Best Dry Dog Food For Seniors
Typically, you might consider a senior dog food around age 6 or 7 for a large breed, and around 10 or 12 for a small, says Richardson. The right food for a senior dog depends on the specific senior and how they’re doing, says Shepherd. If they’re maintaining a healthy weight and muscle tone, their stool is well-formed, and they’re enjoying their food, you may not even need to change their diet.
That said, there are lots of dog foods tailored specifically to the needs of older dogs who may have certain health issues. “Senior diets are formulated to target some of the common ailments of older pets, such as joint health, digestive health, immune health, and possibly others,” says Swanson.
Senior dog food is usually easier to digest and may be lower in calories since older dogs aren’t always as active. Food for senior dogs may be higher in protein to help maintain their muscle, fiber to help them stay regular, and extra antioxidants to limit oxidative stress and keep their immune system healthy. You may also see omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive performance because some senior dogs suffer from cognitive dysfunction, aka “doggy dementia.”
For older dogs, a bit of extra protein is a plus. As long as your dog doesn’t have any health conditions, look for a senior dog food that’s lower in fat and calories and has extra protein beyond the AAFCO minimum of 18%.
Our senior dog food picks are protein packed and have nutritional boosters that can support an older dog’s changing needs.
Best Dry: Royal Canin
Formulated by scientists and nutritionists
Highly palatable to most dogs
Some formulas can be expensive
Dry dog food is a popular choice for many pet owners thanks to its convenience and shelf stability, and one of the best dry dog food brands is Royal Canin, which offers more than 80 dry formulas. In addition to dry food for adults, puppies, and senior dogs, Royal Canin has a unique line of breed-specific foods, each of which is tailored to that dog breeds traits and common problems. Even the kibble shape is selected based on the breeds jaw structure and biting pattern.
Royal Canin is another brand that Dr. Frione personally recommends, and the company employs nutritional and research teams that help create its products. The brand takes a nutrient-focused approach to pet food, evaluating the specific nutritional needs of dogs and creating optimal diet profiles based on scientific findings.
Offers both regular and prescription wet foods
Multiple can sizes available
Brand focus on quality and safety
Formulated by team of nutritionists and vets
Hills Science Diet is another brand that gets the seal of approval from Dr. Frione, and its especially popular for those who prefer to feed their dog wet food. This brand offers an impressive selection of wet dog foods, including formulas for puppies, adults, and seniors, and it also has a highly regarded line of prescription foods for dogs with specific medical problems.
Best Fresh And All Natural: Ollie
Ollie is another dog food subscription service where you can customize your dogs diet plan by providing information about them like their age, weight, breed, and allergies. Ollie will help you pick the right recipes and ship the food to your door on a regular schedule, providing a feeding guide to help you ensure that your dog is getting the proper food portions.
Ollies food is made from unprocessed, all natural ingredients. The recipes are 100% human-grade with no preservatives, fillers, added hormones, or antibiotics. You can choose from four different fresh formulas chicken, beef, turkey, or lamb each of which is high in protein and contains superfoods like chia seeds, blueberries, cranberries, cod liver oil, spinach, or kale.
Additionally, for dogs with food sensitivities, the chicken recipe has a limited ingredient list, containing peas, carrots, and rice making it gentle on sensitive stomachs and great for weight management. And, if youre looking for grain-free, you can opt for either the beef or turkey recipes.
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Best Dry Dog Food For Senior Dogs: Nutro Ultra Senior
Image source: Nutro
Nutro Ultra Senior combines chicken, salmon, and lamb to meet your senior dogs need for protein. These are mixed with 15 superfoods, such as flaxseed, apples, blueberries, chia, and more, to support the aging body of your furry companion. Nutro is packed with substances such as chondroitin and glucosamine, which keep your poochs joints in check. There are no artificial substances that could endanger your dogs health.
The lean animal proteins found in this dry dog food recipe provide Amino Acids that boosts strong and lean muscles. In addition, whole grains and the right fiber balance promote a healthy digestive system for proper nutrient absorption.
This dry dog food formula provides a balanced diet for your senior dog. It has the right amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Its also rich in nutrients and is a flavorful recipe that your old furry friend will surely love! What we love about the brand Nutro is its FEED CLEAN philosophy. This assures dog owners that they are feeding their pooches with high-quality and natural ingredients sourced and bought from trusted suppliers.
These dry dog food recipes are made with Non-GMO ingredients and are void of any chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat or soy protein. It is specifically tailored for adult dogs, ages 5 years and older, which makes it the best dry dog food for senior pooches.
