Best Dog Food for Older DogsOur dogs love us unconditionally and are loyal to us through joy and sorrow. But, as they age, there comes a time when the balance is tilted to their increased need for attention, care, and affection. There are a lot of things that change in the life of our senior dogs; therefore, we have to adapt the way we take care of them, being more patient, attentive, meticulous, and gentle.

In this article, we’ll talk about taking care of older dogs. Also, we’ll analyze a list of top-notch dog foods for senior dogs, such as grain-free dog food and other high-quality dog food, and help you decide which one best suits your friend’s needs.

Nutrition for Older Dogs

It’s no secret that diet influences the pet’s quality of life. Thus, proper nutrition contributes to maintaining an optimal physical and mental health. Ensuring the necessary ingredients (vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates)—in adequate quantities—is essential in maintaining the ideal physical condition of the dog.

When your beloved friend becomes a senior, his metabolism slows down. He’ll need a little bit more protein and a little bit more fiber. The proteins must be high-quality and highly digestible, for healthy, lean muscles, a correct bowel transit, and an optimal nutrient absorption. Chondroitin and glucosamine are two examples of essential fatty acids and amino acids that help restore the joints that are affected by age. A senior dog diet has to be low in fat. As he’s getting older, he won’t be able to move around as much he used to, and this can increase his obesity risk. As with humans, obese dogs are much more prone to diabetes, heart disease, joint conditions, or even cancer.

For an old dog to feed and hydrate without difficulty, water and food containers must be placed in easily accessible places. For large breeds, height-adjustable pots should be used so that the pet is not forced to lean.

Keep in Mind

  • Switching to a new type of food has to be done gradually, over the course of a few days, combining the two types of food. The quantity of the ‘old’ food has to be slowly reduced in favor of the new one.
  • For pets with special health problems, there is a wide range of dog foods on the market, designed for dogs who suffer from various conditions.
  • Senior dogs have a slower metabolism, which makes them prone to obesity. Accumulation of fat deposits exerts additional pressure on the joints and, in time, leads to stiffness and numerous other joint disorders. Keep your senior dog’s diet low in fat.
  • High-quality, high-digestible proteins (found in premium or super-premium foods) protect the muscles and bone tissue by preventing fat-free body mass reduction.
  • Top-notch antioxidants (vitamins C, A and E) support the healthy functioning of the immune system and slow down the signs of aging.
  • Chondroitin and glucosamine are recommended for maintaining joint mobility. They can be found in foods that support joint health, but they can also be administered separately as dietary supplements. However, talk to a vet first.
  • Food allergies have symptoms such as skin irritations, changes in blood tests results, diarrhea, and occasionally vomiting. It’s recommended to change the dog’s diet in order to offer him food made from easily digestible ingredients (salmon, lamb, or soy protein).
  • Beware of administering dietary supplements without your doctor’s consent! Some vitamins and minerals can do more harm to a senior dog (such as administering B vitamins that can accelerate tumor development).
  • Dogs differ a lot from each other in terms of body mass; to provide the necessary nutrients in ideal proportions, these values ​​are calculated taking into account the energy needs. It’s essential to follow the feeding recommendations for your pet’s weight category. For example, small breeds should consume adult food for a longer period (up to 10 years) than large ones (up to 7 years).

Best Dog Food for Older Dogs

Luckily, there’re a number of senior dog foods on the market. We chose some of the highest rated ones and discussed their key benefits. Hopefully, this will help you opt for the product that best meets your friend’s needs.

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Blue Life Protection Formula Senior Dry Dog Food

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Blue Life Protection Formula Senior Dry Dog Food is a yummy formula made from deboned, protein-rich chicken. The real meat is the very first ingredient on the list; this ensures that your pet maintains lean, strong muscles. Besides that, the recipe includes garden fruits, veggies, and wholesome whole grains. This product will support your senior dog’s healthy immune system, strengthen his teeth, and his bones. The two-part feeding system consists of dry, tasty kibble as well as the brand’s renowned antioxidant-rich Lifesource Bits that will improve your senior dog’s overall health and well-being.

There is no soy, corn, wheat, chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors added to this formula. Here’s how the guaranteed analysis looks like: minimum 26% of crude protein, minimum 16% of crude fat, up to 5% of crude fiber, up to 10% of moisture, minimum 1.2% of calcium, minimum 1% of phosphorus, 2,750 mg/kg of choline, minimum -.10% of SHA, minimum 0.04% of ARA, minimum 1% of omega-3 fatty acids, and minimum 2.25% of omega 6 fatty acids.

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2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Senior Dog Food

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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Senior Dog Food, Turkey & Peas, 4-Pound Bag
  • COMPLETE HEALTH: complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your senior small breed dog.
  • SMALL BREED SENIOR FORMULA: Smaller kibble size made with delicious deboned turkey and added glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re the happy owner of a small breed senior dog, this is a great choice for your friend. It’s an awesome product that’s proudly made in the USA and backed by the Wellness Guarantee. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Senior Dog Food provides a balanced and complete daily nutrition for your beloved senior pet. The smaller kibble size is perfect for your dog’s mouth, it’s easy to chew, and has a delicious taste. The deboned turkey is a high-quality and highly digestible protein that will take great care of your friend’s muscles and ensure a smooth digestion. The added chondroitin and glucosamine support healthy, strong joints and hips.

As aging dogs have unique nutritional needs, it’s important to feed the food that’s been designed for their life stage. As your pet’s metabolism slows down, this product offers an optimal caloric intake in order to support a healthy body weight. Plus, it has controlled sodium levels for heart health. This formula is made only with all natural, premium ingredients. There’s no meat by-products, wheat, soy, corn, artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors added to the recipe.

