Top 10 Best Senior Dog Foods for 2018
Like all things that live, a dog goes through the life stages of puppyhood, adult and then seniority. Creatures of love that they are, these canine companions form a bond with their owner that goes beyond that of a pet and an owner.
Raising and caring for a dog is a high demanding task. As these friends grow older, they require more and more care. Owners do feel that the dog is not as active as it used to be when it enters its advanced years. It tends to slouch on the sofa all the time, sleeping or just basking in the sun. One thing that changes very little, if at all, is the food intake.
Sure, there is a change in the amount of food it eats now, requiring less since it expends less energy. Yet, there is more to than just giving it less food. As a dog ages, its ability to digest food diminishes, the high calorie food for active adults is not viable either as it will cause weight issues and the higher fat present will lead to obesity.
As such, the best thing you can do for your aging canine friend is to give it food that is formulated specifically for advancing years. We have compiled a list of the top ten senior foods that are beneficial for older dogs and are widely available.
Making pet food since 1985, Champion Petfoods is a company making premium dog food, under the brand Orijen, which operates from Albert, Canada and Kentucky. The brand has seven different dog foods that cater to a variety of life styles and ages. One of these is a Senior variation, which is (obviously) formulated for senior dogs.
The senior dog food boasts that it contains high amount of proteins (38%) to ensure there is no muscle loss and the aging canine retains lean muscle mass; and low calories through lowering carbohydrates (19%) to give that perfect amount of energy required for a lesser active dog.
The formulation consists of one-third free run poultry, such as chicken and turkey; and the rest is made from fresh refrigerated or freeze dried meats of different kinds. The meat is further parted in specific ratios of pure meat, organs, cartilage and fish to provide a balanced nutrition that completely caters for the dog’s needs. The unique blend of meats and poultry is deigned to mimic the diet of grey wolves, the ancestor and the closest relative to modern, domesticated dogs.
An extreme in ethics, the company avoids the use of farmed animals as much as possible. The fish is sea caught and the chickens are free run. In recent years, it stopped using salmon in its formulations since wild salmon population had dropped dramatically and the company refused to use farm raised for their products.
If that is not convincing enough on the quality and love that goes into making their dog food, we don’t know what is.
Orijen Senior is available in 12oz, 4.5, 13 and 25 pound bags with price tags of $10, $24, $55 and $90 respectively.
FROMM FAMILY PET FOOD
You know there is something special about a dog food business when it has been manufacturing food for your canine pets for the last century. Fromm Family Pet Food started its pet line in 1904 and today, the highly acclaimed company is in the hands of its fifth generation. The family has a lot of innovations and achievements credited to it, like the first canine distemper vaccine in the 1930s and the modern form of kibble dry food that has meat and grain cooked together.
As dog lovers, you would expect the Fromm family to have special formulations for senior dogs- and it does. The Fromm Family line has half a dozen different variations of formulations for aging canine companions. The flavors have a variety of meat and vegetables. The Gold series has three variations, for weight management and for aging dogs with decreased physical activity. Other formulations include their traditional chicken, cheese with rice and white fish and potato. The rest of the formulations are treats: chicken with peas, lamb with cranberry; Parmesan cheese; salmon with sweet potato; cheese; cranberry liver and simple liver.
Price starts from $31 for a 5lb kibble bag and go up to $120 for a 33lb bag.
Starting the company as a family business in 1988, Garth Merrick’s dog treat was an instant hit in trade shows. This prompted him to make a line of all natural dog foods that are made from the most fresh, high quality ingredients he could find and develop the recipe in his own kitchen. Today, the company has seven lines of different dog foods that cater to all kinds of our canine friends.
The Merrick brand has two types of dog food that are formulated for dogs in their advanced years:
- Grain Free Senior: Dogs of all kinds find grain free products most suitable. While this holds true, senior dogs require a different kind of grain free product that should have a special focus on bones and joints. Years of selective breeding of dogs has resulted in many medical issues, the most prominent being degraded joints. Grain Free Senior is formulated for these issues. Made with real deboned chicken, chicken meal and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peas and potatoes, the dog food is high in protein to make sure your dog has the right muscle mass, yet low carbohydrates for weight control. The food is further enriched with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Lil’ Plates Grain Free senior: With increased cost of living, compact houses and apartments, modern day Americans are living in smaller homes. This has not diminished their love for dogs. Today, nearly half of domesticated dogs fall under the small breed category. Smaller dogs are, on an average more active than bigger breeds, but in advancing age, they require even fewer calories and fat. Lil’ Plates Grain Free Senior is a variation of the regular Grain Free Senior that is tweaked for the smaller breeds. It still retains the high protein, low carb blend and comes in the same flavor and is packed with vitamins and minerals to help your small breed live a healthy and strong life.
