Hungry Senior Dog Licking Himself

The Best Senior Dog Food Buying Guide

Your dog’s diet should be as important to you as what you feed yourself or your family members. As a pet owner, it is up to you to keep your dog healthy and you can do that by ensuring they receive the proper nutrition that will keep their coat sleek and shiny, their joints flexible, a healthy immune system, and their digestive system running as smoothly as possible.

However, when you’re trying to choose the best senior dog food, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the selection.

Senior Dog Waiting For Food

You can walk into any store and you will find a variety of dog foods, many of them claiming to be the best dry dog food for senior dogs. Of course, we all know that not every brand that makes that claim can actually live up to their claims.

So, how do you know what to look for when choosing the best dog food for older dogs? Keep reading and we’ll tell you what ingredients are important for a good, nutritious dry dog food, but we will also give you mini-reviews for some of the options you can choose from.

The Search For The Best Senior Dog Food Ingredients

You would think that if you’re paying a lot of money for a dog food, it is going to have high quality ingredients. Sadly, that doesn’t seem like how many dog food makers think. Instead of wholesome ingredients, some manufacturers will try to use lesser-quality ingredients, thinking that no one will take notice. Well, be one of the people who take notice of what these manufacturers are putting in your dog’s kibble!

Old Dog Holding Ball In Mouth

When you pick up any bag of dog food, you’ll want to pay close attention to the ingredient list and look these high quality ingredient sources:

Quality Sources Of Protein

When you read through the ingredients, you’re going to see a lot of animal derived proteins—be they whole, fresh meats, or even single source meals. When we say “meals,” this means things like “chicken meal” or “beef meal” instead of generalized meals like “poultry meal” or “meat meal.”

If you find a label that just says “Meat” on it, avoid it because it is an inferior product with questionable a protein source.

Whole Meat Sources Appear As The First Two Ingredients

When there is a named meat source as the first ingredient or better yet, the first couple of ingredients (an example of this could look like: chicken, chicken meal, chicken fat). Dogs get most of their protein from meat, which contains amino acids that are crucial for your dog’s health. The more meat protein there is in a dog food, the better.

Dog Waiting For Meat

Unprocessed Whole Grains, Vegetables, And Fruits

When an ingredient is unprocessed, then the nutrients are more likely to survive the process it had to go through to become the end product. This means all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants will still be intact at the end of the kibble making process.

With only three primary types of ingredients that you should be looking for in the dog food’s ingredient list, it sounds simple enough, right? That would be the case, except dog food companies are about making a profit and they will include less than wholesome ingredients in your dog’s food. Because of this, here are the ingredients that you’ll want to avoid.

Meat By-Products

There has been studies conducted that have revealed that higher-value ingredients you’ll find in dog food tends to be processed and treated with care. Low-grade ingredients, like by-products, aren’t handled nearly as carefully. Oh, and not to mention by-products typically are the remnants of whatever is left on the floor of the slaughterhouse.

This includes hooves, tails, beaks, feet, and anything else.

Dog Eating Meat

A Generic ‘Fat’ Source

If you look at the ingredient list and see “animal fat” instead of a named source of fat, like chicken fat, it could be anything. It could be a blend of a variety of animals (gross) or it could also be grease from restaurants that the dog food manufacturer is going to recycle by putting it in your dog’s food as a viable source of fat.

Artificial Preservatives

Natural preservatives like tocopherols (they are compounds typically found in Vitamin E), vitamin C, and even rosemary extract are the preferred ingredient. We do want to mention that these natural preservatives won’t preserve the dog food for nearly as long as artificial preservatives, so you’ll have to be mindful of the expiration date on the food.

Artificial Colors

We aren’t even sure why dog food even ­needs coloring. Your dog could care less if the “peas” are green or the “carrots” are orange. All they care is if the food tastes good. So, instead of exposing your dog to unnecessary colorings, focus on finding a food with wholesome ingredients as mentioned above.

Older Dog Eating Banana

Oh! And you might want to avoid an ingredient called, “propylene glycol.” This chemical is added to some foods to help keep them moist and chewy. Yet another unnecessary chemical.

Artificial Flavors

The dog food should already be flavored by the healthy meat and fat ingredients in it. Heck, even the vegetables should provide some flavoring.

