Top 10 Best Senior Dog Food for Weight Loss
As dogs age, they become less active and their bodies are less able to burn off calories. As such, senior dog food tends to have fewer calories than adult dog food, but this isn’t always the case. And, when shopping for the best senior dog foods for weight loss, it is important that the food still contains the essential vitamins, minerals, and protein and fiber levels to ensure your dog stays healthy and fit.
Below, you will find reviews of 10 of the best senior dog foods for weight loss, as well as a guide to choosing the one that is most suitable for you and your canine companion.
The 10 Best Senior Dog Foods for Weight Loss
Iams ProActive Health Mature Dry Dog Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum|
IAMS Proactive Health Mature is the best senior dog food for weight loss for the money. IAMS has a reasonable price tag and matches the nutritional value of the other options too. It has farm-raised chicken listed as its first ingredient, and its other ingredients promote the overall wellness of your senior dog. With senior dogs in mind, the formula supports bone and joint health and there are antioxidants included to promote a healthy immune system. Prebiotics and decent fiber content also help with senior dogs’ stomachs for good digestion.
A great option for all sizes of dog breeds and low fat to keep them at a healthy weight. That said, some customers reported this food giving their pooches gas.
- Gives some dogs gas
- Not a favorite flavor for some pooches
- Supports healthy digestion
- Low fat
- Supports joint & bone health
- Contains antioxidants
Ollie Chicken With Carrots Recipe – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, carrots, peas, rice, chicken liver, potatoes|
Ollie Chicken with Carrots fresh dog food is the best overall dog food for seniors in need of weight management. This raw and natural recipe is created with top dog health in mind, including different recipe options including chicken, beef, and fish. With additional raw ingredients like carrots, rice, spinach, and chia seeds, this blend of superfoods is rich in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals for overall dog health.
Ollie is a subscription-based service that delivers raw, fresh dog food right to your door. It can get a little expensive, though, and can be difficult to keep fresh.
- Difficult to store
- Raw and natural
- Portioned for weight management
Go! Carnivore Senior Formula Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, De-Boned Chicken, De-Boned Turkey|
Go! Carnivore Senior Formula Dry Food option is a top choice for senior dogs and their health in 2022. This brand is ranked highly as it contains raw ingredients. The first six ingredients are meat and fish, pushing it above other recipes. The food contains added nutrients and vitamins to support senior bone health, as well as hip & joint health. Taurine is added and said to support vision health. The long list of real animal ingredients, including cage-free meat options, and the promotion of overall wellness really sets it apart.
The formula has no by-products or artificial preservatives, but some customers reported bad gas in their dogs after switching to this food.
- May upset some dogs’ stomach
- Gives bad gas in some pooches
- Promotes healthy gut
- Digestive enzymes included
- Added probiotics
ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard)|
Our third choice for senior dog food for weight loss in 2022 is the Orijen Senior dog food. With higher protein and largely premium ingredients, this recipe has a relatively justified higher price tag in comparison. With its first ingredients being protein options like chicken, turkey, and fish, this surpasses others with meat by-products. The ingredients are chosen in this dog food with essential nutrients in mind.
It’s made in the USA with fresh ingredients and includes essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Orijen uses whole organs to ensure the best parts of the protein source are used in each bag, although some reported a very fishy smell from this food.
- Strong fishy smell
- New formula not favored by some
- High protein
- Natural ingredients
- Promotes energy levels
Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Senior
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Poultry By-Product Meal, Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal|
The Pro Plan Bright Mind senior dog food recipe contains ingredients that are said to increase the mental alertness and sharpness of older dogs. With chicken listed as its first ingredient, this recipe is created with seniors’ needs in mind. Dog’s brains begin to adjust around the age of 7, so this formula is curated with brain health in mind and botanical oils work to enhance the function of senior dogs’ brains.
It is said to promote memory, attention, and trainability. The recipe also includes omega fatty acids and vitamins to promote healthy skin and coat. However, the kibble is a bit small for larger dogs, and some pooches did not enjoy the recent formula change.
- Small kibble
- Recent formula change not favored by some dogs
- Created with seniors in mind
- Promotes mental alertness
- Supports joints and mobility
Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management Dry Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin), Whole Grain Barley, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Oats|
Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management dog food is our vet’s choice for dog food for seniors. It’s suitable for healthy weight management for adults and seniors alike. This specially created dog food is meant for small breed dogs who need help with weight management. With a high protein content and real chicken listed as the first ingredient, it promotes overall wellness and nutrition with great ingredients. This recipe also contains 15 superfoods, vitamins, and minerals for balanced diets.
