Do you get overwhelmed when you’re looking for dog food at your local pet store or online? There are so many wet dog food options. The good news is that we can narrow them down based on the ingredients’ quality, your budget, and most importantly — your dog’s age, breed, and health needs. 

Let’s explore some of the best wet foods on the market. We’ll look at their prices, main ingredients, pros, and cons. We’ll also present our buying guide and tips on what to look out for.

Evaluation Criteria for Assessing the Best Canned Dog Food

We considered the following criteria to execute meaningful research and evaluation of all mentioned dog food brands:

  • Top Ingredients — The first ingredients make up most of the food’s nutritional profile.
  • AAFCO Guidelines — The AAFCO sets standard nutritional profiles that brands must meet to claim their products are “complete and balanced.”
  • Guaranteed Analysis — Brands are required to provide a GA. It must include the minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum for fiber and moisture in natural wet dog food.
  • Additional Nutrients — It’s useful to see if the food contains added vitamins and minerals.
  • Value for Money — The correlation between price and quality is crucial when making your pet food choice.
  • Customer Reviews — Feedback from real dog parents helps reveal the full picture, along with all unexpected benefits and drawbacks.

The Farmer’s Dog

the farmer's dog food ingredients

The Farmer’s Dog food is undeniably nutritional but more expensive than grain-free canned dog food. It’s a good choice for busy owners who want pre-portioned and fresh food that can potentially boost their dogs’ appetite and digestion.

The Farmer’s Dog offers freshly prepared recipes based on your dog’s age and weight. But unlike canned dog wet food brands, they have a much shorter shelf life. 

The brand offers four recipes: chicken, turkey, pork, and beef. Their Guaranteed Analysis gives an average of 9% protein, 4.5% fat, and 1.5% crude fiber. Also, the main ingredients of the Turkey Recipe include turkey, chickpeas, carrots, and broccoli. 

Judging by the positive reviews, dogs generally like the taste, making this a good dog food for picky eaters. Some dogs improved their digestion and even lost unwanted weight. 

A few clients reported delivery, scheduling, or unresponsive customer service issues. Overall, most reviews are positive, and the company has no history of recalls. Also, it meets the AAFCO standards for natural wet dog food.

Key Features

  • Tailored to your dog’s needs
  • Scheduled auto-delivery
  • Top wet dog food with high nutritional value
  • USDA-approved 
  • Four recipes with one main protein source

Pros

  • Pre-portioned
  • Can help dogs with digestive issues or allergies
  • Easy to customize
  • Fresh and minimally processed

Cons

  • Limited protein options
  • Possible digestive upset when transitioning
  • Expensive

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Why we choose this product: The Farmer’s Dog is minimally processed, human-grade, and grain-free. That makes it suitable for picky eaters and dogs with allergies or digestive issues. It’s freshly prepared and tailored to your dog’s nutritional needs.

Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

wellness core beef formula wet dog food

The Wellness CORE Beef, Venison, & Lamb recipe is suitable for dogs of all sizes that need more protein and fat. The high-protein wet dog food formula is rich and nutritional with high-quality ingredients.

The Wellness CORE offers dog food that’s grain-free, BPA-free, with no by-products, supplemented with vitamins and minerals. It has a smooth pâté texture. The main ingredients of the Beef, Venison & Lamb recipe include beef, beef broth, beef liver, pork liver, venison, and lamb. The Guaranteed Analysis of this optimal grain-free wet dog food points to 12% protein, 8% fat, and 0.5% crude fiber. 

In 2012, the brand had two dry dog food recalls — one due to excessive moisture and one due to salmonella. The company also recalled small amounts of canned food in 2017 because of possible elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. 

Overall, client reviews are positive. The bad wet dog food reviews mention dogs not liking the food, the inclusion of carrageenan, rising prices, and texture inconsistency (too dry or too watery). Misleading labeling can also be an issue as the Beef recipe contains chicken, an allergen for some dogs. 

