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

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.