According to the ASPCA, senior dogs (starting in the 5-7 age range, depending on size and breed) are more liable to gain body fat, despite lower overall caloric consumption. For this reason, dog food formulations with lower caloric density are recommended.
The needs of senior dogs do not change in one important respect. Older dogs continue to require consistent levels of protein, in an easily digestible form. Protein intake is not a significant contributor to kidney failure, as some have claimed. A diet abundant in proteins helps older canines maintain optimal muscle mass.
Senior dogs also benefit from increased intake of the omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is vital to skin and coat health. Elevated levels of beta-carotene, vitamin E, are also recommended and fructooligosaccharides (FLO) play an essential role in ensuring that beneficial bacteria thrive.