A prospective study was conducted in client-owned geriatric dogs to evaluate the short-term effects of a test food on serum symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) and creatinine (Cr) concentrations. Test food contained functional lipids (fish oil), antioxidants (lipoic acid, vitamins C and E), L-carnitine, botanicals (fruits and vegetables), controlled sodium concentration, and high quality protein sources (high bioavailability and an ideal amino acid composition). Dogs (n = 210) were fed either test food or owner's-choice foods (non-nutritionally controlled cohort). Dogs were included based on age and body weight: small (6.8 to 11.4 kg) and medium dogs (11.5 to 22.7 kg) were ≥ 9 years, whereas dogs >22.7 kg were ≥ 7 years at baseline. At baseline, all dogs had to have serum Cr concentrations within the reference interval and be free of chronic disease. Renal function biomarkers and urinalysis results at baseline, and after consuming test food or owner's-choice foods for 3 and 6 months, were evaluated. Only dogs consuming test food showed significant decreases in serum SDMA and Cr concentrations (both P ≤ 0.05) across time. At baseline or during the 6-month feeding trial, 18 dogs (8.6%) had increased serum SDMA, but normal serum Cr, consistent with IRIS Stage 1 chronic kidney disease. This included 9 dogs fed test food and 9 dogs fed owner's-choice foods. Compared with baseline, after feeding 9 dogs test food for 6 months, serum SDMA decreased in 8 dogs and increased in 1 dog. After feeding 9 dogs owner's-choice foods for 6 months, serum SDMA decreased in 4 dogs and increased in 4 dogs (remained stable in 1 dog). The decreases in serum SDMA and Cr concentrations were significant (both P = 0.03) only for dogs fed test food. These results suggest that nonazotemic dogs with elevated serum SDMA (early renal insufficiency) when fed a test food designed to promote healthy aging are more likely to demonstrate improved renal function compared with dogs fed owner's-choice foods.