Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs 2024

Written by Wag! Staff

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/12/2023, edited: 03/07/2024

Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

A dog's nutritional needs change quite a bit over their lifetime. As dogs age, their risk of developing health conditions like arthritis and heart disease increases substantially. Moreover, their caloric needs typically decrease as their metabolism slows. But should you really switch your senior dog to a different food? And if so, what’s the best food for senior dogs? That all depends on your dog’s needs as well as your budget. 

Before changing your dog's food, it's a good idea to consult with your vet for your elderly dog's particular needs or live chat with a veterinary professional. If your senior dog is at risk for arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and other major health concerns, dietary changes can help prevent or manage these conditions.

When choosing a dog food for your aging pal, you'll need to make sure it meets certain criteria, such as:

  • Low-calorie formulations - Although senior dogs still need adequate exercise, they'll slow down as they grow older. Less activity combined with a calorie-rich diet can lead to weight gain. Dogs with osteoarthritis in "pawticular" may benefit from a low-calorie diet.

  • Fatty acids - Fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 are an essential part of a healthy diet for every dog, aiding a variety of metabolic processes, from vitamin absorption to skin and coat health. One study found that foods rich in omega-3 "significantly improved" senior dogs' ability to stand, play, and walk. Another study discovered fatty acids also helped manage symptoms in dogs diagnosed with cognitive dysfunction syndrome.

  • Protein - Senior dogs typically require more protein than younger dogs. Talk with your vet to see what your dog's daily amount should be based on their age, health issues and activity levels. 

  • Easy to chew foods - As your dog ages, they may experience dental problems. Choosing a wet food or a relatively soft kibble that's easy to chew can reduce tooth pain and inflammation. Water or wet food mixed with dry kibble can make these foods easier to eat.

What should you avoid when looking at foods for your older pooch? High levels of sodium that can exacerbate heart disease. Harmful additives that can lead to toxicity or cancer, such as sulfites that have been linked to a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency in dogs. And unspecified meat meal, which can be harder to digest and are not always properly identified, meaning it could come from an animal your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to. 

One last consideration is that some dog breeds enter their senior years earlier than others. While small breeds can be considered seniors around 11-12 years of age, medium breeds can hit that mark at 10 years old, and large and giant breeds even earlier from 6-8 years old. If in doubt, talk with your vet about your dog's age and needs.

Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid in high-quality foods for senior dogs, let's look at 5 of the best dog foods for seniors. 


Ollie Fresh Dog Food

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Your furever friend will thank you for switching to Ollie Dog Food! This is a subscription fresh dog food that comes in individually portioned containers, which are customized to your dog's individual needs and delivered straight to your doorstep. You can also choose things like frequency of delivery, and optional add-ons. 

The recipes contain satisfying combinations for dogs with sensitive stomachs, or picky palates. They use human-grade, natural ingredients your pup will love. The limited ingredient list makes it less likely for your dog to dislike something in it, and for you to have to guess what it is.

Ollie fresh dog food flavors:

  • Fresh Beef with Sweet Potatoes
  • Fresh Chicken with Carrots
  • Fresh Turkey with Blueberries
  • Fresh Lamb with Cranberries
  • Fresh Pork with Apples
Ollie Dog Food

Ollie Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • High-quality, human-grade ingredients
  • Customizable subscription service
  • Minimally processed

Considerations & Concerns

  • Expensive
  • Requires freezer space
  • Pouches require time to thaw before feeding
  • Generates more packaging waste

What pet parents say about Ollie Dog Food

“Chip and Sprout need to live forever, or at least close to it. Dog books (like Forever Dog) are upping the ante with the latest science on how to keep your pup healthy into their later years. The conclusion is not surprising: your pup will live a longer (and healthier) life if eating fresh food. Our fur babies have so much more energy on Ollie, and their poops have never been better!”

“We've had the absolute best experience with Ollie. Our dogs (all three of them!) are eating Ollie daily and have improved their coats, health and energy. Their teeth are way better as well. When we brought home our 3rd (unexpected rescue), they helped us get all set up and were truly genuine about ensuring all was well with our new fur family member. They followed up as well. Absolute 5 stars all the way.”

Read more reviews on Trust Pilot.

Image sourced from the OIllie website. Copyright Ollie Pets, Inc.

Orijen Senior Dry Dog Food

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Best raw ingredient option

The first 5 ingredients in this senior dog food are fresh or raw meat — chicken, turkey, flounder, mackerel and turkey giblets to be exact. This formula is prepared with minimal processing and zero preservatives.

Orijen prides itself on using only premium, fresh and raw ingredients, like free-range poultry and whole grains and vegetables. The food is packed with nutrient-dense, whole-prey animal ingredients, including organs and bones. Orijen's foods aim to recreate the diets dogs would've eaten in the wild, while also accounting for their modern lifestyles. To achieve this, Orijen partners with veterinarians and certified canine nutritionists.

As an added bonus, each kibble has a tasty freeze-dried liver coating. Even when your older dog's sense of smell and taste is starting to fade, they'll be able to enjoy the burst of raw flavor in every bite! 

Orijen Senior Dog Food

Orijen Senior Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Made from high-quality, fresh ingredients that are locally sourced
  • Is grain-free, which means it is a good option for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies
  • Is rich in protein, which is important for maintaining muscle mass in senior dogs
  • Contains a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Made in small batches to ensure that it is fresh and of high quality

Considerations & Concerns

  • Is more expensive than many other dog foods on the market
  • Has a strong odor
  • Is relatively high in fat, which may not be ideal for dogs with certain health conditions.
  • May not be available in all pet stores or online retailers
  • Only comes in one recipe

What pet parents say about Orijen Senior Dry Dog Food

“We switched from Eukanuba to Orijen and we couldn’t be happier. While it’s a bit more expensive, I’m happy to pay for real ingredients (just look at the ingredients versus other brands). My 10yr old lab mix loves it and we only want what’s best for her. I rehydrate it and mix in probiotics and her daily vitamins and she loves it.”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Mars Petcare US, Inc.

