Best Canned Dog Food for Senior Dogs in 2019

In a hurry? Then check out Purina Pro Plan Focus (7+) as our recommendation.

As you may know, senior dogs present some unique challenges. Like any other creature, a dog goes through certain physical changes as they age, and their care has to adjust to fit those changes. In this article, we’ll review the best canned dog food for senior dogs and give you some essential information about their nutritional needs and health requirements.

In this article, we’re going to review the following top 5 picks:

The Best Canned Dog Food for Senior Dogs – 5 Reviews

1. Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine (7+)

This is one of the more respected brands on the market, and the best thing about this food is that it’s made mostly from beef. If you look at the ingredients, beef broth is the first one listed. This is good because beef provides a very large amount of protein per gram. In terms of protein per gram, there are very few meats that provide more.

We also see a lot of vitamins, minerals, and useful antioxidants in there. Some of these are supplemented, while some of them come from the vegetable ingredients. Either way, this senior canned dog food should definitely provide complete nutrition.

With both beef fat and chicken fat, however, this food might be a little too much for dogs with weight problems. Also, some customers have complained of receiving spoiled food when ordering by mail. This indicates that, although this food is perfectly safe under normal circumstances, it cannot be stored as long as some other foods.

Pros:

  • High-quality beef protein
  • Meant for easy digestion
  • Contains a mix of vitamins and antioxidants
  • Small chunks for easy chewing

Cons:

  • A little bit high in fat
  • Shorter storage life

2. Purina One Smartblend

Purina One is another respected brand with a long history of producing good products. In this case, their food is a little bit cheaper than most of our other choices, which is always good when you’re on a budget. This one seems to be pretty safe and healthy, particularly because there are no meat by-products involved in its manufacture.

This canned dog food is not specifically intended for older dogs, but it meets their nutritional needs quite well. This food is actually intended for overweight dogs, and so it is very low in fat.

The primary ingredient for this food is lamb, which is a very lean type of meat with very high protein content. There are also plenty of antioxidants and omega fatty acids here, which means that this food will contribute to your dog’s mental health. However, it should be noted that a few owners have reported indigestion and gas after feeding this to their dog.

Pros:

  • Not that expensive
  • Very low in fat
  • Lots of omega fatty acids
  • No by-product ingredients

Cons:

  • Not designed for older dogs
  • Some owners report terrible gas

3. Wellness Senior Formula Dog Food

This is definitely a premium product, as it is quite a bit more expensive than most other brands. However, its price is due to the fact that it uses 100% all-natural ingredients and has an excellent nutrient profile overall. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and is meant to provide everything that a senior dog needs to enjoy a healthy old age.

There is, of course, one big downside with this product: Most people cannot afford this stuff. It does look like excellent, high-quality dog food, but that price point is going to keep a lot of people away.

Pros:

  • Meant to provide complete nutrition
  • Low calories
  • High in fiber
  • No artificial ingredients whatsoever

Cons:

  • Pretty expensive
  • No omega fatty acids

4. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Adult Turkey/Cod

This is another product that isn’t specifically made for senior dogs, but which has a good nutrient profile for that purpose. In terms of value, this one is a little bit better than our last choice, but only by a small margin. Still, it offers food that is very lean and very low in carbohydrates. Although all creatures need a certain amount of carbs, many of the cheaper dog foods will use it as filler. Instead, this one is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and useful antioxidants. The lack of artificial preservatives is also reassuring.

There’s not a lot to criticize here other than the relatively high price, but it should be noted that some dogs just will not eat turkey. Thus, you should make sure that your dog is not among them before buying this food. Also, this food might not provide enough fiber for dogs that are prone to digestive issues.

Pros:

  • High in protein
  • Low in carbs
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Excellent blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Cons:

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Some dogs won’t eat turkey
  • Not a whole lot of fiber

5. Purina Pro Plan Focus (7+)

This is a slightly cheaper option, and it offers a good mix of affordability and quality. First of all, this senior dog food is high in protein and low in fat, and it will be very appealing to dogs because its main ingredient is whole beef. While many other brands use broth or cast-offs from factory farms, this one thankfully avoids that practice.

