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10 Best Grain-Free Senior Dog Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Grain-Free Senior Dog Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

close up of a dog eating from the bowlIf you’re considering putting your dog on a grain-free diet, please speak to your vet first. But if your vet has sent you on a quest to find grain-free food for your senior dog, you’ve come to the right place. While grains tend to be lower on the scale of allergens, if your older dog needs to have a diet change, there are many products to choose from.

Here are reviews of the best grain-free dog foods formulated for senior dogs. We hope that this helps you settle on the right dog food for your best friend.

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A Glance at Our Winners in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food
  • Main ingredient is deboned chicken
  • LifesSource Bits include a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Immune system and joint support
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Dry Dog Food Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Dry Dog Food
  • Affordable
  • Deboned chicken is the main ingredient
  • Includes LifeSource Bits as a source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • First five ingredients are raw or fresh animal protein
  • 85% of the ingredients are animal protein
  • Supports healthy weight with nutrient-rich organs
  • Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Dry Food Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Dry Food
  • Uses organic products and free-run chicken
  • Superfoods such as blueberries, flaxseed, and sweet potatoes
  • Chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy hips and joints
  • Now Fresh Small Breed Weight Management Dry Food Now Fresh Small Breed Weight Management Dry Food
  • Has over 20 superfoods
  • L-carnitine for a healthy heart
  • Natural source of chondroitin for healthy joints and hips
  • The 10 Best Grain-Free Senior Dog Foods

    1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food — Best Overall

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 387 kcal/cup

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food is the overall best grain-free senior dog food. It’s high in protein and has deboned chicken as the main ingredient, giving your older dog extra energy. It has a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the form of LifeSource Bits, which are small, dark crunchy bits of kibble. This blend gives senior dogs a boost to their immune systems, and it also includes ingredients for your dog’s joints and for maintaining a healthy weight. It doesn’t have fillers or artificial ingredients.

    However, this food is expensive, and the kibble is fairly small. It should be fine for small dogs but not so great for large ones.

    Pros
    • Main ingredient is deboned chicken
    • LifesSource Bits include a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
    • Immune system and joint support
    • Helps with maintaining a healthy weight
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Kibble is small

    2. Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Dry Dog Food — Best Value

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, potatoes, peas
    Protein content: 18%
    Fat content: 10%
    Calories: 380 kcal/cup

    The best grain-free senior dog food for the money is Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Dry Dog Food. It’s well-priced, particularly for premium dog food. Deboned chicken is the main ingredient, giving your dog high-quality protein, and has added omega-3 and -6 for healthy skin and silky coat. Like all Blue Buffalo products, it features LifeSource Bits, a small crunchy kibble containing a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Added chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health and taurine for a healthy heart all work together to keep your senior dog in overall good health. It doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial ingredients.

    However, some dogs might not like it.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Deboned chicken is the main ingredient
    • Includes LifeSource Bits as a source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
    • Added glucosamine, chondroitin, and taurine
    • No fillers or artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Some dogs might not like it

    3. Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food — Premium Choice

    ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, turkey, flounder
    Protein content: 38%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 417 kcal/cup

    Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is our premium choice pick. While it is expensive, it is a high-quality recipe, with the first five ingredients being raw or fresh whole animal protein. In fact, 85% of the recipe consists of animal ingredients, including fish and poultry that are free run and wild caught. It works to maintain a healthy weight and supports lean muscles with added nutrient-rich bone and organs. It doesn’t contain fillers or artificial ingredients, and it has a freeze-dried coating for a burst of flavor.

    It’s pricey and the kibble size is quite large, which might not work for small dogs.