The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Food

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Unlike some of the other brands listed here, The Farmer's Dog doesn't market a specific senior dog food. Four blends are available, and each features a different protein source: chicken, turkey, beef, or pork. The top 5 ingredients for each blend include whole vegetables and legumes.

The Farmer's Dog's recipes are prepared in USDA-grade kitchens in partnership with veterinarians. This human-grade food doesn't include any grains, preservatives, or harmful additives, giving you peace of mind that your pupper is getting the very best.

This home-delivered food is palatable and soft, making it a "furrific" choice for senior dogs with dental problems. Because this is a grain-free food, you should consult your vet before making the switch.

The Farmer’s Dog variations:

  • Beef Recipe
  • Chicken Recipe
  • Turkey Recipe
  • Pork Recipe
The Farmer's Dog Fresh Food

The Farmer's Dog Fresh Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Uses fresh, human-grade ingredients in their meals
  • Customizes meals based on your dog's individual needs and preferences
  • Delivers the meals directly to your doorstep
  • Are transparent about where their ingredients come from and how they are prepared

Considerations & Concerns

  • Can cost more than other commercial dog food brands
  • Has limited variety compared to traditional dog food brands
  • Requires freezer storage until it’s ready to serve

What pet parents say about The Farmer’s Dog

“Love [Farmer’s Dog], I did [their] box trial and found my picky eater dog really liked it. After the free trial I was worried about the cost going forward, that was until I called them and explained me and my [dog’s] needs and they put me in the right direction. I am not on the traditional plan I am on my plan which fits me and my [dog's] needs, which also tells me that these people truly care about dogs and not just $$$. [The Farmer’s Dog] is awesome, when you call they take care of what you need. I am not really a review person but when it is deserved I do it. Thank You Farmers Dog.”

Read more reviews on Better Business Bureau.

Images sourced from The Farmer's Dog website. Copyright The Farmer's Dog.

Open Farm Senior Grain-Free Dog Food

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Vet recommended

“Open Farm dog food is formulated with high-quality ingredients and does not contain any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. The company also prioritizes the use of ethically sourced and humanely raised ingredients," says Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, pet nutrition expert and one of Wag!'s veterinary consultants.

For senior pups, Open Farm has a delicious grain-free dry kibble option! It's Grain Free Senior Chicken & Turkey Recipe sources its ingredients from trusted farmers and fisheries who follow responsible practices, making it a reliable and ethical choice.

By being grain-free, it excludes common allergens like wheat, corn, and soy, making it suitable for dogs with sensitivities. It’s packed with a range of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, like cranberries, carrots, and pumpkin, which contribute antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber to help keep your older pup in optimal health.

Open Farm Senior can help your doggo enjoy their later years by supporting healthy joints and mobility. It does this with essential fatty acids and ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin. It even contains ethically sourced New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients which can help to reduce inflammation levels for better mobility.

Open Farm Senior Grain-Free Dog Food

Open Farm Senior Grain-Free Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Ethically sourced ingredients
  • Added supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotics
  • Made in North America

Considerations & Concerns

  • Expensive
  • Limited availability in stores
  • Only one recipe to choose from

What pet parents say about Open Farm Senior Grain-Free Dog Food

“Changing to this food revitalized my dog's energy! he is now back to the dog I first brought home! The kibble is small enough for him to eat. I no longer need to pulverize his food and add warm water to it. He now is again drinking out of his water bowl again. He also loves this food as a treat! Worth the results!!!!!!”

“We order this for my grandpupper Lola. It is one of the healthiest foods for a mini pug & she loves it. Honestly we can say she won’t eat anything else […] ”

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Image sourced from the Open Farm website. Copyright Open Farm.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Foods

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Deboned chicken is the first ingredient in these Blue Buffalo recipes, which don't contain any corn, soy, or preservatives. Brown rice and barley are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Flaxseed and fish oil provide a healthy dose of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Blue Buffalo's patented "LifeSource Bits" are made from vegetables, fruits, and vitamin/mineral supplements. These nutrient-rich pieces promote good heart health, add shine to your dog's coat, and protect their cells from damage. Best of all, they offer size specific formulas.

Read our full Blue Buffalo dog food review to discover why we give this brand 4 paws up!

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior variations:

  • Senior Chicken & Brown Rice recipe
  • Small Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice recipe
  • Large Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice recipe
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Made with real chicken as the first ingredient, providing high-quality protein for senior dogs
  • Contains no by-products or fillers, which can be harmful to senior dogs
  • Uses whole grains like brown rice to provide a good source of carbohydrates for energy and help with digestion
  • Contains added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support the immune system, cognitive function, and joint health of senior dogs

Considerations & Concerns

  • More expensive than many other dog food brands
  • Contains ingredients that may be allergens to some senior dogs, like chicken or grains
  • Some pet owners have reported inconsistencies in the quality of this dog food from batch to batch
  • Some dogs may not like the texture or flavor of the ingredients

What pet parents say about Blue Buffalo Life-Protection Formula for Senior Dogs

“Our 11yo [Pitbull] was starting to slow way down and we were concerned about her quality of life. We have been transitioning her over to this the last couple of weeks and we have seen a noticeable difference already. She has more energy in the morning and is much more playful. Hope to see more great progress going forward.”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Blue Buffalo Company Ltd.


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