Ok, so the first thing that I have to say is that the world of pet food is driven by marketing, at least a lot of it. In reality, there are not specific ingredients or qualifications that a diet has to meet to be called a senior food except that it must be able to be fed to an adult dog or cat (this includes most pet foods).
Why? The powers that be have not been able to agree on the nutrients and minerals that senior pets need. Because of that, a pet food company could conceivably take a pet food, put it in a new bag, label it a senior diet, and no one would know the difference. Shocking, right!?
So, what food do I recommend for senior pets? Honestly, since most seniors have medical issues that can likely benefit from a therapeutic diet, I tend to recommend staying on whatever has been prescribed by your veterinarian.
If you are looking for an over-the-counter diet, I do have some recommendations that you might want to consider. Some larger pet food companies like Purina, Royal Canin, and Hill’s who have animal nutritionists and scientists take the extra step to design their foods to support brain function and restrict some of the dangerous minerals that we know cause issues in senior dogs and cats. I know, this is a hot button issue, but when it comes to our senior four-legged family members I really believe in the power of science to improve quality of life.
– Dr. B