Key Features

  • Meets AAFCO requirements 
  • High in protein and fat, with carbs below-average
  • Added essential vitamins and minerals

Pros

  • Good for big and small dogs
  • High percentage of animal products
  • No wheat, corn, soy, or meat by-products 
  • High-quality ingredients

Cons

  • High in fat
  • Contains carrageenan
  • A few food recalls in the past

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Why we choose this product: The Wellness CORE dog food is grain-free and contains a high percentage of named animal products. It can help dogs who need to gain weight.

Solid Gold Holistic Weight Control Wet Dog Food

solid gold weight control canned dog food

The Solid Gold Holistic Weight Control comes with quality ingredients and added supplements to boost your pet’s immune system. It’s well-balanced and suitable for most dogs.

Solid Gold Holistic dog food assists in weight control, digestion, and overall health. The main ingredients of this dog food are chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, ocean whitefish, and sweet potatoes. The Guaranteed Analysis gives an average of 7.5% protein, 3.5% fat, and 2% crude fiber. 

This formula is great for adult dogs that need to manage their weight. User ratings show that it may be the best wet dog food for pancreatitis, especially as a more affordable alternative to vet-prescribed options. Plus, we didn’t find many negative reviews. 

The company had only one recall in 2012 due to traces of salmonella. In 2018, there was a class-action lawsuit due to suspicion of heavy metals and toxins found in the brand’s cat products. But tests showed that the harmful chemicals were within limits. 

Key Features

  • Grain and gluten-free
  • Easily digestible
  • Low calorie and fat
  • High-quality chicken
  • Carrageenan-free
  • Fillers-free

Pros

  • Suitable for all dog breeds and sizes
  • Excellent for weight management
  • More affordable than prescribed food 
  • High-quality animal ingredients

Cons

  • Great canned dog food, but some dogs don’t like the taste
  • Possible digestive upset
  • A few food recalls

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Why we choose this product: The Holistic Weight Control is affordable, high-quality food that combines animal protein with superfoods and vitamins. It promotes better gut health and weight loss.

Ollie Fresh Dog Food Beef Recipe

dog eating ollie fresh food

Ollie offers grain-free, minimally processed food with nutritious ingredients that provide extra energy and excitement for a picky dog. It’s costly, even compared to top-rated canned dog food, but the freshness and quality are worth it.

Ollie offers human-grade frozen dog food that meets the AAFCO recommendations. The company has four freshly-made recipes. This premium wet dog food contains beef, peas, sweet potato, potato, and carrots. Also, its Guaranteed Analysis is 9% protein, 7% fat, and 2% crude fiber. The formula is most suitable for active, healthy dogs.

Happy customers notice increased appetite, better digestive health, and shiny coats. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, but some disappointed customers share stories about bad delivery and customer service with canceling issues. Also, a few dogs have experienced health issues that might be related to Ollie’s natural wet food for dogs. Still, there are no reports of the brand recalling food. 

Key Features

  • Added vitamins and fish oil
  • High in whole protein
  • Full of antioxidants
  • Formulated for better skin, eyes, and heart

Pros

  • Specially tailored meal suggestions
  • Hassle-free delivery
  • USDA-certified 
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Fresh and delicious, appealing to picky eaters

Cons

  • Contains potatoes
  • Costly
  • Takes time to thaw

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Why we choose this product: Healthy and full of superfoods, the Ollie Fresh Beef Recipe is the premium option for energetic dogs or picky eaters that enjoy freshly-made food.

Canidae Petite Small Breed Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

canidae limited ingredient small breed food

Canidae provides some of the better options for small and picky dogs. If your furry pal needs a lot of energy and lean protein, consider the Petite Small Breed Wet Dog Food with Turkey.

Canidae’s recipe is grain-free and specifically designed for small dog breeds. The major ingredients are turkey broth, chicken, chicken liver, turkey, and dried egg whites. Also, the Guaranteed Analysis is 8.5% protein, 3.5% fat, and 1.5% crude fiber. This small breed wet dog food is enriched with added vitamins, amino acids, and supplements. 

In 2012, Canidae had one dry food recall due to suspicions of salmonella. But you can find numerous positive reviews by dog owners, satisfied with the ingredients’ quality. They report improved appetite and better gut health. That said, canned dog food reviews mention that some customers received food that had gone bad before the expiration date or simply smelled very bad. 

