Wet dog food is an excellent complement to your dog’s dry kibble. [1] It is a fantastic option for dogs who don’t drink nearly as much water as they should, or for the picky eaters who want a more a flavorful bite to their meals.

dogs eating wet food - dognutrition

Many benefits

Moreover, the soft texture is perfect for older dogs with weaker teeth, [2] and the potent meaty smell can improve their appetite when they’re ill and turning up their noses for the same old bag of food. Best of all, highly rated wet foods can include minimally processed proteins with fewer preservatives.

Lot’s of options

When you have a vast variety to choose from, though, where are you supposed to turn? There’s:

  • grain free
  • beef
  • fish
  • chicken
  • holistic
  • and even vegetarian options.

On top of that, some brands are more reliable than others, while some include less than ideal ingredients that aren’t obvious to the average consumer.

Time for a new bowl? Have a look at best dog food bowl options.

Best canned dog food examined

corgi excited for his wet food

Do you buy what you’ve always bought, what your friend buys, what the vet recommends, or what the media might suggest? With so many options in the supermarket aisles and online, it isn’t easy to narrow down the perfect choice. Thankfully, the headaches associated with making that choice no longer have to fall on your shoulders.

In this article, we’ve found nine of the best wet dog foods on the market across several different categories to meet the unique needs of your canine companion. Organic. Grain-free. Gluten-free. We’ve got them all, so let’s get started.

Halo | Natural Wet Dog Food for Adult Dogs

Halo Holistic Natural Wet Dog Food

Take a look at the canned food on the shelves of your kitchen cupboard, and chances are one of the first ingredients you’ll see is chicken “meal.” [3] This popular (yet affordable) alternative to whole meat sources is highly processed and is often quite a bit harder on your pets tummy.

Real good, real meat

Halo is rated as the best all natural wet dog food, and implements changes to the dog food game by basing their recipes on whole meat protein as the primary ingredients. However, the good news doesn’t end there. Halo is against using factory farmed meat that is filled with antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial coloring, and preservatives. [4]

All in all, this means you’ll have to worry a lot less about a can of this food resulting in long-term side effects. They even go so far as to ensure that their vegetables are strictly non-GMO. [5]

Pros

  • Dogs love the taste
  • Owners appreciate the healthy ingredient list that tries to mimic natural diets
  • Holistic ingredients which limit chemicals and preservatives found in cheaper brands

Cons

  • Less concentrated than other brands, which often means you’ll have to feed your dog more of it.

Customer Feedback

This wet dog food has scored a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars and has become a staple in the pantry for customers with older dogs that experience a myriad of dental, skin, and coat issues. The grain-free and holistic ingredients keep the owners happy, while the delicious whole turkey and salmon keep adult dogs coming back for more.

However, keep in mind that there’s no miracle flavor of food. While these cans are a hit with most picky eaters, there are a few customers who reported that their dogs weren’t crazy about the taste.

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Taste of the Wild | High Protein Natural Wet Stew

Taste of the Wild Grain Free Real Meat Recipe Premium Wet Canned Stew Dog Food 1

They descended from wolves, so it’s no surprise that even your bite-sized pups still have a bit of the wild in them! With this philosophy in mind, Taste of the Wild believes that your domesticated best friend should benefit from the health benefits that modern nutrition can provide while still supplying them with the flavorful feast that their DNA craves.

To this end, they’ve created the best gluten-free wet dog food, [6] and these cans, in particular, include:

  • essential whole foods for a healthy skin and coat
  • easily digestible fiber
  • and real whole duck with a high amino acid profile for a well-rounded and complete meal.

Amazingly, Taste of the Wild manages to include all of these features into a formula that still hits an affordable price point, making it a popular choice for many consumers who are looking for the best bang for their buck.

Pros

  • Family-owned and operated
  • Based in the USA which ensures high-quality proteins & standards
  • Its affordable price point makes it an attractive choice for owners on a budget

Cons

  • Some dogs experienced gas at first when first trying these recipes

Customer Feedback

This food earned a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, and if your dog loves eating scraps from the table, then chances are she’ll also enjoy the chunks of meat and gravy found in each of these cans.

While you can feed it as a standalone meal, many customers report that it mixes quite well with their dry kibble for some added flavor and variety when their dogs have a craving for something new. They also love that – compared to similarly priced dog food – Taste of the Wild impresses with a lack of filler and doesn’t skimp on quality ingredients.

