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My oldest dog Maggie is at the dawn of her senior years. I wrote a lengthy article as to what senior dogs require HERE.

In summary senior dogs require:

  • More protein
  • Possibly less calories as their metabolic energy requirements decrease

Older Dogs Are Picky With Their Food – Or Do They Just Want it Warm?

Older dogs body constitution changes and they seek warmth.

As such they tend to favor either cooked (warm) food or raw food that has been seared so that it’s partially warm.


Senior dogs tend to have kidney disease, periodontal disease, osteoarthritis, and hypothyroidism. They may also have reduced immunity and have different dietary requirements.

What if Your Senior Dog Has Kidney Failure?

  • Feed a diet that is higher in fat with moderate amounts of high-quality protein
  • Feed low amounts of phosphorus. Feed less bone if you are raw feeding.
  • Whole wheat, oatmeal, brown rice, millet, and other whole grains are moderately high in phosphorus and should not be fed often or in large amounts. White rice is low in phosphorus, and glutinous or sticky rice is the lowest-phosphorus grain.
  • Supply filtered low mineral bottled water instead of tap water to drink.

What If Your Senior Dog has Osteoarthritis?

  • Feed a diet right in natural glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Feed fresh oily fish so that your senior dog has a bioavailable source for Omega-3.
  • Feed medicinal mushrooms to reduce inflammation.

What If Your Senior Dog Has Hypothyroidism

  • Get your dog off kibble and onto a raw or gently cooked diet
  • Natural remedies like kelp, stinging nettle or astragalus can help. A holistic practicioner or integrative vet can guide you through the correct dosage
  • Avoid raw meat bones that are necks (duck, chicken and turkey neck)
  • Avoid kelp or iodine supplements or seek out the advice of a canine nutritionist to understand the dosage amount

Final Thoughts

Senior dogs’ muscles start to atrophy when they get older. This coupled with slowing down means you need to feed the best quality protein while decreasing calories fed.

Senior dogs tend to get cold. Keeping them warm (put sweaters on them in the colder months) and feeding them warm food can help.

Senior dogs might have fewer teeth so feed the appropriate raw meaty bones for their dentition.