9 Best Soft Dog Food for Senior Dogs in 2022

senior dog food soft

We all get old – even our beloved four-legged friends. But with the right dog food, they can age gracefully. After all, why not make their last few years as good as the rest?

As dogs age, their nutritional needs start to change. Some develop several health problems, from arthritis and kidney disease to obesity and heart disease – it’s all part of growing old.

But with the right food for senior dogs, they can get a health boost to get the best out of life. It’s not easy picking the right senior dog foods though.

For an older pup, their food needs to have more protein than usual, but fewer calories and no high-risk preservatives.

They also need minerals and nutrients for a health boost, like antioxidants for cognitive support, fiber for digestion, and omega-3 for joint health. It can get complicated without a few recommendations!

Product

Details

Best Overall

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Canned Dog Food

 

Usage For: Nutrition, Bones, Muscle
Flavor: Chicken & Vegetable Stew

Ideal For Weight Gain

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Wet Dog Food

 

Usage For: Active, Joints & Teeths
Flavor: Turkey & Chicken

Premium Choice

Purina ONE SmartBlend Senior Dog Food

 

Usage For: All kind of Dog Health
Flavor: Turkey & Barley

Budget-friendly

IAMS ProActive Health Senior Canned Dog Food

 

Usage For: Coat
Flavor: Chicken & Rice

For Sensitive Stomachs

Royal Canin Canine Mature Adult in Gel Canned Dog Food

 

Usage For: Nutrition
Flavor: Other

Low-calorie Diet

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

 

Usage For: Bones, Skin, Joints
Flavor: Senior

For Picky Eaters

Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Pate Wet Dog Food

 

Usage For: Healthy Skin and Shiny Coat.
Flavor: SENIOR – Chicken, Lamb, Whitefish

Dry Food Option

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

 

Usage For: Food
Flavor: Chicken

For High Energy

Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

 

Usage For: Coat
Flavor: Chicken

Best Senior Dog Food – Top 9 Picks

All senior dog food listed here not only tastes good but benefits your dog’s health. They’re all veterinarian-approved and formulated with vitamins, minerals, and healthy ingredients.

Keep in mind that different breeds can benefit from specific dog foods for senior dogs. So, you should definitely check out recommended dog food for German shepherds, dog food for huskies, and dog food for cane corsos.

1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Canned Dog Food

soft dog food for senior dogs

Not only is this the top recommendation by veterinarians, but it’s also been taste-tested and approved by dogs themselves – so you know it’s good stuff.

Hill’s Science Diet includes a range of wholesome ingredients, such as chicken, peas, and carrots. These are easily digestible and help restore a dog’s energy to the levels they were when they were younger.

And since it’s covered in gravy, it has a delicious taste that even the pickiest eaters can’t resist. Plus, there’s a choice of two flavors to maintain your pup’s interest.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Canned Dog Food- review

Its balanced blend of minerals, nutrients, and fiber gives your dog’s digestive health a boost to keep it running smoothly, as well as supporting heart and kidney health.

Weight is a key concern when your dog gets older, and lean protein will help them maintain muscle and achieve their ideal weight.

Pros

  • Available in two flavors
  • Supports heart and kidney health
  • Taste-tested by dogs
  • US veterinarians’ number 1 recommended brand
  • No prescription required

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Includes a lot of gravy
  • Gravy can make light-colored fur around mouths messy

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Canned Dog Food

The price of “Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Canned Dog Food” varies, so check the latest price at

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Wet Dog Food

soft food for older dogs

Blue Buffalo Wilderness was inspired and named after Blue, the family’s old dog who developed a range of health issues. The family decided to create a pet food that Blue would be proud of.

This option has a high-protein formula ideal for your dog’s weight gain. It includes a mix of vegetables like carrots and peas, fruit, and chicken, with a choice of either red meat or turkey too.

Rest assured there are no meat by-products either, as well as wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

soft food for old dogs

Blue Buffalo Wilderness includes a range of nutrients to help various facets of your dog’s health. For example, it includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and mobility, as well as omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive health.

And if your pup has dental or chewing problems, this is the best-wet option to deal with that.