Unfortunately, there are the occasional reports from some customers that their dogs experienced bad gas and digestive issues. It’s possible that they can overcome the gastric distress over time after a period of proper transitioning, however, it’s not always worth the effort. If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, it might be worth buying just a few cans to see how he or she reacts before committing to a whole case.

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Wellness CORE | Natural Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Dog Food

Wellness is a popular brand since they strive to pack as much high-quality nutrition as possible into each can while using the fewest number of ingredients.

In an attempt to create a super quality grain-free wet dog food, [7] it is evident that when you read through their recipes, you’ll be hard-pressed to find red flag ingredients such as:

  • fillers
  • preservatives
  • and/or meat by-products.

These grain-free formulas, in particular, are an excellent choice for allergy sufferers since there are fewer potential triggers such as wheat or corn. That means that if your allergy prone dog has had trouble settling into some of the other cans on our list, this one might be the one you want to try next.

Pros

  • Extremely high levels of protein in each recipe
  • Grain-free formulas lead to dogs with healthy, shiny coats and skin

Cons

  • Bit expensive; however, each can is usually larger than that of their competitors.
  • Contains carrageenan, [8] a controversial dog food binder.

Customer Feedback

This product earned a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, and customers are thrilled to report that after switching to this high-quality offering from Wellness, their pups look forward to every meal.

In particular, they seem to enjoy the flavor and high protein content, which appears to give them more energy and more regular, consistent stools.

However, loyal customers have recently been displeased over the price hikes that this line of food has been subject to, and many more are quite vocal in their anger that the ingredients list is known to change. These two factors make it quite hard to offer dogs a consistent, reliable formula that can be properly budgeted for, which may be a red flag for many customers.

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Solid Gold | Hund-N-Flocken

Solid Gold Dry Dog Food; Hund-N-Flocken With Real Lamb & Brown Rice

Contains: Real Lamb & Brown Rice

Known as the best holistic wet dog food, this food was initially crafted for the well-being of the founders own Great Danes, Solid Gold has grown their brand to meet the needs of all breeds of dogs.

While not grain-free, this recipe contains:

  • no potato
  • no corn
  • no wheat
  • no soy

. . . which are considered among the worst offenders when it comes to dog allergies.

There are also no artificial flavors or preservatives, so you know that your best friend is getting one of the highest quality meals available. It is important to note though that while this is a perfectly fine food for intermittent feeding, Solid Gold suggests that you use it to complement their regular dry food in order to ensure a proper balance of probiotics and proteins.

Once in a while, feeding from only these cans shouldn’t be a problem, but we recommend sticking to their guidelines to avoid any potential deficiencies later down the line.

Pros

  • Great for dogs with allergies
  • High-quality ingredients you can trust

Cons

  • Big chunks of meat may be hard for small dogs to chew and swallow
  • Has to be carefully measured, to avoid overfeeding and weight gain

Customer Feedback

Customers are thrilled that their dog’s coats have become shiny and healthy after a switch to Solid Gold and rated the product with 3.9 out of 5 stars. Compared to grocery store brands, the quality of the formulas has often led to an outstanding improvement in digestion, skin health, and allergy symptoms (which more than make up for the rather high price per can).

Although most customers are happy with the results, others have complained that the inclusion of white fish as an ingredient is not clearly indicated, which frustrates those that would prefer to avoid it in their dog’s diet altogether. Despite this, the positive reviews far outweigh the negative.

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Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets | Wet Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Dog Food Fish & Sweet Potato

When common wet dog food ingredients don’t get the job done, Natural Balance has got you covered and stands ahead of the crowd as the premier limited ingredients wet dog food.

The inclusion of sweet potato is designed to ease digestion and loosen stool with plenty of fiber, while white fish has proven to be less harsh on the more sensitive stomachs of older pets.

This formula follows a limited ingredient diet which aims to use simple ingredients to reduce the likelihood of including allergens and other common irritants. Restricted ingredient diets also result in the use of single-source animal proteins, which is a huge relief since you can easily avoid meats that your dog doesn’t like.

All these factors result in a very appealing formula for owners whose dogs are experiencing digestive issues with grocery store brands.

Pros

  • Very easy on the stomach, making it a good choice for older or dogs
  • Affordable
  • Natural Balance foods undergo rigorous safety tests to ensure strict quality control

Cons

  • Inconsistent textures
  • Gives some dogs gas at first

Customer Feedback

This L.I.D dog food earned a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. The simplicity of the ingredients included in Natural Balance foods is a major selling point for those wanting an easily digestible – yet flavorful – option for their picky pooches.

