Soft Dog Food For Senior Dogs — When Should You Switch?

Dog with a full food bowl

It’s hard seeing your dog get older. However, as your dog ages, there are several things that you should be watching out for to prolong their health and ensure that they continue to live happy, comfortable lives. One of those elements is diet.

It isn’t only important to modify what goes inside your dog’s body.

You must make sure that whatever they put in their mouth is easy for them to process so it does not damage their aging teeth. That’s why soft dog food for senior dogs is a must, and it’s crucial that you know when it’s time to switch.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to decide when to transition to soft dog food for senior dogs. We highlight the signs to look out for and reveal the best soft dog food choices that will be gentle but enjoyable for your senior pet friend.

Table of Contents

Best Soft Dog Food For Senior Dogs

Best Flavors
Best Dry Dog Food
Best Natural
PEDIGREE Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Soft Wet Meaty Dog Food Variety Pack, (24) 3.5 Oz. Pouches
Purina Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food, Burger with Cheddar Cheese Flavor - 36 ct. Pouch
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
PEDIGREE Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Soft Wet Meaty Dog Food Variety Pack, (24) 3.5 Oz. Pouches
Purina Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food, Burger with Cheddar Cheese Flavor - 36 ct. Pouch
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
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Best Flavors
PEDIGREE Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Soft Wet Meaty Dog Food Variety Pack, (24) 3.5 Oz. Pouches
PEDIGREE Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Soft Wet Meaty Dog Food Variety Pack, (24) 3.5 Oz. Pouches
Best Dry Dog Food
Purina Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food, Burger with Cheddar Cheese Flavor - 36 ct. Pouch
Purina Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food, Burger with Cheddar Cheese Flavor - 36 ct. Pouch
-
Best Natural
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)

Even in their old age, your dog deserves nothing but the best. So these are the best soft dog food for senior dogs to trigger your dog’s appetite and maintain their health.

PEDIGREE Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Wet Dog Food — Best Flavors

PEDIGREE Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Soft Wet Meaty Dog Food Variety Pack, (24) 3.5 Oz. Pouches
  • Contains (24) 3.5 ounce pouches of Pedigree choice cuts in gravy adult dog wet food: (6) filet mignon flavor, (6) grilled chicken flavor, (6) chicken...
  • Made with real chicken or beef in gravy for an irresistible taste dogs will love
  • Pedigree choice cuts adult wet dog food is 100% complete and balanced

First on our list of best senior dog food is Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Wet Dog Food.

From a brand trusted by dog lovers everywhere, this pack of wet dog food contains four different flavors that will have even humans salivating — filet mignon, grilled chicken, chicken casserole, and beef noodle and vegetable flavor. They use real chicken and beef for an irresistible taste that your dog will love.

Served in a convenient, single-serve pouch, this dog food has meaty bites that provide a soft texture and abundance of flavor. If your dog has just started transitioning into their old age and can handle it, mix this Pedigree dog food with their kibble to encourage them to eat more. 

Key features:

  • Contains a variety of gourmet flavors
  • Made from high-quality USDA ingredients
  • Convenient single-serve pouches

Purina Moist & Meaty Burger with Cheddar Cheese Flavor Adult Dry Dog Food — Best Dry Dog Food

Purina Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food, Burger with Cheddar Cheese Flavor - 36 ct. Pouch
  • One (1) 36-Count Pouch - Purina Moist & Meaty Dry Dog Food, Burger with Cheddar Cheese Flavor
  • Made with Real Beef
  • Serve up the Smiles

Soft dog food for senior dogs doesn’t have to mean wet dog food, as proven by this Purina Moist & Meaty Adult Dry Dog Food. Many customers have found this offering from Purina a great choice for their fussy older dogs. 

With tender, meaty pieces made from real meat, this dog food is dry yet tender and moist with a hearty taste. This dry food uses beef and chicken to provide your aging dog with the necessary amount of protein for all the energy they need. 

Because it is packed in stay-fresh pouches for easy serving, this is a mess-free meal for you and your dog. This burger with cheddar cheese flavor particularly packs a punch, but there’s also a bacon and egg option if your dog would prefer that. 

Key features:

  • Dry dog food that’s tender
  • Stay-fresh pouches for easy serving
  • Choice of burger with cheese or egg and bacon

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food — Best Natural

Sale
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
  • REAL CHICKEN FIRST: This paté style wet dog food features high-quality protein from real chicken to support healthy muscle maintenance
  • FEED THREE WAYS: BLUE Homestyle Recipe senior dog food makes a delicious treat, adds interest mixed into their favorite dry foods or can be fed as a...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: All BLUE canned dog foods are made with the finest natural ingredients and enhanced with vitamins and minerals

If you’re looking for a no-fuss option that provides your aging dog with the nutrition they need, then Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle Recipe Dog Food is the way to go.

This pate-style wet dog food is simple but has everything you need to support your dog’s muscle maintenance. Made from high-quality protein from real chicken and enhanced with vitamins and minerals, you’ll find no animal by-products, fillers, or preservatives here, making this pet food a perfect, well-rounded meal for your senior pet.

This is certainly a healthy choice for mature dogs. Many dog owners say that if your dog is a picky eater, Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle Recipe does the trick.

Key features:

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Simple, pate-style dog food
  • No animal by-products

Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food Variety Packs, 24 Trays — Best for Variety 

CESAR Soft Wet Dog Food Classic Loaf in Sauce Poultry Variety Pack, (24) 3.5 oz. Easy Peel Trays with Real Chicken, Turkey or Duck
  • Contains one (1) 24 count case of 3.5 ounce easy peel trays of Cesar Wet Dog Food Poultry Variety Pack: (6) Duck Recipe, (6) Grilled Chicken Flavor,...
  • Crafted without grains and with US Chicken, U.S., Turkey or Duck as the ingredient
  • Cesar Wet Dog Food is complete and balanced and fortified with vitamins and minerals to help dogs of all sizes, especially small dog breeds, stay...

