As your furry friend climbs up the ladder of years, it is important to adjust his or her diet. Sticking with the formula that they loved as a puppy or younger adult dog may result in unhealthy weight gain, which means that your perky little Fido will have even more trouble as he or she goes gray…
While teaching an old dog new food may seem scary, it is important for your pup’s overall health. Luckily, we are here to help with an overview of the best canned dog foods! People are drawn to canned dog food for a few reasons. But whether you are looking for the best stand-alone option (often because your little guy or girl doesn’t have many teeth left) or the best wet dog food to mix with dry, this article is for you!
- 1 Are you in a rush? No sweat, here is a quick list of the foods reviewed in this article.
- 2 Best Senior Dog Food 2019
- 3 We also mention a few dry foods that are soft enough for older dogs because canned food is pretty expensive! Here’s a list:
- 4 What is the healthiest dog food for senior dogs?
- 5 Natural Grain Free Wet Dog Food Senior Chicken Recipe by Blue Freedom. =healthiest dog food for senior dogs
- 6 Is there a luxury option?
- 7 Nutro’s Ultra Grain Free Paté Wet Dog Food + best senior dog food grain free!
- 8 Natural Wet Dog Food, Senior Chicken Recipe by Halo.
- 9 Best Senior Dog Food for Small Breeds
- 10 Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Small Breed Dogs by Hill Science. Best Senior Dog Food for Small Breeds
- 11 What is the best dog food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs?
- 12 Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Paté Wet Dog Food – Best dog food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs
- 13 Which Taste of the Wild is best for senior dogs?
- 14 Pacific Stream Canine Formula – Best Taste of the Wild formula for senior dogs
- 15 What is a good soft dog food for older dogs?
- 16 What to look for in dog food for senior dogs?
- 17 What about healthy additives?
- 18 Finally, quick note about treats…
Are you in a rush? No sweat, here is a quick list of the foods reviewed in this article.
Best Senior Dog Food 2019
- Natural Grain Free Wet Dog Food Senior Chicken Recipe by Blue Freedom
- Ultra Grain Free Paté Wet Dog Food by Nutro
- Natural Wet Dog Food, Senior Chicken Recipe by Halo
- Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Paté Wet Dog Food also known as FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Entrée by Purina
- Pacific Stream Canine Formula by Taste of the Wild
- Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Small Breed Dogs by Hill Science
We also mention a few dry foods that are soft enough for older dogs because canned food is pretty expensive! Here’s a list:
- Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Dry Dog Food by Blue Buffalo
- Wholesome Essentials Natural Senior Dry Dog Food by Nutro
- Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ Formula Dog Food by Purina
- Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dry Dog Food by Purina
- Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food, Senior Turkey, Turkey Liver & Duck Recipe by Halo
Great stuff! Now for those of you that are still with us, let’s dive a little deeper. While it might seem daunting, choosing the right food for your senior pup is actually a great opportunity! By feeding your little one the best, you are giving them a longer life and staving off a bunch of nasty illnesses that are common in older dogs.
So, how do you choose? Don’t worry—we’ve got your back. First, we’ll go over the basics of the senior dog diet. Then, we’ll get specific and review the best foods on the market.
What is the healthiest dog food for senior dogs?
First up, there is
Natural Grain Free Wet Dog Food Senior Chicken Recipe by Blue Freedom. =healthiest dog food for senior dogs
It perfectly meets the requirements we talked about for a good senior dog food. It is totally free of all the nasty stuff, which means no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It has no corn, wheat, weird meat meals, or soy. But wait, there’s more! It is also completely grain free.
It is also high in protein from real meat—an important quality in all dog food, but especially for aging pups! Its number one ingredient is the all-star of lean protein—real chicken.
Building on this great base, the formula also contains other healthy ingredients, including carrots, peas, blueberries, and cranberries!
It is also very reasonably priced (more options here in best cheap dog food), coming in below most other high-quality options in this category. Fans love it because it makes even the oldest pups want to eat. It also contains great natural ingredients they can feel good about giving their distinguished older fur friends!
|Natural (no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives)||Some users have noted that when they order this product online, they are sent damaged cans. Many have switched to buying at the grocery store.|
|Grain free||The price fluctuates, which can be frustrating for consumers.|
|No wheat, corn, or soy|
|Number one ingredient is real chicken|
|High quality ingredients|
Now, Blue Freedom is a good option if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg. But let’s say that you want to give your senior pup the most luxurious of dining experiences. Is there something out there for you?
