5 Best Senior Dog Foods Reviewed
No matter what we do, our pets will eventually grow old. The once lively and energetic puppy can change into a mellower and slower adult in time. Like some aging humans, dogs too need a specialized diet that corresponds to their age.
Some dogs have different nutritional needs when they age and what you feed them can have a great impact on their mental and physical state. As soon as you notice a change in their body, personality, and behavior, you might need to make adjustments so they can fully enjoy their golden days.
Don’t know where to start? Worry not because, in this senior dog food review, you can learn about the top senior dog food products that you can give to your beloved aging pets.
5. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food
Starting the list is Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food. Made with naturally-sourced ingredients, this product’s nutrient-rich recipe can provide your pet just the right diet that an aging dog needs.
The Deboned Chicken and Barley formula’s main source of protein is of course made from the highest quality chicken. Aside from barley, it has whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal which are high in fiber and are healthy for dogs. This rice and chicken combo have a taste that your dogs will surely love. It is also easier to digest.
Adding to the mix are white fish, carrots, and other vegetables. Flaxseeds are in too to supply the omega-3 fatty acids that can help your aging dogs keep their skin and coats healthy. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes can help with the dose of carbohydrates so your dogs can maintain their energy levels.
It has no wheat, corn, soy, and meat by-products as well as artificial and harmful preservatives. Instead, it contains antioxidants come from the rich blueberries and spinach while the probiotics support the digestive tract.
Much like humans, your pet’s cognitive function can decline with age. This Wellness product is fortified with taurine to fix that. Furthermore, the calcium, glucosamine, and chondroitin in it not only strengthen the bones, but it can also help in supporting your pet’s creaking hip and joints, thus, improving their mobility.
The protein to fat ratio is optimal for senior dogs. The calories count is also 9% fewer than other standard adult food blends. Fewer calories are essential so older dogs can maintain their weight and muscle mass.
With all the benefits, it is still moderately priced compared to other food brands. However, be careful in incorporating it to your dog’s diet. It is better to slowly transition than giving it all at once to avoid possible diarrhea.
4. Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Orijen is a brand known for using the freshest and most premium ingredients in its dog food products. In fact, it has earned numerous awards because of this. What could be better to give to your aging dogs than these natural ingredients, right?
Taking note of the low metabolic function of older dogs, this Orijen product is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients that are sourced locally. 85% of the recipe comes from high-quality, real meat proteins such as free-run chicken and turkey, whole eggs, and wild-caught fish.
These high protein levels are good for dogs as they compensate for their decreased metabolic activity. The remaining 15% of the recipe are from vegetables and fresh fruits. All these organic sources make it easier for older dogs to digest the food.
It doesn’t contain any preservatives. The 19% low-glycemic carbohydrate sources that help in stabilizing the blood sugar are also grain-free and gluten-free which are good for senior dogs that may have an allergy to grains and gluten. The chelated minerals make the absorption process much easier.
The chicory root is rich in inulin that promotes lean muscle mass. Compared to other Orijen dog food formulas, it has significantly lower calories to help prevent weight gain since older dogs aren’t as active as they used to be in their prime.
The kibbles are infused with turkey liver and freeze-dried chicken for a more flavorful and nutritious treat. Every cup contains approximately 400 calories and you can adjust the serving depending on your dog’s size.
Although it is on the higher tier when it comes to price, customers say that it’s actually worth it. Their dogs are livelier and there are fewer visits to the vet. Aside from that, there’s a visible improvement on their dog’s skin and coat health after making a switch.
3. CANIDAE All Life Stages Dog Dry Food For Less Active & Senior Dogs
CANIDAE features a complete line of products for dogs in any life stages. Although this one particular product is perfect for senior dogs, it can also be given to the whole pack!
It contains the optimal protein coming from chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish that can help build muscles without your pets gaining too much weight. Combined with premium natural ingredients, it can give the perfect nourishment to your pets.
This Less Active formulation also contains 10% less protein and 27% less fat compared to the multi-protein in CANIDAE All Life Stages formula. This is advisable for less active and senior dogs as they have a slower metabolism.
It doesn’t contain allergenic grains, corns, wheat, and soy. Instead, it has a trio of probiotics making it a lot easier for older dogs to absorb the nutrients in their food. It is also enriched with HealthPLUS Solutions, antioxidants, and omega 6 and 3 fatty acids that are essential to a senior dog’s diet.
Just like with other dog foods, be careful in transitioning a new food in your pet’s diet to avoid complications. One buyer recommends mixing a bit of canola oil on the meal if ever your pet experiences mild constipation during the shift.
2. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food
This product features 12 Superfoods in its formulation. Mixed with three lean animal proteins such as chicken, lamb, and salmon, Nutro’s Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food throws in 12 of the world’s super foods; namely, sunflower oil, tomatoes, flaxseed, coconut, egg, pumpkin, spinach, kale, blueberries, apples, carrots, and chia seeds.
The nutrition-packed ingredients are just what your pet needs as they grow old. What’s good is that all these ingredients are non-GMO. It also doesn’t contain any gluten, wheat, soy, corn or any unnecessary artificial additives.
The troubles of arthritis can be lessened as the chicken meal ingredient provides the needed dose of chondroitin and glucosamine for their joint health. Flaxseed and sunflower oils which are great sources of omega fatty acid can improve your pet’s skin and coat health.
Keeping your dog’s muscle mass and strength is important. Nutro Ultra takes care of this as it includes an optimum amount of amino acids that your pet needs to keep their muscles strong. Not to mention the blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranates that boost their immune system and ward off infections that can easily affect old dogs.
