The Best Wet Dog Food – A Buyer’s Guide 2021

Wet Dog Food

Picking the right dog food for your pet can be a challenge. You have already narrowed down part of the battle, but now the question is which brand is the best in canned dog foods?

There are several options when choosing the best-wet food for your pet. There are also many things to consider when choosing the best-canned dog foods, such as your dog’s age or dietary needs when choosing the right wet foods for your pup.

You are considering going with a different consistency for your dog. There are several options.

  • Pate – Pate is commonly referred to as a loaf. They often have the highest calorie per can and can vary from a firm to softer texture depending on the can.  Pate is softer than a minced consistency.
  • Shredded – Shredded is typically the most appealing to humans, as it resembles something we might consider eating. They tend to have a low-calorie count, and you can visibly see the meat and the broth.
  • Stew – Stew is much like our stew with meat in the broth. You can also see the vegetables included in the recipe.
  • Minced – Minced is cut up very small, commonly used for small dogs.
Wet Dog Food

Overall, these are our top canned dog food brands, based on ingredients, and AFFCO brands, with the brand label. Narrowing down what your needs are for a great canned dog food requires a bit of research, but it pays off in the end.

Canidae All Stages Wet Dog Food – Best Overall – 5/5

Canidae All Stages Wet Dog Food

There are four different recipes for the Canidae All Stages Wet Dog Foods. One is a chicken and rice recipe, lamb and rice formula, less active formula, and multi-protein formula.

All of the recipes are great options for your dog. One of the more popular selections is the chicken and rice recipe.

The chicken and rice recipe is perfect for dogs of all stages of life, whether puppies, adults, or seniors. The serving size changes based on the dog’s age but still provides all the necessary ingredients for all dogs of all ages. It includes ingredients needed to support a healthy immune system, like chicken broth and chicken liver, and its delicious flavor makes it one of the best wet dog foods for picky eaters.

It is important to note that there is grain in these recipes, and they are not for dogs who need grain-friendly products. Customers have commented on its slight change in formula causing their dogs to turn away from the canned dog food, and others praise the effects that it has on their dogs’ digestive problems and clearing up their dry skin.

Wellness Just For Puppy Wet Dog Food – Runner Up – 5/5

Wellness Just For Puppy Wet Dog Food

The Wellness Just for Puppy Wet Food is a great option for puppies. This dog food has many high ratings, averaging 4.5 stars. This wet food is chicken flavored, AAFCO approved and has DHA for healthy brain and eye function.

Wellness Just for Puppy wet food gets its protein from chicken, chicken liver, and salmon. This wet food is for puppies of all breeds, large and small. For feeding, follow the instructions on the back as it varies for the age of your pup. This wet puppy food is packed with sweet potatoes, chicken broth, and other high-quality ingredients.

Many of the dog food reviews for this brand of wet foods state that it smells good and it is a great start for young puppies. Like many dogs, puppies develop a taste and have turned away from this product. On the plus side, many reviewers have pointed out the difference in their dog’s fur, making it softer and much shinier. Now, this specific wet can does contain grain, barely specifically. Wellness does have a grain-free puppy formula as well.

Halo Holistic Wet Dog Food for Seniors – Great For Senior Dogs – 4/5

Halo Holistic Wet Dog Food for Seniors

Halo Holistic Wet Dog Food is one of the best-wet dog foods and has five different recipes; ho, only one of these canned foods is for seniors. The recipe designed for seniors is a chicken base with chicken, chicken liver, and chicken broth. Being for senior dogs, it contains extra fiber and DHA to help with brain function.

Ingredients are grown in the USA, and cans are BPA-free, meaning that fewer chemicals are used in the can to preserve the wet food. They use sustainable sourcing to help our planet and your senior pup.

Dogs trying the Halo wet dog foods get shinier coats and firmer stools. 70% of dogs like the formula, and 30% show little to no interest in the food. This canned dog food is far softer than other wet dog foods making it easier for dogs with little to no teeth to swallow.

Instinct Original Grain-Free Wet Dog Food – 4/5

Instinct Original Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

Instinct Original Grain-Free Wet Dog Food has three grain-free recipes. They are rabbit, chicken, and beef. The food has plenty of protein, vegetables, and fruit, which will satisfy your pup’s appetite.

This canned dog food brand is for all dogs, small and large, and dogs of any age.

Reviewers have left many positive reviews that their dogs love the taste, helping with any sensitivity to grain. There have been complaints about the amount of juice in the can. Overall, it has many positive ratings and very few reviews of dogs choosing not to eat the product.

Nature’s Balance Ultra Premium Wet Food – 4/5

Nature’s Balance Ultra Premium Wet Food

Nature’s Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food has four different recipes.  One of the most popular choices is Beef, Potato, Carrots, and Brown Rice. This recipe contains beef, beef broth, beef liver, potatoes, carrots, and brown rice. All while meeting the nutritional guidelines of the AAFCO.

It is suitable for small and large dogs and all stages of life. Many reviews from dog owners state that their dogs do not have any dry or flaky skin and that their pups are happy and healthy. The biggest complaint is the dents that occur to the cans themselves, and the cans then become difficult to open. There are no real complaints about the food itself.

Blue Buffalo Wet Dog Food – 4/5

Blue Buffalo Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wet Dog Food comes in multiple recipes, including beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, and fish.

The Beef Homestyle recipe contains beef, beef broth, beef liver, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and many more ingredients. These ingredients make the taste good for your pooch and healthy for them, too!

This canned dog food is suitable for small, medium, and large dogs in all stages of life. It is soft enough for seniors and small puppies alike, with all the nutrients that every pup of any age needs.

Many reviews state that the food is great and has helped with their dog’s eating habits. Many have complained about the pull tabs on the cans themselves, and others have pointed out that there are the occasional fat masses found in the food. Overall, many positive reviews point to how great this is for their dog’s coats and bellies.

Health Benefits of Wet Dog Food

There are many health benefits to feeding your dog wet food. Wet dog foods have a bad reputation due to the number of problems with unregulated wet dog food that gets sold.

Health Benefits of Wet Dog Food

More Protein

Dry kibble has far less moisture than kibble, eliminating the amount of protein in the dry dog food. Wet dog food has far more moisture in the food itself, as it needs far fewer preservatives to make it last nearly as long. 

Fewer Preservatives 

A sealed can is air-tight. Once you open it, you should use its contents within a few days. The food then does not need to have very many preservatives.  The only exception would be a BPA lining in the can; however, you can look for BPA-free cans.

Canned dog food is fresher than kibble. A bag of dry kibble could stay open for weeks or even months. You will get through a can of wet dog food much faster.

Helps with Weight Loss 

Wet dog food has a high moisture content, as previously stated. The high moisture content helps dogs feel full faster, so they eat less and may even lose weight

The amount of protein in the food will also help in making your dog feel fuller longer. Protein takes much longer to break down, and it will make your dog feel much more full for a much longer time than dry dog food.

Reduce Bloat

Due to the moisture in wet dog food, less absorption occurs in the stomach.  When a dog eats dry kibble, the stomach needs far more moisture to digest the kibble, which leads to bloating. Wet dog food also eliminates the amount of gulping that a dog does while eating, another factor that contributes to bloat.

Easy to Digest

Typically, wet dog food is smooth.  Pups will not have to chew as much to break it down to swallow as it will be grounded already. Due to its softness, dogs will have a much easier time chewing the food as it takes far less effort.  It is not nearly as hard on their teeth or their stomachs.

Prevents Kidney Disease and Organ Stress

Wet dog food dramatically increases the amount of water intake in your dog. If your pooch commonly gets UTIs (urinary tract infections), has kidney problems, or cancer, wet dog food will aid your pet’s health. 

Though it may not cure anything, it will help with digestion and water intake. Wet dog food can help reduce a lot of stress on their organs simply because it is easier to digest, and the moisture in the food will help, too.

Much like humans, when we are sick, water is the best thing for us to help fight off our colds and diseases as it keeps us hydrated and filters out our kidneys of any lingering toxins.

What Should I Be Looking For In Wet Food?

What Should I Be Looking For In Wet Food

When looking for the best-wet dog food or any dog food, it is important to ensure that the first ingredient is meat. It should list the specific type of protein that the can contains, chicken, beef, lamb, etc.

You want to make sure that there are little to no ingredients that you cannot pronounce on the ingredients list. Avoid any form of by-products and excess preservatives. These ingredients can do much more harm than good for your dog. Look for real food, like sweet potatoes, real chicken broth, chicken liver, beef liver, turkey liver, or choose a grain-free recipe if needed.

Dog owners should look for wet foods suitable for their dog’s age, like wet puppy food or recipes for senior adult dogs.

Be sure that the product you pick is AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) approved. These may have complete and balanced on the label, or you may just see that the product is AAFCO approved. This approval means it has passed trials or contains the proper amount of nutrients for your pet.

Be sure to check that the product you choose contains omega fatty acids to help your dog’s brain function. These ingredients naturally occur in fish and eggs. It will help give your dog a soft, shiny coat and prevent flakey skin.

Look for whole fruits and vegetables to help your dog stay healthy. It will improve their immune function and help with proper digestion.

Why Does Quality Matter?

Just like humans, quality does matter. As humans, we care about what goes into our bodies, so we have a long healthy life. You should want the same for your dog, too. High-quality dog food will help your dog maintain a healthy weight, immune system, control allergies, and many other possible health problems.

With budget dog foods, you get a product loaded with cheap fillers. These cheap fillers can be cancerous, which is why we recommended keeping your dog away from any by-products. Sometimes these cheap fillers can be the cause of a dog’s indigestion.

Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are also terrible for your dog.  These can cause skin and digestion issues as well. Maintaining a well-balanced diet gives dogs a longer life span and offers them a better quality of life.

Though you spend a tad bit more on dog food, you usually end up with far fewer veterinarian bills.

Why Choose Wet Dog Food Over Raw-Diet or Dry Food?

Wet Dog Food Over Raw-Diet or Dry Food

Finding the right food for your pet may be difficult, but you must understand all the possible choices to find the correct food for your dog.

Wet food is the healthiest, budget-friendly option for your dog. Though, depending on your dog’s needs, a different diet might be better for their health.

Dry Food

Dry kibble is very processed and commonly purchased for its convenience, price, and shelf life. Dry dog food or kibble can last weeks or even months in comparison to how long canned food or raw food would.

Dry kibble is cooked at such a high temperature that it loses its nutritional value. Many believe that kibble is best for a dog’s teeth, as it will scratch the plaque off of the teeth as the dog eats; however, this is not true due to the number of carbohydrates within the food.

The issue with dry dog food is that dogs tend to bloat after eating it, they do not get enough nutrients, which can cause many digestive problems later down the road. With the dry food being so hard, it becomes harder for older dogs to break down to swallow. It is usually on the cheaper side of dog food, and it can last weeks without having to repurchase.

Raw – Diet

A raw diet contains high protein and fewer carbohydrates, essentially being completely bio-available. Raw food diet will give dogs a shinier coat, better breath, and cleaner teeth. That is assuming that you balance out the meal correctly.

The problem with raw dieting in dogs is that it is not balanced; it can harm your dog more than benefit. The other issue with a raw diet is giving your dog bones can be a safety hazard. Giving your dog a bone without supervision can cause choking. 

Using the wrong type of bones may puncture organs as it passes through the digestive tract, leading to serious injury and even death. A raw food diet can be expensive and needs to be purchased fairly often.

Wet Food

Wet dog food has more nutrients than dry dog food because it cooks at a much lower temperature. They are low carb and very high in protein. The amount of protein and oils used in the wet dog food helps make their coat shiner, and the amount of moisture helps to hydrate your pooch, leading to softer stools to help pass through their system without causing stress on the body.

It contains so much moisture that it makes it much easier for a dog to swallow, making it perfect for dogs that suffer from bloating due to the amount of air they take in during eating. The amount of moisture in the food makes it better for dogs that suffer from urinary tract infections or kidney disease.

This product is also great to put dogs on when they have an upset stomach because of the amount of moisture in the food, and it helps loosen up stool making it easier to pass. Thanks to the high amount of protein and moisture in the wet dog food, it also fills up your dog more. It can be on the more expensive side; however, it is cheaper than a raw food diet.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Wet Dog Food?

Possible Side Effects Of Wet Dog Food

One possible side-effect of canned dog food is periodontal disease. This disease attacks a dog’s gums, which can cause them to lose teeth or build plaque that will become difficult to remove.

Periodontal disease can be prevented by:

  • Giving your pet bones or treats that help with tartar buildup
  • Brushing your dog’s teeth daily
  • Speaking with your vet about extra dental support for your dog

Many other side effects occur from changing food too quickly and not allowing your dog to adjust to the new food. When changing your dog’s food, slowly add a little bit of new food to their dish at a time, so that it does not make them sick.

Some wet dog foods contain carrageenan, which is made from seaweed and can cause IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, and other gestational problems.

Many thickening agents have this same effect on the digestive tract as well, including guar gum, xanthan gum, or agar agar.

Canned Food Safety

When dealing with canned food, ensure that you refrigerate and cover the can after opening it. Not refrigerating the food left inside the can is very dangerous if left out for too long. Once opened, it should go in the fridge with a plastic lid or a plastic wrap and sit no longer than 5 to 7 days.

If your dog does not finish their wet food in 4 hours, throw it out. Spoiled food can make your dog sick, and it is important to clean out the dish after every meal so that your pup does not get sick from any new bacteria that may have formed.

Clean around your dog’s bowl when it finishes eating. It can seem tedious, but it will prevent germs from spreading from any remainders of the leftover wet dog food. Again, it will prevent your pup from getting sick if they happen to find it after 4 hours.

Why Do Dogs Prefer Wet Dog Food to Dry Dog Food?

Dogs tend to prefer wet dog food over dry dog food for many reasons.  Wet dog food has much more flavor than dry dog food does.

The amount of moisture in the food is also appealing to the dogs because it hydrates them as they eat compared to when eating dry kibble where they do not get any added moisture.

The ingredients in high-quality dog food tend to have a more flavorful taste than dry dog food, and dogs love the flavorful food. To us, the canned food may stink, but dogs will love the smell of the canned food. They can smell the protein in the food, making them want to eat it more than the dry food.

Dry food contains a lot of chemicals.  These chemicals preserve the dog food; however, the smell can turn away a dog.

Can I Mix Dry And Wet Dog Food?

Mix Dry And Wet Dog Food

You can mix both dry and wet dog food, but ensure that both the dry and wet dog food are of the same quality so that you are not countering the effects of the two foods.

When serving a mix of wet and dry foods, ask your veterinarian how much of each to use. Feeding too much can cause them to become overweight. Mixing the two different foods will help save money as you will not need to purchase nearly as much canned dog food as often as you would on a complete canned diet.

A lot of vets recommend using wet dog food to draw dogs into their regular kibble to make the dog want to eat their kibble. It can also be a lure to get dogs to go back to eating their kibble after traveling, or moving, or even after major surgery. They will be drawn to the smell and want to eat the food, including the kibble.

Is Wet Food Good For Weight Loss?

Wet dog food is a great way to put your dog on a diet without your dog noticing that they are on a diet. Because of how much liquid and protein are in the canned dog food, it tricks your dog into thinking that they are not eating less food than they are currently.

They will feel full much faster than if they ate just dry dog food. The best-canned dog food will also reduce any bloat, causing far less discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Canned food may or may not be right for your dog’s diet.  You want to be sure you are looking for the AAFCO on the label.  It’s usually on the back of the can near the list of ingredients. If you cannot find the AAFCO label, contact the company directly to see what the status is.

There are many reasons to try wet dog food, considering all of the health benefits, and it may work better because of your dog’s teeth. A good pate might be better than a shredded can of wet dog food, depending on your dog’s needs.

If you are unsure about wet dog food for your pet or what a good brand would be good for your dog, it may be best to speak with your veterinarian directly about what brand and diet is best for your dog and their needs. You might also want to raise any concerns about their current diet and potentially changing to another brand or type of food.

Leave a Comment