    Pros
    • First five ingredients are raw or fresh animal protein
    • 85% of the ingredients are animal protein
    • Supports healthy weight with nutrient-rich organs
    • No fillers or artificial ingredients
    • Extra flavor with freeze-dried coating
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Large kibble size

    4. Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Dry Food

    Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic sweet potatoes
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories: 377 kcal/cup

    Our vet chose Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Dry Dog Food for its use of organic products and free-run chicken. The ingredients are USDA-certified organic, with chicken that’s only fed produce grown without pesticides. It also contains superfoods like flaxseed, blueberries, and sweet potatoes, all organic. There’s added chondroitin and glucosamine to keep your older dog’s joints and hips healthy. There are no GMOs or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

    Unfortunately, it is quite pricey, and the kibble is fairly small, so large breeds might not want to eat it.

    Pros
    • Uses organic products and free-run chicken
    • Superfoods such as blueberries, flaxseed, and sweet potatoes
    • Chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy hips and joints
    • No GMOs or artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Small kibble size

    5. Now Fresh Small Breed Weight Management Dry Dog Food

    Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Weight Management Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned turkey, potatoes, peas
    Protein content: 24%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 375 kcal/cup

    Now Fresh Small Breed Weight Management Dry Dog Food contains over 20 superfoods, including blueberries for the antioxidants and pumpkin for fiber and healthy digestion. It includes L-carnitine to keep your senior dog’s heart healthy and has a natural source of chondroitin from New Zealand green mussels to support the hips and joints. All fresh ingredients are cooked only once at low temperatures to preserve the nutrients and freshness, and there are no artificial ingredients. The kibble is also small in size for small breeds.

    The cons are that it’s expensive and that picky dogs might not like it.

    Pros
    • Has over 20 superfoods
    • L-carnitine for a healthy heart
    • Natural source of chondroitin for healthy joints and hips
    • All ingredients are cooked only once to preserve nutrients
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Picky dogs might not like it

    6. Nulo Freestyle Senior Dry Dog Food

    Nulo Freestyle Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food (1)

    Main ingredients: Deboned trout, turkey meal, salmon meal
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 396 kcal/cup

    Nulo Freestyle Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food is quite protein-rich, with 82% of the protein coming from animal sources. It has the beneficial glucosamine and chondroitin for a senior dog’s joints and hips and L-carnitine to help older dogs metabolize fats. There are also probiotics for digestion and phosphorus and calcium to maintain teeth and bones.

    But this dog food is expensive, and while Nulo states that there’s no chicken in the food, there actually is. It contains turkey meal and chicken fat, so if your dog has allergies to poultry, you’ll need to find another food.

    Pros
    • Protein rich, with 82% of the protein from animal sources
    • Included glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints
    • Probiotics for digestion and L-carnitine for metabolizing fat
    • Phosphorus and calcium for strong teeth and bones
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains poultry ingredients

    7. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

    CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Senior Limited Ingredient Chicken

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 10%
    Calories: 409 kcal/cup

    Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food only has nine ingredients — if you don’t include the added vitamins and minerals. It contains high-quality proteins and a blend of antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. There are added veggies for extra vitamins and minerals for overall health, and it doesn’t have any artificial ingredients or fillers.

    The problem with this food is that it’s expensive, and in some bags, there seems to be a great deal of residue or “food dust.” While it is a limited-ingredient dog food, poultry is included, which tends to be high on the list of food allergens for dogs.

    Pros
    • Only nine ingredients
    • Blend of antioxidants, prebiotics, and omega-3 and -6
    • Added veggies for vitamins and minerals
    • No artificial ingredients or fillers
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains poultry
    • Too much residue

    8. Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

    Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 370 kcal/cup

    Merrick Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food features 77% of protein from animal sources, but it is also low in calories and fat to help promote a healthy weight. Deboned chicken is the main ingredient and as the ideal portions of fat and proteins, as well as supporting fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin for hips and joints and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

    However, this is an expensive dog food, and the kibble is large, so small dogs might have more difficulty with it.