1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity
The number one pick for senior dogs is Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity Dog Food. This product has all natural ingredients that are easy on the tummy of your aging pet. It also doesn’t contain any artificial colors and preservatives.
The creators use a science-based approach in selecting ingredients and nutrients that work with your pet’s biology. With that said, you can be sure that senior dogs can stay healthy as they age. A large number of positive recommendations from buyers can be a testament to that.
It contains omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E that promote shinier, thicker and healthier coat. Meanwhile, clinically proven antioxidant blend with vitamins C + T boosts and improves the immune system.
Even the most picky-eaters love the taste of this product that is available in original and small bites. The nutrients and L-carnitine don’t only work to keep a healthy weight in older dogs – they also revitalize and help them maintain their youthful energy.
If you want to give your pet the complete nourishment that they need as they grow to their senior years, you should definitely check out Hill’s Science formula.
Buyer’s Guide – Senior Dog Food
Making a switch from your dog’s current food to a new one will depend on different factors like your dog’s breed, size, activity level, and health condition. As a pet owner, you should know the reason why you’re changing your pet’s diet. Primarily, it should be to improve your pet’s health so it can live longer.
For instance, you shouldn’t pick something just because the label says “Senior Dog Food”. Dog foods have a different formulation that can aid specific conditions. If your dog is old but is overall healthy and has no medical problems, there might be no need to change his diet.
- Your Dog’s Breed and Size
First things first, how’d you know when your dog is a senior? It varies on its breed and size actually. Smaller breeds have a longer lifespan than larger breeds. It means that their senior years might start at around ages 10 to 12. It is quite later than medium breeds, where they start around ages 7 and 8. Meanwhile, the large breeds can hit seniority between 5 and 6 years.
Their sizes can also make them more vulnerable to some health problems. For instance, larger dogs tend to be more prone to weight gain because adult dog foods have a higher calorie count. Their joints can also weaken more because of their size.
Meanwhile, smaller dogs are prone to dental disease since they have smaller teeth and jaw. Small breeds with longer spines also have a higher risk of developing spinal diseases.
- Activity level
As your dogs get older, they become less and less active and they begin to lose muscle tone. Their stamina isn’t the same as when they were pups. Because of that, they might need more protein and fewer calories.
Their lack of activity levels and exercise can cause several problems such as constipation, anxiety, and sometimes diarrhea.
- Health Conditions
Your dog’s current health condition is a good guide on what kind of food to give and what to avoid. If your dog is diabetic, you’d want them to absorb food slower so their blood sugar wouldn’t rise all of a sudden.
They need food that has a low glycemic index, low fat, but high in fiber content. If they are suffering from heart disease, they should eat food that has low calories and sodium content.
Obesity or being too skinny can be a problem for old dogs because they have a significantly slower metabolic rate. If they are obese, they need food that has lower fat and calories. Take note that they can gain weight from simple carbohydrates and sugar.
If they are underweight, then it’s okay to choose food that has plenty of calories and a higher percentage of protein. This is important in maintaining their muscle tone. Just make sure that it’s an easily-digestible protein.
Lastly, high protein percentage is fine unless your dog has a specific kidney or other health problem which would indicate that it should avoid higher protein.
Ingredients – The Good and the Bad
A senior dog’s digestive system is not at its prime anymore. This can cause poor nutrient absorption and other problems. They need good quality protein and foods that are easier to digest and metabolize so the nutrients that they get can be utilized more efficiently.
Aside from calories and proteins, there’s a couple of ingredients that you should take note of. Some can either benefit or harm your pet depending on the amount. Here’s a list of them and their uses.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: an antioxidant that can be a tool to fight cancer, supports a healthy metabolism, and improves eye and brain function.
- Antioxidants: help your senior dog avoid cancer by supporting the immune system. Antioxidants can help prevent cognitive dysfunction which is common among dogs entering the senior stage.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin:support joints and cartilages so that your senior dog can be more mobile again without feeling too much pain.
- Digestive enzymes and Probiotics: It is known that senior dogs have more sensitive digestive systems compared to the younger ones. The digestive enzymes and probiotics help in digestion. Enzymes such as protease breaks down protein, amylase digests the carbohydrates, lipase breaks down fat, and cellulase helps digests fiber.
- Amino Acids L-Carnitine helps prevent weight gain while L-lysine and Taurine help in keeping the muscles and bones healthy and strong.
- Healthy fats and oils:Not all fats are bad. In fact, some can help in regulating the metabolism so dogs wouldn’t gain weight easily. Oils can also keep the skin and coats healthy. Prominent healthy fat is Omega-3 Fatty Acids which are commonly found in fish oil and some nut oils. It can decrease inflammation and help with kidney health.
- Fiber-rich whole grains: Constipation is a common problem with aging dogs. It is good to give them fiber to initiate a smoother digestive process. However, too much fiber can also be bad especially if they don’t have enough exercise.
- Whole animal products: Not to be confused with animal by-products which don’t contain any nutritional value, whole animal products contain the nutrients that your pet needs. It is better if they are free-range, antibiotic-free animals.
- Vitamins and minerals: Aged dogs have weaker defenses so it’s up to these components to help boost the immune system. The right amount of vitamins E and C, taurine, lutein, and beta-carotene can be beneficial to them.
- Phosphorus and Sodium:Your dogs need lower levels of phosphorus to maintain healthy kidney function. The sodium level should also be lowered to keep your dog’s blood pressure normal. Too much sodium can lead to heart disease and stroke.