lower-calorie senior dog foods that help keep their weight down; low sodium recipes are preferable

Our Palmdale vets recommend owners of diabetic or pre-diabetic dogs select dog food which slows the absorption of food. These special diabetic diets tend to raise blood sugar more slowly and reduce the chances of impactful health complications in dogs with diabetes. These diets are very low in fat and exceptionally high in fiber. We recommend talking to your vet who can provide dietary recommendations for your senior or otherwise diabetic dog.

Many senior dog food brands make a point to include higher-quality protein sources than standard dog food; this helps senior dogs maintain a healthy body weight without putting unneeded strain on their aging kidneys.

As previously mentioned, constipation is a common struggle for older dogs, the high amount of fiber present in the best dog food for older dogs helps to prevent constipation and keep their bowel movements regular.

What should I do if my senior dog won't eat their dog food?

It is relatively normal for older dogs to have some loss of appetite. Causes for sudden appetite loss are hugely carried both in scope and severity; your dog could be suffering from simple nausea brought on by gastrointestinal problems, or they could be suffering from the effects of cancer. 

If your senior dog has suddenly begun to demonstrate an unexplained loss of appetite, it is best to speak with your vet and have them rule out any potentially serious causes including dental disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer.

Once serious medical conditions have been ruled out as the cause for appetite loss, another avenue for consideration is the simplest one--perhaps your dog is simply tired of their regular food. Adding chicken broth, some water, or a small amount of canned food to your dog's dry kibble supply may serve to make it more enticing. You could also try preparing a simple meal for your dog of cooked chicken and barley or cooked lamb and rice. These home-cooked meals are both nutritious, and bland enough to sit well with them if your older dog is experiencing some nausea.

Is prescription dog food the best dog food for older dogs?

That depends on the exact situation for your dog. In some cases, yes, the best option for your senior dog may be a medical prescription dog food. In other cases, simply switching to a healthy alternative

Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs

The team at All Care Pet Clinic has compiled a list of some of the best dog food brands for senior dogs, all of which are available from our online store and pharmacy. Ask your vet what senior dog food is best for your pet.

Hill's® Science Diet® Dog Senior 11+ Adult Small Paws™

Hill's® Science Diet® Dog Senior 11+ Adult Small Paws™ Dry dog food provides precisely balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition tailored to older small & toy breed dogs. 

Recommended for senior dogs 11+ years of age. This diet contains 4.6 cups of food per pound.

Active Ingredients

Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brown Rice, Soybean Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Corn Gluten Meal, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Pork Liver Flavor, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, L-Lysine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Choline Chloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, L-Carnitine, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets Dog DH Dental Health Diet Dry

Contains a patented kibble texture, with added antioxidants plus a natural source of glucosamine. Perfect nutrition for adult and senior dogs. Awarded the VOHC ® Seal of Acceptance

Purina Veterinary Diets® DH® Dental Health Canine Formula and DH® Small Bites Canine Formula have been formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for adult and senior dogs while providing the following characteristics: Optimal kibble size, Patented kibble texture, Added antioxidants A and E, Natural source of glucosamine, Moderate calories, Exceptional palatability, and Perfect solution for everyday feeding of adult and senior dogs.

Active Ingredients

Standard: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Ground Yellow Corn, Ground Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Dried Beet Pulp, Brewers Dried Yeast, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Egg Product, Animal Liver Flavor, Glycerin, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphoric Acid, Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate, Mono and Dicalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Potassium Sorbate (a Preservative), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Copper Sulfate, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Garlic Oil, Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Sodium Selenite.

Small Bites: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Ground Yellow Corn, Ground Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Dried Beet Pulp, Powdered Cellulose, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Animal Liver Flavor, Glycerin, Salt, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Calcium Carbonate, Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate, Phosphoric Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Mono and Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Sulfate, Niacin, (Vitamin B-3), Potassium Sorbate (a Preservative), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Copper Sulfate, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Garlic Oil, Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Calcium Iodate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin Vitamin B-7), Sodium Selenite.
 

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition MEDIUM Aging 10+ Dry

Medium-sized dogs are famous for their seemingly endless energy, but as they grow into their senior years, they’ve probably slowed down a bit, and so has their body. With age comes the probability of a dulling coat, and a decrease in energy—sometimes even in appetite. But with a right-sized diet tailor-made for the nutritional needs of senior dogs, your dog can thrive. This Royal Canin Medium Aging Adult 10+ senior dry dog food is made to support your older dog’s vitality. An exclusive blend of antioxidants supports healthy aging and overall cellular health. And because older medium breed dogs may put stress on their bones and joints as they age, key nutrients are included to help keep them playing. Omega-3 fatty acids promote your dog’s skin and coat health to help maintain their youthful shine. And a specially designed rehydratable kibble is adapted for a senior medium breed dog’s jaw, with a highly palatable formula for a meal they’ll love. For variety in texture, Add Royal Canin Mature 8+ wet dog food to their bowl.

