The 8 Best Foods to Buy for Older Dogs in 2019

Keep your four-legged friend healthy at an older age

woman giving dog food

 John Howard / Getty Images

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As your dog ages, it’s important to change their food to meet their dietary needs. You may worry that your faithful friend is packing on too many pounds, or you may have concerns about their ability to digest food. Like humans, a dog's nutritional needs can shift throughout their lifetime, depending on their activity levels and size. Whether you have a large or a small breed, your dog has specific and changing needs as a senior. To help your four-legged friend stay healthy in their old age, here are the top-rated foods for older dogs.

  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: Nutro Wholesome Essentials

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials

    Courtesy of Amazon

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken flavor is formulated for dogs seven and older and is made with protein (chicken, in this case) as its number one ingredient. It comes in either a five, 15 or 30 pound bag and contains brown rice and sweet potatoes for healthy carbohydrates. It contains 23% protein and 12% fat, has added Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health and antioxidants to support your aging dog’s immune system. This food is made without by-products, soy, corn, wheat or artificial colors, so it’s great for sensitive stomachs.

    We picked Nutro Wholesome Essentials as our best overall food for older dogs because it’s a great, well rounded product that’s perfect for a variety of breeds and sizes. It’s offered at an affordable price while still providing high quality, natural ingredients. Amazon owners say this food protects their dog’s sensitive senior stomachs while still giving them the energy they need to feel like the puppy inside.

  • 02 of 08

    Best for Dogs with No Teeth: Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Dog Food

    As senior pups age, many face dental issues that can cause loose and sometimes missing teeth. Of course, it’s important to feed your senior dog food that is easy for him or her to digest, so wet food are often the best choice for dogs with dental issues. Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Dog Food is a high-protein wet food that’s created with older dogs in mind. This pate is made from a mixture of chicken, lamb and salmon, and is packed with amino acids and antioxidants to help maintain muscle health and immunity. Each container is 3.5 ounces and comes in a pack of 24. It’s made up of 7% protein, 5% fat and 78% moisture.

    Dog owners love Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Dog Food because it's appetizing to even the pickiest of eaters. One reviewer even says it helped turn his senior dog “into a puppy again.” If your aging pup struggles with missing teeth, feed him a high quality wet food he’ll love.

  • 03 of 08

    Best for Weight Loss: Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Overweight senior dogs are more likely to struggle with arthritis, diabetes and heart issues. That’s why it’s essential to feed your dog a food that won’t add extra calories, especially as his activity levels decrease. If your veterinarian has suggest your dog lose a few pounds, check out Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food. This healthy weight recipe is made from beef, chicken, peas, sweet potatoes and potatoes and provides your aging pooch with the protein he needs without any extra fat he doesn’t. It’s also formulated with Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids for skin health, and glucosamine and chondroitin to protect his joints. It’s made of 32% protein and 8% fat so it’s perfect for pups who need energy but not too many calories.

    Owners love Merrick dog food, saying it helps their pups shed unwanted weight without being unappealing to picky eaters. Merrick is a high quality, high protein dog food perfect for any plump pooch.

  • 04 of 08

    Best for Weight Gain: Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula Dry Dog Food

    Though many senior dogs struggle with weight loss, if your picky pup can’t keep on enough weight for optimum health, a food with high protein and higher fat content can help provide necessary nutrients. Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dry Dog Food is a high-calorie food that can help your active senior keep his weight on. Chicken is the number-one ingredient, and it contains 30% protein and 20% fat. Though it’s formulated for active dogs, it is also a great choice for less active seniors who are struggling to gain a little weight. It also contains added amino acids to support strong muscles.

    Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Formula is a good choice for highly active dogs or those who need to put on a little weight. It’s a high-calorie and protein-rich food that can help active dogs maintain muscle mass and underweight seniors gain a necessary pound or two.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet

    Whether your senior dog has struggled with a sensitive stomach his whole life or it’s developed in his golden years, Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet is a great choice. A limited ingredient dog food allows you to eliminate the foods that upset your dog’s stomach while still providing a well-rounded, healthy meal. This turkey and potato recipe is made up of 18% protein and 10% fat. The single-source protein (turkey) is a good choice for picky eaters because it’s appealing, but easy to digest. It has added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and taurine for heart health.

    Amazon owners say the Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Diet has helped many upset stomachs. Some add that they noticed a shinier, healthier coat after feeding their pups this dry food, but the most important fact is that their older pups loved it too.

  • 06 of 08

    Best for Skin Allergies: Halo Holistic Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food for Senior Dogs

    A happy dog is one who doesn’t suffer from dry, itchy skin. One of the most common skin allergens for dogs is grain, so a grain-free senior dog food is a must if your pup suffers from troubled skin. The Halo Holistic Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food for Senior Dogs is formulated specifically for your mature pup. It’s made with real, whole protein and is high in fiber to help aid in digestion. On top of that, it doesn’t include any antibiotics, artificial flavors or colors, and contains only non-GMO foods. Another pro: Halo offers you a 14-day money-back guarantee if for any reason their foods don’t work for your pup. This can be a great benefit, especially for dog owners trying to find the right fit for their itchy pooch.

    Amazon reviewers say Halo Holistic is great for sensitive dogs, both skin and stomach-wise. They love that their pups come running when it hits the bowl, and also mention that it doesn’t add unnecessary calories that can lead to weight gain.

  • 07 of 08

    Best for Joint Problems: Nulo Senior Grain Free Dog Food With Glucosamine and Chondroitin

    Nulo Senior Grain Free Dog Food With Glucosamine and Chondroitin contains two of the most popular additives (glucosamine and chondroitin) for joint and hip health. This high-protein dry food is made with trout and turkey and has 30% protein and 12% fat. One of the best things you can do for your dog with joint problems is keep his weight down, and Nulo is made with lean proteins that won’t add unnecessary calories. It has 400 mg of glucosamine and 350 mg of chondroitin to help protect and repair achy joints.

    Dog owners say Nulo Grain Free Senior Food is great for sensitive stomachs, picky eaters—and most importantly, arthritic pups.

  • 08 of 08

    Best for Constipation: Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food, Chicken & Barley

    Just like humans, dogs need a healthy dose of fiber to keep things moving and maintain a healthy digestive tract. The Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food, Chicken & Barley is made of 4.25% fiber (higher than many other foods) and contains live microorganisms to promote digestive health. The senior recipe is made with deboned chicken and barley, and contains no by-products or additives. This food contains a plethora of vitamins, such as Omega fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin, calcium and vitamin A—all helping to protect your dog from his fur down to his bones.

    Dog owners say Wellness Complete helps their dogs maintain healthy bowel movements while giving them the protein they need to keep moving.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular food for older dogs on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different dog foods overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 90 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 3 of the dog foods with their dogs. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.