Key Features

  • Grain-free
  • No by-products
  • Developed for sensitive dogs
  • Made in the US

Pros

  • Portions tailored to small breeds
  • High in protein, low in fat
  • Manufactured in AAFCO-approved facilities
  • Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids

Cons

  • Too much moisture for some dogs
  • Dogs might not like the food
  • Could smell bad

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Why we choose this product: Canidae’s PURE Petite Small Breed is high in lean protein and excellent for dogs with sensitives. It’s low in fat and enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Wet Puppy Food

purina pro plan puppy canned food

Purina may have some of the best puppy wet food on the market in terms of pricing and taste. Still, dog parents should be vigilant regarding the ingredient list and expiration dates.

Purina’s Pro Plan High Protein Classic is a grain-free recipe designed for puppies up to one year old, and it’s suitable for all breeds. The major ingredients are chicken, liver, meat by-products, water, and salmon. The Guaranteed Analysis is 10% protein, 7% fat, and 1.5% crude fiber. Also, this wet puppy food has added vitamins and minerals to support growth and brain development

As one of the biggest pet food companies, Purina has had a few recalls. In 2007, the company withdrew some food due to possible Melanin contamination. Also, in 2013, it recalled dry food because of possible Salmonella contamination. The last recall was in 2016 due to “inadequate vitamins and minerals.”

On the other hand, the canned dog food rating is overwhelmingly positive. Some complained about receiving cans that had gone bad or some dogs not liking the food. But most puppies seem to love the taste. Also, some owners successfully mix it with dry food. Plus, the recipe meets the recommended AAFCO nutritional levels

Key Features

  • Grain-free
  • High in protein
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Nutritional formula for growing puppies

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Alternative to vet-prescribed food

Cons

  • Contains meat by-products 
  • Has carrageenan
  • A few food recalls in the past

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Why we choose this product: It’s excellent value for money. Also, the recipe has chicken as the first ingredient. It may be a good alternative to expensive prescription food for puppies.

Open Farm Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew Wet Dog Food

open farm grass-fed beef rustic stew

This Grass-Fed Beef formula has premium certified ingredients and taste that appeals to most dogs. But these factors significantly increase the pricing, so some dog parents may prefer more affordable options.

Open Farm’s Grass-Fed Beef recipe is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes. The main ingredients are beef, beef broth, pumpkin, carrots, and green beans. The Guaranteed Analysis of this top-rated wet dog food is 8% protein, 6% fat, and 2% crude fiber. Also, it’s full of vitamins and amino acids

Open Farm has no history of dog food recalls. There aren’t many reviews online, but pet owners like and trust the ingredient list. At the same time, their picky dogs like the taste and have even improved digestion. Also, you can use the Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew as a topper. 

Key Features

  • Human-grade
  • Certified grass-fed beef 
  • No grains or potatoes
  • Single-protein formula
  • Promotes healthy immune system, bones, skin, and digestion

Pros

  • High protein from fresh beef
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Non-GMO meat, vegetables, and superfoods
  • Antibiotics-free beef

Cons

  • More expensive than other grain-free canned dog food
  • Fat may be too much for some
  • The packaging isn’t the most convenient

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Why we choose this product: Open Farm’s Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew is a premium formula with one primary protein source and high-quality ingredients. It contains grass-fed beef and healthy veggies.

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Canned Wet Dog Food

merrick limited ingredient wet dog food

The Limited Ingredient Diet Canned Real Lamb is a good option for owners looking for an exclusively meat-based diet that’s safer for dogs with allergies. But the numerous recalls can be troublesome for some customers.

Merrick’s Limited Ingredient wet dog food series includes a few recipes, some grain-free and some with healthy grains. We’ll look closely at the grain-free Diet Canned Real Lamb formula. It’s excellent for adult dogs of all breeds and has a pâté consistency. 

The major ingredients include deboned lamb, water, lamb liver, natural flavor, and salt. Also, it has added vitamins and minerals. The Guaranteed Analysis points to 7% protein, 9% fat, and 1.4% crude fiber. 

Generally, Merrick Limited Ingredient Real Lamb is favorably reviewed. Still, some customers point out that the formula can be too runny.

