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Best Wet Dog Food Brands For 2022: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors

best wet dog food

Kibble is easy to store and holds up well for shipping, but it’s a little… boring. Many dogs lose interest in kibble, and for some puppies and seniors, kibble can be needlessly complicated to chew and digest.

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Wet food can be just the answer for your picky dog and for dogs who have dental and jaw problems. Not all canned food is created equal, however.

While some canned food brands use quality ingredients to make meals that are densely nutritious and satisfying for even the pickiest dog, there are also manufacturers that churn out food made up of a bit of broth and a few loose pieces of undefinable meat. 

How do you choose then?

Since there are so many choices in the market that it can get quite overwhelming, we’ve put together a list of what we think are the best dog foods based on ingredients, reviews, and the company’s practices. And from our short selection, we chose the best wet dog food overall. Let’s take a look.

OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR CANNED/WET DOG FOODS

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 2
  • Premium grain free wet food
  • Features a savory gravy
  • Real lamb is the first ingredient
VIEW LATEST PRICE →See Customer Reviews →
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 2
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Crafted by a Vet Nutritionist
  • 50% off First Order
VIEW LATEST PRICE →See Customer Reviews →
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 2
  • Suited for allergic dogs
  • Palatable for most canines
  • Doesn't use any cheap fillers
VIEW LATEST PRICE →See Customer Reviews →

Why Quality Food Matters for Your Dog

Your dog needs food with premium ingredients to help stave off weight issues, allergies, and a host of other health problems.

The problem with many dog foods is that they use cheap fillers to bring down the cost of the food. Your dog can have poor reactions at worst, and at best, those ingredients are nothing but empty calories making it difficult for you to control your pet’s weight.

Dogs that receive well-balanced nutrition from their food often live longer, have a better quality of life, and usually retain their energy even into their senior years.

Choosing better food may add a bit to your budget in the short term, but overall, you may experience fewer vet visits because of poor health and food allergies.

IMAGE PRODUCT  
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 7
Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food
  • Delivered right to your door
  • Comes in portioned sizes
  • 50% off First Order
Check Price Here!
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 8
Merrick Grain Free Wet Dog Food Real Chicken Recipe
  • Uses whole, deboned chicken
  • For joint and bone support
  • No cheap fillers included
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Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 9
Nutro Hearty Stew Meaty Lamb, Green Bean & Carrot Cuts
  • Rich, complete protein source
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • No by-product meal included
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Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 10
Nulo Freestyle Turkey, Cod & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • With whole protein sources
  • For all puppy breeds
  • Brain development support
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Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 11
Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Chicken, Lamb & Whitefish Pate
  • Pate style food for seniors
  • Soft food for tooth issues
  • Satisfies even picky eaters
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Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 12
The Honest Kitchen Turkey Recipe
  • Suited for allergic dogs
  • Palatable for most canines
  • Doesn't use any cheap fillers
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Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 13
Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
  • 100% single-sourced beef
  • Balanced protein and fat ratio
  • Best for sensitive tummies
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Top Wet Dog Foods of 2022: Quick Look

  1. Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken Canned Food
  2. Nutro Adult Hearty Stews Meaty Lamb & Rice Stew Chunks In Gravy
  3. Nom Nom Tasty Turkey Fare
  4. Nulo Freestyle Turkey, Cod & Sweet Potato Grain-Free
  5. Nutro Ultra Senior Pate Chicken, Lamb & Salmon Entree
  6. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food
  7. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
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Best Wet Dog Food Overall

Nom Nom Tasty Turkey Fare

Rating: 5/5

First Five Ingredients: Ground Turkey, Brown Rice, Eggs, Carrots, Spinach

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 14
Tasty Turkey Fare uses just six ingredients to provide your dog with all the nutrition it needs. If you’ve got extra in your budget, you can get a quality meal made from restaurant quality ingredients delivered right to your door.

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 10%
Crude Fat 5%
Moisture 72%

Nom Nom was created by a veterinarian who wanted to make feeding a balanced and nutritious diet much more manageable. The recipes are based on a wealth of knowledge and research by board certified veterinary nutritionists.

The brand lets you customize a feeding plan from the website based on your dog’s age, breed, and other information. It will then deliver a balanced meal or meals for your pup that are pre-portioned (your dog’s weight is also taken into consideration) so that there is no guesswork needed when feeding time comes around.

Nom Nom creates freshly-cooked wet dog food as a balance between feeding canned food and a raw food diet. The proteins and vegetables are recognizable, and there are never any fillers added.

