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10 Best Senior Dog Foods for Weight Loss in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Senior Dog Foods for Weight Loss in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

dogs eating

As dogs age, they become less active, and their bodies are less able to burn off calories. Therefore, senior dog food often has fewer calories than adult dog food, but that isn’t always the case. When shopping for the best senior dog foods for weight loss, it is important that the food still contains the essential vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber levels to ensure your dog stays healthy and fit.

Below, you will find reviews of the best senior dog foods for weight loss, as well as a guide to choosing the one that is most suitable for your canine companion.

Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.

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A Glance at Our Top Picks (2024 Update)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Ollie Chicken Fresh Dog Food Subscription Ollie Chicken Fresh Dog Food Subscription
  • Slow cooked fresh food
  • Portioned and tailored to your dog, including age and weight
  • Delivered to your door according to your dog’s feeding plan
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    IAMS Healthy Senior Large Breed Dog Food IAMS Healthy Senior Large Breed Dog Food
  • Inexpensive price
  • Primary ingredient is chicken
  • No artificial additives or filler
  • Third place
    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  • Primary ingredient is deboned chicken
  • Contains antioxidants that help boost the immune system
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 maintain skin and coat health
  • Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food
  • 30% protein, primarily from meat sources
  • Primary ingredient is deboned chicken
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin promote healthy joints
  • Nutro Ultra Small Breed Dry Dog Food Nutro Ultra Small Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Primary ingredient is chicken
  • Includes lamb and salmon for extra meat-based protein
  • 28% protein ratio is suitable for senior dogs
  • The 10 Best Senior Dog Foods for Weight Loss

    1. Ollie Chicken Fresh Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall

    White fluffy dog looking at Ollie fresh dog food chicken and beef recipes on table

    Primary Ingredient: Chicken
    Protein: 10%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 1,298
    Quantity/Volume: Varies

    Ollie Chicken With Carrots is one of the recipes available from the fresh food subscription and delivery service Ollie. It uses chicken as its primary ingredient and contains carrots, rice, spinach, chia seeds, and a host of other healthy ingredients. Although the formula isn’t specifically marketed as senior dog food, Ollie tailors the food and portion size according to your dog’s specific requirements. They take into account your dog’s age as well as their current and ideal weight. The food is slow-cooked and should be appealing to most dogs.

    Because it is fresh food, however, Ollie Chicken With Carrots is expensive, and accessing it requires a subscription and answering a survey. However, it is nutritious and tasty, and the healthy ingredients make it the best overall senior dog food for weight loss.

    Pros
    • Slow-cooked fresh food
    • Portioned and tailored to your dog, including age and weight
    • Delivered to your door according to your dog’s feeding plan
    • High-end, carefully sourced ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. IAMS Healthy Senior Dog Food – Budget Buy

    IAMS Healthy Senior Dog Food

    Primary Ingredient: Chicken
    Protein: 24%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 3,435
    Quantity/Volume: 29.1 pounds

    IAMS Healthy Aging Mature & Senior Large Breed Dry Dog Food is formulated for large breed dogs aged 7 years and older. Its primary ingredient is farm-raised chicken, and it contains chicken by-product meal, barley, and corn. It contains no artificial additives or fillers. It includes omega-6 for coat health, which is also vital in aging dogs because the coat and skin are often the first areas to show signs of aging.

    Although it is a low-cost food, the high-quality protein and beneficial ingredients make IAMS our pick for the best senior dog food for weight loss for the money.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Primary ingredient is chicken
    • No artificial additives or filler
    Cons
    • Only suitable for large breeds

    3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Recipe

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Recipe

    Primary Ingredient: Deboned Chicken
    Protein: 18%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 3,403
    Quantity/Volume: 30 pounds

    The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe has deboned chicken as the primary ingredient, and it contains brown rice, barley, and oatmeal. The recipe also contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, which are antioxidants that boost immune system health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help protect and preserve skin and fur, while additional ingredients target joint health to ensure your senior pup can enjoy continued mobility.

    The Life Protection Formula is low in protein, with only 18%. Senior dogs benefit from a higher protein level because they need to maintain muscle mass. Ideally, this figure should be 28% or higher, but that is unusual in dry food.

