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Looking For The Best Dog Food For Small Senior Dogs?
Here’s a look at our favorites, including our top pick – Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog Chicken & Brown Rice.
Just like humans, dogs’ nutrition needs tend to change as they get older. Certain vitamins, nutrients, and ingredients in foods have been proven to promote a longer, healthier, and more active lifestyle, with fewer chronic health problems. If your dog has reached at least half of their life expectancy, you should strongly consider feeding them wet and dry food that is specially formulated for senior dogs.
What to look for in quality dog food for small senior dogs
When it comes to food—whether it’s for people or animals—quality, nautral ingredients are king. Wholesome ingredients will provide natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrition, while food that’s chalk-full of “fillers” skips necessary nutrition in favor of creating a more affordable mass-produced meal. Typical fillers include wheat, corn, meat byproducts, and vegetable byproducts. The presence of these fillers isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a red flag when they’re listed as one of the first few ingredients.
As you’re searching for quality dog food specially formulated for small senior dogs, pay attention to the following ingredients that are especially beneficial for older dogs:
- Whole animal products – unless the dog food is a vegetarian mix, whole meat should be one of the first few ingredients listed on the bag. Whole animal products like beef, chicken, salmon, turkey, and bison have the necessary nutrition to keep your senior dog strong, healthy, and energetic.
- Hormone-, antibiotic-, and range-free – while this one isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, it’s generally better to go with natural food sources, especially if your senior dog has a sensitive stomach.
- Healthy fats and oils – these will help to promote a healthy metabolism and fight obesity. They will also richen your dog’s coat, making their fur nice and shiny.
- Essential vitamins and minerals – to boost immune function.
- Digestive enzymes and probiotics – senior dogs tend to have a more sensitive stomach than younger dogs. Probiotics and digestive enzymes will help to promote healthy, easier digestion, and regular bowel movements. If you see a dog food bag that breaks these ingredients down, look for protease to break down proteins, amylase to break down carbohydrates, lipase to break down fats, and cellulose to break down fiber.
- Whole grains with fiber – the fiber you’ll find in whole grains will feed healthy bacteria (probiotics) and help to smooth out the digestion process for senior dogs.
- Alpha lipoic acid – this is a powerful antioxidant that fights cancer, supports a good metabolism, and improves eye and brain function.
- Other antioxidants – can help your dog avoid cancer.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin – these ingredients strengthen joints, so your senior dog doesn’t get stiff legs and can continue to lead an active lifestyle.
- L-Carnitine – this is an amino acid that prevents unhealthy weight gain.
- L-lysine and taurine – both are amino acids that promote strong bones and healthy muscles.
In the world of dog food, the Blue Buffalo brand is known for top-notch quality. The company’s Blue Life Protection Formula always starts with high quality real meat, healthy fruits, and whole grains.
Their food is made from the finest natural ingredients, and enhanced with additional vitamins and minerals, usually tailored to specific ages and breeds. This particular blend is engineered for small-breed senior dogs, with a base of chicken and brown rice.
AvoDerm is another name known for its quality in the industry, and is widely regarded as one of the purest, premium manufacturers of natural pet food. Like the Blue Buffalo brand, you’ll never see fillers, byproducts, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
This recipe is formulated for small senior dogs, with purposeful nutrition to support healthy joints, healthy digestion, and support eye and brain health. AvoDerm’s dog food also includes California avocados that are rich in healthy oils and omegas that lead to a healthier skin and coat.
Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food, 4lbs.
The first ingredient in Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed food is real deboned chicken. It’s grain and gluten free with probiotics and prebiotic fiber for easier digestion. The recipe includes leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints. In an effort to promote a healthier weight and metabolism, the mix also includes L-Carnitine with less overall fat and calories. The kibble bits are small enough to be comfortable for small dogs, and they have a little extra crunch to help clean your dog’s teeth as they eat.
The Wellness Complete Health small breed dog food is another great choice for small senior dogs. The primary ingredient is deboned turkey, and the natural composition means you won’t see any wheat, corn, soy, byproducts, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It also includes glucosamine and chondroitin for healthier hips and joints.
Solid Gold was the first holistic pet food brand, and has been pioneering premium pet food in the industry for over 40 years. Their dog foods include 20 nutrient-rich ingredients like pumpkin, carrots, blueberries, and broccoli to provide the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals. The high-quality proteins they use are all sustainably sourced, and they don’t use any meat byproduct.
All of their dog food formulas are engineered to enhance your dog’s total body health, with emphasis on a brilliant coat, a sharp mind, and optimal energy levels. They offer a suite of protein bases such as chicken, lamb, turkey, and bison, and most of their mixes are entirely grain free with extra fiber to promote easier digestion.
Harmful ingredients to avoid & takeaways
We’ve spent most of this article discussing what ingredients to look for, but it’s also important to keep an eye out for harmful ingredients. Here are a few ingredients that should serve as a red flag if you come across them:
- Fillers like wheat and corn – these have little nutritional benefit, and can actually block the absorption of nutrients.
- Meat and vegetable byproducts – these can create an imbalance in your dog’s digestive system.
- Corn syrup – can cause obesity and diabetes.
- Chemicals – Senior dogs are particularly sensitive to unnatural chemicals and synthetic ingredients. These can lead to upset stomachs, illness, and even cancer.