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7 Best Senior Dog Foods for Small Breeds in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Hallie Roddy

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

7 Best Senior Dog Foods for Small Breeds in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cute little dog eating foodWhen dogs age, their bodies go through changes and don’t function the same as they once did. Normal bodily functions start slowing down and wearing out with time. Eventually, they feel less excited to do some of their favorite things, like going for walks or playing tug-of-war.

The best way to ensure your dog stays healthy in their old age is to feed them food made specifically for seniors. It’s even more beneficial to feed them senior dog food that is specific to their breed size. Every dog requires a specific set of nutrients that is best for their age and body type.

If you’re ready to make the transition to old age easier for your pup, then check out this list of senior dog foods for small breeds complete with in-depth reviews.

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Subscription Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Subscription
  • Fresh ingredients
  • High-quality protein from real meat
  • Tailored for your dog
  • Delivered at your doorstep
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  • Real meat
  • High-quality protein
  • Supports joints and muscles
  • Third place
    NULO Freestyle Senior NULO Freestyle Senior
  • Helps joint pain
  • High-quality protein sources
  • Chicken and egg-free
  • Nutro Natural Choice Nutro Natural Choice
  • Healthy omega fatty acids
  • Boosts immune system
  • Real chicken protein
  • Wellness Complete Health Wellness Complete Health
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Supports heart health
  • Aids in hip and joint mobility
  • The 7 Best Senior Dog Foods for Small Breeds

    1. Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall

    Nom Nom Turkey Fare Fresh Dog Food Subscription

    Crude Protein: 7–10%
    Crude Fat: 4–6%
    Crude Fiber: 1–2%

    Nom Nom takes the best overall choice of senior dog food for small breeds because it is based on fresh and human-quality ingredients. These nutritious and healthy meals come in a variety of recipes. Nom Nom is committed to making healthy meals for dogs of all ages considering the breed, size, weight, age, and level of activity of each dog.

    Most of these fresh recipes have between 7% and 10% protein content, and 72–77% moisture to keep healthy hydration levels. The recipes are based on real meat protein sources such as turkey, chicken, pork, and beef mixed with healthy vegetables like carrots, peas, and spinach for fiber and micronutrients. The food is conveniently portioned and individually packaged into single servings.

    We recommend trying the variety pack that they offer with no subscription necessary, this allows you and your dog to choose your favorite one! For sure, your dog will absolutely love it, and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on their recipes! If you don’t see a noticeable change in your pet, you’ll get your money back.

    This food is subscription-based and conveniently delivered to your doorstep! And while it is more expensive than most commercially available dog food brands out there, it is worth every penny!

    Pros
    • Fresh ingredients
    • High-quality protein from real meat
    • Tailored for your dog
    • Delivered at your doorstep
    Cons
    • Might not be available in your area

    2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dog Food – Budget Buy

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Crude Protein: 18%
    Crude Fat: 10%
    Crude Fiber: 7%

    Blue Buffalo is one of the most trusted brands in the dog food market. It doesn’t only produce foods for senior dogs but is committed to making healthy meals for animals of all ages. This Life Protection Formula recipe from Blue Buffalo is free from grains and focused on balancing the right vitamins and minerals for your pet.

    It is one of our favorite choices of senior dog food for small breeds because of its superior ingredients. One of the first listed is real chicken, but it also contains healthy fruits and veggies. The protein is of high quality, and the recipe uses L-carnitine to support joint health and maintain muscle mass.

    This food is certainly more expensive than some other brands out there but a great brand for all senior dogs.

    Pros
    • Real meat
    • High-quality protein
    • Supports joints and muscles
    • No grains
    Cons
    • Expensive

    3. NULO Freestyle Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

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

    Crude Protein: 30%
    Crude Fat: 12%
    Crude Fiber: 5%

    Nulo is higher in price point, but the Freestyle Senior Grain-Free dog food is an exceptional option to give to your small breed senior pooch. The recipe uses excellent sources of trout and other animal protein to help maintain muscle development, plus the formula is also grain-free with added probiotics for digestion.

    The recipe is free from chicken or eggs since many senior dogs can have allergic reactions to it. Nulo focuses on your dog and keeping them at their best as they age, and many customers also report that they’ve noticed a big difference in joint pain in their dogs after switching to this food.

    Pros
    • Helps joint pain
    • High-quality protein sources
    • Chicken and egg-free
    • Grain-free
    Cons
    • Pricey

    4. Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dry Dog Food

    Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Crude Protein: 24%
    Crude Fat: 12%
    Crude Fiber: 4%

    Nutro has more than one recipe for senior dogs, and this Natural Choice Senior recipe puts real chicken right at the top of the ingredient list. The dry food is full of healthy essential fatty acids to keep their coats and skin healthy as they age. The recipe is also enriched with vitamin E and antioxidants to keep your dog’s immune system fully functioning properly well into old age.

    There are some reports of dogs having some issues with digesting this food, and it may cause nausea or diarrhea in some pooches.

    Pros
    • Healthy omega fatty acids
    • Boosts immune system
    • Real chicken protein
    Cons
    • May cause digestive issues in some dogs

    5. Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog FoodWellness-Complete-Health-Senior-Deboned-Dry-Dog-Food-1

    Crude Protein: 22%
    Crude Fat: 10%
    Crude Fiber: 4.25%

    Wellness Complete Health Senior dry dog food uses fresh ingredients that are cooked in small batches to preserve nutrients. Some of the top ingredients are deboned chicken for a great source of animal protein, as well as barley and oatmeal to aid digestion. There are also additives like essential omega fatty acids to help with senior hip and joint mobility, plus taurine for heart health.

    While there are some great ingredients, there are also some complaints about the addition of peas to the formula. However, the kibble is too hard for some senior dogs.

    Pros
    • Fresh ingredients
    • Supports heart health
    • Aids in hip and joint mobility
    Cons
    • Kibble is too hard for some senior dogs

    6. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Senior Dry Dog Food

    CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Senior Dry Dog Food

    Crude Protein: 28%
    Crude Fat: 10%
    Crude Fiber: 5%

    The creators of Canidae’s Grain-Free PURE senior dog food had simplicity in mind when they created this kibble. Each bag is full of probiotics for immune support and features nine simple, healthy ingredients, including essential omega fatty acids for skin and coat health. Because of the premium ingredients, though, compared with other brands, this food is a fair bit more expensive.

    A handful of customers reported that this food gave their pooch some digestion issues, including gas and loose stools.

    Pros
    • Probiotics
    • 9 simple ingredients
    • Omega fatty acids included
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • May cause digestive issues

    7. Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dog Food

    Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dog Food

    Crude Protein: 30%
    Crude Fat: 12%
    Crude Fiber: 3.5%

    Merrick’s Grain-Free Senior dog food also uses deboned chicken as its primary source of protein and a high 30% protein content overall. Sweet potatoes are another star of the recipe and an excellent source of carbohydrates. With the many healthy vitamins and minerals included in this grain-free recipe, it is a safe and healthy choice overall for senior dogs.

    However, it is higher in calories than many other senior foods and might not help your pooch maintain a healthy weight. On top of that, some dogs are sensitive to the rich ingredients. If it is important to you, not all the ingredients used are from the United States, although the kibble itself is made in the US.

    Pros
    • Gluten-free
    • No artificial flavors or preservatives
    Cons
    • Not all the ingredients are from the USA
    • Higher in calories
    • Some dogs are sensitive to recipe

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Senior Dog Foods for Small Breeds

    Your dog has given you years of happiness and companionship, and one of the best ways to repay the favor is to give them high-quality dog food as they enter old age. The problem is that not many people are aware that seniors require special food.

    It is easy to pick kibble based on a brand name, but that’s not always the best criterion to rely on.

    Tips for Choosing Quality Food for Small Senior Breeds

    High-Protein, Low-Fat Diets

    When dogs age, they don’t have the same vigor as they used to. Their bodies start to slow down, they don’t move as much, and their metabolism drops. One of the best ways to combat weight gain is to keep them on a diet that is high in animal protein and low in fat. If you know nothing else about senior dog food, this is one of the most important aspects to consider.

    Veterinary Recommendations

    It always helps to consult a veterinarian any time you’re buying dog food. These professionals have much more insight into what dogs of a specific age and breed—not to mention their individual medical history—should be consuming on a regular basis. Senior dogs can be suffering from a number of degenerative or metabolic diseases and need a diet catered to their unique condition.

    The nutrient profile of a healthy senior dog will be very different from that of a senior dog with kidney disease, so consult with your veterinarian to find out what is the best option for your dog.

    Balancing Their Diet

    Not every senior dog is going to struggle with the same issues, so try not to rely on kibble alone. When you offer a mix of dry and canned dog food, you can keep moisture levels up and aid in your dog’s digestion. They’ll also appreciate the savory taste of canned food every once in a while.

    Stay Away From Harmful Ingredients

    The ingredients list should be as clean as possible and isn’t something you want to skim over. While the cleaner recipes can sometimes be more expensive, it is worth it to know your dog isn’t going to suffer from eating foods full of artificial flavors and preservatives. divider-dog

    Final Thoughts

    As your dog moves into their golden years, it helps them feel more energized and healthier overall if they are eating high-quality food formulated for their age and breed size. The above reviews are excellent choices for small senior dogs and come highly recommended by dog lovers around the world.

    We have concluded that the best overall senior dog food for small dogs comes from Nom Nom. There are also brands like Blue Buffalo Purpose dog food and NULO Freestyle Senior Grain-Free dog food that work for any budget you may have. When you feed your senior dog these recipes, they are going to look and feel better well into old age!

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    Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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