Sweeteners

Just like us, dogs enjoy sweet things and dog food companies will use this in their lower-quality dog foods to entice dogs to eat more of it. These sweeteners include: corn syrup, sucrose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin and other sweeteners. Be wary of a food with any of these sweeteners because they can make existing health problems worse! Yikes!

Looking through the ingredient list in a store can be quite time consuming, especially if you want to make sure you’re getting a good dog food for your older pal. However, when you put in the time at home to do a little bit of research, you can be certain you’re making the best choice.

Senior Dog Giving Fives

The Best Senior Dog Food

Now that you know what to look for (and what to avoid) when choosing the best senior dog food, let’s get right to the reviews. These products are some of the most popular senior dog food’s on the market.

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Wellness Senior Dog Food

The Wellness Brand is a family-owned company that is determined to set the bar high for dog food competitors. They pride themselves on creating delicious food with natural ingredients that will give your senior small dog the nutrients they need. With this dog food, you’ll notice that the kibble is significantly smaller than other brands on the market, which makes it perfect for smaller mouths.

The recipes pay close attention to sodium levels for optimal heart health. Not only that, but the recipes feature ingredients that will help boost metabolism and maintain their weight, but also have ingredients that will support hip and joint health.

The main ingredients in this food include:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Ground Brown Rice
  • Barley
  • Peas
Bag Of Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food

When looking at the reviews for the product, 88% of customers left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, customers said this food was gentle enough for even the most sensitive stomachs. Customers shared that their dogs have previously had bad allergies, but when they fed their dogs this good, those allergies seemed to have disappeared.

Customers have also said that the size of the kibble is perfect for small dogs—larger dogs even seem to prefer the small size! Of the remaining 12% of customers who left 3-star reviews or lower, the common complaint was not to buy this dog food from Amazon.

Several customers have said that the food they purchased through the popular online retailer was clearly of a lower quality than the same food that was bought in the store.

One customer even gave a sample of the food, one from Amazon and one bought locally, to their dog. The dog refused to eat the Amazon one. Upon inspection, it seemed the online purchased food was older and much dryer. That aside, of the product as a whole, customers have said that when they fed this to their dog, their pups became ill and had very loose stool.

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Holistic Select Senior Health Dog Food

For the past 10 years, Holistic Select has focused on creating dog food that uses the best ingredients like fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins that doesn’t include meat by-products. These ingredients are chosen because they are crucial to promote a healthy digestive system.

The recipes the company uses incorporate pre & probiotics, natural fiber, digestive enzymes and botanicals that help promote a healthy body—even from deep within.

The main ingredients in this food include:

  • Chicken Meal
  • Ground Brown and White Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Chicken Fat
  • Pork Meal
Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food On White Background

When looking at the reviews for the product, 91% of customers left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, customers said there was an improvement in their dog’s health they’ve seen since they started feeding their dog this food.

Customers have said that their dog used to have really bad allergies and it was difficult to find a food that didn’t cause their dog to bite at their feet or have other allergy symptoms.

However, when they gave their dogs this food, the symptoms disappeared in a very short time. Of the remaining 9% of customers who left 3-star reviews or lower, the common complaint was was that the dog food caused their pet to have bad stomach issues.

Originally, the customers thought it was the transition from one food to another, but after continual use, the problems didn’t go away. Another customer said that their dog became very ill and recommend that before you change dog foods, you consult your vet first.

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Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+ Formula Dry Dog Food

Purina ONE is a dog food brand that is committed to giving your dog the whole body health they need so they can stay as fit and active as ever, regardless of their age. With the Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+ Formula Dry Dog Food, you can participate in the 28 day challenge.

In this challenge, Purina ensures you will see a noticeable difference in your dog in 28 days.

The main ingredients in this food include:

  • Beef
  • Brewers Rice
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Corn
  • Poultry By-Product Meal
Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+ Formula Dry Dog Food On White Background

When looking at the reviews for the product, 87% of customers left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, customers said their dogs enjoy the food very much. One customer said that their elderly dog was never very active, however, now that the dog is 14 and have been eating the food for 2 years, “she is a totally different dog.”

Customers mimic this sentiment and are amazed by how much the food has helped their dog. Of the remaining 13% of customers who left 3-star reviews or lower, the common complaint was that the formula has changed recently, which caused their dog’s to not enjoy the food anymore.