Best Dog Food For Larger Breeds: Hills Science Diet Large Breed
Katharine Kancer, DVM, has a big mouth to feed. Her Bernese mountain dog, Ella, chows down on Hills Science Diet Large Breed. This specific food is complete and balanced with the nutrients she needs at this point in her life stage and is formulated for large breed dogs, which have slightly different nutrient requirements, says Dr. Kancer. For example, she says adult, large, and giant breed dogs benefit from having more glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids in their diets to help their joints. Dont miss these 20 things youre doing that vets probably wouldnt.
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Best For Large Breeds: Wellness Core Large Breed
Wellnesss CORE Large Breed recipe is crafted to support the dietary and nutritional needs of large breed dogs. This formula has higher levels of protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin to promote strong muscles and healthy joints. This recipe is also grain-free, with a larger kibble size to help encourage proper chewing.
The Wellness CORE Large Breed food contains deboned chicken as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal, turkey meal, lentils, and peas. It also contains superfoods like spinach and flaxseed.
Of these ingredients, the chicken is a high-quality source of protein and fatty acids, the spinach is a great source of magnesium and iron, and the flaxseed is rich in omega-3. This recipe also offers probiotics to promote digestion, as well as optimal calorie levels to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.
What Is My Take
Choosing a high-quality food from the hundreds of available brands and formulas can be challenging. The pet nutrition industry is very competitive, and most commercially available foods are very good balanced diets. Ask your veterinary health care team to help you select a diet that is backed by scientific principles and research and that meets your dog’s individual needs. If you have any questions about a particular food, your best source for help is your veterinary health care team.
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What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat
Its no secret that dogs love food. They sometimes eat strange things , and they will happily scarf down human food. But most dog owners know that there are plenty of human foods dogs cant eatnot just because they can be unhealthy but because they can be toxic. And beyond that, dogs can have adverse reactions to certain foods, even if they are supposedly good for them. Its important to know that dogs can have food intolerances just like people, causing gastrointestinal upset or even an allergic reaction, says Kelly Ryan, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services for the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America. Be sure to monitor your dog and check with your vet if youre questioning whether to introduce a new food. Dr. Ryan also notes that human food that is not a specific part of your dogs daily food regimen should not take up more than 10 percent of his caloric intake thats an important guideline when devising the very best diet for your dog. But if you want to feed your pup human food in a responsible way, youre probably wondering what human foods your dog can eat. Here are the best options.
Sportmix Premium High Energy 26/18
This makes the top of our worst dog foods list because of the sheer number of dogs that were affected by the aflatoxin levels found in several Sportsmix products, including this one.
Many pets have died and many more were left ill.
But even without the aflatoxin situation, this recipe was not a particularly good one to begin with. We normally like dog foods that start with a meat ingredient because that shows that meat makes up the most volume in the recipe. However, we arent sold on byproducts, and this recipe starts with one.
When byproducts are mentioned, it means this is what is leftover after the meat is removed. So a chicken byproduct meal is essentially dried out chicken leftovers that may include organs but also other stuff like hide, hair, or intestinal contents .
Are these harmful to your dogs? No. Are these nutritious? They can be. But are these high-quality ingredients? Definitely not.
Aside from the byproduct meal ingredient, this recipe also contains meat meal. But that ingredient is ambiguous. What animal was used? Which part/s?
The thing about unnamed ingredients is that it could mean anything. The meat could be sourced from one animal or it could be sourced from several. Its not a quality ingredient, thats for sure.
The recall involved 50- and 44-pound bags of Premium High Energy with an expiration of either March 2 or 3, 2022. The recall was later expanded to include more recipes and the updated toll numbered over 70 dogs dead and at least 80 more ill.
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Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Grain
Ingredients List: Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes, Chicken Fat , Egg Product, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, Beef, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Ocean Fish Meal, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate , Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride , Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin , Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live , Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.
Price: You can buy a 28-lb bag from PetCo for around $48.99. There are also 5 and 14-lb options available.
Best Dry Dog Food Brands For A Happy And Healthy Pooch
Searching for the best dry dog food in the marketplace? With so many products available, it can be confusing, frustrating, and downright annoying! If your pooch likes to nibble on kibble, but youre afraid youre feeding them the wrong kind, we feel you.
We at Alpha Paw can help you feed your furry friend the best dry dog food on the market. Please note that were not supported by affiliate links, and we selected the brands in this article using a set of rigorous criteria.
