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What is Senior Dog Food and Does My Dog Need It?

Written by Anna Hollisey

Updated

Older beagle chilling on the grass

When your dog begins to slow down on walks, take more naps or put on weight, it’s a sign that their metabolism is changing. In their senior years, dogs have different nutritional needs and you can support them with the right kind of food. 

AAFCO’s Dog Food Nutrient Profiles

The FDA regulates dog food to ensure it contains the right nutrients at the right levels. They use AAFCO’s nutrient profiles as their guidelines. There are currently two different dog food profiles: one for puppies (growth) and one for adults (maintenance). In the future there could be an additional profile for senior dogs, but that’s not here yet. 

So who checks the contents of a dog food labelled ‘Senior’? The regs say that these recipes should meet the requirements of the adult profile. But they’re allowed to contain extra portions of some ingredients (provided they don’t exceed the maximum).

What Goes into a Senior Dog Food?

This decision is down to the individual manufacturer, so it pays to do some research before you choose a senior dog food. 

Does your dog have joint problems, stiffness, or arthritis? Consider a senior food which contains added glucosamine, chondroitin and omega-3.

Has your dog slowed down and become less active? Older dogs have slower metabolisms. To prevent them from putting on weight, choose a senior food which contains more quality protein (to support muscle mass) and fewer calories. If you’re already feeding them premium food, you could think about reducing portion sizes very slightly. 

For mental health and wellbeing, you could look for ingredients such as fish or krill oil and antioxidant-rich foods like sweet potato and blueberry. 

Dull fur? Older dogs often look less shiny and sometimes develop skin lesions. To support their skin and coat, choose a food with extra vitamins (especially vitamin A) and omega-3. 

Does My Dog Need Senior Dog Food?

When our dogs begin to age, we are keen to give them the very best care that we can. At around the age of 7-10 (depending on life expectancy), they’re considered to be ‘seniors’. But before you swap them over to senior food, make a quick call to your vet. 

Often, dogs will benefit from certain ingredients which are chosen to tackle their particular concerns. The decision will depend on their health, weight, and activity level. If your dog has heart or kidney problems, you’ll need to give them a specialized food. So take advice to find out how you can support your dog’s health in the right way. 

FOTP Supplements for Senior Dogs

We know that you want to give your dog the best chance to lead a long and healthy life. Things like joint pain and anxiety can cause unnecessary distress, but there’s some good news. There are ingredients which are clinically proven to help improve these conditions. For example, glucosamine and chondroitin are widely used for joint health. Brain health gets a boost from omega-3 and gut health can be supported by probiotics. 

We’ve blended the best ingredients to make our supplements, and you can choose by concern. If you want to try an all-rounder to help your dog bounce into their senior years, try sprinkling The One over their daily dish.