Best Dog Food For Small Senior Breeds: Reviews & Top Picks

Dogs get old. As they age, their nutritional needs change and their bodies go through massive changes.

As this happens they are more exposed to different health issues which is why they are less and less excited to go for a walk or catch a ball.

To keep them vital as long as possible dog owners choose to do what is in their ultimate power – to provide food that will keep senior dogs strong and active.

Feeding your senior dog with any food won’t do much, but feeding an elderly Fido with food that supports muscle health is a game changer.

Check the best dog food for small size senior dogs below.

How we chose

Because choosing the right food for your dog can be confusing and overwhelming, we reviewed all dog foods.

Every product on our list has been vetted to ensure that it aligns with Barking Royalty’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. Each product in this article:

  • adheres to allowable health claims and labeling requirements
  • is manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs)
  • is produced by a medically credible company that follows ethical, legal, and industry best standards
  • is made by a company that provides objective measures of trust

Additional factors we considered included:

  • Ingredients. We looked for supplements that are free of unnecessary ingredients such as fillers and artificial
  • sweeteners and colors.
  • AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile. We checked if the food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.
  • Price. We included products to suit a range of budgets.

Small Size Senior Dogs Nutrition

Once your small dog turns seven, he is considered a senior dog.

Opposite to large breeds, small size dogs usually don’t experience age-related changes as early. However, their nutritional requirement change as they get older.

Aging requires specific nutrients and the right amount of protein and fat to keep senior dogs active, happy, and healthy.

Dog owners usually do not know exactly where to start, or how to find the best food formulated for their senior dog.

Here is what you should look for in food for senior dogs:

  • Antioxidants
  • High-quality animal-based protein
  • Fiber
  • Carbohydrate

These ingredients are crucial when it comes to serving your senior dog mature nutrition. To help your dog keep his muscles during his senior stage check the best food listed below.

Best Overall

1. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,562 kcal/kg; 388 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 30.0% min
Crude Fat 12.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.5% min
Moisture 11.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.4% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.5% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio8.75, healthy

Deboned chicken is the first ingredient for better taste and richer nutrition, followed by a chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, and potatoes.

For a richer taste, this formula contains a salmon meal and real fruit and vegetable.

Sunflower oil is added to provide additional antioxidants and vitamins. Plus, sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E which keeps the dog’s skin and coat shiny and healthy.

Since senior dogs tend to face many cognitive challenges this formula is carefully shaped to provide enough fish oil, antioxidants, and vitamins to support mental health and cognitive health as dogs age.

Shop Now At Chewy

Best Budget

2. Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Seniors

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, ground brown rice, peas, rice

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3791 kcal/kg, 423 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 25.0% min
Crude Fat 12.0% min
Crude Fiber 5.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio6.0, healthy

Turkey is often used as a mandatory meat ingredient in different dog food formulas.

This meat is known for being a high protein source, which is why deboned turkey is the first ingredient in this formula.

This protein source is followed by a chicken meal, ground brown rice, peas, and rice.

These top five ingredients are carefully selected and mixed to provide the proper amount of nutrients for senior dogs.

Chicken meal is present to provide additional protein, ground brown rice supports energy, while peas deliver fiber and sustains proper digestion.

Thanks to glucosamine and chondroitin presence this formula aims to support joint health.

Tomato pomace is served for a richer taste, while omega fatty acids provide optimal energy levels and a healthy coat and skin.

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Best Grain-Free

3. Orijen Grain-Free Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, turkey giblets

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,630 kcal/kg, 417 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 38.0% min
Crude Fat 15.0% min
Crude Fiber 8.0% min
Moisture 12.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.8% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio3.75, healthy

The first ingredient in this formula is chicken for a richer taste and better digestion, followed by turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, and turkey giblets.

The top five ingredients are carefully selected and mixed to provide a strong protein base and help senior dogs keep their muscles lean and strong.

Turkey giblets are especially rich in vitamins B3 and B12, making them crucial for cognitive health in dogs.

It is fair to say that these vitamins are extremely important when it comes to the proper cell metabolism of dogs.

Plus, giblets are low in fat while being rich in vitamins, making them great support for the dog’s muscle, bone, and tissue growth.

Packed with WholePrey nutrition featuring nutrient-rich organs, this formula includes dried chicory root for a cleaner intestinal tract.

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4. Nutro Natural Choice Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, split peas, brewers rice

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3569 kcal/kg, 319 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 24.0% min
Crude Fat 12.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.2% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio10.0, healthy

Chicken is the main ingredient in this formula to support strong bones and joints, followed by a chicken meal, whole grain barley, split peas, and brewers rice.

Since dogs are less active as they age, this formula is more based on protein than on fat, while still providing enough fat percent.

This is why this formula has only 319 calories per cup.

Thanks to calcium it supports strong bones and joints, a great deal of fiber for digestion, and enough antioxidants to create and maintain a healthy immune system.

This formula is made without corn, wheat, soy protein, or GMOs.