Pros

  • Choice of including red meat or turkey with chicken
  • Includes cranberries, blueberries, and flaxseed
  • Formulated for joint health and mobility
  • Grain and gluten-free
  • High moisture for hydration

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Popular and can be difficult to source

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Wet Dog Food

The price of “Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Wet Dog Food ” varies, so check the latest price at

3. Purina ONE SmartBlend Senior Dog Food

softer food for older dogs

Purina ONE SmartBlend is ideal for larger dogs over 50lbs but is suitable for senior dogs of all sizes.

Its main ingredient is chicken and turkey, high-protein options to help support strong muscles and a healthy heart. This is then supported by chicken liver, meat by-products, barley, and oatmeal to support your dog’s energy.

Glucosamine is added to maintain good hip and joint health, while a range of vitamins is added to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

soft senior dog food

On top of that, you’ll find MCTs to promote mental sharpness, keeping them alert and active all day long.

Don’t worry about any fillers hiding inside. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives – just complete and balanced nutrition.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Supports muscles and heart health
  • Maintains healthy immune system
  • Does not include any fillers
  • Nutrition to give your senior dog energy
  • Helps with mental acuity for senior dogs

Cons

  • Popular and so difficult to source
  • Meat by-products included

Purina ONE SmartBlend Senior Dog Food

The price of “Purina ONE SmartBlend Senior Dog Food” varies, so check the latest price at

4. IAMS ProActive Health Senior Canned Dog Food

best soft dog food for senior dogs

IAMS ProActive might be the best budget-friendly option on this list, but it doesn’t skimp on quality.

Instead, this is a quality formula from a trusted brand at an affordable price with the same nutritional benefits as more expensive senior dog food.

There aren’t any plant-based protein boosters. Instead, its key protein ingredient is chicken, with its unique blend of ingredients supporting your dog’s immune health and giving them an energy boost.

Its use of L-carnitine helps to burn fat to keep your senior dog at a healthy weight, while its omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy heart and skin, as well as strong joints and a shiny coat.

senior soft dog food

Just be aware that it also includes meat by-products, ingredients that some dog owners choose to avoid.

In addition to that, it includes carrageenan; while not necessarily problematic, it is a potentially inflammatory additive you may choose to stay away from.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Quality ingredients from a trusted brand at an affordable price
  • Promotes strong immune system
  • Helps senior dogs burn fat for healthier weight
  • High moisture content

Cons

  • Includes chicken and other meat by-products
  • Brand has had multiple recalls
  • Contains carrageenan

IAMS ProActive Health Senior Canned Dog Food

The price of “IAMS ProActive Health Senior Canned Dog Food” varies, so check the latest price at

5. Royal Canin Canine Mature Adult in Gel Canned Dog Food

soft dog food for older dogs

Royal Canin was founded by a veterinarian, and with over 40 years of experience in health nutrition, you can be sure that this company knows what they’re doing when it comes to canned dog food.

That’s why it’s so good for older dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s been known to be effective for picky eaters too since dogs love it!

Royal Canin’s senior dog food offers complete nutrition for your dog to age healthily and gracefully.

moist dog food for senior dogs

It includes a precise balance of nutrients for effective nutrition with plenty of moisture to keep your pup hydrated.

Royal Canin boasts plenty of protein in its ingredients, with salmon, chicken, pork liver, and even chicken and pork by-products too.

Pros

  • Trusted brand with years of experience
  • Well-balanced mix of nutrients
  • High moisture content
  • Ideal for picky eaters or dogs with sensitive stomachs

Cons

  • Expensive
  • High demand means difficulty finding product
  • Makes use of meat by-products

Royal Canin Canine Mature Adult in Gel Canned Dog Food

The price of “Royal Canin Canine Mature Adult in Gel Canned Dog Food” varies, so check the latest price at

6. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

best soft dog food for older dogs

This premium dry pet food for senior dogs is highly recommended. It’s a low-calorie, balanced diet that’s ideal for older dogs with nutrient-rich superfoods to keep them in perfect health.

The grain-free formula includes plenty of protein, focusing on turkey and chicken meal.

It’s supported by lentils, dried ground potatoes, and peas for comprehensive nutrition to support your dog’s health.

best soft dry dog food for seniors

On top of this, Wellness CORE includes plenty of omega-rich salmon oil and flaxseed, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to aid in maintaining good joint health.