The brand’s Tasty Turkey Fare uses very few but fresh ingredients to provide your dog with all the nutrition he needs. Though it’s not a grain-free dog food, many pet parents have reported that their pooches who suffer from a sensitive stomach, IBS, and other digestive problems are thriving on this diet. 

Because it’s free from fillers and additives, this wet dog food recipe has helped previously sickly pups regain their energy, beautiful fur, and general zest for life.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 15

What Customers Like:

  • Fresh food is an alternative to raw or wet food
  • Limited and human-grade ingredients
  • Can be crafted for puppies to adult dogs to seniors
  • Clean recipe
  • Easy delivery options

Common Complaints:

  • Delivery options are limited in some areas (may only be once a month)
  • Requires cold storage

Best Wet Dog Foods – The Runners Up

1. Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken

Rating: 4.5/5

First Five Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 16
A grain free chicken option that uses whole, deboned chicken for a quality protein source. It’s suitable for sensitive tummies because there are no cheap fillers or artificial ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions or digestive issues.

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 9%
Crude Fat 7%
Moisture 78%

Merrick uses whole, quality ingredients for all of its food options. Its recipes are created right in test kitchens before ever being sent out so that the company can ensure optimal nutrition and safety. The company uses locally sourced ingredients from trusted farmers right in the United States.

The brand’s first wet dog food formula is a grain-free chicken option that uses whole, deboned chicken for a quality protein source. Chicken broth adds tasty moisture while added vitamins and minerals support the immune system and lend joint and bone support. It also has essential fatty acids to support a healthy skin and shiny coat.

This wet dog food formula is suitable for sensitive tummies because there are no cheap fillers or artificial ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions or digestive issues.

It doesn’t contain peas or potatoes. It’s a complete and balanced meal, but you can also use it as a complement to your dog’s dry dog food.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 17

What Customers Like:

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  • No peas or potatoes
  • Suitable for sensitive digestion
  • Whole, single protein source
  • Support for bones and joints
  • Contains added taurine and essential vitamins and minerals

Common Complaints:

  • Paté style may not suit all dogs

2. Nutro Hearty Stew Meaty Lamb, Green Bean & Carrot Cuts

Rating: 4.5/5

First Five Ingredients: Lamb, Pork Broth, Chicken Broth, Beef Liver

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 18
Uses whole lamb for a rich, complete protein source that provides building blocks for healthy muscle and growth. The formula is limited ingredient so it could be suitable for sensitive digestion.

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 10%
Crude Fat 4.5%
Moisture 82%

Nutro provides quality wet and dry dog foods so your dog can live its best life. It uses locally sourced ingredients and premium proteins and carbohydrates to help support your pet from puppyhood all the way to senior living.

Nutro’s grain-free wet dog food formula uses a high-quality protein (whole lamb) to provide most of the building blocks for healthy muscle and growth. Added vitamins and minerals support healthy bones and immune system while glucosamine supports joints.

This specific Nutro formula is a limited ingredient diet so it could be suitable for sensitive digestion. It has plenty of fatty acids from natural sources to support a healthy coat and skin.

It has no cheap fillers and no artificial flavors or preservatives. It can help you control your pet’s weight as long as portions are the correct amount, and it’s suitable as a meal by itself or as a complement to dry dog food.

The wet food diet has an almost shredded-like quality that allows it to mix with kibble nicely, if you wish to use it as a mixer or topper. The real meat pieces are very generous and even the veggies are recognizable. 

Be careful, though. Although it says lamb on the label, there’s a lot of proteins here from different animal sources. If your dog does not have a sensitive stomach or food allergies, it should be fine. Otherwise, make sure your pup is not allergic to any of the listed ingredients.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 19

What Customers Like:

  • Whole protein source
  • Excellent blend of carbs and protein
  • Provides all-day energy
  • Rich source of fatty acids
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health

Common Complaints:

  • Contains wheat gluten
  • Strong smell

4. Nulo Freestyle Turkey, Cod & Sweet Potato 

Rating: 4.25/5

First Five Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Salmon Broth, Turkey Liver, Cod

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 20
Uses a grain free recipe with whole protein sources to give your puppy the best start in life. It’s suitable for all sizes of breeds and will help your puppy grow at the proper rate.

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 9.5%
Crude Fat 5%
Moisture 78%

Nulo food was inspired by what fuels athletes after the founder, an athlete himself, began looking for food that could support his dog’s active lifestyle.