    Blue Buffalo is a premium food with a premium price tag, but it contains high-quality ingredients that help maintain health and mobility in your senior dog without adding weight.

    Pros
    • Primary ingredient is deboned chicken
    • Contains antioxidants that help boost the immune system
    • Omega 3 and Omega 6 maintain skin and coat health
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • 16% protein is on the low side of ideal for a senior dog

    4. Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

    Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

    Primary Ingredient: Deboned Chicken
    Protein: 30%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 3,492
    Quantity/Volume: 22 pounds

    The Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food lists deboned chicken as its main ingredient, with other prominent ingredients including chicken meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and turkey meal. This is a grain-free recipe, so it is only really suitable for dogs with grain sensitivities and allergies because grains are a beneficial ingredient for most dogs. The recipe consists of 30% protein, with more than three-quarters of it coming from meat sources.

    Glucosamine and chondroitin are included to promote healthy joints and omega fatty acids for improved fur and skin. Merrick Grain-Free is an expensive grain-free formula, but it has a 30% protein ratio, which is ideal for senior dogs, especially considering that most of it comes from chicken and meat sources.

    Pros
    • 30% protein, primarily from meat sources
    • Primary ingredient is deboned chicken
    • Glucosamine and chondroitin promote healthy joints
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Grain-free not ideal for all dogs

    5. Nutro Ultra Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Nutro Ultra Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Primary Ingredient: Chicken
    Protein: 28%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 3,329
    Quantity/Volume: 8 pounds

    The Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management Dry Dog Food is a kibble designed for senior, small-breed dogs to help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Its primary ingredient is chicken, and the ingredient list includes lamb meal, salmon, and chicken fat. It contains 28% protein, suitable for a senior dog, while a selection of superfoods is included to provide antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics, and essential vitamins and minerals.

    Nutro is expensive for a small bag, but it will last longer because smaller portions suit small-breed dogs. While this is a good-quality food, a recent recipe change has increased the calorie count, although it also raised the protein content from 24% to 28%.

    Pros
    • Primary ingredient is chicken
    • Includes lamb and salmon for extra meat-based protein
    • 28% protein ratio is suitable for senior dogs
    Cons
    • New recipe has more calories
    • Quite expensive for a small bag

    6. American Journey Senior Chicken Dry Dog Food

    American Journey Senior Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Primary Ingredient: Deboned Chicken
    Protein: 30%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 3,377
    Quantity/Volume: 24 pounds

    American Journey Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a grain-free recipe that uses deboned chicken as its main ingredient, with chicken meal and turkey meal as the next two ingredients on the list. It has a good protein content of 30%, which is enough to help ensure a senior dog doesn’t lose condition. However, this is a grain-free recipe, so you should check with your vet before switching from a grain-inclusive meal.

    Although some dogs can be sensitive to grains, it is rare, and it is more likely that a dog is allergic to the primary meat protein used. The American Journey recipe includes antioxidants that support the immune system, omega fatty acids for good skin and coat condition, and triglycerides from coconut oil that can support good brain health. It’s expensive but not as pricey as other premium brands.

    Pros
    • 30% protein ratio is good for senior dogs
    • Primary ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal
    • Triglycerides help maintain cognitive function
    Cons
    • A little expensive
    • Grain-free recipe only suitable for dogs with allergies and sensitivities

    7. Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Adult Wet Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Adult Wet Dog Food

    Primary Ingredient: Turkey
    Protein: 12%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 1,080
    Quantity/Volume: 8 x 10 ounces

    The Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Adult 7+ Turkey & Brown Rice Entrée Wet Dog Food is a wet food. Other than water, the primary ingredient is turkey, which is a lean and low-fat meat. The wet food has a 12% protein ratio, which is reasonable for a wet food for senior dogs. Wet food can be especially beneficial to senior dogs with dental problems. Dry food can cause discomfort or pain, while wet food is easier to chew and digest.

    Pro Plan also contains water, which ensures that your senior canine stays hydrated. It also contains a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B complex, which can increase energy levels while helping combat fleas and ticks and staving off potential heart complaints and some cancers.

    Because it’s wet food, it is a little more expensive, and Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Wet Dog Food can give some dogs gas and smelly stools.