Since 2010 the company has recalled food (mostly treats) at least seven times due to possible salmonella and elevated thyroid hormone levels. The FDA has also investigated Merrick and other brands because of a potential correlation between diet and dilated cardiomyopathy. Even if this may not be the healthiest wet dog food, the connection hasn’t been proven. 

Key Features

  • Wet dog food for sensitive stomach
  • AAFCO-approved grain-free formula
  • Pull-tab can for convenient serving
  • Deboned lamb as the first ingredient 

Pros

  • Most dogs like the taste
  • Single-protein formula
  • Limited ingredients that are good for allergies
  • Soft food for dogs, suitable for seniors

Cons

  • High in fat, especially for diet food
  • Water as the second ingredient
  • No vegetable ingredients

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Why we choose this product: Merrick’s grain-free canned food has a clean single-protein formula with limited ingredients that’s great for dogs with sensitivities.

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Large Breed Wet Dog Food

blue buffalo large breed wet dog food

This canned dog food for large breeds is convenient as a full meal or topper. As shown by the positive wet dog food reviews, it provides balanced, protein-rich meals for our big furry friends. Still, the brand’s recall history and increasing prices may alarm some customers.

Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle Chicken Dinner is suitable for big adult dogs and has a pâté consistency. The protein in this wet dog food for large breeds comes from high-quality chicken, with whole grains and vegetables added to the mix. The main ingredients are chicken, chicken broth, carrots, brown rice, and peas. The Guaranteed Analysis is 10% protein, 7.5% fat, and 1.5% crude fiber. 

Overall, the recipe is favorably reviewed. But since 2010, the company has recalled food at least six times, including top-rated canned dog food. That happened due to possible salmonella contamination, elevated thyroid hormone levels, faulty packaging, possible aluminum contamination, moisture, and potentially toxic vitamin D levels.

Key Features

  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin promote joint health
  • No poultry by-products

Pros

  • Well-balanced ingredients
  • High in protein
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Healthy grains and veggies
  • Good for mixing with dry food

Cons

  • Contains peas, which may account for a portion of the protein content
  • A bit high in fat for a chicken recipe
  • Has carrageenan

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Why we choose this product: Blue Buffalo is our recommended food choice for large breeds. It’s high in protein and focuses on ingredients for better joint health and mobility.

Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ Formula Dog Food

purina one smartblend senior dog food

You can feed this Purina’s wet food as a full meal or topper. It provides healthy proteins and supplements for senior dogs. Even if the ingredient list isn’t perfect for every dog, the food is still very affordable and high-quality.

Purina’s ONE SmartBlend 7+ is ideal for senior dogs. The main ingredients are turkey, turkey broth, chicken, liver, and pork lungs. Also, it comes with many vitamins and minerals for better immune health. The Guaranteed Analysis is 8% protein, 7% fat, and 1.5% crude fiber.

Customer reviews about the food are mostly positive. Overall, dog parents are happy with the affordable price and high-protein formula of this canned dog food for seniors. Plus, the pâté-like texture is easy and pleasant for older dogs. That said, Purina has had some food recalls that you may want to consider. 

Key Features

  • Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) for mental alertness 
  • Turkey as the first ingredient
  • No poultry by-products or additives

Pros

  • Well-balanced ingredients
  • Meets AAFCO requirements
  • Healthy grains and veggies
  • Easy to eat for adult dogs with teeth problems
  • Cheap wet dog food for great value

Cons

  • Texture may be too watery 
  • Contains chicken
  • Has carrageenan

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Why we choose this product: Purina’s Vibrant Maturity formula contains lean protein meats and healthy grains to support the health of senior dogs. It’s well-balanced, easy to eat, and at a reasonable price.

Dave’s Pet — Restricted Bland Diet Canned Dog Food

dave's pet restricted bland canned dog food

Dave’s Restricted Bland Diet is a good option if you’re looking for safe and limited-ingredient food for dogs with sensitive tummies and allergies. 

