What to Feed Older Dogs: When to Consider Senior Dog Food

Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
By Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
Updated: 5/9/20242-4 minutes
Feeding Older Dogs

As your dog gets older, his dietary needs will start to change, and you may want to consider switching him to a dog food for senior dogs to meet his unique nutritional requirements. Whether your dog is just starting to enter his golden years or whether he’s been sporting grey hair for a while now, here’s what you need to know about senior dog food:

When Should I Start Feeding My Dog a Senior Dog Food?

Every dog ages differently, but right around age seven, he may start to experience some internal changes, even if he’s not showing any external signs of aging. That’s around the time that your dog’s activity level may begin to slow down, and his metabolism may begin to decrease. His brain may also become less efficient at metabolizing glucose, which can lead to memory problems. Around age seven, you may want to think about switching him to a dog food for older dogs.

What Should I Look for in a Senior Dog Food?

As mentioned above, as your dog ages, the glucose metabolism in his brain may begin to change, which can affect memory, attention and trainability. Here are some of the most important things to consider when you’re choosing a senior dog food.

  • Lower levels of fat and higher levels of protein:
    Your dog’s weight is an important thing to pay attention to as he gets older, as extra pounds can have a serious effect on your dog’s joints and cardiovascular system. Unless yours is a highly active dog, look for a senior dog food with slightly decreased fat and increased protein (compared to a regular adult food) to help your dog maintain lean muscle mass — and his overall health.
  • Enhanced botanical oils:
    Adding enhanced botanical oils to senior dog food can help older dogs think more like they did when they were younger. Proprietary research has shown that adding modified plant-based oils like coconut oil to an older dog’s diet helps promote alertness and mental sharpness.
  • Omega fatty acids and glucosamine:
    Glucosamine and EPA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, can help support joint health and mobility, which is something your dog may struggle with as he gets older. 
  • Antioxidants:
    Antioxidants can help support a healthy immune system, helping to shield your dog from outside threats.

Ready to choose a senior dog food for your dog? See all of our dog foods for older dogs here

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