Is there a luxury option?
You bet! If you have a pampered little angel, the good people at Nutro have your back. If you want to serve your dog the very best, you should consider
In addition to winning the fanciest award, Nutro’s paté could also place in the category,
Their tag line says it all: “Thoughtfully Crafted: Dogs Should Enjoy Their Food as Much as We Enjoy Ours.” And they put their money where their mouth is; this food contains ingredients you might serve a human friend.
Take a look at the first five ingredients: chicken, chicken liver, chicken broth, spinach, and tomatoes. I’d happily eat any of those for dinner! And guess what? Ingredient number six is carrots! The health just keeps coming. Other powerful ingredients include: eggs, lamb, salmon, blueberries, apples, flaxseed, sunflower oil, chia seeds, yams, coconut, pumpkin, and kale!
Specially formulated for dogs over five years, this formula is sure to make your older fur friends happy and to keep their fur on! To add to all the yummy ingredients inside the formula, each meal is topped with pieces of real fruit and vegetables to appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
In fact, the amount that dogs love the taste is important because dogs’ appetite can lessen as they age. Fans of this food constantly repeat how much it has helped them feed their picky pups, from toothless strays to the oldest dogs.
Like Blue Freedom’s senior canned food, Nutro’s meets all of our criteria food a good senior option. It is also free of additive junk, which means that there is no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Plus, it is also grain free! To take it to the next level, they’ve also banished all GMO-ingredients, giving your pup the most natural dinner possible.
This food also meets our second qualification: it is a protein powerhouse. The first ingredient is real chicken and the second is chicken liver. The mixture also contains lamb and salmon to add an extra protein and taste punch!
|Natural (no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives)||Pricey. By my calculation, it will cost you about $40 dollars per week to feed a ten-pound dog if this is your only food!|
|No wheat, corn, or soy|
|Number one ingredient is real chicken|
|High quality ingredients|
|Great for picky eaters|
But what about those special additions we mentioned earlier. Are there canned foods that contain ingredients like glucosamine?
Absolutely! One fantastic all-natural option is
For those dogs and owners whose first priority is naturalness, this is a great option. Halo takes general promises about quality and makes them very specific!
In addition to the usual marks of a good product like no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or gross meat meals, Halo offers a bunch of other perks. There are absolutely no GMO-ingredients because Halo only sources from farms that have completely prohibited the use of genetically modified seeds. They also do not source from factory farms or those that treat their animals with growth hormones or antibiotics. Talk about ALL-natural!
The cans are even BPA-free!
To meet the needs of senior dogs, this food contains tons of protein from real chicken. This lean meat helps ensure that senior pups can maintain muscle mass. They have also added extra fiber—in the form of oat bran—to help with digestion!
The creators have also taken precautions against weight gain by creating a special lower calorie formula. As a result, this is a great option for less-active older dogs!
Now, let’s talk about those special additions. Halo’s senior food contains glucosamine to support aging joints. That makes this a contender for the best senior dog food for arthritis award! As puppies age into little old ladies and gentlemen they can start to feel pain and creaks in their hips and joints. This is particularly true for larger breeds. If you’ve noticed something in your bigger pup, it might be time to try a food like Halo!
It also has DHA to keep your older pup’s thinker working like a charm!
|All-natural (no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives)||Some users have noted that when they order this product online, they are sent damaged cans.|
|No wheat, corn, or soy||Not grain free|
|Number one ingredient is real chicken|
|High quality ingredients|
|No gross meat meals|
|Special low calorie formula|
|No factory farms|
|No ingredients treated with antibiotics|
So, glucosamine is particularly important for large dogs as they age, but what about tiny pups? What do they need?