Nulo uses only responsibly-sourced ingredients tested in Nulo’s kitchens to provide excellent nutrition for your dog no matter the life stage or breed type.

Nulo Freestyle uses a grain free recipe with whole animal protein sources to give your puppy the best start in life. This puppy food is a complete and balanced meal suitable for all breeds and will help your puppy grow at the proper rate.

Turkey is a lean protein source that won’t add a lot of extra pounds, while cod has essential fatty acids for brain development, a shiny coat, and healthy skin.

It doesn’t use any corn or soy for cheap fillers and has no artificial ingredients that can irritate your little fur baby’s tummy. It has added vitamins and antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system. It’s a great way to transition from weening or as a complement to encourage your puppy to transition to dry food.

Dog owners say that one can of this will last your little furry friend a long time. The food promotes a healthy digestion, particularly in puppies whose sensitive tummies (and sometimes, skin) usually can’t handle other kinds of food. 

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 21

What Customers Like:

  • Whole protein sources
  • DHA for brain development
  • Weight control
  • Good transition food following weening
  • Easy storage

Common Complaints:

  • Strong smell
  • Can get messy when mixed with dry food

5. Nutro Ultra Chicken, Lamb & Whitefish Pate

Rating: 4.25/5

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Spinach, Tomatoes

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 22
Helps control weight and isn’t as messy as traditional canned foods. It has no cheap fillers, artificial preservatives, or artificial flavors that can irritate your senior dog’s stomach.

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 8%
Crude Fat 5%
Moisture 78%

Nutro has been in the dog food business since the 1920s, providing dogs with complete, dense nutrition to aid them in any activity they choose.

The brand uses premium ingredients for both its dry and wet foods, allowing dogs to live their best lives. Nutro’s extensive experience allows the brand to create meals that dogs love while providing a complete and balanced diet.

Senior dogs sometimes have trouble with dry foods, but the pate style of this recipe may be just the thing to keep your older pup in perfect health without stressing any tooth issues.

This senior wet dog food should satisfy even picky older pups with its three protein sources that include chicken, lamb, and whitefish. It helps control weight and isn’t as messy as traditional canned foods. 

Pet parents say that the trays are very convenient for feeding older canines who don’t eat as much as they used to when they were younger. There is no more need to open a can and put half in the fridge. This means that your dog’s food is always fresh.

For pooches who no longer have teeth, it is quite easy to cut the food into more manageable bites because of its pate texture. The only problem with it is that can get quite pricey.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 23

What Customers Like:

  • Pate style is less messy than traditional foods
  • Satisfies picky eaters
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health
  • Natural sources of essential fatty acids for skin health
  • Whole protein sources

Common Complaints:

  • The pate consistency can be a hit or miss with pups

6. The Honest Kitchen Turkey Dehydrated Recipe

Rating: 4.25/5  

First Five Ingredients: Dehydrated Turkey, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Spinach, Dehydrated Carrots

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 24
Honest Kitchen’s unique dehydrated recipe allows you to serve your dog wet foods without having to store wet food. It is best suitable for dogs that have allergies.

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 29%
Crude Fat 18%
Moisture 7.8%

Honest Kitchen provides a way to give your pet wet dog food without the hassle of storing cans. Its unique dehydrated formulas don’t go bad as quickly and are easier to serve than the messy canned dog food or giant bags of dry kibble. Ingredients are human-grade so you can feel good about what’s going into your pet’s tummy each meal time.

Honest Kitchen’s unique dehydrated recipe allows you to serve your dog wet foods without having to store wet food. It is crafted to sustain the needs of dogs of all life stages and breeds. 

You add your own moisture content to reconstitute the food, making it palatable for most dogs’ taste. It uses whole sources of protein from turkey plus added veggies and fruits for a balance of vitamins and antioxidants.

It doesn’t use any cheap fillers such as corn or soy, and it has no artificial ingredients. It’s suitable for dogs that have allergies to a lot of different foods, but it will still provide all of your dog’s nutritional needs.

