Top 10 Best Dog Food for Older small dogs with few teeth

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Older Dogs

As dogs get older, their nutritional needs change. To keep your canine healthy in his senior years, it’s important to find nourishing food that keeps him feeling great. Aging pets are at a much higher risk of certain health conditions, including arthritis, weight gain, and hip dysplasia. Other conditions, such as a weakened immune system, aren’t always obvious.

When choosing pet food for your senior pup, there are many things to consider. Before making the switch, plan for a slow transition. Quickly changing your dog’s food can cause an upset stomach and other unwanted side effects.

One of the first things to look at when choosing dog food for your senior canine is the ingredients list. With dozens of brands and options to choose from, shelves are flooded with both high and low quality options. Ideally for senior dogs, you want to choose a food that has low calories, high protein, and no preservatives. Look for brands that use whole ingredients, such as:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Cage-free eggs
  • Brewers rice

You’ll also want to choose a dog food that contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are key for senior dogs. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids are must-haves for older dogs.

Another important factor to consider when buying senior dog food is the number of calories. Just like humans, as dogs get older, their metabolism slows and they tend to be less active. This means that they need fewer calories. Feeding a high calorie food to an aging dog could lead to weight gain, which can further joint pain and other problems.

You’ll also want to be mindful of any health needs that your dog has. For example, if your senior pup has arthritis or kidney disease, he will need a specialized diet. This way you can have confidence that the food you choose is providing the nourishment that your dog needs

Last but definitely not least, consider the price. More often than not, higher quality dog food tends to be more expensive. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t quality foods available at a great price.

What to Look for in Dog Food for Older Dogs

AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement 

Make sure any food you choose has an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) statement that indicates the food is nutritionally complete and balanced. Foods with an AAFCO statement have had laboratory testing and feeding trials to make sure they offer complete and balanced nutrition for the life stage of a dog.


Senior formulas often have up to 50 percent more protein than other adult diets to help maintain muscle mass, says veterinarian Megan McCarthy, DVM, with Best Friends Animal Society in Salt Lake City. Older dogs usually lose muscle as they age. But some older dogs have medical issues that require a low-protein diet, so check the nutrition that is right for your pet.


Senior foods often contain fewer calories than other adult dog foods because most senior dogs aren’t as active as they were before. Other dogs have trouble keeping weight on as they age so they don’t need to cut back on calories. Ask your vet what is right for your dog.5

Other Ingredients

Many senior foods advertise that they include fiber for easier digestion, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, and omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat. Read the label and consult with your vet to see which ingredients might be helpful.

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Older Dogs

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal

Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Recipe dog food

  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal is specially formulated to meet the aging needs of senior dogs. This easy-to-digest kibble is made with a quality blend of ingredients that support energy and activity levels. It provides high-quality protein to maintain lean muscles while offering omega 6s and vitamin E for skin and coat health.
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal also contains balanced minerals that support heart and kidney health as well as joint health. Each serving contains glucosamine, chondroitin, EPA, DHA, potassium, and other health-boosting nutrients.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe

  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe is formulated to keep your dog healthy. It’s made with the finest all-natural ingredients and is enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients for senior canines.
  • Made with high-quality deboned chicken, this kibble also features antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables along with whole grains. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula also contains LifeSource Bits which are designed to support immune health and healthy oxidative balance.
  • Unlike other dry kibble, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is made with minimal heat to maintain nutrient potency.

Wellness Core Senior Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Senior, 4-Pound Bag : Pet Supplies

  • Wellness Core Senior is a great option for senior dogs. This dry food blend is grain-free, low-calorie, and uses high quality ingredients that your furry friend needs to best enjoy his senior years.
  • This dog food includes a combination of fresh turkey and chicken meal, providing much needed protein for older dogs. Wellness Core Senior is 36% protein, 13% fat, and 43% carbs, making it a complete and balanced meal for your canine.
  • Aside from the high protein, this kibble is also packed with nutrients, including omega-rich salmon oil along with glucosamine and chondroitin to protect your dog’s joints.

Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Senior

IAMS Healthy Aging Mature & Senior Large Breed with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food, 30-lb bag -

  • Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Senior is formulated to meet the nutritional and wellness needs of older dogs. Made with real, farm-raised chicken, this food offers much needed protein to keep your dog strong and lean.
  • Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Senior dog food is formulated with L-carnitine, which helps to maintain a healthy metabolism while burning fat. This dry kibble is also enriched with antioxidants to keep your dog’s immune system strong. Iams’ tailored fiber blend, made with beet pulp and prebiotics, supports a healthy digestive system.
  • When you feed Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Senior, you can feel good knowing your senior dog is getting the nutrition he needs to make the most of his golden years.

Orijen Senior

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, 4.5-lb bag -

  • If you’re looking for senior dog food that offers tons of protein and a healthy calorie range, Orijen Senior is a great option. It’s crafted to help senior dogs thrive by supporting weight maintenance and lean muscle mass.
  • This grain-free kibble is formulated with fresh chicken, turkey, and fish along with eggs for healthy fats and protein.
  • Even picky dogs love Orijen Senior The freeze-dried liver coating creates mouth-watering kibble that your pup is sure to devour.

Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Chicken, Egg and Oatmeal

Diamond Naturals Senior Dog - Chicken, Egg & Oatmeal 15.9kg - Paws & Claws Pet Supplies

  • Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Chicken, Egg and Oatmeal is canine deliciousness. It’s made with cage-free chicken, along with fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients that nourish your dog from the inside out.
  • This dry food is carefully formulated with protein and fat to best meet the needs of senior dogs. Each bite provides glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joints. These nutrients are key for aging dogs who are more likely to experience joint pain and weakness due to arthritis.
  • Diamond Naturals Senior Dog Chicken, Egg and Oatmeal also contains selenium, vitamin E, and superfoods such as kale, pumpkin, blueberries, and chia seed, which provide must-have vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Chicken Recipe Grain-Free

BLUE BUFFALO Freedom Senior Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food, 12.5-oz, case of 12 -

  • Looking for wholesome dog food without grains? Blue Freedom Senior offers all of the nourishment your furry companion needs without grains that contain gluten. This kibble is made with high-quality chicken along with other nutritious ingredients to include sweet potatoes, carrots, cranberries, blueberries, and dried kelp.
  • Like all Blue products, Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior contains no chicken by-product meals, corn, soy, or wheat. It’s also free of preservatives and artificial flavors.
  • Since it’s uniquely designed for senior pups, each bite contains glucosamine and chondroitin for mobility and joint health, along with taurine for a strong, healthy heart. Blue LifeSource Bits support health and wellness with a unique formula of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are hand-picked by animal nutritionists and veterinarians.

Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Senior

WELLNESS Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food, 5-lb bag -

  • Wellness Complete Health Senior combines premium proteins, whole grains, and other natural ingredients to deliver a balanced diet for your canine. Each recipe is crafted to support optimal energy, weight, and a strong immune system.
  • This is a great food for older dogs, as it contains vitamin A and calcium for eye and dental health, glucosamine and chondroitin for strong joints, and prebiotics and fiber for digestive health.
  • Wellness Complete Health Senior is also formulated with omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, along with health-boosting vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin D3, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food Chicken & Lentils

Nulo MedalSeries Senior Dry Dog Food - Chicken | dog Dry Food | PetSmart

  • Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food Chicken & Lentils is a superior dog food that will keep your canine fit and healthy for many more years. If you’re looking for a grain-free, high-protein food, this is a worthy option.
  • This senior dog food formula is made with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint and hip health. The addition of L-carnitine boosts the metabolism to minimize weight gain in less active dogs.
  • Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Senior Dog Food Chicken & Lentils offer a low-fat recipe to promote an ideal body condition. It’s also higher in fiber to keep your pup feeling full between meals.