Its use of antioxidants, probiotics, and taurine is essential for your dog’s heart health and will keep it in good shape.

Pros

  • Premium formula of nutrients
  • Good number of calories for weight control
  • No meat by-products or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Gluten-free
  • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals
  • Flax omega blend to maintain healthy skin and coat

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not appealing to picky eaters

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

The price of “Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food ” varies, so check the latest price at

7. Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Pate Adult & Senior Wet Dog Food

soft kibble for senior dogs

Nutro Ultra senior wet dog food is dominated by a great deal of animal protein, made up of primarily chicken, supported by lamb, and fish.

Mixed in with protein is a range of superfoods to support joints and maintain heart and skin health.

Nutro products all include non-GMO recipes. So you can rest assured that Nutro Ultra has no chicken by-products hidden inside, as well as corn, wheat, soy, or artificial additives. Instead,

Nutro focuses on healthy and flavorful wet dog food to ensure dogs enjoy the meals and stay healthy.

best senior dog food

This option also stands out by not being served in tin cans. Instead, Nutro Ultra wet dog food is all found in single-serve, easy-peel trays. While this isn’t always important, for some this can make serving wet dog food much easier.

Pros

  • Perfect for picky eaters
  • Sustainably sourced ingredients
  • Fresh, non-GMO produce
  • Single-serve trays make portion control easier
  • Plenty of protein and superfoods for balanced nutrition

Cons

  • Limited flavor options for senior dogs
  • Not as affordable as other options

Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Pate Adult & Senior Wet Dog Food

The price of “Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Pate Adult & Senior Wet Dog Food” varies, so check the latest price at

8. ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

best dog food for senior dogs

With a freeze-dried coating for a burst of raw flavor, ORIJEN is the perfect dry dog food for picky eaters who tend to stay away from kibble.

Dominated with 85% animal protein, the kibble is made from the nutrient-rich organs of chicken, turkey, and fish, such as Atlantic flounder and mackerel.

This grain-free formula is designed to support muscle mass and help your dog maintain their perfect weight.

But it’s not just animal protein it’s made up of. Like the best dog food for old dogs, the recipe also includes glucosamine, chondroitin, and taurine to make sure their joints stay healthy to keep them running and playing.

Pros

  • Wide variety of whole ingredients
  • Well-balanced formula with lots of nutrients
  • High protein content
  • No history of recalls
  • No controversial ingredients used

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Dry dog food not suitable for all senior dogs
  • Low moisture content

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

The price of “ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food” varies, so check the latest price at

9. Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

food for old dogs

Diamond is a family-owned company based in the USA that focuses on formulating the best dog food to keep your pup happy and healthy.

Their formula for old dogs gives the optimal balance of protein, fat, and micro-nutrients.

The primary protein ingredient comes from cage-free chicken, giving the balance of protein and fat levels that aging dogs need.

what is the healthiest dog food for senior dogs

Additionally, it includes omega fatty acids for their skin and coat health, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints, L-carnitine for weight control, and vitamins and minerals from superfoods.

While it’s impressive that they’re able to pack so much into the kibble, one disadvantage is that there are too many carbohydrates.

In fact, over half (52%) of ingredients are carbohydrates which is a little too much for older dogs.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Fiber-rich flaxseed
  • No fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • High-quality protein ingredients

Cons

  • Too many carbohydrates
  • Low moisture content
  • Few plant-based proteins
  • Multiple recalls

Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

The price of “Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food” varies, so check the latest price at

What to Look for While Buying Soft Food for Your Senior Dog

Once your dog reaches the age where vets start telling you to look for specific senior dog food, it feels like you’re dropped into a maze. With so many possibilities and various ways to go, how do you know where to begin?

Aside from the above recommendations listed in this article, here are some top things to pay attention to when it comes to picking out the best senior dog food for your dog when they start to get old.

Proteins

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how old your pup is – dogs of every age need a good deal of protein. It’s essential for maintaining and repairing skin, muscles, and bone, it helps support the immune system and aids in making hormones, antibodies, and enzymes.