Customers like it because it is healthy and not full of fillers like the formulations of other canned dog food brands. One reviewer was also happy to report that this recipe has kept his diabetic pet’s blood sugar at a better level. However, it is pricier than some canned dog food brands.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 25

What Customers Like:

  • Made with real free-range turkey
  • 100% human-grade
  • Grain-free formula
  • Suitable for pals with food sensitivities
  • Contains no byproducts, preservatives
  • GMO-free

Common Complaints:

  • Has a thick paste-like texture when mixed with water

7. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe

Rating: 4.5/5 

First Five Ingredients: Beef, Water Sufficient for Processing, Beef Lung, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 26
Ziwi Peak’s foods mimic your dog’s ancestral diet, using a whole protein source and mostly animal sources of nutrition for the formula. Uses ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients from the island of New Zealand.

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 8%
Crude Fat 5.5%
Moisture 78%

Ziwi Peak’s mission is to provide dogs with nutrition that mimics their wild ancestral diets. The brand uses no artificial ingredients, no cheap fillers, and no known stomach irritators, such as carrageenan, in its canning processes.

Everything that goes into the dog food the company makes is something canines would be eating naturally in the wild. It’s a great way to help your sensitive dog receive complete, dense nutrition without all the side effects of eating cheap fillers.

Ziwi Peak’s canned dog food mimics your dog’s ancestral diet, using a whole protein source (free-range beef) and mostly animal sources of nutrition for the formula.

It’s a limited ingredient food, so it shouldn’t irritate sensitive stomachs that may have trouble with multiple protein sources. Plus, it uses ethically- and sustainably-sourced ingredients from New Zealand.

The wet dog food is a balanced diet that’s meant for all life stages and breed sizes. It contains a whole-prey ratio of 92% meat, organs, bone, and New Zealand green mussels, with the green mussels supplying the chondtroitin and glucosamine that is vital to the bone and joint health of aging canines, growing puppies, and large breed dogs. 

According to pet owners, this dog food has helped keep their pets at a healthy weight. Dogs can’t eat this fast enough, even the usually finicky ones. It’s a great dog food option for canines who need to be on a high protein diet too, as it is mostly meat with no fillers.

It’s a clean recipe for pups, particularly those who cannot tolerate many ingredients. However, since it is made in New Zealand, it can be expensive. 

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 27

What Customers Like:

  • Has naturally-sourced chondroitin and glucosamine
  • 92% ratio of meat, organs, and bone
  • 10% superfood inclusions
  • Free-range beef 
  • No hormones, antibiotics or growth promotants

Common Complaints:

  • Expensive

What To Look For In A Quality Wet Dog Food

An excellent wet dog food can help keep your dog’s proper fiber content up because the moisture required to process the food helps in digestion. It should have an adequate protein and fat balance to give your dog energy all day and help build lean muscle.

Omega fatty acids, especially those from natural sources like fish, can help support and maintain a healthy coat and skin. Things like glucosamine promote healthy joints and bones. Whole fruits or veggies can provide valuable prebiotic materials and vitamins for immune system support and proper digestion.

For sensitive dogs, single sources of protein are better than multiple sources. Make sure the protein source is a whole, animal source and not a by-product meal or from legume sources, which can impede the production of taurine and cause issues.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 28

Benefits of Wet Food For Your Pup

Ask most dogs what kind of food they would prefer and they would likely indicate canned dog food (also known as tinned or wet food). It would probably be preferred even over raw food by most dogs. In general, wet dog food is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, which are very enticing to pups.

Some foods are very high in protein. Even wet dog foods that are of modest quality usually have quite a bit of protein compared to average dog foods. And since canned foods go through the canning process, they don’t need the same kind of preservatives that dry foods usually require. 

You can read about the canning process here1.

Once the ingredients are mixed, the mixture is placed into the cans and the lids are sealed on the cans with a partial vacuum. The sealed cans are placed in the “retorting” machine.

This is where the canned foods are cooked and sterilized using steam. After the sealed cans are cooled in water and dried, they are labeled and readied for shipment.

You can see, this is quite different from the way dry dog food is cooked and prepared.

Aside from the above-mentioned benefits quality wet dog food offers, there are three common health issues an excellent canned dog food can help your pup with:

Dental Issues

Kibble often gets all the glory2 for being good for teeth, but if you have a dog with serious dental issues, dry kibble may not be an option. Wet dog food can give your pet all the proper nutrition without making a tooth or jaw pain a lot worse.

Healthy pups may want to eat at least half kibble to help scrape plaque and tartar from the teeth, but if your dog experiences pain when chewing or has suffered an injury recently, good wet dog food can make eating a whole lot easier.

If your dog is missing teeth, kibble may be too hard on the gums. Likewise, if your pet has no more teeth, a good kibble could help you make sure your pet is eating fully and adequately.