Next on our list of soft dog food for senior dogs, we have Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food Variety Pack.

This variety pack is a great choice for dogs that appreciate a multitude of different and distinct flavors. The flavors in this pack include:

  • Duck recipe
  • Grilled chicken flavor
  • Oven-roasted chicken flavor
  • Turkey recipe

Made in the USA and grain-free, this Cesar wet dog food is fortified with the vitamins and minerals your dog needs. It provides additional benefits to smaller breeds, but dogs of all sizes will enjoy the rich flavor of this dog food. 

Key features:

  • Variety of gourmet flavors
  • Separated into convenient trays
  • Great for older picky eaters

Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7 Plus for Senior Dogs — Best for Small Dog Breeds

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Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs, Small Paws for Small Breeds, Savory Stew Chicken & Vegetables, 3.5 oz Trays, 12-pack
  • High-quality protein to help your senior dog maintain lean muscles
  • Made with purposeful, easily digestible ingredients older dogs enjoy
  • Formulated with key nutrients to support dogs aged 7 and older

Last on our list of the best soft dog food for senior dogs is Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food.

What makes this moist dog food unique is it is made for smaller, older dogs. The high protein content of this dog food helps your senior dog maintain their lean muscle.

Beyond being easier for your aging dog to chew, this moist dog food also uses ingredients that are easy for dogs aged 7 and older to digest. 

The flavor of this particular senior food is a savory stew with chicken and vegetables, which is sure to stimulate your dog’s appetite and keep them satisfied.

Key features:

  • Made for smaller dog breeds
  • Easy to digest ingredients for older dogs
  • Packaged in a convenient, single-serve tray

Signs That It’s Time for Soft Dog Food For Senior Dogs

As a rule of thumb, dogs are mature once they reach the age of 7 years old. Larger breeds live shorter lives and may be considered mature as young as 5 years old. 

However, your dog’s 7th birthday isn’t necessarily the day you have to start feeding them senior dog food. They may still be well and active at that age and need the nutrients and energy they get from kibble. That said, pay attention to the signs of old age to switch your dog’s diet as soon as possible. 

If you think that your dog has more serious health issues, they may need more change than just a different type of dog food. Consult your vet as soon as possible to get them checked out. But if you think your dog is just entering their mature years, then there are a few signs to watch out for that will indicate whether or not it’s time to transition to soft food.

Feeding of hungry dog. Labrador retriever eating granule from metal bowl in morning light at home kitchen.

Sensitive Teeth

One of the most obvious signs that it’s time for soft dog food is when you begin to notice that your dog is experiencing teeth sensitivity. As your dog ages, their teeth become prone to increased sensitivity, resulting in them struggling to chew their kibble or other dry dog food. 

If you notice that your dog continues to experience pain even after you switch their pet food, they may have an infection or another issue, and you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

Digestive Issues

Another clear sign that your dog needs to switch to soft dog food for senior dogs is if you notice that your dog develops digestive issues.

Your dog might not be chewing their food thoroughly enough to properly digest it, which often happens if they experience increased teeth sensitivity. Therefore, if you provide your dog with food that’s easier to chew, it’ll pass through their system easier and alleviate any digestion issues they might have.

Newly Picky Eater

As dogs age, they sometimes tend to become pickier eaters. It isn’t uncommon for older dogs to lose their appetite for dry food. When this happens, it’s a good idea to try soft, wet food, which is generally more appetizing for dogs. 

Better yet, try adding soft wet food to your dog’s kibble to see if that makes them more willing to continue eating their regular food. This is also a great way to eventually transition to wet food when they start experiencing tooth and stomach sensitivity.

Weight Gain

Just as is the case with humans, dogs’ metabolisms slow down as they age. As a result, you may notice your older dog gaining weight faster than ever before — potentially approaching the border of overweight. Balanced wet dog foods generally have a higher protein content and fewer carbs, which could help your dog’s weight maintenance. 

It’s important to remember that overweight dogs tend to live shorter lives, so closely monitor your dog’s weight. If you notice your dog approaching the obese category, switching dog foods might not be enough. Talk to your vet immediately about your concerns. 

How to Choose Soft Dog Food for Senior Dogs

You know how to spot the signs that your dog needs softer dog food, but how do you choose the right one?

If your dog is rejecting their regular dog food, it’s important to first understand why. But once you’ve determined the problem, you can select the most suitable dog food to meet their needs.

Here are a few traits that soft dog food for senior dogs have in common and that you should pay attention to during your search:

  • Protein content: As dogs age, they need more protein. Choose dog food with high protein content to feed your dog’s lean muscles.
  • Calories: While dogs can use more protein as they age, they also need fewer calories as they become less active. To avoid overfeeding your dog, check the calories of your dog’s food of choice to ensure they aren’t too much for your dog.
  • Limited preservatives: During their senior years, it’s more important than ever to monitor what you put in your dog’s body. You should aim for dog food with the most natural ingredient options and the least amount of preservatives possible to give your dog the best high-quality food. 
Shot of a Girl with her senior black labrador

Conclusion: Which Soft Dog Food Is Best For Your Dog?

Only your dog can tell you what the best soft dog food for senior dogs is as it’s whatever they find appealing at the time. If you want a starting point to test which dog food would best satisfy your aging pup, you can’t go wrong with a well-known brand such as Pedigree which caters to the taste of most dogs.

However, it is worth having your dog try out different foods to see how each affects their teeth as well as their digestive systems. When you find the right food, you prolong your dog’s life and increase their satisfaction.