However essential it is, older dogs need even more protein in their diet than younger dogs. Wet dog foods that are rich in meat-based protein are ideal as they won’t strain a dog’s kidneys.

When it comes to selecting the right dog food for older dogs, keep in mind that dog food is required to include a minimum of 18%. In our opinion, that’s too low, and you should aim to pick food with at least 27% protein, if not more.

Fiber

Just like humans, dogs require a good dose of fiber to maintain healthy digestion. Fibers are complex carbohydrates that turn bacteria in the intestines into fatty acids, helping to prevent large numbers of bad bacteria in the gut.

This all goes to help the colon’s health and bowel regularity, as well as maintaining a healthy intestinal pH to make sure the digestion system is in good condition.

Calories

Calorie counting seems to be an obsession for some humans, but it’s particularly important when it comes to senior dogs. As dogs get older, they don’t need as many calories as young dogs since they put on weight more easily.

This extra weight isn’t just an aesthetic thing. Obesity is especially dangerous for both your dog’s joint and heart health. If you want them to remain happy and healthy, keep them in good shape and pick out wet food with low calories.

Ingredients

When it comes to dog food for senior dogs, there are ones with healthy ingredients and ones with unhealthy ingredients or with little nutritional value. And it’s not always easy to tell the good from the bad.

That’s why you should always check the label to make sure dog food includes wholesome and clean ingredients.

Avoid senior wet dog food with artificial flavors or preservatives, and ensure the food includes proper animal protein, such as chicken or salmon.

Fatty Acids

Dog food needs to be packed full of nutrients – especially when it’s for an older dog. But there are specific vitamins and minerals that are more important for senior dogs than young ones.

For example, you’ll find glucosamine and chondroitin in lots of these dog foods since they’re effective in maintaining healthy joints, whereas omega-3 fatty acids also support joints, as well as your dog’s heart health.

FAQs

As your best friend starts getting older, you naturally want the best for them. But when you have to take so many things into consideration, picking dog foods for senior dogs can be a challenge.

Here are a couple of questions people have when looking for food for older dogs that might help you make a decision.

Is Soft Food Better for Older Dogs?

On the whole, yes – soft food is better for older dogs, particularly when you have a senior dog with a specific problem with their joint health, weight gain or if they have a sensitive stomach.

That’s because soft food can help give them a much-needed nutritional boost while tasting good even to picky eaters with tricky palates.

And it’s not uncommon for dogs to become pickier eaters as they age. Since their nutritional needs change as they get older, many start to prefer the taste and texture of soft food rather than kibble.

Besides, it’s easier to chew than kibble, so is much more preferable if your pup has any dental issues.

But remember that every dog is different. While older dogs can benefit from the boost in hydration and gentler texture of wet food, if they still prefer kibble, then continue with dry foods for senior dogs.

What Is the Healthiest Soft Dog Food for Senior Dogs?

This isn’t an easy question to answer since the answer is different for each dog. As dogs age, they all develop their own problems; that’s why you need to pick a food that’s tailored to help your dog with its needs.

For example, if they need help with joints, pick food with plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin.

However, there are still a few things you should avoid regardless. Stay away from dog food with too many calories, as well as food with artificial flavors or colors, preservatives, sweeteners, or fillers. Instead, choose a dog food with clean, wholesome ingredients with plenty of animal protein, vitamins, and nutrients.

If your dog isn’t keen on eating the food that’s best for them though, consider adding in some bone broth for dogs. This provides them with some extra nutrition and often encourages them to eat.

Conclusion

As your dog gets older, it’ll probably develop a few health issues – but you have the chance to help them tackle these.

Consult your veterinarian to see what your pup needs help with the most, and you’re bound to find the best soft dog food for senior dogs that will help them live life to the full.

Take the advice and recommendations here and you can help your furry friend age gracefully and stay healthy for as long as possible. After all, age is only a number!

Matt Twinley
Matt spends his days working with Halie, his adorable cockapoo puppy, by his side. Having owned a variety of pets his whole life, Matt is passionate about animals and always feels most at home with a furry friend. He loves learning about animals and how to care for them. When he’s not researching and writing about how best to care for animals and pets, you can find him going on adventures with his dog or writing about mythical animals for his book.

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