The Bottom Line on the 6 Best Wet Food for Senior Dogs

As a dog reaches old age, it doesn’t come without challenges for the pet and its owner. 

Selecting the best wet food for senior dogs can be rather stressful, especially when the dog has spent most of its best years eating dry food from the same brand. This article offers some recommendations on where to start when a dog retires from their hectic dog life.

Wet food for dog

Feeding the Right Senior Dog Food 

Giving the right dog food for senior dogs is critical for pets’ fragile health. And when it comes to switching from dry to wet food, confusion may take place. 

The knowledge of wet dog food comes as long as one starts searching. To help with that, the points are more proteins and fiber, gel consistency, lower calories, and the specific breed.

This way, you’ll have a starting point where you can experiment with flavors.

Our Best Dog Food for Older Dogs

To start with, let’s take a look at the honorary mention we recommend as a team. 

Royal Canin senior dog food has been one of the leaders in the market for a long time, offering multiple food options. 

The brand has created a gel formula for senior dogs to consume the food more easily and provide hydration.

The recipe includes chicken, pork liver, corn meal, rice, salmon, vegetable oil, and vitamins and minerals necessary for a senior dog’s well-being. 

The brand certainly has a veterinarian’s recommendation. The customers also appreciated the product’s portion size (13.5 oz, or 382 grams), quality of ingredients, and flavor. The price is also affordable, making Royal Canin a favorite for pet owners. 

What to Look for in Wet Senior Dog Food

Searching for a can of the best wet food for senior dogs can be difficult, especially if a dog needs a specific set of nutrients. 

In this segment, one may introduce themselves to the essential nutrients a senior dog usually needs.

Protein Supply

Protein is an important nutrient for seniors, necessary for building and supporting muscle tissue. As dogs age, they lose their muscle mass, so the need for protein intake gradually increases. 

A recommended amount of protein for a senior dog is more than 2 ounces (75 grams) per 1,000 calories.  

Fiber Supply

Fiber has several benefits for older dogs, with one being regular stool. Senior dogs often suffer from constipation, so to help them defecate, it’s better to focus on sufficient fiber supply.

An old dog’s diet must include 0.8 to 1.2 oz (25 to 35 g) of fiber daily.

Calories

The overall calorie intake for dogs varies as they age. A dog’s metabolism slows yearly, meaning older pets can easily become overweight.

A normal calorie intake for senior dogs is around 350 calories per day. A perfect number depends on the dog’s weight and breed. Smaller species (about 10 lb (4.5kg).) need about 218 calories per day; 20 lb (9 kg) dogs need about 366 calories; 40 lb (18 kg) dogs – 616 calories, and so on. 

Fatty Acids

Like protein, fatty acids are some of the most critical nutrients in a pet’s diet. Old dogs, like old people, are prone to cognitive decline. This means there’s a higher risk of memory losses, scant attention, and lower trainability.

Essential fatty acids support a pet’s cognitive functions – memory, attention, orientation, etc. The older the dog, the more support it needs, and a fats-rich diet can provide it.

Ingredients 

Now, it’s time to talk about the components of senior dog food. 

The proportion of ingredients depends on the dog’s breed, size, age, and health condition. The only hard-and-fast rule is protein, fat, and fiber balance.

Some natural protein sources for older dogs include eggs, fish (especially liver), milk and dairy, and meat.

As for healthy fatty acids, one should consider fish oils in salmon, herring, mackerel, etc. Combining the sources of protein and fatty acids in one product kills two birds with one stone.

One can focus on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to include fiber in a dog’s diet. Green beans, canned pumpkin, or steamed sweet potatoes are perfect soft dog food for senior dogs.

Other important chemical ingredients include antioxidants (e.g., Alpha Lipoic Acid), chondroitin, glucosamine, probiotics, amino acids (e.g., L-Carnitine, L-lysine, Taurine), essential vitamins, and minerals. 