Many customers love how easy it is to sneak pills and other medication inside the food since the flavor and consistency distract their dogs. Others like that dogs with easily upset stomachs experienced fewer issues with this brand, even when compared to more expensive alternatives.

Interestingly, however, there are a few reports from customers who noted that orders delivered via online retailers were not up to par with those purchased locally in stores due to a waterier consistency. It’s also important to note that the fish flavor doesn’t seem to be a big hit for many dogs, but thankfully there are plenty of other flavors to choose from if you’re still interested in giving this brand a try.

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Newman’s Own Organics | Canned Beef Dinner for Dogs

Newman’S Own Organics Beef Dinner For Dogs

Whatever happened to simple ingredients, where what you see is what you get?

While those foods are much harder to find than they used to be, they’re thankfully not completely gone yet. Newman’s Own stands out from the crowd by supplying the top organic wet dog food. They offer their food with organic beef as their main ingredient that is:

  • concentrated
  • perfect for all life stages
  • and is surprisingly affordable.

The cherry on top is the fact that 100% of their profits go to charity. That means that when you buy Newman’s Own, you’re giving your dog a tasty, healthy option while simultaneously doing something good for those in need.

Pros

  • Very high protein content compared to other wet canned foods
  • Owners report that their dogs become more energetic after eating this food for a few days

Cons

  • Formula changes often
  • A popular choice, often out of stock online; making repeat purchases difficult.

Customer Feedback

Caring dog owners rated it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Owners love that this food not only meets AAFCO guidelines [9] but is completely organic and free of pesky by-products. While dogs enjoy the taste, some customers are put off by the congealed layer of fat often found at the top of the can. While it’s not appealing visually, it thankfully doesn’t smell all that bad, so it shouldn’t turn your stomach when it comes time to feed your doggo.

Some customers note that the formula has occasionally been inconsistent, which can raise issues if their dog has grown to love past recipes only to turn up their nose at the latest ones. Additionally, there have been some packaging and shipping issues which have resulted in dented cans, making a case of the food more expensive than it needs to be if a few of them become unusable.

We’d still recommend giving Newman’s Own a shot; you just have to be sure to either buy in bulk or keep a close eye on the ingredients each time you place an order.

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CRAVE | High Protein Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

Crave High Protein Grain Free Adult Wet Dog Food

All dogs love protein and CRAVE delivers the best protein-rich wet dog food by providing food that relies on whole ingredients. Unlike other wet dog foods that bulk up their formulas with soy or grains, the recipes behind this food begin with:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • and chicken liver.

Not only does that mean that most dogs tend to go crazy for the smell and taste, but it also means that you’re paying for quality and high nutritional content, not on a name or reputation.

Each can of this food is all quality goods and no filler, so if you feel like treating your dog, this is probably one of your best options.

Pros

  • Completely free of grains
  • Reasonably priced considering the quality on offer
  • Very concentrated, which means many owners will feed less than their usual amounts

Cons

  • Small serving sizes mean more purchases for bigger, hungrier dogs

Customer Feedback

This dog food scored a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, and customers love the all-natural ingredients and lack of artificial flavors and preservatives which gives them peace of mind when they want to feed their dog the best of the best.

Of course, quality doesn’t matter when your dog turns up his nose at the dinner table, but thankfully most customers report that even picky eaters devour their meals, making it a safe purchasing choice for most owners. The lack of gravy makes for easy cleanup, and the pop style lid requires no can opener, resulting in fewer countertop messes.

While most of the reviews for this food are positive, some customers note that this food isn’t particularly eco-friendly since it produces quite a bit of excess waste. So, if you’re looking to do something good for the environment by minimizing your carbon footprint, this probably isn’t the wisest choice.

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Natural Balance | Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food

Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food

We know what you’re thinking. We thought it aloud ourselves. “A vegan wet food for dogs? That can’t be right.” Amazingly, it is.

Going against the grain by chucking meat right out the window, this second line of food on our list by Natural Balance offers a recipe packed with alternative proteins and complex carbohydrates in vegetables such as peas to ensure a complete and balanced diet that also often results in increased energy.

Moreover, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, nine safety tests for quality control, and employ a panel of nutrition experts that are always on call to answer your questions. It might be unorthodox, but with that many safety features in place, you don’t have much to lose by giving these recipes a shot.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Backed by highly-trained nutrition experts

Cons

  • Lack of animal protein might not sit well with purists looking to offer their pets a natural diet

Customer Feedback

Reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this vegetarian Natural Balance wet food, and it scored a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Owners are thankful that they’ve found a wet food which their dogs crave. One that is affordable and contains many necessary nutrients that support greater overall health.