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3. Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Senior Dog Food

Diamond Naturals SENIOR Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food with Real Cage Free Chicken, 35lb
  • HIGH quality PROTEIN made with real CAGE FREE chicken, to maintain ideal body condition for SENIOR dog; added GLUCOSAMINE & CHONDROITIN for JOINTS
  • A NATURAL food with added vitamins & minerals; fruits, vegetables & SUPERFOODS for natural ANTIOXIDANTS; fatty acid blend for SKIN & COAT for seniors

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The next one on our list, Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Senior Dog Food, is made with high-quality protein (cage-free chicken) for strong, lean muscles and an optimal body condition. The formula has chondroitin and glucosamine added for great joint health. This natural recipe is rich in vitamins and minerals: the fruits and veggies offer top-notch antioxidants. The fatty acid combination is amazing for the senior dog’s skin & coat improvement and maintenance.

The formula is rich in all the key nutrients, highly digestible, and has all the proprietary probiotics (senior species-specific) that will successfully thrive and survive in the pet’s GI tract. There’s no fillers, corn, wheat, artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors added to the recipe. Here’s the guaranteed analysis: minimum 25% of crude protein, minimum 11% of crude fat, up to 4% of crude fiber, up to 10% of moisture, minimum 1.1% of calcium, minimum 0.8% of phosphorus, minimum 150 mg/kg of zinc, minimum 0.35 mg/kg of selenium, minimum 150 IU/kg of vitamin E, minimum 500 mg/kg of L-Carnitine, minimum 2.2% of omega 6 fatty acids, minimum 0.3% of omega-3 fatty acids, minimum 720 mg/kg of glucosamine, and minimum 240 mg/kg of chondroitin sulfate.

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4. Blue Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

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BLUE Wilderness Senior Grain Free Chicken Dry Dog Food 24-lb
  • Contains one (1) 24-lb bag of BLUE Wilderness Senior Grain Free Chicken Dry Dog Food
  • Always features real meat. Made with deboned chicken, chicken meal and fish meal to supply the protein your dog needs

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Packed with real meat, Blue Wilderness High-Protein Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food is successfully supplying your friend’s protein needs thanks to the deboned chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal. The high protein, grain-free recipe is great for senior dogs with food allergies. Also, it contains wholesome veggies and fruits that offer your pet all the key vitamins and minerals. The brand’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, a precise mix of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins is also added to the recipe. Glucosamine and chondroitin will support the dog’s joint health while the careful calories and protein balance are great for meeting a senior’s pet specific needs. There’s no soy, chicken (or poultry) by-product meal, wheat, or corn added to this formula.

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5. Blue Homestyle Recipe Wet Senior Dog Food

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is a wonderful option if your senior friend fancies wet dog food once in a while. Blue Homestyle Recipe Wet Senior Dog Food contains real deboned chicken that offers all the key amino acids your pet needs every single day. The whole, hearty grains such as barley and brown rice provide the complex, high-quality carbs for optimal energy levels. The fruits and veggies used in this formula (such as cranberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and whole carrots) are packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals your dog needs for a balanced nutrition. There is no soy, chicken (or poultry) by-product, wheat, corn, artificial preservatives, flavor, or color added to the recipe.

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6. Iams ProActive Health Senior Dry Dog Food for Dogs

Iams ProActive Health Senior Plus Dry Dog Food for All Dogs – Chicken, 15 Pound Bag
  • Contains one 15 lb. bag of IAMS Senior Plus Dog Food - Chicken
  • Veterinarians recommend IAMS - we've got your dog's diet down to a science

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The first ingredient of Iams ProActive Health Senior Dry Dog Food for Dogs is farm-raised real chicken, which makes it another great choice for your senior furry friend. The antioxidants support a strong immune system, the prebiotics and fiber blend maintains a healthy digestion, while the chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine keep your pet’s bones and joints flawless during this life stage. In addition, the easily digestible, crunchy kibble takes care of your friend’s coat and skin strengthens his teeth, bones, and muscles, and reduces plaque. This recipe is specially formulated to fit older dogs’ unique nutritional and wellness needs.

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The Importance of Exercising for Senior Dogs

Every dog owner wants his dog to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, however, we notice that our pet isn’t as energetic as he used to be and he gets tired faster. Your senior dog needs his exercise, but you have to adapt his workout routine to his age. While moderated exercise prolongs and improves the dog’s life, intense and lengthy physical activity can negatively impact his health. Usually, it’s recommended for an older dog to walk as long as possible, taking breaks whenever he feels tired; nonetheless, try not to force him to jump or run. A good idea is taking your furry friend out for a walk one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. This is a great exercise both for the dog and for you, especially after a tough, stressful day.

Taking Care of Your Senior Dog’s Skin and Coat

The skin of your elderly dogs doesn’t produce as many natural oils as it used to in order to be supple, hydrated, and supports a shiny fur. Try to use a delicate, hydrating shampoo and brush your dog’s coat as often as possible to stimulate oil secretion. You can also use special skincare products to better hydrate the pet’s skin.

Do I Need to Take My Senior Dog to the Vet More Often?

The short answer to this question is yes. If for healthy adult dogs an annual visit to the vet is enough, for an elderly pet, you’ll need to increase the frequency. A regular check-up every few months (at least twice a year) can early identify certain problems that can affect your friend’s quality of life if they’re not kept under control. Therefore, talk to the vet and agree upon a visit schedule; also, talk about some routine blood tests to make sure everything is okay.

And, of course, love is definitely the most important thing your senior dog needs. Together with patience, affection, and support, love will help our wonderful friend live this life stage peacefully and beautifully. Being informed about your old dog’s needs is awesome; this way, you’ll easily cope with all the changes happening in your pet’s life and offer him the great care that he deserves.