Moisture Content

Regarding dog food, there are two types of food based on moisture content – dry and wet senior dog food. 

Dry dog food contains 10 to 12 percent moisture content, while wet food is more moist – 75 to 78 percent. 

Wet food is easier to chew, which fits senior dogs perfectly.

So, when choosing wet senior dog food, one should prefer the brands with high moisture content.

Texture

Senior dogs require a more gentle texture when it comes to food. 

Rougher texture can be harmful to sensitive dents of senior dogs. In contrast, soft texture can help dogs with missing teeth or micro-injuries in the mouth consume food and maintain weight. 

AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement 

Traditionally, all pet food labels include the following:

  • Brand name or another unique identifier;
  • Amount of product according to product weight and liquid proportion;
  • The mark of guaranteed quality, with all specific nutrients;
  • List of ingredients in descending order, according to their weight;
  • Nutritional adequacy statement, with the evidence that the product gives necessary nutrients;
  • Life stages the food is suitable for are on the package;
  • The name of manufacturer and address;
  • Statement of calories.

The Pros and Cons of Wet Dog Food for Senior Dogs

As the article mentioned, wet senior dog food has clear benefits over dry food. Now it’s time to discuss the pros and cons of wet dog food for older dogs.

The Benefits of Wet Senior Dog Food 

  1. Better hydration

Sometimes it is hard to follow whether or not the dog is drinking enough water. Senior dogs can drink more water, so they need constant access to the source of hydration.

Wet food is great for maintaining the hydration level intact.

Increased water intake serves the pet’s organism, relieving strain on the kidneys and urinary tract.

Providing enough hydration also benefits diabetic dogs or dogs with kidney issues.

  1. Easier chewing

Wet dog food is an obvious option for senior dogs who have trouble chewing, either because of missing teeth, weak jaws, or small mouths. 

Another benefit of wet food is its flavor and aroma. Older dogs may have trouble smelling, so dry food may not be as enticing to them, meaning they may eat less. Instead, wet dog food has a rich flavor that encourages older dogs to eat.

  1. More taste

Just like wet dog food is more fragrant, it is also more pleasant for the dog’s taste buds. 

Giving a pet food that is both aromatic and pleasant on the tongue can be a nice solution for senior dogs that have a low appetite. 

  1. More protein and fatty acids

Wet food contains more protein and fat nutrients than dry dog food. It is also lower in carbohydrates, which play a major role in obesity among dogs. 

The Cons of Wet Senior Dog Food

  1. Spoils faster

Wet dog food has longer shelf life when unopened compared to dry food. However, when left out, it can spoil pretty quickly, making it not only inedible but also dangerous for a pet’s digestion. 

If there are any leftovers from a previous package, it is better to put them in the refrigerator. 

  1. More expensive

Since wet food is moist and easier to spoil, it’s more expensive than dry food. 

And if one prefers buying their senior dog wet food, the cost will be high.

  1. Unpleasant smell

What is attractive about the smell of wet food to dogs may not be as pleasant to their owners. So one has to prepare if their senior dogs need it.

  1. It is messier

Unlike dry food, that one can easily scoop with a bowl, wet food is not the case. It’s more time-consuming to open a can and spoon the food out.  

  1. Excessive fat

Wet dog food contains more fat than dry food. For some senior dogs with little activity level, the fat from wet food can have adverse health outcomes. 

So, sometimes fat-included meals may not be the best wet food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs.

  1. Tartar buildup

Wet food has another significant disadvantage. If a dog eats wet food regularly but has no proper dental care routine, there is a higher risk of tartar buildup – hard brownish-gray plaque on the dog’s teeth.

The Benefits of Canned Senior Dog Food

There must be a reason why canned food for dogs deserves a separate article. In fact, wet canned food has many benefits over dry packaged food. 

First of all, canned dog food has more meat protein compared to dry food. It explains why canned food – including wet senior dog food – is more expensive. 