Picky Eating

Does your dog spit kibble onto the floor? Are you never sure exactly how much dog food your pet is getting because you tend to refill the bowl a little each time you pass by? Your dog may not be getting the proper nutrition because, with picky eating, he may not be eating enough.

Wet dog food can encourage your pet to eat all his food when you serve it, so you know exactly how much your dog is eating. It also helps encourage your dog to eat despite any pain in the jaw or mouth area, which can aid in recovery after injury. It’s particularly useful for seniors or little ones.

Peas And Potatoes

A recent link between a diet heavy in peas and potatoes and canine dilated cardiomyopathy may send you back to wet food. It’s gotten common for kibble, particularly the grain-free kind, to have peas and potatoes as a source of energy and fiber. It can make things difficult if your dog is allergic to peas or potatoes as well.

This link hasn’t been fully established, but you may want to reconsider foods that use these ingredients heavily, especially if your dog is a breed already predisposed to an enlarged heart.

Talk to your veterinarian about the link and possible options if your dog is on the list of susceptible breeds. Also, regular vet visits can help find the signs of an enlarged heart before it becomes too severe for options.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 29

Why Quality Food Matters For Your Dog

Your dog needs food with premium ingredients3 to help stave off weight issues, allergies, and a host of other health problems.

The problem with many dog foods is that they use cheap fillers to bring down the cost of the food. Your dog can have poor reactions at worst, and at best, those ingredients are nothing but empty calories making it difficult for you to control your pet’s weight.

Dogs that receive well-balanced nutrition from their food often live longer, have a better quality of life, and usually retain their energy even into their senior years.

Choosing better food may add a bit to your budget in the short term, but overall, you may experience fewer vet visits because of poor health and food allergies.

Is Canned The Best Choice For Your Dog?

There are some good reasons to feed canned dog food. As mentioned previously, canned dog foods do not have as many chemicals added to them as kibbles. Most of them do not contain artificial colors or flavors, and they don’t need preservatives because of the canning process.

1. Wet dog foods also have far fewer carbohydrates than kibbles. Many of them are grain free – and were grain-free before it became popular.

While kibbles require starches for the extrusion process, canned dog foods have no such requirement for their manufacture. This means wet dog foods have room for more protein and fat.

These ingredients also happen to be beneficial for most pups. With some canned dog food, you can literally open the can and see the meat and other ingredients. Ingredients are often recognizable, unlike with dry dog food.

2. Most dogs enjoy wet dog foods better than kibbles. Dogs love canned dog food more than dry dog food because the former usually offers more flavor. Wet food also smell better (for dogs) than kibble. 

If you have a dog that won’t eat, then choosing a wet dog food formula may be a good way to get your dog chowing down again. This is especially true if you have a senior dog or a convalescing pup. Many times, feeding canned food can tempt a dog with a poor appetite. 

Senior dogs’ sense of smell and taste start fading as they age so kibble may not appeal to them. A wet dog food may be just the thing to get an older dog to eat.

3. They’re good to hide medicine in. If you need to slip your dog some medication – either liquid or a pill – you may be able to hide it in his canned food, too. This approach can take a little practice, depending on the kind of wet dog food your pet likes and how willing (or suspicious) he is when he eats his food.

If he’s the kind of dog that wolfs down his food, you may be able to get him to take his medicine several times before he notices there is something different about his meals. But, if he is a cautious eater, he might notice right away that something is different which could ruin your efforts. Still, it works with many dogs.

4. Wet food is easy on the teeth. If you have a dog that has dental problems, such as missing teeth or a poorly-aligned jaw, then softer canned wet dog food may help your dog eat.

5. It provides more moisture. Some dogs may not get enough water in their diet. If your dog needs more moisture in his diet, a wet food diet could be the answer. While most kibbles have a moisture percentage of around 9-12 percent, most wet dog foods have a moisture content of between 75%-82%. More moisture in a dog’s diet is usually better for the kidneys and makes the food easier to digest.

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Drawbacks To Feeding Wet Foods

As usual, there are some possible drawbacks to these foods. For one thing, if you have a medium-sized or larger dog, feeding a canned food diet can be virtually cost-prohibitive, especially if you try to feed a premium quality canned food.

Some of the top quality canned dog foods can cost $3-4 for a 13 to 14 ounce large can, with two cans per day recommended for a dog weighing 30 pounds; and three cans per day recommended for a dog weighing 50 pounds. Many people with large dogs only buy canned foods occasionally and use them as a topper or special treat because of the cost.

In terms of ingredients, many canned dog food brands use the thickening agent carrageenan. Concerns have been raised about carrageenan in connection with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), intestinal ulcers, and other stomach problems, so it’s important you check the label for it.

Other concerns have been raised regarding guar gum, xanthum gum, agar agar, and other thickening agents used in canned foods and whether they are associated with digestive problems in some dogs.

Other drawbacks include the fact that feeding wet dog foods can be messy. Some dogs tend to get the food on their faces and bodies when they eat. They can also spread the food around the floor and elsewhere.

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There are mixed feelings about whether wet foods lead to more dental problems for dogs. While it’s true that dry foods probably don’t keep a dog’s teeth cleaner as people used to claim (unless you are feeding one of the dog foods with a special dental supplement), some people do believe that wet foods can lead to more dental problems for dogs.

However, this could be due to the fact that canned dog foods are more often fed to Toy breeds and some of these breeds are known for having some genetic dental issues. We think the jury is out on whether canned foods lead to more dental problems for canines.

Wet dog food formulas cannot be left sitting out, the way kibbles can. Once you open a can of dog food, it needs to be used within a short time or thrown away. You can cover it and store it in your refrigerator but even then, it should be used fairly soon or it will spoil.

Canned foods are typically harder to purchase in large quantities and their storage is more of a problem than bags of kibble. If you are trekking to the grocery store or Costco, you can bring home a 40-pound bag of dog food for one dog and expect it to last a while.

But if you have to carry multiple heavy cases of canned food and find a place to store it at home, it can be a problem. Of course, with online sources like Chewy.com and easy delivery, this is less of a problem today.

Best Wet Dog Food Brands For [year]: Top Picks For Puppies, Adults & Seniors 31

Ingredients To Avoid In Your Canned Dog Food

Cheap fillers are some of the worst things you can give your dog. They offer nothing but empty calories, which can cause weight gain, and some dogs may even have allergies to those fillers. Corn and soy are two common ones. We recommend avoiding any foods that have them listed in the ingredients.

Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are other ingredients that can cause allergic reactions such as skin issues and trouble with digestion. Foods shouldn’t have heavy artificial ingredients because the whole, natural ingredients provide much better results for health.

As we mentioned above, some gluten free and grain free foods are under scrutiny following a recent study showing a possible link between diets heavy in potatoes, peas, or legumes and a condition called canine dilated cardiomyopathy. They’re unsure what the relationship may be but suspect it has to do with altered taurine levels because of protein sources other than animal sources.

Until we’re sure of the link, we won’t say to avoid those foods entirely, but we do recommend you avoid foods that have these ingredients listed in the first three on the ingredients list.

If your dog is the type of breed particularly susceptible to this condition, talk to your veterinarian about what your options may be.

Many budget store brands are guilty of using cheap fillers and artificial ingredients to help lower the cost of the food. Frequent offenders include foods like Beneful brand and Ol Roy although you should check most store brands to see what the first five ingredients are.

Final Thoughts

These are the best canned dog food products we’ve found and reviewed. There are others that are just as good, but they are not on the list because we haven’t had a chance to look at them closely yet. 

In other cases, a food may actually be a supplement and not have the AAFCO approval as a diet for adult dogs or any of the life stages. 

These foods will usually have this AAFCO statement on the label: “This product is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only.” Some dog food mixes4 fall under this category. Some wet dog food formulas that are all-meat or specialty diets also fall into this category such as PetKind Tripett.

In some cases you will find dog foods (canned and otherwise) that have no AAFCO statement. When this occurs, you should contact the company to try to ascertain the AAFCO status of the food. Otherwise, you should assume that the food is not complete and balanced.

Feeding your fur buddy a wet food diet is a great way to help dogs with tooth issues or picky eaters to get whole nutrition without missing anything. It can be a little messier than dry food, but whether it’s as a complement or a whole meal, your dog should find the flavors and smells of wet food especially appealing. 

Be sure you’re watching portions carefully and talk to your vet about any dental issues that crop up. Aside from that, your dog gets to enjoy food once again, and you don’t have to stare at a half-full bowl anymore. Win-Win!


References:

  1. How Wellness Natural Canned Pet Food Is Made, Wellness Pet Company
  2. Dental Diets for Better Oral Health, Pet MD
  3. Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs, Animal Kennel Club
  4. Mary Straus, Dog Food Mixes

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