Before we begin our assessment, we do have our very own Alpha Paw dog food called Natural Vitality that is vet-approved and fast becoming the go-to brand for pet parents. Our chicken and sweet potato recipe is made to support all dog breeds for all of their life stages. Formulated with purposeful ingredients in accordance with AAFCO guidelines, our dog food is a natural source of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
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Some Common Foods Can Be Risky For Dogs
Cooked bones and rawhide chews can cause major health problems requiring emergency surgery. Wheat-based treats can bring on allergies. Onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, the artificial sweetener Xylitol and other common foods can be toxic for dogs and must be avoided.
But, contrary to what many people say, garlic is a great health food for dogs.
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Best Dry Dog Food For Adults
One of the most popular choices, dry dog food is convenient and practical. “Dry food is the most compact, most shelf-stable, and most economical generally because you are not paying for the water that’s in higher moisture foods,” explains veterinarian and board certified veterinary nutritionist Megan Shepherd, a clinical assistant professor of nutrition at Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
Plus, dry dog food doesn’t usually have special storage instructions and is simple to scoop and feed. Of course, there’s a lot of variation in calorie and nutrient content in kibble-type dog foods, Shepherd points out, which can make it harder to pick the right one.
In terms of nutrient content, look for a moderate level of protein and low to moderate fat. You may think more protein is a plus since dogs evolved as carnivores, but that’s not necessarily true, says Kelly Swanson, PhD, professor of animal and nutritional sciences at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Pet dogs are actually omnivorous and don’t need super high levels of protein in their diets. Swanson explains that protein quality and digestibility are most important.
Our suggestions below have all the must-have nutritional qualities plus a combination of healthy extras, from omega fatty acids to glucosamine and chondroitin.
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Purina Pro Plan Focus Dog Food
Pro Plan Large Breed Adult is one of 18 kibbles featured in our review of the Purina Pro Plan Focus product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn
- Type: Grain-inclusive
- Other recipes: Puppy, small breed, sensitive skin and stomach, senior, weight management and more
- Price: $
Focus Large Breed Adult derives the majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 14% fat and 49% estimated carbs creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.
Pro Plan is one of the dog food brands most frequently mentioned by breeders and veterinary professionals.
Each recipe has been expertly formulated by a team of board certified veterinary nutritionists.
In addition, the entire Pro Plan product line is designed and manufactured according to rigorous guidelines recommended by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.
Purina Pro Plan is one of the very best brands youll find on this or any list. And its easy on the budget, too. Highly recommended.
Actual buyer reviewMy black lab loves this food. Her coat is beautiful, her energy is high, and she digests it easily. My vet recommended this food and I couldnt be happier. I saw a noticeable difference within days of feeding this to her. My dog eats the dry food with a little bit of the PPP wet focus for large breeds. Do not hesitate to feed this to your pups.. its a game-changer!
Instinct Raw Boost Grain
Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck is one of 14 dry recipes included in our review of the Instinct Raw Boost product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Duck, chicken meal, peas, egg product, turkey meal
- Other recipes: Adult, weight loss, puppy, skin and coat, large breed puppy, small breed, senior
- Price: $$$
- See all 14 available recipes
This Instinct recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh duck and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 23% fat and 31% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.
A protein-rich recipe. Confidently recommended.
Sample buyer reviewThis was a first for me in ordering this product, but WOW, I am glad that I did. My Chow Chow is a picky eater, so I was a bit skeptical about whether or not she would eat it but it turns out that she LOVES the stuff, and she loves taking out the small raw pieces, and eating them as if they were a treat! I am pleased with this purchase, because it is nutritious for my pet, and she loves it!
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Best Dog Food For Puppies
The nutritional needs of dogs vary throughout their life. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and senior dogs have their own nutritional considerations. Most dog food companies carry specially formulated puppy foods for each stage of a dogs life, making it easier to narrow down your choices. If you are concerned about which is the best dog food for your dogs life stage, consult your veterinarian to see what stage food is appropriate for your dog.
Your puppy requires a different nutrient balance than an adult dog. This is especially true for large breeds. Feeding a large breed puppy food can help, as their growth needs to be monitored carefully to prevent bone and joint problems. Other puppies do well on both puppy food and food labeled for all life stages. The best food for your puppy depends on your puppys size and breed. Always consult your veterinarian for recommendations on puppy feeding, and advice on how to switch puppies to adult dog food.