What Is The Best Thing To Feed An Old Dog (Choosing The Best Food For Older Dogs)

Providing the right nutrition is paramount in ensuring a healthy and happy life for senior dogs. In this article, we will explore the key question: What is the best thing to feed an old dog?

What Is The Best Thing To Feed An Old Dog (Choosing The Best Food For Older Dogs)

Just like how our bodies change as we age, our canine companions do as well.

Whether that’s simply energy levels, appetite for water and food, or just dietary requirements a lot of stuff can change when you get older.

That’s right, just like you walk me a little less – which I don’t mind – sometimes I need some extra care as I get older too.

But, we can grow old together so long as I am treated like the senior I am. The old food just doesn’t do it for me anymore!

Understanding your dog’s seniority and how to best accommodate it is key to longevity of their life.

In this article, we are going to address your concerns and answer questions regarding a senior dog’s diet, exploring what is the best thing to feed an old dog and the reasons behind it.

We hope this allows you and your dog to live your best life and enjoy today – find out how below.

When Is A Dog Considered Senior?

A dog’s seniority can be determined by a lot of factors. One large factor is the size of your dog. Large dogs get older quicker as they have a shorter life expectancy due, while small dogs can live much longer.

Breed can be a large factor too, so it’s worth researching your dog’s specific breed for true comparison.

As a general rule of thumb, large dogs reach senior age around 7, and smaller dogs can reach seniority as late as 11 or 12.

This said, if your dog has had a particularly hard life, was previously a stray, or is suffering from health issues, their seniority might come earlier in life due a shortened life expectancy.

Also, it’s worth just using your own intuition. If your dog slows down, isn’t so active, and exhibits traits of a senior dog, they might need us to adapt to their needs. 

Even senior dogs can be energetic and seem fine, but we still should accommodate their senior needs.

Do Senior Dog’s Dietary Needs Change?

Dietary needs of senior dogs

Yes! Just like a human, my metabolism slows down and I can gain weight unnecessarily if you keep feeding me the same food, this can affect my wellbeing.

You know I’ll eat anything you put in front of me, so just make sure it’s the good stuff!

Low calorie food can be really important for a senior dog as explained, but something they might not tell you is about gastrointestinal issues that affect senior dogs.

Put politely, constipation and diarrhea isn’t fun for anyone, dog or human, so making sure their food is high in fiber is also really important for wellbeing.

Moreover, a senior dog may also suffer from one of many health issues and physical ailments like joint issues.

Your dog’s diet is the perfect opportunity to engineer it for their specific needs, if certain vitamins and nutrients can help relieve health issues, it’s important to pay attention to specific nutrition too. Consulting with a vet can provide guidance on what is the best thing to feed an old dog based on their individual requirements.

Is Vegan Dog Food Suitable For Senior Dogs?

plant-based diet for dogs

Veganism has become popular among many humans, but can dogs enjoy a plant-based diet too?

The answer is yes, dogs, unlike cats, are not obligate carnivores. A dog can enjoy a plant based diet and still thrive, while a cat couldn’t.

A senior dog can benefit greatly from the increased nutrition a plant based diet can provide.

Put simply, by feeding your dog more vegetables they get more nutrition – they don’t need such a protein rich diet at a senior age.

These days there are lots of vegan dog food brands out there which focus on providing general nutrition to different size dogs.

Don’t worry I can still get protein, calcium, fiber and other essential nutrients from a plant-based diet, and you can still give me meat but extra veggies are super important right now!

What's the right food for my senior dog's health issues?

right food for senior dog's health issues

Consulting with a veterinarian is essential for understanding your dog’s health conditions, especially when exploring what is the best thing to feed an old dog. By identifying any underlying health issues, you can work with your vet to see if there are specific diets that can help.

Heart Disease

If your dog is at a higher risk of heart disease they are likely to benefit from a low calorie and low sodium diet, especially if they are overweight.

Equally, reducing protein in their diet will help reduce the strain on their aging kidneys, and reduce heart issues as a result.

Here are some dog treats that can help with preventing heart disease.


An overweight dog is at higher risk of health issues, especially when senior. It’s important to reduce the calories of their diet.

You could opt for a more plant based diet to increase nutrition and reduce calories. Another option would be to reduce portion sizes, treats, and feeding times.

This vegan kibble is a great option for overweight dogs that need a low calorie but high nutrition diet.


An underweight dog will benefit from a higher calorie diet, but it still needs to be the right stuff.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for many factors, and a protein rich diet can help them maintain weight without affecting their kidneys.

This could be induced by other health issues, so they will need tending as well.

This is a good option to feed underweight dogs of a certain size, made with ingredients to maintain weight.


Many vets recommend dogs with diabetes eat food that is absorbed slowly.

This generally will be food that is low in fat but high in fiber. Your vet will be able to advise and perhaps even provide prescription food specifically for diabetes dogs.

This dog food from Ketona is high in protein, has minimal blood sugar impact, and is a great option for non-prescription diabetes-friendly dog food.

Constipation And Diarrhea

Constipation and diarrhea in dogs are common issues, especially for senior dogs. A lack of fiber in their diets, perhaps caused by being too meat heavy, can lead to irregular bowel movements.

By increasing fiber their bowel movements will be more regular.

This dog food from Solid Gold is ideal for senior dogs that have sensitive stomachs.

Final Thoughts: What is the Best Thing to Feed an Old Dog?

I feel best when I’m supported and between you and my vet you should be able to come to a consensus about what’s the best diet for me.

So long as my diet is specialized to my unique situation I’ll stay by your side for many days to come.

So, what is the best thing to feed an old dog? The best food for a senior dog is one that suits their unique requirements, whether it’s a health issue that needs tending to or they just need specific nutrients.

You and your vet can identify what issues they might be suffering from, what they need more of, and together you can find the best food for your special canine companion

Just know I would do the same for you, if I could!

Remember, understanding what is the best thing to feed an old dog involves a comprehensive approach to their evolving nutritional needs.

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