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Senior Formula

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Meadow Senior Formula with Chicken Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food, 24-lb | Pet Pantry

  • Canidae Grain-Free Pure Senior Formula is packed with premium goodness, including high quality proteins and healthy fats. This recipe has everything your aging dog needs to thrive and make the most of his older years.
  • This clean formula features less than 10 key ingredients, all of which you can easily recognize. If your dog has sensitivities, this limited ingredient dog food is sure to fit the bill.
  • Canidae Grain-Free Pure Senior Formula is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of senior dogs. This well-rounded dog food is fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend, which includes antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Nutro Ultra Senior

Nutro Ultra Senior Chicken Dry Dog Food, 30 lbs. Bag | Petco

  • Nutro Ultra Senior is made with a trio of proteins along with 15 vibrant superfoods that will protect your dog’s health for years to come. The food is formulated with kale, blueberries, chia, coconut, and other nutrient-rich ingredients. This blend promotes a healthy skin, coat, and digestion.
  • Like all Nutro foods, Nutro Ultra Senior uses high-quality ingredients that are sourced from trusted farmers. The formula contains non-GMO ingredients and is free of soy, wheat, corn, chicken by-product meal, and anything artificial.
  • With Nutro Ultra Senior, you can make your furry companion’s mealtime delicious and nutritious!

Go! Carnivore Senior Formula

GO! SOLUTIONS CARNIVORE Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey + Duck Senior Recipe for Dogs

  • Go! Carnivore Senior Formula is made using premium chicken, turkey, and duck, providing your older dog the balanced and complete nutrition he needs. This formulation supports strong lean muscles, healthy joints, and healthy digestion in old age.
  • If your dog is a meat lover Go! Carnivore Senior Formula is a great choice. This formula is grain and gluten-free and contains no artificial preservatives or by-product meals.
  • Aside from quality protein, the Go! senior recipe is also made with taurine for eye and heart health, along with glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint health.

Halo Grain-Free Senior Turkey, Turkey Liver & Duck

HALO Holistic Grain Free Turkey, Turkey Liver, & Duck Senior Dog Food Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag, 4-lb bag -

  • Keep your aging furry companion happy and healthy with Halo Senior Dog Holistic Grain Free Turkey, Turkey Liver & Duck Recipe. This dog food is made with a combination of whole meats, including cage-free chicken and turkey, along with non-GMO fruit and vegetables. It contains no meat meal or artificial ingredients, making it easy to digest and metabolize.
  • Halo Senior Dog Holistic Grain Free Turkey, Turkey Liver & Duck Recipe also contains other health-boosting compounds, including DHA, fiber, and superfoods such as dried cranberries, carrots, and golden algae.

Wellness CORE Digestive Health Age Advantage Senior

WELLNESS CORE Digestive Health Age Advantage Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food, 24-lb bag -

  • Nourish your senior pup from head to tail with Wellness CORE Digestive Health Age Advantage Senior. No matter if you have a small or large breed dog, this recipe is sure to cause endless tail-wagging.
  • This dog food is uniquely formulated for dogs over the age of 7. It’s made with high-quality deboned chicken, along with prebiotic fibers, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and other essential vitamins and nutrients.
  • Wellness CORE Digestive Health Age Advantage Senior will give your pup healthy skin, a glowing coat, strong joints, as well as a healthy immune and digestive system.

Should you wet dry food for older dogs?

Again, this depends on your dog. If your dog has trouble chewing because of dental disease or missing teeth, feeding canned food or wetting dry kibble can make dinnertime easier. It also provides hydration so you can make sure your pet is getting water.

While Hodges prefers feeding canned food because it’s more easily digested and palatable for many older dogs, she understands that many dogs and their owners prefer dry food.

“If, for whatever reason, dry kibble is the only option, I recommend adding low/no-sodium broth or water, making a low-fat ‘gravy’ for the dry food,” she says.

Is high protein food better for older dogs?

Every dog is an individual and nutrition should be tailored to each pet, says Hodges. “The optimal levels of protein, fat and calories in older dogs’ diets is dependent on their overall health, their body condition/weight, their lifestyle, exercise level and any specific medical conditions,” she says.

That said, moderate to high protein is believed to be best for older dogs, McCarthy says. “Older dogs are prone to losing muscle mass as they age, so feeding a low protein diet may be detrimental. However, if your dog has a condition such as kidney disease, a low protein or protein-restricted diet is best for maintaining kidney health.”

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.