Secondly, wet food has fewer carbs. For senior dogs, it’s essential as they require more protein and fiber. Kibble food needs more carbohydrates to keep its solid form. Carbohydrates also substitute for the lack of protein. For senior dogs, dry food can be uncomfortable to eat, especially if they have dental problems.

Another reason why canned food is better for senior dogs is fewer preservatives. The canning process preserves food, whereas dry food needs preservatives to stay edible. 

Finally, canned food is more variable than dry food, which allows different sampling flavors and choosing the dog’s favorite.

Yorkshire dog eating wet food

An Overview of the Best Wet Senior Dog Food

Product NameBest for Case
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog FoodBest for all breeds, including dogs with sensitive stomachs
Purina Pro Plan Senior High Protein, Gravy Adult Wet Dog FoodBest for all breeds, especially for dogs with specific hydration needs
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken DinnerBest for all breeds, especially for dogs with bland preferences
IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Puppy & Senior Wet Dog FoodBest for all breeds, including dogs with a fragile immune system
Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Canned Dog FoodBest wet dog food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs. Suitable for all breeds
Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog FoodBest for all breeds, specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs, Beef & Barley Recipe, 13 oz. Cans, Pack of 12
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food, Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)
Product name
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs, Beef & Barley Recipe, 13 oz. Cans, Pack of 12
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food, Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)
Price
$33.00
$33.24
$46.56
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
Product name
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
Price
$33.00
Buy now
Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs, Beef & Barley Recipe, 13 oz. Cans, Pack of 12
Product name
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs, Beef & Barley Recipe, 13 oz. Cans, Pack of 12
Price
$33.24
Buy now
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food, Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)
Product name
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food, Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12)
Price
$46.56
Buy now

Our Reviews on the Best Wet Food for Senior Dogs

Now that one knows the basics, it’s time to review the six best senior dog food options to choose the one that suits one’s pet the most. 

All the brands above have a designated reputation and a trusting circle of customers. When choosing the brand that suits one’s dog, the point is to select ingredients with the necessary nutrients. So, let’s take a look at what’s inside those packages!   

Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food (Best for All Breeds, Including Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs)

Amazon Award in Canned Dog Food by Hill’s Science Diet

General Description 

Brand: Hill’s Science

Product uses: A separate meal

Package form: Canned

Flavor(s): Beef & Barley, Chicken & Barley

Breed recommendation: All breeds

Unit count: Pack of 12

Vet recommended?: Yes

First 5 ingredients: Water, beef, cracked pearled barley, whole grain corn, pork liver

Product features: includes high-quality protein, healthy skin, and coat with vitamin E and omega 6s. 

Age range: Senior

What we like: Includes all necessary nutrients (e.g., protein and fibers) senior dogs require 

What we don’t like: Lack of flavor variety 

Hill’s Science Diet is a part of Colgate-Palmolive company, with its mission to make grain-inclusive food for dogs of all breeds and sizes.

Serving the product in cans (13 oz, or 368 grams), Hill’s combined meat and grain to suit dogs aged 7 and older. 

The nutrient value of Hill’s Science wet dog food includes high-quality protein, digestible ingredients, and significant antioxidants. Being full of protein and fiber, this wet dog food is exactly what senior dogs need.  

The customer ratings play in favor of this brand. Customers find the ingredient quality, longevity, and flavor highly satisfying; as for its value for money, the customers find it more reasonable than not.

Overall, Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food takes one of the crown places in the list of best dog food for older dogs.

However, one disadvantage Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food has is the lack of variety. 

Purina Pro Plan Senior High Protein, Gravy Adult Wet Dog Food (Best for All Breeds, Especially for Dogs With Specific Hydration Needs)

General Description 

Brand: Purina

Product uses: A separate meal

Package form: Canned

Breed recommendation: All breeds

Unit count: Pack of 12

Vet recommended?: Yes

First 5 ingredients: Water, beef, chicken, liver, wheat gluten

Product features: Includes natural beef and vegetables combined in gravy for easier consumption 

Age range: Adult

What we like: Soft texture with gravy is useful for senior dogs’ digestion

What we don’t like: It is difficult to find at times.

