Choosing the right Senior Dog food

If you compare the ingredients of a Senior dog food to an Adult or “All Life Stage” dog food you may find less meat, less protein, and more grains and carbohydrates – the stuff those big canine teeth weren’t really designed for.

I’ll ask you this – do you think high-carb grains and starches are the best foods for your senior dog?

I don’t.

A pet food manufacturer can argue your old dog is less active and doesn’t need as much nutrition as they did in their younger years. The great thing about this argument, for them, is a cheaper to produce product.

If the health of your dog slides down hill… well, that’s just “old age”, isn’t it?

Without going into too much detail, protein and fat (from quality animal sources) are what your senior dog needs to retain muscle mass, support joints, and overall health.

Carbs on the other hand, which turn to sugars if your less-active dog doesn’t burn them off, will turn to fat and slow your dog down even more.

In this article we’ll take a look at senior dog foods in Australia which come across better in terms of ingredients (both dry and wet, and also softer dried foods for senior dogs with poor teeth):

What’s the best dog food for senior dogs?

You can feed your senior dog dry, wet, raw, homemade, BARF (raw meat patties), or even a combination of these.

It’s likely you’re reading this page for tips on transitioning from an adult to a senior kibble, but keep in mind it’s never to late to introduce different types of dog food, and it’s easier than you may think.

Personally, I see a lot of benefit in feeding a dog of any age raw meaty bones to ward off dental disease – and fuel their instincts and excitement. With my own pets I feed a variety, and often boost nutrition with fresh foods such as eggs, meat, fish, and offal. They love this stuff, and I’m pretty sure they deserve it.

Let’s get started with some recommendations for your senior dog’s diet (in case you’re short on time and merely want a recommendation).

Best dry dog food for senior dogs

Most Premium: Wellness CORE Senior

Wellness Core Grain Free Senior Formula Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal & Turkey Meal Dry Dog Food
Wellness CORE Senior

The Wellness brand of dog food is sold worldwide and widely regarded for being high quality and having an excellent reputation.

The CORE range is their absolute premium offering, and this is shown in the quality of ingredients in Wellness CORE Senior.

Instead of lots of grains you have turkey and chicken as the main ingredients combined with legumes, potatoes, and a range of inclusions to support the health of your senior dog. Of note, flaxseed and salmon oil to support joint health in senior years, and a range of fruits and superfoods for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The flipside is the price, and you’ll find the 10kg bag to set you back quite a lot of money. Might be fine for a small breed dog, or if you have a large breed dog and a lot of money:

Note: I wanted to list Orijen Senior in the top spot but it can be very hard to get hold of. I would consider Orijen Senior the better option compared to Wellness CORE, for a similar price, if you’re lucky enough to find it in stock.

More Budget Friendly: SavourLife Mature 7+

Savourlife Grain Free Mature 7 Plus With Australian Chicken Dry Dog Food 10kg
SavourLife Mature 7+

If you were shocked by the price of Wellness CORE Senior (which is totally understandable and nothing to feel guilty about) then a more budget friendly option is SavourLife Mature 7+.

The ingredients aren’t as good as Wellness CORE Senior, but at just over half the price for a 10kg bag you may have some spare dollars to spend on a few raw meaty bones and a weekly piece of liver.

The ingredients are still good, and I receive good feedback for the brand, but the meat content loses out to tapioca, peas, and chickpeas. It’s worth stating SavourLife are an Australian company as I know that appeals to many.

Best All Rounder: Open Farm Grain Free Senior

Open Farm Grain Free Senior Dry Dog Food 1.8kg
Open Farm Grain Free Senior

I consider this third option a great all-rounder and likely the best senior dog food option for many. Open Farm Senior is a fair whack cheaper than Wellness CORE Senior, and you can argue the ingredients are nearly as good.

I feel Open Farm Senior would be my pick, and despite not having the global reputation of Wellness CORE it’s clear the ingredients are very good, if not better than the Wellness formula. $50+ cheaper for a 10kg bag as well.

In the Open Farm dog foods the meat is humanely raised, and you’ll find a combination of meat and fish (herring) in the Senior formula. You’ll also find coconut oil and salmon oil for joint health, plus a few select fruits and veggies.

