There are plenty of canned dog food brands available but choosing which one is the best is not always easy. There are several factors to consider that can change the quality of your canned food. We’ve chosen 11 different brands to review for you.
Each kind is unique, and we’ll go over the pros and cons of each brand. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide where we discuss the important things to look for when choosing a wet dog food.
Join us while we take an in-depth look at canned dog food and discuss ingredients, omega fats, antioxidants, glucosamine, and more to help you make an educated purchase. Here are the best wet dog foods available this year:
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The 11 Best Wet Dog Foods
1. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Wet Dog Food – Best Overall
You have to love a pet food company started by dog lovers. The owner of The Farmer’s Dog decided to start their own pet food company when they noticed health issues with their pup Jada. They looked to science for answers for producing a high-quality product that met their pet’s nutritional needs. The site takes visitors through a short questionnaire before they make recommendations for your pet’s individual needs.
You can choose from four protein sources: pork, beef, chicken, or turkey. We liked that they have organ meats, which pack a nutritional punch. The protein levels ensured adequate intake as well. The plan includes three recipes, which you can change if necessary. Unfortunately, their clean ingredients and curated plans are a bit expensive.
This food also contains some controversial ingredients, such as chickpeas and lentils. However, the recipes contain taurine, which is certainly a point in their favor. Year-round delivery is always a potential issue, no matter what the shipping method. Nevertheless, we suggest that pet owners discuss these options with their vet before switching their pup’s diet.
All in all, this is our pick for the best wet dog food you can find this year.
2. Purina O.N.E. SmartBlend Adult Wet Dog Food – Best Value
Purina O.N.E. SmartBlend Adult Canned Dog Food is there a choice for the best wet dog food for the money. This brand contains whole lamb and chicken and has gravy made from lamb and chicken broth. It’s rich in antioxidants like zinc and selenium, and it also contains vitamin A and vitamin E, which will help boost the immune system. It contains a complete balanced meal in an easy-to-digest formula that shouldn’t give your pet an upset stomach.
While we were reviewing Purina O.N.E. SmartBlend, all of our dogs enjoyed it, but it gave some of them gas.
3. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Wet Dog Food – Best for Puppies
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Canned Dog Food is our pick as the best wet dog food for puppies. Puppy foods usually contain slightly higher protein and fat levels to help your dog develop quickly. This brand is suitable for senior dogs as well as puppies and contains chicken as its first ingredient. Omega fats help with eye and brain development as well as contribute to a soft, shiny coat. There are no meat by-products in this brand, and it contains no wheat, corn, or soy products that your dog may have difficulty digesting. You can give this food as a treat or as an additive to dry food to help it become more enticing to your dog. It also works perfectly as a standalone food.
While we were reviewing Blue Buffalo Homestyle Food, some of our dogs wouldn’t eat it and preferred to wait for a less healthy option.
4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Canned Dog Food Is a brand that offers your pet some exotic flavors like bison and venison that they may not get elsewhere. These foods are high in protein, as are other ingredients like lamb fish, and beef. Beef is the first ingredient, and it contains no meat by-products or harmful chemical preservatives. It’s fortified with vitamins and antioxidants and contains prebiotic fiber from potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, and more. Probiotics are also in the food as well as omega fats.
The downside of Taste of the Wild is that it’s only available in large chunks, and there is no pate available, which some dogs like better.
5. American Journey Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
American Journey Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is available in several flavors, and comes in whole meat like chicken, beef, or lamb as its top ingredient. It also contains healthy omega fats as well as a complete set of essential vitamins and minerals to help boost your pet’s immune system and help them develop muscle efficiently. This food is grain-free and contains no corn wheat or soy that can affect the delicate balance of your pet’s digestive system. There are also no chemical preservatives or dyes that can cause an allergic reaction.
We enjoyed reviewing American Journey, and our dog seemed to like it a lot. However, it may not appeal to pups who prefer dry dog food.
6. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Wet Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Canned Dog Food is a formula for senior dogs. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help alleviate joint pain and swelling that comes with old age. It features chicken as its first ingredient and contains no meat byproducts. There is also no corn, soy, or wheat that may upset a dog’s digestive system.
While we liked the consistency of Blue Buffalo Homestyle, we felt that it was a little too liquid and is more like a soup than a food. Our dog loved the flavor and cleaned his bowl, but it gave him an unpleasant bout of gas.
7. Iams ProActive Health Senior Canned Dog Food
Iams ProActive Health Senior Canned Dog Food Pictures a formula created for senior dogs. It contains whole chicken, omega fats, and vitamins, for plenty of protein, and a boosted immune system.
We found Iams ProActive Health To be a very dry dog food that comes out of the can clumped together and gelatinous. We felt we spent a lot more time breaking it up so our pets could eat it than we do with other brands. It also contains a lot of meat by-products and chicken byproducts, as well as dyes that can give some dogs an allergic reaction.