Purina has been a symbol of high-quality pet food for a long time. No wonder it is difficult to find their product in stock sometimes – they vanish off the shelves immediately.

Being one of the dog food leaders for more than 80 years, the company produces high-quality food for dogs of all ages.

Suitable for all breeds, Purina Pro Plan Senior is great for its soft texture, with gravy keeping ingredients moist.

The 13 oz (368 grams) can of Purina Pro Plan Senior offers a mix of beef and vegetables for adult and senior dogs.

Another advantage of Purina before the previous contestant is going in a pack of twelve, making it more convenient to buy and use. 

Also, unlike Hill’s Science, Purina’s ingredients include more meat options like beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, and vegetables. This way, it is much easier for pet owners to choose one perfect option that their senior dog would love.

The developers also mentioned the unique formula contains 23 essential vitamins and nutrients, with 0% artificial flavors or preservatives. Hence, everything is as natural as possible. 

In the case of Purina, the veterinarians’ recommendation goes hand-in-hand with customer ratings. According to the latter, the product’s quality is worth its price.

The one and only disadvantage of Purina Pro Plan Senior is being hard to find at times (as it is prevalent).

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner (Best for All Breeds, Especially for Dogs With Bland Preferences)

General Description

Brand: Blue Buffalo

Product uses: a treat, a separate meal, an addition to dry food

Package form: Canned

Flavor(s): Chicken

Breed recommendation: All breeds

Unit count: Pack of 12

Vet recommended?: Yes

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas

Product Features: High-quality chicken protein and only natural ingredients

Age range: Senior

What we like: Only natural ingredients without by-products and rough textures 

What we don’t like: Specific scent that doesn’t appeal to most pet owners

Blue Buffalo is one of the leaders in the market for dog food that started in 2003 with its mission to provide high-quality senior dog food with natural ingredients. No wheat, corn, and soy are part of the recipe and poultry by-products. It is the #1 rule of Blue Buffalo.

With chicken as one of the key ingredients, the final product is full of high-quality protein that helps support the dog’s muscles.

The wet dog food by Blue Buffalo is convenient for most dog breeds, similar to other options on the list. This tendency makes it easier for small and big dogs to choose wet food.

Available in packs of twelve cans (12.5 oz., or 354 grams each), Blue Buffalo is easy to buy wholesale.

Another advantage of Blue Buffalo is the variety of ways to introduce it to the dog. One can serve Blue Homestyle Recipe in three ways: as a treat, as an addition to dry food, or as a meal on its own. 

The customers have acknowledged the benefits of Blue Buffalo – the Amazon reviews show complete satisfaction with quality, flavor, and value for money. 

The only disadvantage here is the scent – apparently, it did not appeal to all pet owners. So, it’s a case-to-case situation.

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Puppy & Senior Wet Dog Food (Best for All Breeds, Including Dogs With a Fragile Immune System)

Amazon Award in Canned Dog Food by IAMS Proactive Health 

General Description

Brand: IAMS

Product uses: A separate meal

Package form: Canned

Flavor(s): Chicken & Rice

Breed recommendation: All breeds

Unit count: Pack of 12

Vet recommended?: Yes

First 5 ingredients: sufficient water for processing, meat by-products, chicken, chicken by-products, brown rice

Product Features: High-quality chicken protein and omega fatty acids

Age range: Senior

What we like: It is perfect for really old dogs (7+ years)

What we don’t like: Similar to Purina, IAMS is sometimes difficult to find 

This one is Amazon’s favorite, actually. IAMS provides a great variety of foods for pets. For IAMS, its mission is to provide healthy and versatile food for dogs and cats.