    Pros
    • 77% of protein from animal sources
    • Less fat and calories to maintain a healthy weight
    • Deboned chicken is the main ingredient
    • Right balance of fat and proteins
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Large kibble

    9. Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food

    Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken meal, salmon meal, chicken
    Protein content: 36%
    Fat content: 16%
    Calories: 478 kcal/cup

    Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food is high in protein and has kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw bites. It has a natural source of DHA for eye and brain health and natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine for the hips and joints. There are no added fillers or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

    It’s expensive, though, and many dogs tend to only eat the freeze-dried bits, which some bags arrive with very few of.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Kibble mixed with raw, freeze-dried bites
    • Natural source of DHA for eye and brain health
    • Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for hips and joints
    • No artificial ingredients or fillers
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some dogs only eat the freeze-dried bits
    • Some bags don’t have many freeze-dried bits

    10. Wellness CORE Senior Dry Dog Food

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, lentils
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 359 kcal/cup

    Wellness CORE Deboned Turkey Dry Dog Food starts with deboned turkey and contains prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants, and taurine. Your dog can have a shiny coat and healthy skin with the omega fatty acids, and the included vitamins and minerals are for overall immune system support. It doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial ingredients.

    However, picky dogs might not like it, and it might cause stomach upset in other dogs. Additionally, the kibble is large and quite hard, so it might prove too difficult to eat for senior dogs with teeth issues.

    Pros
    • Deboned turkey is the main ingredient
    • Contains taurine, prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants
    • Omega fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin
    • No fillers or artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Kibble is large and tough to chew
    • Pickier dogs might not like it
    • Might cause stomach upset

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Grain-Free Senior Dog Food

    Here are a few points for you to consider when shopping for a new food for a senior dog.

    Grain Free

    You should only give grain-free food to your dog if your vet has told you that this is a necessary diet change. When a dog food leaves out grains, legumes are typically substituted, which are suspected to potentially cause dilated cardiomyopathy. Without grains, your dog also misses out on protein, fatty acids, and fiber. Speak to your vet before changing your dog’s food.

    Price

    When you start getting into specialized diets, such as grain-free food for senior dogs, you’re looking into a market that tends to feature high-quality ingredients, so you can expect to pay more.

    Ingredients

    Animal meal is essentially a meat concentrate that includes many different parts of the animal. It’s also a high-protein source, so it’s not a filler ingredient. When purchasing premium dog food, you typically won’t be getting any fillers or artificial ingredients.

    Calories

    Some senior dog foods are low in calories to ensure that your less-active dog won’t start packing on the pounds. But others might be high in calories because some senior dogs have trouble keeping the weight on as they get older. This situation requires a visit to your vet, who can advise you on how many calories your dog needs.

    dog owner talking to vet
    Image by; SeventyFour, Shutterstock

    Protein

    Many senior dog food brands include extra protein, which helps older dogs maintain their muscle mass; senior dogs tend to lose muscle as they get older. However, some senior dogs might have a health condition that requires a low-protein diet. This necessitates a conversation with your vet.

    Speak to Your Vet

    Before switching your dog’s food, always speak to your vet. They can advise you on the right food for your dog and give you their own recommendations. It’s also crucial that you slowly transition your dog to the new food, and your vet can also advise you on the best way to do this.

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    Final Thoughts

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food is our favorite grain-free food for senior dogs. It boosts the immune systems and includes ingredients for your dog’s joints and for maintaining a healthy weight. Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Dry Dog Food is an affordable premium dog food with the high-quality protein of deboned chicken as the primary ingredient.

    Our premium choice pick is Orijen’s Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. About 85% of the recipe consists of animal protein, including free-run and wild-caught fish and poultry. Our organic senior dry food choice goes to Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Senior Dry Dog Food for using USDA-certified organic products, including free-run chicken and superfoods like flaxseed, blueberries, and sweet potatoes.

    We hope that these reviews have helped you learn more about your senior dog’s dietary requirements. Hopefully, you’ll find your best friend something that they enjoy and helps them stay with you for longer.


    Featured Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

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