8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is a brand with ingredients that promotes muscle growth. It’s high in protein and features beef and chicken as its first two ingredients. It’s packed with B vitamins that will help give your pet the energy they need to stay fit. You can give it as a treat or as a food.
While we were trying out Blue Buffalo Wilderness, we found it to be very dry. It was also harder to get out of the can if chilled. Our dog prefers canned food after it’s been in the fridge, so this made feeding time more time-consuming. It also has a strong aroma that you can smell in the next room.
9. Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free Canned Dog Food provides your pet with a complete and balanced meal that uses select, limited ingredients. The formula is highly digestible to help hour pet get the most nutrients possible. It features duck as its first ingredient, and it’s also fortified with antioxidants like vitamin A. Vitamin B12 also helps boost the immune system while providing energy. There are no meat by-products or chemical preservatives.
The downside to Natural Balance L.I.D. is it seems quite dry compared to other wet foods. What we really didn’t like was that it requires a can opener to open since there is no easy pull-top lid.
10. Merrick Chunky Grain-Free Wet Wet Dog Food
Merrick Chunky Grain-Free Wet Canned Dog Food features deboned beef as its first ingredient. It packs in plenty of protein, and it contains vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, E, and B12. It’s fortified with omega fats, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help with arthritis and other joint pain. There is no corn, wheat, or soy products that can upset your pet’s sensitive digestive system.
There are a few downsides to Merrick Chunky, though. The quality control seems very off, and several of the cans we opened were not full, while others were. We also found the inner coating on the can peeling off in more than one can. It also contains garlic, and even though it’s the second last article on the list, garlic is harmful to dogs.
11. Nature’s Recipe Easy-To-Digest Wet Dog Food
Nature’s Recipe Easy-To-Digest Canned Dog Food features water as the first ingredient and chicken as the second. There are plenty of other high-quality ingredients, including potatoes, carrots, and peas. It also contains plenty of vitamins, like vitamin C, D, and B12. It also provides important minerals like iron, copper, calcium, and potassium.
The downside to Nature’s Recipe is that it is very dry and difficult to get out of the can without making a mess. This is especially surprising when you consider it’s mostly water! Our dog also had a hard time getting it out of his bowl. After two or three feedings, he stopped eating it altogether.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Wet Dog Food
Let’s look at some of the most important things to consider when choosing canned dog food.
Wet Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food
The first thing you’re likely going to ask yourself is if feeding wet or dry dog food is right for your pet. Both kinds will supply a complete and balanced meal. However, we’ll take a look at the differences of each type in this section.
Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food is also commonly referred to as kibble. Most dry dog foods are pressed through a mold and cut to achieve the many shapes, but these shapes are not random. Different shapes and sizes will be easier for different size dogs to pick up. Kibble size is one reason many dogs outgrow their food. Dry kibble also helps clean teeth by scraping and rubbing away tartar, which can reduce the risk of dental disease and improve their breath. The shape of the kibble affects how well it cleans. Kibble is also easier to store because it requires no refrigeration, and it comes in large bags. It stays fresh in the bag much longer than wet dog food.
Dry dog food is also less expensive than wet dog food. However, the primary downside to dry dog food is that it’s not as flavorful as canned food, and it can be hard for some dogs to chew.
Wet Dog Food
Wet dog food usually comes in a can or pouch. It’s very meaty, usually in gravy, and cooked to preserve flavor and nutrients. Wet food is much richer than dry food, and many dogs prefer it. However, it’s often higher in fat and calories than dry dog food, which can quickly contribute to weight gain. It’s also more expensive and requires refrigeration after you open it. The primary downside to feeding your pet wet dog food is that it does not help clean their teeth.
Because wet food is often high in fat and protein, it’s a popular choice for puppies and senior dogs, especially when the older dogs have trouble chewing or are missing teeth. Many owners like to give it as a treat, and they may also mix it with the dry dog food to improve flavor. Mixing it may also help convince your dog to eat a new brand of dry dog food or eat their medication. There are many ways to include canned dog food in your dog’s diet.
Food ingredients on any label (pet or human food) are listed in order of weight. This means that the first few ingredients on the label are the ones in the highest quantity in the recipe. If your dog’s food label claims to be high in protein but the first few ingredients are not meat products, chances are you’re being duped.
The first five ingredients are arguably the most important to look at. Protein should be somewhere in these first few ingredients as your dog needs protein for muscle and tissue development as well as immune system health. Your pup’s diet shouldn’t only rely on protein for nutrients, however.
Since dogs are not strict carnivores like cats, they can derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and veggies. Grains can provide an excellent source of nutrients to boost your dog’s immune system and coat and skin health. Fruits and veggies are great additions to your dog’s food as they provide extra nutritional benefits that protein cannot.