A few customers have said that this food caused the fur on their dog to become dry and brittle—one even said that fur started falling out because of a horrible allergic reaction to the kibble.

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Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food 

Rachael Ray senior dog food is inspired by the meals she creates in her own kitchen. With a statement like that, you can expect that your pooch is going to dine on a food that is delicious, nutritious, and wholesome. Not only is the food good for your dog, but you can feel good about giving it to them because it uses U.S farm-raised chicken.

Not only that, part of the proceeds of the dog food goes to the Rachael Ray Foundation, which helps animals in need.

The first five ingredients in this dog food are:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Ground Rice
  • Soybean Meal
  • Whole Grain Corn
Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food On White Background

When looking at the reviews for the product, 81% of customers left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, customers said that they were able to give their picky eater dogs this food and they ate it up. Customers also have said this food is good to give pets with allergies, too.

A couple customers have said that once they started giving their pets this brand of food, their pets haven’t needed eye drops or other allergy medication, which was a relief to the pet owners.

One customer said that their dog couldn’t gain weight, but when they started feeding them this dog food, they started filling out to a healthy size—never becoming overweight. Of the remaining 19% of customers who left 3-star reviews or lower, the common complaint was that this dog food isn’t the best—“it’s just okay.”

Just okay isn’t really an endorsement nor a complaint. With that said, there were some complaints regarding the food. Customers have said it cause their dog’s skin and fur to become dry and brittle. Other customers have said that it caused their dog’s to have soft stool.

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Diamond Naturals Senior Dry Dog Food

Diamond Naturals is a dog food that has been formulated to give your elderly dog all the nutrition they need. The dog food is packed with protein and fat, which is going to help your dog retain its healthy body condition. The food also features glucosamine and chondroitin which has been added to support healthy joints.

The probiotics and additional fiber in the dog food are key to support your dog’s digestion.

The first five ingredients in this dog food are:

  • Whole grain brown rice
  • Chicken
  • Chicken meal
  • Egg product
  • Oatmeal
Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food for Seniors 8+ On White  Background

When looking at the reviews for the product, 82% of customers left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, customers said the food was able to help their dogs overcome severe digestion problems.

When the customers started feeding their dog this food, they commented that their once loose stool had firmed up and the label of this food was very similar to more expensive, vet recommended brands.

Of the remaining 18% of customers who left 3-star reviews or lower, the common complaint was that this dog food didn’t work for their pets. A couple of customers have said that this food made their dog’s sick and they have since thrown the food away.

Other customers have said that the dog food gave their pets severe diarrhea, which is the complete opposite of what other customers reported.

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Blue Buffalo Senior Dog Food Chicken & Brown Rice

BLUE senior dog food has been made with the best natural ingredients that will help your older pooch get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. All of the BLUE dry food contains “LifeSource” bits, which is a special blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that have been selected by animal nutritionists and veterinarians.

The first five ingredients in this dog food are:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Whole Ground Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole Ground Barley
  • Chicken Meal
Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog Chicken & Brown Rice On White Background

When we looked at the user reviews, we saw that 85% had great things to say about the ride on and left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, people commented on how much their picky eater pups love the food. One customer even said that when they gradually introduced the food to their pet, they would pick out the Blue Buffalo food and “scarf it down,” leaving the other food in the dish.

So what did the remaining 15% of customers who left 3-star or below reviews have to say? The most common complaint customers had was the food was that the price for the dog food seems to change wildly from one purchase to another, which if you’re buying it online, can be very confusing and annoying.

Several customers said the dog food made their pet ill—sometimes vomiting almost immediately after eating the food.

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Our Recommendation

Trying to choose the best senior dog food can feel like a challenge, especially because there are so many different choices to pick from. You want to choose a dog food that is going to give your pet the nutrition they need to stay healthy and active, but how do you really know which is a good dog food for older dogs?

Many of the top rated senior dog foods all make the same claim, making the choice that much more of a challenge.

In an effort to help you make that decision, we took a look at six popular brands of dog foods. We’ve looked at the reviews and even reviewed the top five ingredients. With these things in mind, we feel that Holistic Select Senior Health Dog Food is the best choice.

With named protein sources (that aren’t by-products!) and a 91% customer approval rating, we feel this dog food can provide your dog with the nutrition you’re looking for to keep them healthy.

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