The Open Farm Bone Broth pouches are also very good – bone broth is packed with nutrition and great for ageing joints – but then again you can invest in a cheap slow cooker and make bone broth at home. Easy peasy.

Feel free to ask about any other Senior Dry Dog Foods in the comments. This list is kept short, but there are other good options not mentioned.

What about All Life Stage dry dog foods?

All Life Stage dog foods are often better than life stage-specific formulas. The reason for this is simple – pet food standards such as AAFCO require minimum nutrients for different life stages, so to meet all life stages a food must meet all minimum requirements.

If you have been happy with an All Life Stage dog food until this point, there may not be any need to change to a senior formula if your dog is otherwise healthy.

Best wet food for senior dogs

Did you know My Dog is the most popular brand of wet dog food for senior dogs in Australia?

I don’t know why though, being a mash of carrots, rice, gelling agents, some concoction of different meats, with added food colors to make it look more appealing to you (and not for your dog’s benefit).

Even when you consider a more expensive senior wet dog food like Royal Canin Ageing 8+ you’ll find a mash of cereals and “derivatives of vegetable origin” whatever that may be. Meat and animal derivatives play a part, but you’ll also find “various sugars” as if that’s something your dog needs for their health/

Perhaps it’s not surprising when you consider both My Dog and Royal Canin are both Mars brands, and other leading wet foods for senior dogs like Optimum and Advance are also Mars.

That leaves a dilemma, as I struggle to find wet foods formulated specifically for senior dogs.

There are, however, some great All Life Stage wet dog foods suitable for senior dogs.

ZIWI Peak and K9 Natural wet food are both All Life Stages, fantastic, and would be a great option as part of your senior dog’s diet:

You also have Wellness (mentioned earlier) and Open Farm (also mentioned earlier). Wellness cater more for smaller dogs with their wet “medleys” and “shreds”, and Open Farm have a really nice “stew” which comes in little cartons your dog would like to lap up:

BARF is another good “wet” option, being a raw-meat patty. Despite being soft is an excellent combination of raw meat, organs, and ground bone.

Good BARF brands are Proudi and Big Dog which you’ll find in most pet stores across Australia.

Best soft dry dog food for senior dogs

My Dog offer a Semi Moist Kibble, but if you picked up my earlier comment about this Mars brand it will come as no surprise you’ll be buying a cereal concoction with added colours, flavours, and sweet syrupy liquid glycerol which is the real reason it’s soft.

You’ll find better options below which are formulated more for the health of your dog than the desire to take your hard-earned cash at the expense of your senior dog’s wellbeing.

If you can, consider some raw meaty bones as well. Even if your dog’s teeth aren’t what they were, a lot can be said for the medicinal properties of a nice raw meaty bone.

Note the following recommendation aren’t senior specific. I feel confident they will benefit your dog if they are otherwise healthy with no health conditions which have specific dietary requirements.

Top Choice: Eureka

Eureka Dog Food Review
Eureka Soft Air-Dried Dog Food

Eureka is a fantastic air-dried raw dog food, and a home-grown Australian company. It’s not a brand you can buy in the shops, but you can buy direct from their website and I highly recommend you do so if you can afford it as part of your senior dog’s diet.

Top Choice: ZIWI Peak

Ziwi Peak Soft Air-Dried dog food suitable for senior dogs
Ziwi Peak Soft Air-Dried Dog Food

ZIWI Peak is another air-dried raw option. It’s a brand made in New Zealand but highly regarded and adored by many.

ZIWI Peak is readily available in Australia in various flavours:

Top Choice: Frontier Pets

Frontier Pets Dog Food Review
Frontier Pets Dog Food

I simply can’t create a “Best Senior Dog Food Guide” without mentioning Frontier Pets. They’re such a fantastic Australian company a rather outstanding with their freeze-dried raw dog foods.

With Frontier Pets you need to add fresh water and let the nuggets soak before feeding. It takes a few minutes, but the freeze-drying process is the best method of locking in nutrients in a dog food, and far better than you get with any kibble.

Frontier Pets is available to buy direct from their website, and they’re well worth checking out for your senior dog.

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David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. It almost seems futile to be trying to keep up with pet food ingredients as I am sure they charge from batch to batch depending on availability and prices, costs involved, expected profit margins, etc.
    Your research is for sure very helpful

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