Dogs are reportedly also quite pleased with the thick consistency of the food, while owners appreciate that this same feature makes portioning and scooping quick and easy. It’s not grain-free and doesn’t contain any animal proteins, but it’s hard to argue with the reported results.

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Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets | Gastroenteric Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets

This popular vet-recommended adult dog formula backed by Purina nutritionists, researchers, and veterinariansis well-known and available around the world. It has built it’s reputation by offering a variety of products that serve all ages and breeds of dogs.

These gastroenteric canine formulas are made with:

  • antioxidants,
  • prebiotic fibers,
  • and high-quality proteins to combat afflictions like pancreatitis [10]

. . and promote healthy and happy gut bacteria.

Pros

  • A vet-recommended formula
  • Designed to be easy on the stomach for older and sensitive dogs

Cons

  • While more convenient, it can be more expensive when bought online

Customer Feedback

For dogs that have suffered from gastrointestinal distress in the past, this food has proven to be one of the most reliable, healthy options available and has earned a solid rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Many customers love that their dog chows down on this food like there’s no tomorrow, and the fact that it’s recommended by vets around the world gives them confidence that they’re making the right feeding choice at mealtime.

The inclusion of prebiotics and MCT oil aimts to promote healthy gut bacteria in your dog’s upset stomach. Making this food great to have on hand if you find that their bowel movements are becoming more irregular. While it sounds like the complete package, keep in mind that you may not see a big difference in dogs that are already healthy.

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Final thoughts on wet dog food

dog with basket and many cans of dog food

We’ve covered a lot of different brands on our list today, and while the information that we offered might seem overwhelming, there’s no pressure to make the correct decision right away.

Many of these cans are designed to alleviate allergies or illnesses, so if your dog isn’t experiencing any of these problems, then you can take your time and make your way down the list, trying a few at a time until your dog finds one that he or she adores.

There’s no “wrong” choice, so we highly recommend picking one that fits your dogs lifestyle as well as your budget. You – and your dog(s) – will be thrilled that you did. Just don’t blame us if they love it so much that they refuse to touch their kibble once the cans are empty. 🙂

dognutrition.com-websites-medical-disclaimer

Another must read: Best Probiotic for Dogs

Resources

  1. Effect of dry, soft moist, and canned dog foods on postprandial blood glucose and insulin concentrations in healthy dogs.” L. C. Holste. R. W. Nelson. E. C. Feldman. G. D. Bottoms. June 1989
  2. Dental caries in the dog” Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne vol. 50,12 (2009): 1301-4.
  3. Swanson, Kelly S et al. “Nutritional sustainability of pet foods” Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.) vol. 4,2 141-50. 6 Mar. 2013, doi:10.3945/an.112.003335
  4. Artificial preservatives and antioxidants in dog food – All about dog food
  5. Callon, Meghan C et al. “Canine Food Preference Assessment of Animal and Vegetable Ingredient-Based Diets Using Single-Pan Tests and Behavioral Observation” Frontiers in veterinary science vol. 4 154. 3 Oct. 2017, doi:10.3389/fvets.2017.00154
  6. Knight, Andrew and Madelaine Leitsberger. “Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals” Animals : an open access journal from MDPI vol. 6,9 57. 21 Sep. 2016, doi:10.3390/ani6090057
  7. Natural pet food: a review of natural diets and their impact on canine and feline physiology.” P. R. Buff. R. A. Carter. J. E. Bauer. J. H. Kersey. September 2014
  8. A critical review of the toxicological effects of carrageenan and processed eucheuma seaweed on the gastrointestinal tract.” S. M. Cohen. N. Ito. September 2002
  9. The Association of American Feed Control Officials Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles: substantiation of nutritional adequacy of complete and balanced pet foods in the United States.” D. A. Dzanis. December 1994.
  10. Pancreatitis in dogs and cats: definitions and pathophysiology.” P. Watson. January 2015.

About the Author

Dog Nutrition

The Dog Nutrition team is here to help you navigate the stormy ocean waters that are the dog products industry. With over 10+ years experience in dealing with dog products and caring dog owners, we look beneath the surface to uncover hidden features, deals, and some of the most popular, best selling and highest reviewed dog products you can purchase.

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