Best Food For Senior Dogs: Aging Dog Nutrition Explained

It’s well known that nutrition plays a big role in a puppy’s
health, but it’s often forgotten that these early months aren’t the only stage
of a dog’s life where they have special nutritional needs. Senior dogs also
need a diet that supports their aging bodies, which is why we want to help you
find the best food for senior dogs.

What should you look
for when choosing the best food for senior dogs?

Senior dogs have different nutritional needs compared to their
younger counterparts. Knowing this, the best food for senior dogs is one that
provides them with the nutrients necessary to help them live a happy, healthy
life. But what exactly should you look for when choosing food for your senior

  • Fatty acids: Omega-6 fatty
    acids are great at promoting healthy cell growth, adding shine to coats, and
    replacing oils in the skin, whereas omega-3 fatty acids treat inflammation in
    the skin and joints.
  • High-quality
    Senior dogs need their diet to contain plenty of high-quality
    protein to fuel their muscles, as loss of muscle mass is a common problem in
    older dogs.
  • Higher levels
    of vitamins C and E:
    Senior pups can benefit from higher levels of
    vitamin C, as it reduces inflammation, and vitamin E, which promotes a healthy
    immune system, skin, coat, and more.
  • Fiber: Constipation is
    a common issue with senior dogs, so a diet that is high in fiber can help keep
    them regular.
  • Antioxidants: Adding
    antioxidants to your senior dog’s daily diet helps to improve memory and
    cognitive function.
  • High moisture
    Senior dogs are also more likely to be dehydrated throughout the
    day, so increasing their water intake is a great way to decrease age-related

It may seem daunting to take all of these nutrition requirements into consideration when choosing the best food for senior dogs, but this is why it’s beneficial to make the switch to Freshpet. Each Freshpet recipe is crafted with high-quality ingredients and gently steamed at low temperatures to protect the integrity of the ingredients. This ensures it’s packed with essential micronutrients only found in fresh food.

How important is
hydration for senior dogs?

Proper hydration is important at all stages of your dog’s life,
but it is especially important during their senior years as they become more
prone to dehydration. Specifically, hydration plays a big role in maintaining

  • Joints: Proper
    hydration levels ensure that your pet’s joints are properly lubricated and can
    move without pain or stiffness.
  • Digestion: Water helps
    keep your pup’s overall digestive system running smoothly and helps with the
    absorption of nutrients from their food.
  • Senses: Water also
    plays a role in keeping your dog’s mucous membranes moist, so they can smell
    and taste properly.
  • Cognition: Not only does
    water cushion and protect your dog’s brain and spinal cord, it impacts their
    overall cognition. If dogs don’t consume enough water they can show symptoms of
    confusion and lack of coordination.
  • Skin, coat, and
    Without proper hydration, your dog’s skin, coat, and nails can
    become dry and brittle which is not only uncomfortable but can result in issues
    such as fur loss.

An easy way to help increase your pup’s overall hydration is making a switch to fresh food. Freshpet’s refrigerated food is the best food for senior dogs because it is high in animal protein. You can expect each recipe to have the same moisture content as fresh, human-grade meats which is between 70-75% moisture.

Keeping an eye on your senior dog’s overall water intake can also give you an early warning of potential health concerns. For example, if you notice your dog is suddenly drinking much more water than usual, this could indicate issues such as kidney failure, and diabetes mellitus.

Which Freshpet recipes
make the best food for senior dogs?

Every Freshpet recipe is crafted with ingredients that ensure
your dog gets all of the nutrients they need during their senior years. So when
it comes to deciding which Freshpet recipe is the best food for senior dogs, it
comes down to your pup’s preferences.

Currently, Freshpet offers three distinct recipe formats:

  • Bagged meals: Our fully
    cooked and ready-to-serve bagged meals contain ground protein with a
    vitamin-rich assortment of fruits and veggies.
  • Rolls: Our classic
    slice-and-serve rolls can be served as discs, blocks, or mashed.
  • Patties and
    Our Patties can be served cut up, broken apart, or shredded
    either on their own or with a complementing Mixer.

No one format is better than the other for senior dogs – it all
comes down to which texture and flavors your dog prefers.

If you’re not sure where to start, our Freshpet vet, Dr. Aziza, suggests trying Freshpet® Select Fresh from the Kitchen™ Home Cooked Chicken recipe as it has a high moisture content, antioxidant-rich cranberries, and high-quality protein that is a healthy dog food option for senior dogs.

Alternatively, you could consider a recipe where the primary protein is salmon, such as the Freshpet® Select Multi-Protein Complete meal with Chicken, Beef, Egg, and Salmon recipe. Salmon is high in vitamin E, which can be beneficial for senior dogs to have in slightly higher amounts than younger dogs.

mid-sized senior black dog licking its lips and sitting in a sunny grass field.

We hope you have a better understanding of senior dog nutrition
needs and how to choose the best food for senior dogs. If you have any further
questions on choosing the right recipe for your senior dog, speak to your
veterinarian – they will be able to make recommendations based on your dog’s
specific needs.


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