This brand holds importance on quality and testing its ingredients and it contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.
- Comparatively higher calorie content
- No by-products
- Suitable for overweight dogs
- Supports balanced nutrition
Wellness Core Senior Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Lentils, Dried Ground Potatoes, Peas|
Wellness Core Senior Dog Food contains ingredients that are catered toward senior dogs and their overall health. The presence of antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-fatty acids promotes a healthy coat, while other nutrients promote joint and hip health. This premium food option has a higher protein level and advanced nutritional value.
With largely positive reviews, the recipe seems to be loved by dogs in terms of flavor and is gentle on older pups’ stomachs. It helps with bowel movements, but be sure to keep an eye out for increased bathroom trips.
- May cause runny stools
- High protein
- High nutritional value
- Promotes hip & joint health
Solid Gold Young at Heart Grain-Free Senior Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas, Peas|
Solid Gold Young at Heart dry dog food for seniors has chicken listed as its first ingredient, so you can be sure the protein quality is suitable for your loving pup. This recipe includes high amounts of antioxidants to support long-term health and overall wellness. The ingredients are also easy to digest for dogs who have sensitive stomachs. It is crafted specifically for seniors with a balanced level of protein, veggies, and superfoods.
Young at Heart is designed to make even senior dogs feel like they have the energy of a pup! That said, quite a few customers reported the food causing bad breath in their pooches.
- Reportedly caused bad breath in some dogs
- Superfood blend
- Made for seniors
- Added antioxidants
Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice|
Wellness Complete Health Senior dry dog food is popular for its recipe created for overall nutritional support for senior dogs. It is made with no meat by-products, fillers, or preservatives for a wholesome diet. It has chicken listed as its number one ingredient, giving those with natural ingredients as their priority peace of mind. It contains omega fatty acids, probiotics, antioxidants, and wholesome grains for a healthy diet.
It supports healthy brain development, supports good energy levels, and healthy skin and a silky coat. Unfortunately, the large kibble makes it suited for large breeds only.
- Only for large breeds
- Large kibble size
- Supports overall health
- No fillers or preservatives
- Includes antioxidants
Victor Senior Healthy Weight
|Main ingredients:||Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)|
Victor Senior Healthy Weight for senior dogs has high nutritional value in its protein value alone that comes from meat sources, plants and veggies, and grains, but its recipe is curated with older dogs in mind to promote hip and joint health. It has weight control as its focus, perfect for older dogs who need help maintaining a healthy weight. It also has high-quality protein and essential minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids.
While this is great for weight management in seniors, some owners reported that their dogs simply didn’t enjoy the flavor. Also, the kibble is a bit small for larger pooches.
- Reportedly not a favorite flavor for some
- Small kibble
- Pungent smell
- Supports healthy digestion
- Supports overall immune function
- Made with seniors in mind
Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Senior Dog Foods for Weight Loss
Buying senior dog food for weight loss means that you are essentially looking for two primary features in the same food: a food that is suitable for dogs aged 7 years and older, and one that helps prevent weight gain or that can be used to help a dog lose weight. As well as making sure the food has appropriate levels of protein and does not contain too many calories per serving, you should also look for ingredients that can help improve joint health, manage cognitive and brain function, and that condition the coat and skin. These are all especially beneficial to older dogs. If your dog has bad dental health, which is common in older dogs, you should also consider a food that is easy for them to chew without causing extra pain.
Wet vs. Dry
The first decision you will have to make when buying dog food for any dog is whether to feed wet or dry food. Debate continues as to which is best, because they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
- Wet Food is soft and easy to chew and digest. It also contains a lot of moisture, which helps ensure that your dog is well hydrated. A lot of dogs prefer the smell and taste of wet food, which makes it especially beneficial in those instances where a senior dog refuses to eat or doesn’t eat enough. It also tends to have higher protein, although this does depend on the protein ratio of specific foods.
However, for all its benefits, wet food is expensive, has a shorter shelf life than dry food, and unless your dog eats exactly a full sachet or can at every meal, the remaining portion will need to be stored in the fridge until it is finished.
