One of the most important things for a senior dog (ESPECIALLY a lab) is to make sure he is not overweight. I have seen several overweight labs lives shortened by several years just because extra weight on a old dog strains their heart, and other vital organs.
Keeping that in mind, a senior food is a great thing to feed, as long as 1. It's a high quality food with Gloucosamine and Chondrotion in it, and 2. It's a low fat, or reduced fat formula (LIGHT is not the same thing!!)
I have a (almost) senior Rottweiler who was getting a little too chunky for my liking. Since he is a high energy dog, I put him on Innova EVO reduced fat formula, and it worked wonderfully for him. It is a high protein, ultra low carb, grain free, reduced fat food that benefited him all down the list. The only downside with the EVO line is that the level of Gloucosamine and Chondrotion were not high enough for my liking, so I added a joint support in pill form to his meals (Wellness makes a great double strength formula for large breed dogs)
There are several great brands of large breed senior dry food that I would reccomend:
are four great ones that I can think of off the top of my head
brands to stay away from are all grocery store brands like:
not only do these foods have inadequate ingredients, they are also high in fat and carbs, and they make LIGHT formulas that are useless.
Another very important thing you can do is STOP VACCINATIONS! Veterinarians only tell you to vaccinate year after year after year so you will spend the money. ONE rabies vaccination has enough protection in it to stay in the dog's body for OVER SEVEN YEARS!! When a dog gets older, their immune system weakens, and unnecessary vaccinations just weaken it faster. If your dog has had a rabies vax in the last five years, don't ever do it again. He's good and protected for the rest of his life. Don't let the vet pound into your head that he can get bit by a squirrel and die of rabies...it won't happen.
My German Shepherd (who's three) and younger Rott (who's one) were both vaccinated with a three year rabies vax last year, and I don't ever plan on vaccinating again. My older Rott was vaccinated with a three year rabies, 5 years ago, and I got a titer blood test done this year to check the levels of the vaccine left in his blood, the test said he is protected for another 6 years!!
is a great place to visit for more information on nutrition and vaccinating for senior dogs, it's a great community with a holistic view of dog care.