We dive into the research to answer the most FAQs about the best food and supplements for senior dogs.
By the way, any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase (at no extra cost to you). We only suggest products that we believe benefit our community of dog owners. Thanks for your support.
We echo the opinion of the RSPCA that many older dogs have chronic health issues that can be affected or improved by the diet you feed them and recommend giving your senior dog frequent smaller meals.
Natural dry dog food brands and products we’ve featured target specific dietary needs of senior dogs. A balanced diet with the best supplements for your ageing dog is essential.
Whether it’s a grain free diet, weight control, joint issues or super-food boosts to strengthen immune and cognitive health, premium dog food brands specialise in these issues.
It might seem obvious that the needs of a puppy and a senior dog are very different – but it’s not always second nature to know exactly what your dog needs.
Every dog is different
The right food for your dog should be assessed by looking at their individual health or dietary needs, breed, age and size.
Before we get into the details, it’s important to remember that different breeds have different needs. But also that what may work for one dog might not be the best practice for another – regardless of whether they’re the same breed or not.
The best dog food for older dogs
As your dog ages, his metabolism will slow and the amount of daily activity decreases. Naturally this combination can make dogs more susceptible to weight gain. So, as their routine changes, so should their diet.
What types of food are best for senior dogs?
A variety of foods, (by that we mean dry, wet and fresh), is considered the optimal diet for a dog.
What’s the best senior dog food brands?
Purina, Nulo, Canidae, Orijen, are brands that offer special ranges to suit different requirements for older dogs. The choices are generally based on size of dog, breed and nutrient level. It’s worth paying more for premium brands. As they say you get what you pay for and the difference in quality is worth paying a little extra for.
Check out Nulo if you’re after the best diet dog food for older dogs and Orijen for grain-free dog treats. This is a list of some of the highly-rated senior dog food lines with ingredients that target specific needs.
Designed for dogs over 7 years and helps with awareness and memory.
- Australian made
- No added artificial flavours, preservatives or colours
What makes it so good? It’s all in the formula that contains nutrients to support cognitive health. That is brain nourishing food to help memory, alertness and attention which aids in the trainability of older dogs. The formula, specifically targeted to healthy aging, supports a healthy immune system, joint mobility and teeth.
Like to know what you’re feeding your dog?
Purina contains a range of nutrient rich ingredients. Chicken, dehydrated chicken, rice, oats, maize protein meal, barley, medium-chain triglyceride botanical oil, pea protein, animal digest, wheat, vitamin, mineral, amino acids, beet pulp, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, dehydrated fish, fish oil and antioxidants. Natural flavours including calcium, phosphorous, sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron, iodine, selenium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, folic acid, B5, B6, B12, C, D, E, choline)
Contains Omega 3 and 6 which help joint issues
- Australian made
- Promotes shiny coat and healthy skin
Why does Supercoat work so well? Nutrition for overall health, immune system and digestion. Fatty acids in the formula promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.
The success is all in the ingredients: Meat and meat by-products (chicken, beef, lamb and/or pork and/or poultry by-products), wholegrain wheat and barley and/or corn and/or sorghum, cereal by-products and/or vegetable proteins, minerals (calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, phosphoric acid, sodium chloride, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc), beet pulp, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, D3, E, choline), garlic, rosemary plant extract.
Available in 12 kg or 20kg packs
Designed for weight control and healthy joints
- Canned wet dog food
- 100% natural ingredients
- no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, corn wheat or soy
A protein rich formula, nutritionally balanced to help weight management by keeping your dog feeling full for longer.
Note. This product is grain-free. Canine digestive problems and skin issues can be a result of grain sensitivity. (Always seek further advice with your vet)
How much do I serve: Depending on age, breed, activity etc of your dog, as a rule of thumb, manufacturer recommends 3/4 to 1 can per day per 15lbs of body weight. Cover and refrigerate unused portions.
Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities
- Dry food
- Grain free – no corn, wheat or soy
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
Here’s what’s inside and why it’s gentle on the stomach?
Using the Salmon and Sweet Potato flavour dog food as an example, it contains salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, canola oil, sun-cured alfalfa, potatoes, natural flavor, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins E, A, B12, D3 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid; choline chloride, dried products -enterococcus faecium fermentation product, lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, lactobacillus casei fermentation product, lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols (natural source of vitamin E)
A great source of protein and is grain-free
- Dry dog food
- Protein-rich product
85% protein-rich diet for older dogs. Varied ingredients as an example include wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs, free-run turkey and chicken
Should I consider supplements for my aging dog?
The best way for your dog to get nutrients is through their diet, although sometimes this isn’t enough. If you’ve established a nutritionally balanced diet for your dog but are noticing signs of ageing or less movement it could be time to consider supplements.
What are the best supplements for older dogs?
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Supplements to help with arthritis and joint pain. These compounds are naturally occurring in the body and support healthy cartilage. To get maximum pain relief and anti-inflammatory results it’s recommended that glucosamine and chondroitin are taken alongside essential fatty acids. Both glucosamine and chondroitin can be found in senior dog foods blends, such as Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind and Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food. Look for these ingredients if you’re after the best hip supplements for dogs.
Omega 3 and 6 – Essential Fatty Acids
The essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and 6, have anti-inflammatory benefits and help preserve your dog’s skin and coat. It’s believed that they assist brain functioning and awareness while also boosting their immune system. Senior dog food ranges which are high in Omega 3 include Purina Supercoat Senior and Canidae Grain-Free Pure Senior Formula.
Prebiotics + Probiotics
These gems can aid your dog’s digestion and relieve stomach issues. Another key benefit of prebiotics and probiotics is that they restore the gut with good bacteria that can be lacking in older dogs due to age or medication. The use of prebiotics and probiotics can also help protect your dog against illness and infection.
Is it dangerous to give my dog supplements?
Be aware that the pet supplement market lacks regulation and there isn’t widespread testing for supplements. Monitor your dog, feed a balanced diet and speak with your vet about whether your dog is receiving sufficient vitamins and supplements.
There’s a wide range of vitamin and supplements on the market. Unfortunately many have questionable reviews and intentions. It’s best to consult your vet before trying vitamins or supplements for your senior dog.
At what age is my dog considered senior?
To make matters confusing there’s no set age for when your dog is considered senior. The average age is around 7 years but in reality the age at which your dog is considered senior depends on a number of factors. Breed, health and lifestyle are the variables.
Different breeds age at different speeds. The general rule of thumb is that larger dog breeds age more rapidly than smaller dog breeds. To check the specific age timeline for your dog it’s important to consult your vet as other factors are taken into consideration when judging whether a dog is considered senior or not.
Your dog’s medical history needs to be considered. Like humans, genetics and environment can play a big role in a dog’s ageing process. Taking into consideration their health status and history important.
Another important factor for determining the seniority of your dog. You can do this by evaluating aspects of their lifestyle such as the amount of exercise/activity, diet, nutrition and nature.
Senior dogs need different types of care, diet and nutrients but the advice is not one size fits all. Every breed and individual dog is different. Monitor your dog’s progress and alter their diet and lifestyle accordingly as they age.
We recommend you consult your vet before making any changes and if you have any concerns about your dog’s routine or specific needs.
Providing the best supplements and nourishing with the best dog food to suit a senior dog or his stage of life helps deal with symptoms of aging and delay the onset of health problems. These are the positive things we can do for our dogs.
… And don’t forget, always make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh, clean water.