Best Senior Dog Food for Small Breeds
Most of the food reviewed in this article is perfectly fine for petite pups as long as you don’t feed them too much! This might be the reason that there are so few tiny breed specific canned foods for senior dogs. If you are going to stick with a senior brand that isn’t designed especially for small breeds, just make sure to control the amount. The serving size of canned food is usually based on the weight of your dog, so read the packaging carefully before your serve your fur friend dinner.
There is, however, a good option that is specifically designed for small breed seniors (also can be used on toy breeds). Our pick for best wet dog food for small breeds is
Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Small Breed Dogs by Hill Science. Best Senior Dog Food for Small Breeds
This food comes in perfect little proportions to help you avoid over feeding. In addition to being one of the only small breed-specific wet foods on the market, this food is full of high-quality protein that will help your tiny friend build and maintain muscle mass. Designed for petite pups over seven, this mixture of chicken and vegetables is sure to make your little one as happy as a clam.
Unfortunately, this option does not meet one of our big demands of senior food: it is not free of questionable additives. In fact, it has several. That being said, you might want to consider it if you are worried about weight gain or satisfying the needs of a tiny and elderly guy or gal. Like we said, its one of the only options out there that specifically caters to seniors and small breeds!
|Specifically designed for small breeds||Contains grains|
|Specifically designed for seniors||Not all natural|
|Easy to digest|
Now, let’s say that your aging fur baby has a sensitive tummy. What then?
What is the best dog food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs?
A quick note before we start: if you notice a change in your dog’s appetite, consult your vet. Big diet changes can be an early warning sign for some scary illnesses, like cancer. We probably don’t have to spell it out, but the signs of sensitive stomach go beyond not eating. They also include vomiting, diarrhea, and gas.
Also, before changing your dog’s food, make sure that he or she is not sneaking—or being given—too many extra treats or table scraps, which can upset tummies! You might also want to switch up the protein you are feeding him or her, in case they have an allergy.
Beyond medical issues, it is very common for seniors to struggle with stomach sensitivity, so there are lots of good options on the market. Contrary to what you might expect, these are often some of the most affordable choices out there! So, what is the best senior dog food for a sensitive stomach? Let’s talk about Purina.
Purina actually makes seven varieties of canned dog food to meet the needs of man’s (and woman’s) best friend throughout his or her life. Three of these options are good choices for senior dogs: the senior formula, the sensitive skin and stomach formula, and the weight management formula.
One of the first things to note about Purina’s products is that they are very affordable without sacrificing quality. While they may not include fancy ingredients like chia seeds, they are specially formulated to meet your little guy or girl where he or she is! And they still contain real meat! That being said, they are not free of all the funky additives we want to avoid. Sometimes, sacrifices need to be made on a budget…
Fans of this food often cite how easy the senior formula is to digest and how much their finicky eaters love it. The senior formula also boasts some impressive additions. It includes omega-6 fatty acids to give your little one healthy skin and a shiny coat and 23 essential vitamins and minerals!
It also takes precautions against elderly weight gain by optimally balancing protein and fat (here are the best low fat dog food).
But we are here to talk about older pups with sensitive tummies!
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Paté Wet Dog Food – Best dog food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs
also known as FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Entrée is specially formulated for easy digestion. It also contains linoleic acid, an omega fatty acid, which supports your little buddy’s skin and coat.
|Specifically designed for sensitive stomachs||Not grain free|
|Very affordable||Contains corn|
|Contains linoleic acid (an omega fatty acid)||Contains preservatives|
|No wheat or soy|
|No artificial colors or flavors|
|Easy to digest|
|Contains prebiotic fiber|
There are also some good limited-ingredient options if your pup is very sensitive. Although they are not usually formulated for senior dogs, you might want to check them out.
With all this talk about good options, you might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned one very popular food brand, which begs the question…
Which Taste of the Wild is best for senior dogs?
Great question! This beloved brand, which makes food that mirrors the traditional diet of dogs’ wolf ancestors, does not make a canned food that is specifically formulated for senior dogs. That being said, they do have good canned options and, if you are careful to not serve too much—thus, avoiding the overfeeding trap—they are still a good option.
If you are committed to serving your aging pup Taste of the Wild products (compare with others like Victor), you might want to consider their
Pacific Stream Canine Formula – Best Taste of the Wild formula for senior dogs
It is made of salmon, which is easy on the digestion and is packed with omega- 3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants. Both of these qualities are great for seniors!