This section will list some of the ingredients that are good and bad in your wet canned dog food.
The first ingredient in your canned dog food should be whole meat like chicken, beef, lamb, or duck. Since it’s canned food, you might see water listed as the first ingredient, but you should never see grains or meat byproducts listed before whole meat, or in place of it.
The minimum amount of protein in dog food is 18%, but it can go up to 30%. Puppies typically need more protein than adult dogs because they’re still growing and building muscle.
Fruits and Vegetables
Dogs are not obligate carnivores and studies have shown they can benefit from some fruits and vegetables in their diet. There are a few you should avoid like corn, soy, and wheat, but there are many others that can be helpful to your pet’s health. Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and other berries can supply your pet with antioxidants that can help boost their immune system stave off disease. Vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, and pumpkin will also provide essential nutrients and fiber to your pet’s diet, helping to keep their sensitive digestive system in balance.
Omega fats can be an essential part of your dog’s diet because fats help with eye and brain development in your puppy, and they also help maintain a soft and shiny coat throughout life as well as help boost the immune system. You can find essential fats in fish, flaxseed, coconut, olive, and sunflower oils.
What to Avoid
We’ve already mentioned that you might want to avoid corn, wheat, and soy because they provide little nutritional value for your pets, and they can also cause digestive issues for some. They’re not necessarily bad in small quantities, but many foods are better. Another food ingredient we recommend avoiding is meat byproduct or meat meal. Meat meal is dried and ground meat that’s not necessarily bad for your pet, but it’s not as high-quality as whole meat. There is also concern over where the meat meal comes from when it is not from the U.S., as quality standards are lower in other parts of the world.
We also recommend avoiding dyes, as some pets can have an allergic reaction to them, and avoiding harmful chemical preservatives like BHA, which can stay in your pet system for a long time, causing problems.
What Should I Look for in My Dog’s Wet Food?
Certain brands and recipe formulations outperform others in terms of both ingredient quality and nutritional value. Here are some things you should keep an eye out for as you begin your hunt for the best wet food for your pup:
The AAFCO Statement
The Association of American Feed Control Officials is an organization that works hard to ensure the food you’re feeding your animal is formulated to support optimal health. The foods that pass the AAFCO standards will have a clear statement on the can or bag that says that it’s been certified by AAFCO. If you do not see this statement, you might wish to choose another food that is backed by this organization.
Compatibility With Your Dog’s Life Stage
Young dogs and puppies have different nutritional needs than their adult and senior counterparts, which is why most dog food companies have special formulas for different life stages.
Puppies’ diets are important as they will lay the foundation for healthy adulthood. Puppies need to get enough nutrients in their early weeks so they can have the nutrients necessary for fueling their growth. Your pups’ needs will change rapidly as he grows. For example, your dog’s protein needs will be very high right after weaning, but will steadily decrease thereafter.
Senior dogs need more protein to fuel their muscles as muscle loss is a serious concern in older dogs. Seniors will also benefit from foods lower in sodium to help stave off problems like heart or kidney disease. Some senior food contains supplements to help combat osteoarthritis (though the jury is out on whether or not these supplements work).
To make things even more complicated, the nutritional needs of your dog will vary by their breed size, too. A Saint Bernard puppy will have different nutritional needs than a Chihuahua, for example.
How Much Wet Food Should I Feed My Dog?
The amount of wet food you’ll feed your dog will depend on his size, weight, age, and lifestyle. Active dogs, like active humans, will need to eat more food throughout the day than their sedentary counterparts. Growing puppies will need more protein and fat in their food than older dogs. If you’re feeding your dog a mixture of both wet and dry food, your serving sizes will be different from someone who’s feeding only wet food.
Your vet will prove to be indispensable when you’re determining how much food to feed your dog. They can take all of the above into account to give you an exact feeding guideline to follow. You can also check the feeding guides on the wet food packaging for a general idea of how much to feed your pup.
A calorie counter for dogs can help you to determine caloric needs based on your dog’s weight and health status.
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When choosing a brand of canned dog food, we highly recommend our choice for the best overall. The Farmer’s Dog leaves out all the harmful chemical preservatives but includes important ingredients like omega fats and antioxidants. It is fresh and human grade too! We believe that the best wet dog food for the money is also worth your time. Purina O.N.E. SmartBlend Adult Canned Dog Food Contains lamb as well as chicken and includes antioxidants at a bargain price.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over our reviews, and they have shown you a little bit about the differences that can occur between brands. We also hope that our buyer’s guide has given you something to look for while you shop, it will help you select a high-quality food with no dangerous ingredients. If you feel it will be helpful to others, please share this guide to the best wet and best canned dog food on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay