Do Older Dogs Need Different Food?

Walking into your local pet store, you’ll probably notice many different types of dog food on the shelves. Including senior blends.

So, does your older dog actually need a special diet in their later years?

As your furry friend ages, you obviously want to make sure they have the nutrition required to live a happy and healthy life.

But, are those nutritional needs different to a younger dog?

Let’s explore the answers to all of these questions now.

Do Older Dogs Need Different Food?

We’ll give it to you straight… just because your dog is moving into their later years, it doesn’t mean you need to feed them a specific ‘senior blend’ of food.
But, there are some things you need to be mindful of with their diet to ensure they remain happy and healthy. They are:

Weight Gain

Just like humans, a doggo’s metabolism can start to slow as they age. They may also become less active in their later years. So, it’s important to be mindful of their calorie intake to prevent any unnecessary weight gain and related health issues.

To do this, make sure you stick to the recommended daily food intake for your dog’s size. For Real Dog Food kibble, it is recommended to feed 100g (1 cup) per 10kg of body weight.

Tummy Issues

As your pup gets older, they may start to develop digestive issues like a sensitive stomach or a reduced ability to absorb nutrients. There will be definite signs if your dog is experiencing digestive problems. Stuff could be coming out either end when it isn't meant to, or they could be bloated or uncomfortable.

You can make sure they are still getting everything they need to be healthy by choosing dog food that is easily digestible and contains high-quality nutritional ingredients. You can also select an allergy-friendly blend or a grain-free option if you find certain ingredients trigger your pet.

Joint Health

Many senior dogs can experience joint issues like arthritis or decreased mobility. If this is the case for your pup, you’ll notice they might move slower, have obvious stiffness when trying to move, or have pain when getting up.

Even though they might be moving slower, it’s really important to keep them moving with short, easy walks and to feed them food that is rich in nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin. Or, even give a Joint Supplement as a treat to support good joint health and reduce any discomfort.

The Problem With Senior Food Blends

Switching your older dog to a senior food blend is not necessary. And there may even be a couple of dietary concerns involved.

Senior blends tend to have lower calorie content to combat the fact that your dog may become less active in their later years. The thing is though, your dog may not necessarily slow down that much. And some pups even have a greater chance of losing weight in their golden years. So, a lower calorie count isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Senior blends also tend to have reduced dietary protein. This can be dangerous for your puppo as less protein can have the negative effect of contributing to muscle loss. That’s why we recommend sticking to a balanced diet for your pup, regardless of their age.

The Right Food For Older Dogs

While you don’t need to choose a senior specific blend for your doggo, it is important that you still take note of key nutritional considerations.

This is what your senior dog will need:

Balanced Nutrition

All dogs need a dog food that contains balanced nutrition - a blend of all the vitamins, probiotics, proteins, minerals and goodness their bodies need to function well. But, this is especially important for older dogs to maintain good health.

A good balanced diet includes protein, healthy fats, fibre, glucosamine, chondroitin, and antioxidants. Real Dog Food’s Balanced blend is the perfect choice as it ticks all the nutritional boxes being that it was formulated by pet nutrition experts.


Protein is a vital component for maintaining muscle mass and overall good health. Choosing a premium food that includes plenty of lean protein will help keep your older dog full and nourished.

Here at Real Dog Food, we choose human grade proteins that we would be happy to eat ourselves. Grass fed NZ beef and NZ wild fish are our go-to's as they are easily digestible and have great nutritional value. The rest of our ingredients are also 100% natural, so you don’t have to worry about your pup consuming any nasties!

Healthy Fats

Essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 help to promote a healthy coat, healthy skin and good cognitive function. They come from sources like fish, fish oil and flaxseed, which can all be found in our Real Dog Food blends.

Food They Will Love

Your dog deserves the best, especially when they have been a loved member of the family for many years already. So, choose a food that is not only nutritious but is also delicious.

We regularly have reports of dogs drooling as their Real Dog Food is being dished up or of helpful pups reminding their owners when it is time for their Real Dog Food meal. And your pup could join this happy bunch.

Our Balanced, Allergy and Grain Free blends are all great options depending on the dietary needs of your older dog. And if they need a bit of a nutritional boost to keep them mobile, you can top them up with our Joint Formula Treats. Shop for Real Dog Food now.