The folks at Taste of the Wild have packed this mixture with high quality ingredients. Similar to their other products, this canned food is all natural, which means there are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives added. It is also high protein; the number one ingredient is real salmon. It contains other high quality ingredients, including sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raspberries.
Just remember not to give your fur friend too much!
|All-natural (no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives)||Not specifically formulated for senior dogs.|
|No wheat or corn|
|High quality ingredients (including sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raspberries)|
|Contains omega-3 fatty acids|
|The number one ingredient is real salmon|
|Contains prebiotic fiber|
And that’s canned food taken care of! But what if all of this wet food is putting a strain on your wallet?
If you’ve been looking around the dog food world for a little while, you might have noticed that canned dog food is almost always the priciest option! BY A LOT.
Not everyone wants to—or can—pay to feed their aging pup on canned food alone. Luckily, there are good, soft dry foods formulated specially for older dogs that can be used to supplement, or even replace, the more expensive canned food options.
Let’s get specific!
What is a good soft dog food for older dogs?
If you have already found a canned food that your aging lady or gent loves, you should check to see if the same brand makes a similar dry food because the canned and dry options are often designed to complement each other! If your canned food has a dry option then supplementing is a breeze.
What to look for in dog food for senior dogs?First things first, older dogs are more sensitive. This means that those questionable ingredients you often wonder about—preservatives, artificial flavors, chicken meal, etc…it’s time to cut them out for good. Although it can be a little pricier, avoiding nasty additives is very important for older dogs.
Here is a quick list of the big cuts you need to make:
- No icky carcinogenic preservatives
- No gross dyes
- No unidentified meats or weird meals (we’re looking at you, chicken…)
Second of all, older dogs don’t need as many calories as their younger friends, so you should look for lower calorie foods. This is particularly important because if your dog becomes (or is) overweight or obese, he or she will have a much tougher time as a senior. All sorts of nasty pup diseases are associated with canine obesity, including heart, kidney, and liver diseases.
But even if your little guy is a little too big, it’s never too late to get on the right track! When choosing a new food, look for healthy options that still have plenty of protein and fiber (plus a reasonable amount of fat) while remaining on the lower end of the calorie spectrum. For a list of high fiber diets especially for anal gland problems please check this
But aren’t there some special vitamins or minerals that could benefit an aging pup? There sure are!
What about healthy additives?
There are also a few additional benefits that senior dog food can offer, such as glucosamine, which supports hip and joint health. Beyond that, antioxidants and probiotics are also often included in high-end food for senior dogs. If you end up choosing a formula that doesn’t have these specialties included, you can also ask your vet for a supplement!
As with all dog food, the exact type you need depends a lot on the specifics of your pup. This is particularly important because larger breeds age faster than little ones, meaning that you should switch them over to senior food earlier. Typically, it is a good idea to switch over to senior food when your dog reaches half of his or her projected live expectancy. (You can always check with your vet if you don’t know the life expectancy of your dog.)
Finally, quick note about treats…
Got all that? Now, it’s time to get specific. Let’s talk about the heavy hitters in the senior dog food lineup!
Lots of the canned foods reviewed in this article have similar dry options, like those from Nutro, Blue Buffalo/Freedom, and Purina. We recommend checking out our comprehensive article about Best Dry Dog Foods For Senior Dogs their dry choices if you like the canned option (they are all specially formulated for seniors):
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Dry Dog Food
- Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Senior Dry Dog Food
- Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ Formula Dog Food
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dry Dog Food
- Halo Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food, Senior Turkey, Turkey Liver & Duck Recipe
Otherwise, you might need to do a little more investigating compare brands like Blue buffalo vs Science diet , vs Taste of the Wild or Pedigree Vs Purina. Since there are so many dry formulas made especially for senior dogs, we strongly recommend choosing one rather than going for an all-ages formula. Since there are lots of issues around older pups and eating, it is better to be safe than sorry. Last but not least, in the unlikely situation where you have a lactating senior dog due to real or false pregnancy you might want to read this about best food for lactating dogs.
It’s for your best friend, after all![/color-box]