The company has developed a special line of wet food for senior dogs. IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH with slow-cooked chicken and rice in sauce provides the best nutrition for puppies and old dogs who need gentle and soft food. 

IAMS specifically focuses on high-quality animal protein and essential vitamins to help protect the fragile immune system of senior dogs. 

What distinguishes IAMS from other brands is leaving chicken skin and coat so that the food has omega fatty acids, which are important for senior dogs’ brain work.

IAMS senior dog food is best suitable for breeds whose old age starts at seven. It has also received a veterinarian’s recommendation.   

Customer reviews also prove the brand’s excellence – the product’s flavor and value for money prove it.

The only disadvantage IAMS have is its popularity. Like Purina, cans of IAMS fly off the shelves, so finding them can be difficult. 

Halo Holistic Chicken Recipe Senior Canned Dog Food (Best for All Breeds, Including Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs)

Amazon Award in Canned Dog Food by Halo Holistic

General Description

Brand: Halo 

Product uses: A separate meal

Package form: Canned

Flavor(s): Chicken

Breed recommendation: All breeds

Unit count: Pack of 6

Vet recommended?: Yes

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, oat bran, pea flour

Product Features: Includes whole meat

Age range: Senior

What we like: Added hydration, perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs

What we don’t like: Fewer cans in a pack, compared to other brands

Another Amazon’s choice. Halo natural wet dog food seems to collect all organic and sustainable ingredients under the lid. 

Having the approval of veterinarians, Halo introduces a great variety of meat and veggie ingredients, which makes their wet dog food nutritious to the very top. 

Halo focuses on including whole meat in their dog food, along with non-GMO vegetables and fruits. Altogether, these ingredients provide all essential vitamins and minerals.

Another great advantage of Halo is avoiding artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Furthermore, their wet senior dog food has added hydration, smoothing the texture and taste for dogs with trouble chewing. 

Undoubtedly, this feature makes Halo the best wet food for senior dogs with sensitive stomachs. 

The customer review on Halo senior dog is also nothing but positive.

However, the only disadvantage is the number of cans. Unlike other brands, Halo provides a pack of six cans, 13.2 oz (374 grams) each. As for the rest, Halo is a great option for senior dogs.

Wellness Complete Health Senior Formula Canned Dog Food (Best for All Breeds, Including Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs)

Amazon Award in Canned Dog Food by Wellness Complete Health

General Description

Brand: Wellness

Product uses: A separate meal

Package form: Canned

Flavor(s): Chicken

Breed recommendation: All breeds

Unit count: Single cans

Vet recommended?: Yes

First 5 ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, whitefish, chicken liver, ground barley

Product Features: High-quality protein, dietary fiber and antioxidants from vegetables, and omega fatty acids

Age range: Senior

What we like: Suitable for all breed sizes

What we don’t like: It doesn’t come in packs.

Finally, the last competitor on the list is Wellness Complete Health. Unlike other brands mentioned earlier, Wellness cannot boast the same amount of benefits.

The brand provides only one formula for senior dogs – chicken wet dog food. Despite the lack of variety, the brand has a recommendation from veterinarians for its healthy ingredients.

Wellness senior dog food includes high-quality protein with skin and coat for additional omega fatty acids. Carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of fiber and antioxidants.

Wellness Complete Formula is suitable for breeds of all sizes – large, small, and toy – unlike other products from this brand.

Unfortunately, Wellness senior dog food does not come in packs, which is a severe disadvantage alongside its simple menu. But overall, Wellness is a good food option for old dogs. 

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We love our customers and try to provide services that equal this love. Read our article and find out The Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd Puppy.

Brown dog eating

Final Words

Choosing the right food for a senior dog seems responsible and even scary. Poor health and physiological changes in a dog’s body are inevitable. 

However, most dog food brands have taken this responsibility, such as the Royal Canin senior dog food, allowing pet owners to spend more time with their furry friends when needed. So, no worries should dim the happiness of family union with one’s senior dog anymore.  

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