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How to Choose The Best Senior Dog Food For Your Dog

As your dog ages, its nutritional needs may change. Senior dog food is one of the best options for ensuring that your older dog is being provided with a diet that fits its current needs. From weight management to joint health, senior dog food is formulated to help pet parents contribute to their dog’s overall well-being.

However, when choosing a new diet for your senior dog, it can be hard to know where to begin. That’s why we are here to help with your guide to choosing the best dog food for senior dogs. We’ll look at the best dry dog food for senior dogs and the best wet dog food for senior dogs. But first, let’s talk about the special nutritional needs of our older pups.

The Special Needs of Senior Dogs

Just like us humans, as your dog ages, its body will begin to change. With each passing year, you will likely see common and recognizable signs of aging. You might first notice that your dog tires more easily. It might not have the same energy it once did and may even begin to show signs of stiffness in the mornings. Perhaps its adorable muzzle is beginning to sport a few more grey hairs than when it was young.

While we often notice these visible signs of aging first, many pet parents don’t realize that before these visible signs appear, changes have started to occur on the inside of your dog. Older dogs may have a decline in their immune systems. They might develop osteoarthritis, and their digestion might change.

The good news is that providing older dogs with the right nutrition can be a key aid in helping them live long, healthy, and happy lives. Senior dog food formulas are specifically designed to provide the nutrients that will meet the needs of an older canine.

When you ask yourself, “What is the best dog food for senior dogs?” as you walk down the dog food aisle, pay attention first to the quality of the brand and then to the ingredients.

What to Look For When Looking At the Different Brands of Senior Dog Food:

  • Scientifically Proven: While recipes can be scientifically crafted, knowing they have been proven through scientific feeding trials is the gold standard way of knowing a recipe will support optimal wellbeing
  • Veterinarian Recommended: As the top experts of all thing’s dogs and cats, the recommendation of a veterinarian is a great way of knowing this a brand you can trust that delivers the finest quality nutrition that also promotes health and wellbeing for a senior dog.

The best senior dog food will usually contain some of the following important nutrients that help aging dogs stay healthy:

  • Glucosamine: For senior dogs with arthritis and aching joints, glucosamine is a supplement found in some senior dog foods that can ease the pain and help your pup regain mobility. An active senior dog can better maintain its body weight and, thus, not aggravate arthritic joints.
  • Chondroitin: Chondroitin is a supplement that also supports joint health. This molecule naturally occurs in joint tissue and makes up a large portion of cartilage.
  • Fish oils and omega fatty acids: Senior dogs tend to get dry skin, and fish oils in their meals can help combat flakiness and itchiness.
  • L-carnitine: L-carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body turn fat into carbohydrates that cells use for fuel. This supplement in senior dog food helps your pup lose weight and supports a healthy heart, brain, and other organ functions.

In addition to these age specific tailored inclusions, every senior recipe should still support an older dog’s 5 signs of wellbeing. Look for:

  • Skin and Coat Health: Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids
  • Optimal Energy: With balanced proteins, fats and carbohydrates for an older dog’s activity levels
  • Healthy Teeth and Bones: From a crunchy kibble as they chew to balanced amounts of calcium phosphorus
  • Digestive Health: With dietary fiber, prebiotics and guaranteed amounts of probiotics for healthy digestion and an optimal microbiome
  • Immune Health: Added Vitamin A, E and Zinc support a healthy immune system

The Best Dry Dog Foods For Senior Dogs

If your dog enjoys munching on kibble, the best senior dry dog food could be a good fit. Dry dog food can be a great way to deliver the nutrients your senior dog needs.

As you compare senior dog foods, start by considering the condition of your dog’s teeth. If your dog has had any dental issues or has lost teeth, make sure you find a kibble that is easy to chew. A small breed senior dog formula can be a good pick when chewing is a concern. In some cases, you may need to also add some soft food for senior dogs with teeth issues.

Next, make sure to account for any special health needs. Talk with your vet about your senior dog’s health. Does your dog need to lose a little weight? Or maybe it needs to put weight on due to a loss of appetite. Perhaps there is a chronic disease to take into account, such as kidney disease. Your vet can help point out any specialized nutrition needs based on his or her evaluation of your dog’s overall health.

If you’re not sure where to start, try one of these scientifically proven senior formulas from Wellness that supports an older dog’s unique needs while also delivering the 5 signs of Wellbeing:

  • CORE® Digestive Health Age Advantage: For senior dogs, wellness starts with their gut. Wellness CORE Digestive Health Age Advantage is a highly digestible, probiotic-coated kibble crafted with a unique blend of prebiotic fibers to support digestive health. Additionally, to help further contribute to your senior dog’s health, the recipe is made with Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Calcium to support healthy joints and bones.
  • Complete Health Senior: Wellness Complete Health features natural, premium proteins and wholesome whole grains that help contribute to your senior dog’s wellness. Each recipe also features antioxidants to support strong immune systems and balanced nutrients for optimal energy. For a dog that needs smaller kibble bits, Complete Health Small Breed Senior is a great alternative.

The Best Canned Wet Dog Food For Senior Dogs

In some cases, you may wish to feed your senior dog canned wet food. What is the best canned dog food for senior dogs? Ultimately, the best recipe will, again, largely depend on your senior dog’s needs. Start by understanding your older dog’s caloric needs. One of the benefits of wet food for a senior dog is that canned food tends to be lower in calories when compared to kibble. For dogs with lowered activity levels and slowing metabolisms, this can make a low-calorie canned food the perfect pick.

Next, remember to consider the specific nutritional needs of your senior dog. Some of the best older dog food is designed to tackle specific senior dog issues, such as joint health, immune system support, and weight management.

The following are some of the best senior wet dog food options and are a great place to start:

  • Complete Health Senior: Wellness Complete Health Pate recipes feature healthy protein and vegetables. These recipes are designed for optimal health for senior dogs and contain all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your older dog needs to stay playful and active.
  • CORE Weight Management: Wellness CORE Weight Management wet dog food is grain-free, filler-free, and packed with premium quality chicken. It is designed to help your dog maintain a healthy weight and features a proprietary blend of botanicals and nutritional supplements.

Along with wet or dry food for senior dogs, you might consider adding in a daily health supplements to help further support your dog’s wellness. Wellness supplements are designed to address numerous nutritional needs, including aiding in digestive health or supporting immune health and joint health which are so important for an older dog.

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