- Dry food comes in the form of hard kibbles and tends to be less expensive than wet food, per meal. It keeps longer and doesn’t need refrigeration once open. Some claim that dry kibble is better for maintaining dental hygiene because the kibble helps remove plaque, although evidence to support this is somewhat limited.
Dry food may be less appealing to your dog and, rather than promoting good dental hygiene, the hard kibble can be difficult for some senior dogs to chew. It may even cause discomfort and pain if your dog has bad teeth or dental hygiene issues.
Dry and wet food don’t have to be fed exclusively. You can feed a combination of the two, either at different times or even in the same meal. This enables you and your dog to enjoy the benefits of both while maintaining a healthy diet.
As well as dry and wet food, there is also the question of raw food. Raw food is not heavily processed like most commercial food. It can be made at home using fresh ingredients, but there are also some companies that specialize in making this food and delivering it to your door. Fresh food is meant to more closely mimic the diet of dogs in the wild. It does tend to be high in protein, which means that it can be beneficial for senior dogs, but it is the most expensive option and unless food comes portioned, you will have to store it in the fridge between feeds.
When Should You Start Feeding Your Dog Senior Food?
Although the ideal age to feed a dog a senior diet depends on the breed, health, and condition of the specific dog, senior food is generally targeted at dogs aged 7 years and above. Consider your dog’s activity levels, and when you notice that they are moving around less, laying down more, and that their coat and skin are starting to look old, it may be time to consider moving to a senior-specific food.
Protein for Senior Dogs
Whatever type of food you give a dog, one of the most important elements is protein. The amino acids from protein help build and maintain muscle, repair tissues, and help ensure healthy skin and coat. Senior dogs typically require more protein because their muscles break down more easily and need more repair and support. Experts advise that senior dogs get 50% more protein than healthy adult dogs. However, if your vet has recommended that your senior dog be given a low-protein diet, you will need to be especially careful that you are not feeding too much.
It is advised that senior dogs are fed food that contains between 28% and 32% protein by dry matter. With dry food, this is easy to work out, and you can use the crude nutrient analysis on the packet. Foods that do not contain any significant moisture need to contain 28% to 32% protein.
With wet food, it is a little more difficult to determine protein ratio. Wet food can contain between 70%–85% moisture, and you need to calculate the protein by dry matter. As such, a food that is 75% moisture and that contains 10% protein actually has 40% protein by dry matter. To calculate this amount for any wet food, take the protein ratio, divide it by the amount of dry matter in the food, and multiply by 100. In our example, this equates to (10/25) x 100 = 40%.
What to Do if Your Senior Dog Won’t Eat
It is important that your dog is getting enough food and essential ingredients, so it can be a major concern if they stop eating or refuse to eat the food you’ve bought them. However, there are some steps that you can take to hopefully encourage a dog to eat:
- Wet Their Food – If your dog is struggling to chew their kibble without it causing pain, wetting the food may make it easier to eat. Add a little warm water or add a bone broth or other supplement to the food to make it more palatable and easier to chew.
- Switch to Wet Food – Alternatively, you can try switching from a dry kibble to a wet canned food. Do make sure you choose a food suitable for seniors and that meets your dog’s dietary and nutritional requirements.
- Add a Topper – Toppers are not designed as complete meals and may not contain everything your dog needs to be healthy, but they can work well to moisten food and make it more appealing and palatable. When calculating protein and calories, however, don’t forget to include the topper in your calculations or you may overfeed your pup.
- Try Home Cooked Meals – Most dogs would love to get up at the table and sit down for a proper home-cooked meal with their owners. A raw food diet is one that mimics a dog’s natural diet that they would eat in the wild and, as well as being softer, some dogs find this kind of meal much more inviting. If you want to offer a raw food meal without having to cook it yourself, there are some companies that prepare this kind of dish.
- Consult Your Vet – There may be some underlying medical condition that means your dog won’t or can’t eat its meals. If you have tried the techniques above and your dog still won’t eat, take them to the vet to get them checked out and to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong.
For the best overall dog food for senior weight management, we recommend the Ollie Chicken recipe, with fresh ingredients and a convenient subscription model. The best value for your money is the IAMS dog food, with good nutrition at an affordable price. ORIJEN dry dog food is the premium choice, made with high-quality ingredients at a higher cost. Lastly, Nutro Weight Management is our vet’s choice for small breed weight management.