The Restricted Bland Diet by Dave’s comes in two variations: Chicken & Rice or Lamb & Rice. We’ll look at the Chicken recipe. This limited ingredient wet dog food meets AAFCO requirements and is suitable for dogs of all breeds and ages. Even those with sensitive stomachs and allergies can benefit from it. The major ingredients are chicken, water, white rice, and rice flour. Also, the food has added vitamins and minerals. The Guaranteed Analysis is 7% protein, 6% fat, and 1.5% crude fiber. 

Reviews of the formula are very positive. Customers claim that dogs with various sensitivities and picky eaters like the food. It even helped some of them with pancreatitis. Many consider the recipe among the best dog food options for allergies on a budget.

In 2015, Dave’s recalled a single batch of food because of “off odor.” In 2018, the company withdrew some of its good wet dog food due to possible elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone.

Key Features

  • Wet dog food for sensitive stomach
  • Great during a time of transition
  • No wheat, corn, or soy

Pros

  • Most dogs like the taste
  • Single-protein formula
  • Good for allergies and sensitivities
  • Excellent for picky eaters

Cons

  • A few recalls in the past
  • Water as the second ingredient
  • Potentially too plain for some

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Why we choose this product: Most dogs enjoy this wet food formula. Also, it could be an excellent alternative to expensive prescription foods for allergies, bad digestion, and even pancreatitis.

Blackwood Pet Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

blackwood grain-free wet dog food

Blackwood’s Grain-Free Wet Dog Food contains quality ingredients and healthy vegetables. Plus, it’s full of antioxidants and minerals. But it may be too fatty and expensive compared to other top wet dog food options.

Blackwood’s grain-free wet food comes in a few flavors, but we’ll focus on the Chicken & Chicken Liver with Pumpkin recipe. It’s an adult dog food for all breeds and sizes. The formula contains New Zealand mussels to promote immune support and joint health (but note that’s the 13th ingredient). The main ingredients of this moist dog food are chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, pumpkin, and agar-agar. Also, it contains antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. The Guaranteed Analysis is 9.5% protein, 9% fat, and 1.5% crude fiber. 

Reviews are generally positive. This is the best wet dog food to mix with dry kibble for many customers. But others find it somewhat pricey and report that the formula has changed in recent years. 

Key Features

  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Slow-cooked and grain-free
  • Contains mussels for joint health

Pros

  • No food recalls
  • Rich in animal protein
  • Meets AAFCO standards
  • Good for mixing with dry food

Cons

  • Now manufactured in Ecuador
  • High in fat
  • Agar-agar as the fifth ingredient
  • Expensive

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Why we choose this product: Blackwood’s grain-free wet dog food is nutritious and rich in protein, fat, and innovative supplements. It’s a bit pricier, but you can mix it with dry food.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

instinct limited ingredient dog food

The Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey Recipe is a good option for owners of sensitive dogs that need more meat and no grains. Also, it could work as a substitute for a raw diet, but it’s on the pricier side.

The Instinct dog food company has a Limited Ingredient Diet series with turkey, rabbit, and lamb flavors. Also, the turkey recipe is AAFCO-approved and perfect for dogs with sensitivities. The main ingredients are turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, peas, and pea protein. Also, there are added vitamins and minerals. The Guaranteed Analysis is 11.5% protein, 7.5% fat, and 2% crude fiber.

Generally, most dog parents like this food. But some find the formula too watery. Besides, since 2010, the company has recalled food at least five times. It mainly happened due to traces of salmonella, once due to pieces of plastic, and an odd smell. 

Key Features

  • Five-star wet dog food for allergies and sensitivities
  • One animal protein and vegetable
  • The first ingredient is cage-free turkey
  • Grain-free and without fillers

Pros

  • High in meat content
  • Single-protein formula
  • Good for allergies
  • Could improve digestion and skin

Cons

  • Some dogs may not digest it well
  • Not very affordable
  • A few recalls in the past

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Why we choose this product: The Instinct Limited Ingredient Turkey Recipe has a single-protein formula with no fillers. It could boost the health of dogs with various issues and allergies.

Wet Dog Food Buyer’s Guide

Many factors play a role in selecting the best food, brand, and formulas that will work for your dog. Let’s see what you should consider.

What to Look for When Buying Dog Food

You could follow these few crucial shopping tips when hunting for the best wet dog food brands for your four-legged friend.