- Complete Health Senior: this formulation combines sources of natural and enriched proteins with whole grains to present a combination of nutrients that are most suitable for a canine that is less active than its earlier years. The three main ingredients in this formula are: chicken (a source of high quality protein and fatty acids), tomatoes (for vitamin c and antioxidants) and carrots (protection against eye issues and heart diseases). Grains such as barley and rice round up the necessary minerals and fibers to give your old pet the right amount of protein for muscle mass development and lower calories for that lazy life style now.
- Complete Health Small Breed Senior: Understanding that smaller breeds have different nutritional requirements, the Complete Health has a special variation of dog food for seniors of small breeds. A combination of turkey, carrots and flaxseeds give the right balance of protein, beta carotene and omega 3 to ensure your dog has the lean muscle mass, eye and heart protection and a good shiny coat in its older years. Like its normal senior version, Small Breed Senior is also enriched with rice, peas, oats, tomatoes and other sources of essential vitamins and minerals to ensure your old Rex lives a comfortable and healthy life.
A 4lb bag costs $20, a 12lb for $40 and a 25lb costs $60
Lil’ Senior comes in 4lb ($19) and 12lb ($39) bags.
TASTE OF THE WILD
Another family owned business that is a success story, Taste of the Wild has nutritionists and veterinarians that formulate the recipes to ensure the final product meets the nutritional requirements for pets. The company believes that every pet deserves the best in food and every owner deserves a fair value. The quality of the food can be determined from the fact that the owners claim we don’t make anything we wouldn’t feed to our own pets.
The company started with just one line of food but now includes another sub brand under the name Prey. The company’s vision of making dog food as it was intended for dogs is clear from their branding. Every product is aimed to be as close to the wild’s balance of available nutrition.
Although the manufacturer does not make specific food for senior pets, nearly all of its products come under the “All Life Stages” category and are suited for senior dogs too. The formulations are rather unique when it comes to meat blends: Venison, bison, wild boar and salmon are just a few of the meats that are present as primary meat, or a combination in the recipes. Apart from the usual ingredients, the company introduces chicken eggs and canola oils, a good source of protein and Omega3/6 respectively.
Their products come in kibble and wet form. Although the main ingredients are same in dry and wet forms, the variation of other ingredients cause a major change in the protein and caloric composition. Senior dog owners are suggested to use the wet form as it contains lesser calories and lower fats. The downside is that the protein level is also less.
The kibble type food comes in 5, 15 and 30-pound bags, ranging from $14 to $49. The wet food comes in cans of 13oz and a dozen will cost you around $28.
BLUE BUFFALO FREEDOM
Love them like family, feed them like family. The motto of Blue Buffalo covers each aspect of their vision and execution. Bishops, the family behind the foundation of Blue Buffalo, were faced with many health issues when it came to their dog, Blue. Finding a lack of good dog food in the market that had the correct balance of nutrients, Bill Bishop set about making his own dog food with the help of his sons. Ten years down the road, the family has its own successful line of dog and cat foods that rivals the most premium ones in the market.
Their line of products is quite wide and cater for every king of dog. The Freedom brand has its own senior dog formulation. The grain free food is flavored with protein rich, deboned chicken. That’s it. There are no artificial flavors, no preservatives and no coloring added. Apart from the standard potatoes, peas and other additives for carbohydrates and iron, the only “extra” ingredient is their trademarked LifeSource Bits that are a blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This gives your ageing friend the highest levels of proteins, minimum amount of fat and glutens; and a boost of vitamins to deliver a food that is designed for lean muscle mass and helps in weight control of a dog that is not much active now.
You can get the Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior kibble in either 4, 11 or 24lb bags at $20, $34 or $60.
WELLNESS COMPLETE HEALTH
Manufacturing four major brands, the Wellness company has been making food for your canine companions since 1990. The vision of the company is in its name: At Wellness, we’re committed to your pet’s overall wellness.
The Complete Health line is dog food products is designed for a holistic approach to dietary needs of our four footed friends. With this regard, the Wellness has two foods for seniors in the Complete Health line:
The Senior variation comes kibble form in sizes of 5, 15 and 30 pounds, costing $15, $37 and $58 respectively. The canned wet form will cost you roughly $35 for a dozen of 12.50z ones.
The Small Breed Senior formula is only available in 4lb packing for $16.
NATURE’S VARIETY INSTINCT
Nature’s Variety believes that to give the best t our pets, we must follow the law of nature. Dogs in the wild never had to eat cooked food and their modern, domesticated relatives’ digestive system is still the way it was in ancient times. Thus, the Instinct line of dog food with the power of raw was designed. Nature’s Variety’s plan is simple: stick with what is natural and keep it simple.
The Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken for Senior Dogs is a formulation on this raw concept. The grain free, high protein kibble is loaded with freeze dried raw food, made from real chicken- giving animal protein for strong and lean muscles. The freeze dried raw meat source is with minimal processing, ensuring that the protein is not destroyed in the cooking process. Dried chicken eggs also boost protein in the food, including DHA for brain and eye health and increased calcium levels for those ageing bones. The presence of L-Carnitine helps burning fat and naturally occurring glucosamine helps those old joints. Chicken products such as liver and chicken meal, along with peas, salmon and vegetables such as tomatoes help provide all of the essential vitamins, iron and minerals for your dog. The no grain formulation ensures that your pet’s digestive system is not forced to metabolize food that it’s stomach is never meant to digest.
The product comes in 4 and 21 pound bags, costing you $20 and $70.
What better can you expect from a dog food manufacturer if the operation is owned and run by a veterinarian? Frustrated with run of the mill dog foods claiming to be premium and providing little benefit over regular ones, Dr. Tim set about making his own formulation from scratch to feed his Alaskan Huskies. He developed his first formula in his garage in Michigan, using a cement mixer to get a blend that would suite his dogs.
The success of his dog food led him to develop more formulations and now he shares his pride with other dog owners through his dog food business. His metabolite, Ancient Grains Chicken and Ancient Grains Fish formulations are designed for adult and senior dogs who do not get to see much activity and becoming overweight is a big issue. The weight management formula uses a unique approach with its blend of nutrition. The high level of proteins, in conjunction with fibers and a slight fat content work like cogs on a wheel to boost one metabolic process after another so that a dog’s is able to burn more calories than ever.
The formulations are more than just a good balance of ingredients. As a vet, Dr. Tim understands, not only the mind of a dog, but of its owner too. He knows that a lower activity dog will still beg for food and treats- and he knows that it is nearly impossible to resist those puppy eyes. With the weight management formula burning calories and giving a feeling of a full tummy, the dog does not beg for treats and food and will not gain excessive fat or become overweight.
The formula is mainly made from chicken (or fish) and rice, oats, flaxseed and additive minerals and vitamins, giving your ageing dog energy and promoting good bones and joints.
Metabolite comes in 4lb ($11.80), 12lb ($28) and 24lb ($50.90) packing, while the Ancient Grain Chicken and Fish come in 5 and 15 pound packing, costing $22.30, $64.60 and $24.60, $68 respectively
For the past 20 years, Holistic Select has been committed to giving the best of foods to your pet so it can live a healthy and happy life. The formulations of Holistic are- well, holistic. The balanced nutrition, immune system support, bowel regularity are a few things that its food provide. The formulations are loaded with millions of active probiotics and prebiotics that help induce healthy bacteria and boost those bacteria- leading to a healthy gut to digest food efficiently. Boosted digestive enzymes also help breakdown the food and easy digestion. The manufacturer claims that its foods exceed the requirements set by FDA, which in itself is very strict.
As like all serious dog food manufacturers, it has its own special variation for ageing dogs. The Grain Free Senior Health meal is available in chicken meal and lentils flavor. With the right amount of protein, fat and fiber the senior dog food is balanced to help the slowing digestive system and boost it so that the dog gets the correct amount of nutrition in its elder years. The formula also contains yogurt enzymes, a natural source for digestive properties that also helps in regularizing bowel movements and reduce flatulence. Vegetables and fruits such as pumpkin, cranberries and apples provide essential vitamins and minerals. Rosemary, green tea and spearmint extracts complete the food with provision of antioxidants.
Holistic Select Senior Health Chicken Meal & Lentils recipe is available as dry food in 4, 12 and 24 pound bag, carrying price tags of $15, $36 and $60 respectively.
Another successful family owned business, the Canidae pet foods started back in 1996, delivering home cooked pet foods in farmer markets. The food’s success made them go into expansion and now have a proper manufacturing facility in Texas. True to their roots, the Canidae owners still employ a business plan of sourcing all of their ingredients directly from small farms or moderate independent suppliers. This farmer community’s code is enriched into their products as well. The products they make contain the freshest ingredients available, procured directly from farms.
Much more than the sum of its parts, the company has a reputation for making quality products and boosting the local farming community.
Canidae has a large and wide variety of dog foods, with some specially formulated for different life stages, such as puppy, adult and seniors. Although it also has all stage formulations, the senior variation is more preferable. The Pure Meadow Senior Formula is a grain free version that has chicken as its main ingredient and uses a simple recipe with limited ingredients to ensure that the food is easy on the digestive system of our canine companions. Apart from nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals and immune boosters, there are only nine ingredients that go into every batch of the senior dog food:
- Chicken meal.
- Turkey meal.
- Sweet potato.
- Chicken fat.
Compared to other senior dog foods in the market, this is by far the most simple dog food available. This makes it a good food for old dogs who have sensitive stomachs. Even of not sensitive, the grain free formulation is a tasty food for the old friends.
Available as a dry food, it comes in 4, 12 and 24-pound bags, for a price of $16, $37 and $60.
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