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5. Diamond Naturals Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, ground white rice

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,400 kcal/kg, 347 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 25.0% min
Crude Fat 11.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.3% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.2% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio7.33, healthy

The primary ingredient in this formula is chicken as a protein source, followed by a chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, and ground white rice.

For a richer taste chicken fat is added, while dried chicory root supports proper digestion and enough fiber.

To deliver more fiber, this formula offers kale, chia seed, and fiber-rich pumpkin.

Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food is made in the States from global sources to deliver a balance between protein and fat.

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6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned chicken, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, chicken meal

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,403 kcal/kg, 342 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 18.0% min
Crude Fat 10.0% min
Crude Fiber 7.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.75% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio2.66, healthy

Deboned chicken is the first ingredient in this formula for better taste and a strong protein base, followed by brown rice, barley, oatmeal, and chicken meal.

For better taste, this formula contains chicken fat which also provides enough energy and supports organs to function properly.

Fish oil supports a healthy coat and skin, while carrots, barley grass, parsley, and dried kelp provide enough fiber.

Dogs need fiber to make digestion easier and the intestinal tract stronger.

Since senior dogs tend to suffer from muscle loss, higher protein percentages, and L-Carnitine support healthy muscle maintenance.

Similarly, glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health and mobility.

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7. Eukanuba Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, wheat, chicken fat, corn

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3873 kcal/kg, 387 kcal/cupp
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 29.0% min
Crude Fat 17.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.7% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Rationot disclosed

It is common for dog food to contain chicken due to its features.

Chicken is great to make a richer food texture, enhance easy digestion, and being mixed with other ingredients for a specific flavor.

This is why the main ingredient in this formula is chicken, followed by chicken by-product meal, wheat, chicken fat, and corn.

Chicken fat makes better taste, while egg product delivers more protein.

Vegetable oil makes digestion smooth, while fish oil supports a healthy coat and skin in dogs.

Eukanuba Senior Small Breed dry dog food helps joints be mobile and supports lean muscles.

Plus, it supports healthy brain function in senior dogs thanks to DHA and antioxidants.

Due to its ingredients and balance, this formula is complete and balanced nutrition for senior dogs over 7 years old weighing up to 23 lbs.

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8. Hill’s Science Diet Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 353 kcal/8-oz cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Adult Dog Food
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 15.5% min
Crude Fat 10.5% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.5% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Rationot disclosed

Hill’s have created a special formula for senior dogs to help them have active days.

To make their muscles lean and strong this formula comes with chicken as the main ingredient, followed by cracked pearled barley, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, and whole grain corn.

To make food easier to digest this formula comes in a smaller kibble size, while omega-6 fatty acids are present to keep skin healthy and coat shiny.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is made from natural and high-quality ingredients without any artificial flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives.

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9. Instinct Raw Grain-Free Small Senior Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken meal, salmon meal, chicken, tapioca, chickpeas

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 4,169 kcal/kg, 478 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 36.0% min
Crude Fat 16.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.5% min
Moisture 9.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.6% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.5% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio4.16, healthy

Chicken meal is the first ingredient in this grain-free formula for better taste, followed by a salmon meal, chicken, tapioca, and chickpeas.

Each of the top five ingredients is carefully mixed to provide enough protein and fiber.

Blended in such a manner, this formula provides enough protein to keep muscle active, and sufficient fiber to keep the intestinal tract clean and strong.

Tomato pomace is added for a richer flavor, while salmon oil makes coat and skin healthier.

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10. Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,435 kcal/kg, 349 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 24.0% min
Crude Fat 10.5% min
Crude Fiber 5.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 Fatty Acids1.60% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Rationot disclosed

To support dogs’ lean muscles and help them with joint movement, this formula comes with chicken as its first ingredient.

As the main ingredient, chicken serves to provide enough protein and better taste, followed by chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, and ground whole grain sorghum.

This formula contains antioxidants that should support the dog’s immune system and joint health.

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At What Age Is My Dog Considered Senior?

Dogs are individual creatures and they age at different rates. It is fair to say that different dog’s age at different rates, based on many factors.

As a general rule, small size breeds tend to live longer than large breeds do.

Large breeds tend to live mostly between 10 to 15 years, while giant breeds can live between 6 to 10 years.

Opposite to them are small size breeds who tend to live between 15 to 20 years.

Due to their longevity, small size breeds usually enter their senior life stage around 7 to 10 years of age.

As mentioned, many factors will affect this including:

  • Weight
  • Behavior
  • Energy level

Not sure when to switch your dog to a senior dog? To stop stressing about it and provide your dog with needed nutrition, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian.

The Bottom Line

Senior small breed dogs have certain nutritional needs that should be met. Choosing the wrong food can make your dog feel more tired and less active.

On the other hand, the right food will keep your dog’s nutritional needs in balance, providing the right vitamins and minerals.

When served the right food, dogs should thrive. Always choose food that will help your senior dog stay healthy and energetic in his senior years.