Age & Size 

Carefully consider your pet’s individual needs, especially if it has any health problems. Depending on the size, breed, and age, dogs have different energy and nutritional requirements.

Dietary Restrictions 

If your dog has a sensitive stomach or allergies, finding a top-notch wet dog food brand can be challenging. Luckily, some formulas are specifically for such dogs. Also, look into recipes with limited ingredients.

Texture & Flavor

Flavour is usually the most challenging because you won’t know if your dog likes the food before it tries it. That said, if your dog is tiny or has teeth problems, you could look for food with smaller chunks or smooth texture.

Budget

Dog food prices vary wildly, so you have to consider your dog’s health and your budget. Maybe you can find an affordable wet dog food alternative to vet-prescribed recipes or nutritious wet food that you can mix with kibble.

Canned Food vs Dry Food — What Are the Pros and Cons?

Nutrition is pivotal for good dog health and longevity. Let’s explore the differences between wet and dry food.

Affordability and Convenience

Generally, dry food is much cheaper and more convenient. It’s easier to use, has a longer shelf life, and it’s more energy-dense. Also, dogs need a lot of good wet dog food to satisfy their energy needs. 

Taste

Canned dog food recipes are usually more appetizing to dogs. Also, they generally have a richer aroma, which is a good choice for dogs losing their sense of smell. Note that if your pet has a great appetite, it may be prone to overeating on canned food.

Moisture

Both expensive and cheap wet dog food has a higher moisture content. It’s more appetizing and good for dogs that don’t drink much water or have a history of kidney or urinary issues.

Dental Health

Traditionally, dry food is considered better for the teeth. However, studies have shown that standard dry food is no better than wet food for tartar buildup and other dental issues. Thankfully, there are dog foods designed specifically for better oral health. Also, wet and soft food for dogs is easier to chew.

The Advantages of Canned Food

  • More filling
  • Often higher in protein and fat
  • More appetizing
  • Higher moisture content
  • Generally contains less grain
  • Easier to eat
  • Fewer carbohydrates
  • Usually less processed

The Disadvantages of Canned Food

  • May contribute to weight gain
  • Spoils fast
  • Costly

The Advantages of Dry Food

  • Convenient storage and feeding
  • More economical
  • Longer shelf-life
  • Possible dental benefits
  • Easy to integrate into feeders and food puzzles

The Disadvantages of Dry Food

  • Less appetizing
  • Generally more preservatives
  • Often contain more grains
  • Reduced moisture

How Much Wet Food Should My Dog Eat Daily?

All dog foods come with feeding directions on the packaging. But FDA recommends dog owners to use them only as rough guidelines. Also, you should adjust the amount based on your dog’s breed, age, and activity level. For example, nursing mothers should eat as much as they want and enjoy their favorite best-tasting wet dog food.

If you feed your dog only wet food, a good formula is 3 oz per 3–3.5 pounds of body weight. That’s for the entire day, and it’s best to divide it into two or more meals.

Here’s another formula that can help you calculate your dog’s caloric needs (average adult): 30 x (weight in pounds divided by 2.2) + 70. Alternatively, you can find some handy online food calculators that give you an average estimate.

Portions for the Best Wet Dog Food for Puppies

Puppies typically require up to two times more food than an adult dog. Keep in mind that different breeds reach maturity at different times. It’s best if they eat puppy-formulated food, especially the large breeds that might suffer from growth abnormalities.

Portions for the Best Senior Dog Wet Food

Like puppies, adult dogs reach “seniority” at different times. But all of them have significantly less energy and are prone to gaining weight. The best-rated senior dog food brands usually keep the calories and sodium low and the protein high. They also include more antioxidants and probiotics.

The Best Ingredients in Wet Dog Food

Many ingredients are essential for the best canned dog food options on the market. First, you should look for real meat at the beginning of the ingredient list. Avoid recipes with unspecified ingredients like “meat by-products, poultry, or animal fat.” The same rule applies to whole grains, vegetables, and vegetable by-products (avoid potato starch at the beginning of the list). Finally, stay away from fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.