Royal Canin Medium Aging 10+ dry dog food is precise nutrition specifically made for senior medium-sized dogs 10 years and older weighing 23–55 lbs. Supports healthy aging with an exclusive blend of antioxidants for overall vitality. Helps support bones and joint health in medium breed dogs. Nourishes with Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for healthy skin and coat. Easy to eat, rehydratable kibble designed specifically for the jaws of senior medium-sized dogs.

Size Health Nutrition Medium Aging 10+ is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.

Active Ingredients

Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, wheat, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, brown rice, corn, wheat gluten, fish oil, dried tomato pomace, vegetable oil, psyllium seed husk, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, fructooligosaccharides, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], hydrolyzed yeast, choline chloride, L-tryptophan, glucosamine hydrochloride, taurine, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], magnesium oxide, GLA safflower oil, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), green tea extract, L-carnitine, L-tyrosine, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid. Crude Protein (min.) 24.0%, Crude Fat (min.) 12.0%, Crude Fiber (max.) 3.6%, Moisture (max.) 10.0%, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) (min.) 0.17%, Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (min.) 0.07%, Glucosamine* (min.) 371 mg/kg, Chondroitin sulfate* (min.) 4 mg/kg. *Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This diet contains 3668 kilocalories of metabolizable energy (ME) per kilogram or 290 kilocalories ME per cup on an as-fed basis (calculated).

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition LARGE Adult 8+ Dry for Dogs

 Large breed dogs are treasured for being hard-working animals and loyal family companions. But as they age, their nutritional needs change. Their large bodies can benefit from an age- and size-specific diet that can help keep them happy and healthy. Royal Canin Large Aging 8+ dry dog food (formerly Maxi Aging 8+) is tailored to support your big senior dog’s vitality. An exclusive complex of antioxidants supports cellular health to help reduce the signs of aging. Precise nutrients keep large bones and joints healthy and strong to help your dog stay active. And high-quality proteins and a balance of fibers help your dog digest food easily for digestive health. Plus, this highly palatable kibble is rehydratable: Mix in warm water for an easy-to-chew meal your dog will love to eat. Add some variety to their bowl with Royal Canin Mature 8+ wet dog food.

Royal Canin Large Aging 8+ dry dog food (formerly Maxi Aging 8+) is precise nutrition specifically made for large dogs 8 years and older weighing 56–100 lbs. Supports long-life vitality with an exclusive blend of antioxidants made for healthy aging. Helps support bones and joint health in senior large breed dogs. Promotes healthy digestion with easy-to-digest proteins and a balanced supply of fiber. Large-sized rehydratable kibble is easy to chew and ideal for senior dogs’ jaws.

Size Health Nutrition Large Aging 8+ is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.

Active Ingredients

Chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, wheat, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, corn, brown rice, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, wheat gluten, fish oil, pea fiber, dried tomato pomace, vegetable oil, sodium silico aluminate, potassium chloride, psyllium seed husk, calcium carbonate, salt, fructooligosaccharides, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], choline chloride, L-tryptophan, glucosamine hydrochloride, taurine, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], GLA safflower oil, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), green tea extract, L-carnitine, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid. Crude Protein (min.) 25.0%, Crude Fat (min.) 15.0%, Crude Fiber (max.) 4.3%, Moisture (max.) 10.0%, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) (min.) 0.17%, Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (min.) 0.07%, Glucosamine* (min.) 743 mg/kg, Chondroitin sulfate* (min.) 7 mg/kg. *Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This diet contains 3762 kilocalories of metabolizable energy (ME) per kilogram or 308 kilocalories ME per cup on an as fed basis (calculated).

Hill's® Science Diet® Dog Mature Adult Canned

Hill's Science Diet Mature Adult canned dog food has all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and calories your senior dog needs to help him stay fit and healthy throughout his senior years. Made in the USA with global ingredients you can trust, these foods also use clinically proven antioxidants for a healthy immune system. Open up a can and serve either one of these mouthwatering entrées as a balanced meal, or try on top of Science Diet dry dog food.

Active Ingredients

Beef & Barley: Water, Beef, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Corn, Pork Liver, Corn Gluten Meal, Dried Whey, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Lysine, Iron Oxide color, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Taurine, Beta-Carotene.

Chicken & Barley and Small Paws Chicken & Barley: Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Whole Grain Corn, Cracked Pearled Barley, Beef By-Products, Soybean Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Whey, Soybean Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid), Iron Oxide color, Potassium Chloride, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Magnesium Oxide, Beta-Carotene.

Turkey & Barley: Water, Turkey, Whole Grain Corn, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pork Liver, Soybean Oil, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Iodized Salt, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Taurine, Beta-Carotene.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Need help navigating food labels to find out what the best dog food for your senior dog is?  Our vets are committed to helping older dogs get the nutrients they need, so book an appointment at All Care Pet Clinic today to speak with one of our great Palmdale vets!

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