There are a lot of added minerals and vitamins here, but one or two of them might be cause for concern, but the trace amounts that are present should not present any threat. Still, we would advise giving your dog a small bowl of this at first, and then observing them for any allergic signs. Still, most dogs have no problem with his product.

Pros:

  • Fairly cheap
  • Formulated for senior dogs
  • Made with whole beef instead of by-products
  • Chunks are soft and appealing to dogs

Cons:

  • One or two suspicious supplements

Health Requirements Of Senior Dogs

Obesity

First, there is the problem of obesity. Because of the decrease in activity level, that comes with age, senior dogs are much more likely to develop a weight problem. This can quickly turn into a heart condition or perhaps something worse. Thus, it is a good idea to feed your senior dog a lower-calorie diet.

Bone And Joint Issues

Many older dogs will also suffer from joint problems. In some breeds, this is very common. For instance, the French Bulldog will often suffer from hip problems later in life. One way to combat this problem is to choose a dog food that contains Chondroitin and/or Glucosamine. These are natural substances that have been shown to have a positive effect on the skeletal health of dogs and humans.

If you cannot find a brand that contains these ingredients, it is safe to use a supplement. However, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian for a recommended dosage. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that these substances are harmful to dogs, but it pays to be on the safe side.

Nutritional Needs of Senior Dogs

Protein Requirements

It is recommended that you give senior dogs a diet that is high in protein. Being mostly carnivorous, a dog should have a relatively high-protein diet in the first place, but senior dogs need a little more. This is related to the way in which protein is used by the dog’s body.

Protein is used by all animals to rebuild damaged tissue. In particular, special proteins called amino acids are important for the repair of damaged muscles and other body tissues. In the case of older dogs, however, there is a higher rate of protein turnover, meaning that they are using that protein at a faster rate. This means you have a greater need to recharge those proteins to help mitigate and delay the effects of aging.

The Importance Of Fiber

As a general rule, dog food for senior dogs should also be high in fiber. Fiber helps the dog to regulate their digestive and excretory processes, which is a fancy way of saying that it helps to prevent indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. Because older dogs are more likely to develop these problems, it is recommended that you choose a dog food with a little more fiber.

That being said, not all dogs seem to require extra fiber when they reach “senior” status. Some people report that they have had no need to adjust this nutrient, and there is no reason to assume that they are lying. If you buy some high-fiber dog food, keep an eye on your dog to see if they develop any of the three problems listed above (indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation). If these problems develop, you obviously need to go back to the lower-fiber food to which they are accustomed.

Omega Fatty Acids And Antioxidants

Omega fatty acids and antioxidants are two types of nutrients that work together to maintain the health of the brain and nervous system. Many people believe that this combination is the reason for lower rates of heart disease that are seen in coastal populations. People who live near the sea tend to eat a lot of fish, and fish are very high in omega fatty acids and antioxidants.

For aging dogs, these nutrients are a great way to maintain their mental acuity and sharpness well into their old age. Also, as you may have already guessed, omega fatty acids will help to prevent your dog from developing heart problems. In fact, veterinarians will often recommend high doses of this nutrient for dogs suffering from heart problems.

Texture And Softness

Last but not least, we should definitely consider the effects of tooth decay. Dogs will often begin to experience tooth decay as they get older, and that’s why wet canned dog food is often the better option. Of course, you can add water to some dry food (and you should certainly do that if you run out of wet canned food), but a senior dog really does prefer a soft diet. Also, it’s not a bad idea to avoid canned foods that contain large chunks, as a uniform consistency will make the food easier to chew and digest.

Conclusion

Considering the nutritional needs and health requirements of senior dogs, we pick the Purina Pro Plan Focus (7+) as the best canned dog food for senior dogs. While all of these products offer certain benefits, this one offers the total package at a reasonable price. It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Its relatively low- fat composition is also a plus and was enough to make a difference in this very close competition.

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