Besides quality meats at the top, followed by healthy vegetables or grains, many of the best-rated wet dog food recipes include supplements like glucosamine, antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals

Macrominerals essential for dogs include:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur

The microminerals you should look for are:

  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Iodine
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Fluorine

Similarly, the most essential vitamins for the healthiest wet dog food are A, B complex, D, C, E, K, and Choline.

How Do Companies Make Wet Dog Food?

To make wet food, manufacturers mix all necessary ingredients and cook them in a hermetically sealed food container.

Ingredients

The ingredients are often by-products or leftovers from the food industry. But some use human-grade ingredients, which are carefully selected and weighted depending on the dog wet food brands. 

Food Preparation

Once chopped or minced, the ingredients are mixed with dry ones like grains, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. Water is often included to create the necessary texture and assist the process. The temperature and time for preparing the food are optimized to extend its shelf life while preserving the nutritional qualities.

Labeling and Control

In the end, the cans or pouches with food are cooled and labeled. The high-quality canned dog food goes through safety control based on company policies and the country’s legislation.

What About Homemade Wet Dog Food?

When you make food for your dogs in your own kitchen, you’re in full control of the ingredients and processing. That said, homemade dog food is:

  • Time-consuming — To prepare and cook fresh food for your dog, you’ll have to spend much more time in the kitchen.
  • Can be more expensive — Your natural wet food for dogs with fresh ingredients is often pricey and has a shorter shelf-life.
  • Hard to balance and add all necessary supplements — It’s challenging to create a fully balanced pet meal at home, especially if you want to add essential vitamins and minerals. Getting the calories right is also problematic.

A Glance at the Top Picks

The Farmer’s Dog — Best freshly-prepared and natural dog food

Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain-Free — Best wet food for weight gain

Solid Gold Holistic Weight Control — Leader wet dog food for weight loss

Ollie Fresh Dog Food Beef Recipe — Best for active dogs and picky eaters

CANIDAE Petite Small Breed Limited Ingredient Grain-Free — Best wet dog food for small dogs

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Wet Puppy Food  — Best price for value

Open Farm Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew — Best grass-fed, non-GMO food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet — Best limited ingredient dog food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Large Breed — Best wet dog food for large breeds

Purina ONE SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity Senior 7+ — Best senior dog wet food

Dave’s Pet Food Dog Food Restricted Bland Diet — Best wet dog food for pancreatitis

Blackwood Pet Grain Free — Best wet food to mix with kibble

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Grain Free — Best wet food for allergies

How to Store and Handle Wet Dog Food?

Canned dog food has a long shelf life. Still, you should store it correctly to ensure it’s safe for your dog. Here’s what to do:

  • Checking the expiration date — Always check the date when buying and opening the food. Trust your sense of smell, too.
  • Don’t leave moist dog food at room temperature too long — Refrigerate opened cans at about 40 F or below. Tightly cover the can’s lid or move to another container. 
  • Storage — Keep unopened cans in a dry and cool place, preferably not with your human food and away from kids.
  • Hygiene — Don’t leave unfinished food in the bowl. Also, wash your hands after handling your pet’s food.

Best Canned Dog Food for Your Dog’s Needs

Among the abundance of brands and formulations, finding the most suitable food for your dog can be challenging. That’s why we include recommendations for dogs with various needs and dog parents on different budgets. It’s easier to weigh the factors when choosing a recipe for your pet if you look at our Buyer’s guide. Also, you can look at our list and criteria to make an informed decision.

FAQ

What is the best wet dog food?

There are a lot of good brands, but in most cases, the best food for your dog will depend on its health requirements, age, size, and activity level. As high-quality canned dog food formulas vary greatly in prices, budget is also a big factor.

Is wet food good for dogs?

Wet dog food formulas have a high moisture content, keeping your dog well hydrated and stimulating the appetite. Also, canned food is typically less processed and contains more meat protein and fat. Plus, quality wet food can improve digestion and overall health.

Is canned dog food easier to digest?

Canned food is typically easier to digest because it has a soft texture with high moisture content. Also, it’s easier to chew, especially for small and old dogs. Besides, wet dog food is filling and appetizing, helping picky dogs eat more.

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