    Pros
    • Primary ingredient (other than water) is turkey
    • 12% protein is suitable for a senior wet food
    • Vitamin B can fight fleas and ticks and combat heart problems
    Cons
    • Pricier than dry food
    • Can cause gas in some dogs

    8. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Senior Recipe

    Blue Buffalo Homestyle Senior Recipe

    Primary Ingredient: Chicken
    Protein: 7.5%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 1,119
    Quantity/Volume: 12 cans x 12.5 ounces

    The Blue Buffalo Homestyle Senior Recipe is a canned wet food with chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver. It has 7.5% protein, which could do with being a lot higher, but the protein does, at least, seem to come from meat sources.

    The Homestyle Senior Recipe does not contain by-products, artificial flavors, or preservatives and does include glucosamine and chondroitin, which help support healthy joints and a strong immune system. It is an expensive formula but can be given as a treat, combined with dry food, or fed as an entrée.

    Pros
    • Primary ingredients are chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver
    • No artificial preservatives or flavors
    • Glucosamine and chondroitin improve joint health
    Cons
    • 7.5% protein needs to be higher for senior dogs
    • Expensive food option

    9. Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

    Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

    Primary Ingredient: Beef Meal
    Protein: 27%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 3,385
    Quantity/Volume: 40 pounds

    Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is a dry food with beef meal as the main ingredient. It also contains chicken fat, fish meal, and chicken meal, indicating that most of the 27% protein content comes from meat sources. Although 27% protein is borderline for senior dogs, it would benefit from being a little bit higher. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, which is essential for aging dogs.

    It is also fortified with an extensive list of vitamins and minerals. Victor Purpose is reasonably priced, but it uses several meat proteins, which means it might not be suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

    Pros
    • Primary ingredient is beef meal
    • Good price for dry food
    Cons
    • 27% protein could be a little higher
    • Multiple protein sources may not be suitable for sensitive dogs

    10. Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

    Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

    Primary Ingredient: Chicken
    Protein: 25%
    Calories (kcal per kg): 3,400
    Quantity/Volume: 35 pounds

    Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food is a kibble with chicken as the main ingredient. Other prominent ingredients include chicken meal, whole-grain brown rice, and cracked pearled barley.

    It has 25% protein, which needs to be higher for senior dog food, but it includes glucosamine and chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants. Diamond Naturals is reasonably priced, and the small kibble is easy to eat, but it would benefit from more protein.

    Pros
    • Decent price
    • Primary ingredient is chicken
    • Smaller kibble easier to eat for dogs with dental problems
    Cons
    • 25% protein should be higher for senior dogs

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    Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Senior Dog Foods for Weight Loss

    Buying senior dog food for weight loss means that you are looking for two primary features in the same food: a formula suitable for dogs aged 7 years and older and one that helps prevent weight gain or that can be used to help a dog lose weight. In addition to making sure the food has appropriate protein levels and does not contain too many calories per serving, you should also look for ingredients that can help improve joint health, manage cognitive and brain function, and condition the coat and skin. These are all especially beneficial to older dogs. If your dog has bad dental health, which is common in older dogs, you should also consider a food that is easy for them to chew without causing extra pain.

    Wet vs. Dry

    The first decision you must make when buying dog food for any dog is whether to feed wet or dry food. Debate continues as to which is best because they both have advantages and disadvantages.

    Wet Food
    • Wet Food is soft and easy to chew and digest. It also contains a lot of moisture, which helps ensure that your dog is well-hydrated. Many dogs prefer the smell and taste of wet food, which makes it especially beneficial when a senior dog refuses to eat or doesn’t eat enough.

    However, for all its benefits, wet food is expensive and has a shorter shelf life than dry food. Unless your dog eats exactly a full sachet or can at every meal, the remaining portion will need to be stored in the fridge until it is finished.

    Dry food
    • Dry food comes in hard kibble and is less expensive than wet food per meal. It lasts longer and doesn’t need refrigeration once opened. Some claim that kibble is better for maintaining dental hygiene because it helps remove plaque, although evidence to support this is somewhat limited.

    Dry food may be less appealing to your dog, and rather than promoting good dental hygiene, the hard kibble can be difficult for some senior dogs to chew. It may even cause discomfort and pain if your dog has bad teeth or dental hygiene issues.

    wet and dry food
    Image by: Yuriy Golub, Shutterstock

    Dry and wet foods don’t have to be fed exclusively. You can feed a combination of the two at different times or even in the same meal. This enables your dog to enjoy both benefits while maintaining a healthy diet.

    As well as dry and wet food, there is also the question of raw food. Raw food is not heavily processed like most commercial food. It can be made at home using fresh ingredients, but some companies specialize in making and delivering it to your door. However, check with your veterinarian before serving raw food to your dog. Senior dogs aren’t as resilient as younger pups, and a raw diet may be inappropriate for them.

    Protein for Senior Dogs

    Whatever type of food you select, one of the most important elements is protein. The amino acids from protein build and maintain muscle, repair tissues, and ensure healthy skin and fur. Senior dogs typically require more protein because their muscles break down more easily and need more repair and support. Experts advise that senior dogs get 50% more protein than healthy adult dogs. However, if your vet has recommended that your senior dog be given a low-protein diet, follow their instructions closely and ask for brand recommendations.

    It is advised that senior dogs are fed food that contains between 28% and 32% protein by dry matter. This is easy to work out with dry food, and you can use the crude nutrient analysis on the packet. Formulas with minimal moisture need to contain 28% to 32% protein.

    With wet food, it is a little more challenging to determine the protein ratio. Wet food can contain 70%–85% moisture, and you need to calculate the protein by dry matter. As such, a food that is 75% moisture and contains 10% protein actually has 40% protein by dry matter. To calculate this amount for any wet food, take the protein ratio, divide it by the amount of dry matter in the food, and multiply by 100. In our example, this equates to (10/25) x 100 = 40%.

    When Should You Start Feeding Your Dog Senior Food?

    Although the ideal age to feed a dog a senior diet depends on their breed, health, and condition, senior food is generally targeted at dogs aged 7 years and above. Consider your dog’s activity levels, and when you notice that they are moving around less, laying down more, and that their coat and skin are starting to look old, it may be time to consider moving to a senior-specific food.

    senior terrier dog
    Image Credit: Pixabay

    What to Do if Your Senior Dog Won’t Eat

    It is important that your dog is getting enough food and essential ingredients, so it can be a major concern if they stop eating or refuse to eat the food you’ve bought them. However, there are some steps that you can take to encourage a dog to eat:

    • Wet Their Food – If your dog is struggling to chew the kibble without it causing pain, wetting the food may make it easier to eat. Add a little warm water or add a bone broth or other supplement to the food to make it more palatable and easier to chew.
    • Switch to Wet Food – Alternatively, you can switch from a dry formula to a wet food. Make sure you choose a food suitable for seniors that meets your dog’s dietary and nutritional requirements.
    • Add a Topper – Toppers are not designed as complete meals and may not contain everything your dog needs to be healthy, but they can work well to moisten food and make it more appealing and palatable. When calculating protein and calories, however, don’t forget to include the topper, or you may overfeed your pup.
    • Try Home-Cooked Meals – Most dogs would love to sit at the table for a proper home-cooked meal with their owners. Giving your dog a little bone broth or an unseasoned, cooked piece of meat may entice them to eat more if they haven’t touched their food. However, serving homemade dog food should not be attempted without your veterinarian’s input. Your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary nutritionist or suggest a prescription diet rather than home-cooked meals.
    • Consult Your Vet –  If you have tried the techniques above and your dog still won’t eat, take them to the vet to get them checked out and to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong.

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    Conclusion

    Senior dogs have different dietary and nutritional requirements than adult dogs and puppies. Senior food should meet these needs and help maintain your dog’s health. The best senior dog foods for weight loss can also help maintain a healthy weight.

    Ollie Chicken With Carrots is the best senior food for weight loss. Despite being a little pricier than other brands, the slow-cooked, fresh food is nutritional and appealing while having good protein and calorie levels for a senior dog. IAMS Healthy Age Mature is an affordable, dry food that is free of artificial additives. Although Ollie and IAMs are the top picks, your senior dog may enjoy some of the other formulas we reviewed.


    Featured Image Credit: Phuttharak, Shutterstock

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