Trying to find the best wet dog food can be stressful, especially if you don't know what to look for as far as ingredients go. That's why we've made this list of the best canned dog food you can find in 2020. We've only included the highest-quality foods on our list – no by-product or mystery meat here!
10 Best Quality Wet Dog Foods Reviewed
1. Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food
Natural Balance Ultra Premium uses high-quality ingredients like real beef, brown rice, and carrots for complete and balanced nutrition that can be fed to dogs of all life stages. Veterinarians and animal nutritionists have developed every formula, and each batch of food has 9 safety tests run on it to ensure its safety. That makes Natural Balance our top pick for the best canned dog food
First 5 Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, beef liver, potatoes, carrots
Customer Reviews: Most of the complaints are about cans arriving dented, which could be a shipping issue. As with any food, some dogs didn't like the taste or texture, and a few dogs got sick after eating it. However, most dogs love this food, and several people reported that their vet approved of the food, as well.
Our Take: If your dog likes the texture of pate and doesn't require a grain-free diet, this is an excellent choice. We feel comfortable offering this as our top pick because of its quality ingredients and lack of filler.
2. Taste of the Wild Grain Free Real Meat Recipe Premium Wet Canned Stew
First 5 Ingredients: Duck, duck broth, chicken broth, fish broth, chicken liver
Customer Reviews: Some dogs got sick after eating this food. Also, since it's a stew, it has some big chunks that may be difficult for some dogs to chew. However, most dogs love the flavor, and owners report that their dogs have shinier coats after switching from other brands.
Our Take: This food is too chunky for dogs with dental problems, and it's too rich for some dogs. However, it's an excellent grain-free soft dog food that most dogs will enjoy and do well on. This food is acceptable for all life stages.
3. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas
Customer Reviews: There seem to be some quality control problems when bought through Amazon, from dented cans to the same food looking different compared to bought in store and making dogs sick. However, these complaints are outnumbered by people who say that their dogs love this food and thrive on it.
Our Take: There's always a chance you could be shipped a bad batch, but most dogs enjoy this food and do well on it. This soft food might not be appropriate for dogs of all life stages. Ask a vet before feeding to a puppy or senior dog.
4. Solid Gold Grain-Free Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, salmon broth, whitefish, chicken liver, carrots
Customer Reviews: Most dogs love the flavor of this food, and several people reported improvement in their dog's coat after switching to this food.
Our Take: For dogs with sensitive stomachs, it's hard to beat this food. The chicken and salmon flavor has easy-to-digest proteins along with prebiotics and probiotics for optimal digestion. This adult food might not be appropriate for all life stages.
5. Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Wet Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned beef, beef broth, beef liver, dried egg product, dried yeast culture
Customer Reviews: While this food is overall highly rated, there seem to be a lot of quality control concerns, with reports of everything from dented cans to nearly empty cans to whole chicken thighbones in the can. All in all, though, even picky dogs seem to love this food, and it's great for dogs who are allergic to poultry or grains.
Our Take: This soft dog food may be a little too rich for some dogs, and there are occasional quality control issues. However, this is still an excellent grain-free formula that most dogs love and thrive on.
6. Whole Earth Farms Grain Free All Breed Wet Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, beef liver, salmon, peas
Customer Reviews: This company has occasional quality control problems. Not only do people occasionally receive dented cans (like every other food on our list), but people also sometimes receive cans that are less than half full of food. With that being said, even picky dogs love the flavor of this food, and owners report that their dogs are healthy.
Our Take: If you prefer to avoid both grain and potatoes in your dog's diet, this is an excellent choice. There is a chance you could get bad cans, but it's more likely you'll receive a great food that your pup loves.
7. Halo Natural Wet Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, chicken broth, chicken liver, salmon
Customer Reviews: The (few) negative reviews are all over the place. The positive reviews are remarkably consistent: dogs love the taste and do really well health-wise, even dogs with food allergies.
Our Take: This is a great food choice if you're passionate about the quality of ingredients in your dog's food. This grain-inclusive formula uses non-GMO vegetables and humanely raised meat. Being labeled as an "adult" food, it may not be appropriate for all life stages.
8. Weruva Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken (boneless, skinless breast), chicken broth, sunflower seed oil, potato starch, tricalcium phosphate
Customer Reviews: There are a fair number of complaints about receiving dented cans, and some dogs got very sick after eating this food. Generally, though, dogs love the taste, and even dogs with sensitive stomachs reportedly do very well on this food.
Our Take: If you're looking for a simple soft dog food with a minimum of allergy-causing ingredients, then you should take a look at this food. This food may not be suitable for all life stages. Talk to your vet first before buying this if you have a puppy or senior dog.
9. Instinct Grain Free Stews Recipe Natural Wet Canned Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, lamb broth, beef liver, egg whites
Customer Reviews: Most of the complaints are about dogs who didn't like the flavor or texture. However, the complaints are far outnumbered by the dogs who love this food and thrive on it. Even dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies seem to do well on this food.
Our Take: Instinct is a premium brand with a price tag to match, but most dogs love and thrive on this food. Picky dogs are split on the taste and texture.
10. Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, ground barley, sweet potatoes
Customer Reviews: Negative reviews are far and few between (the most recent negative review is four months old as of writing), but mostly revolve around receiving dented cans. By and large, though, most dogs love the flavor and do really well on this food.
Our Take: For a grain-inclusive pate, this is an excellent choice with quality ingredients and few reports of sick dogs. This food is appropriate for dogs of all life stages.
Canned Dog Food Buying Guide
How can you pick the best wet food for your pup? There are many different factors you need to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for the best canned dog food for your fur child.
Why Choose Wet Dog Food?
While kibble is the most common way that people feed their dogs, soft dog food is a valuable alternative or addition to kibble. Soft dog food is usually easy to chew, which makes it great for puppies, small dogs, and senior dogs with dental problems.
Canned food also has a much higher moisture content than kibble. This can help prevent dehydration and kidney problems in dogs who don't like to drink water from a bowl.
Thanks to its high moisture content, wet food can also be more filling than kibble. That could be helpful if your dog needs to lose weight.
If you're concerned about the best way to feed your dog, it's never a bad idea to talk to your dog's vet about what type of food is best for your dog. After all, each dog has unique nutritional needs.
It's important to note that some canned food is only designed to supplement other types of food and not just be eaten on its own. If you plan to feed your dog only wet food, make sure it's labeled "complete and balanced," so you can be sure your dog is getting all the nutrients they need.
Canned Dog Food Textures
Wet food comes in several different texture varieties. While some dogs might only care about the flavor, picky dogs might only prefer one or two textures and refuse to eat certain textures, like chewy dog food. The most common canned food textures are:
What to Look for in Quality Canned Dog Food
So, what should you be looking for to find the best wet dog food? Here are some things that definitely should (or should not) be in your dog's food:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the best wet dog food.
How Long Can You Keep Canned Dog Food Out?
Wet food harbors bacteria much better than kibble, so it's important not to leave it out all day. Pick it up if your dog hasn't eaten it within an hour. Once you've opened a can, store unused food in an airtight container in your fridge for up to three days.
How Much Wet Food Should I Give My Dog?
How much canned food you give your pup depends on their size, age, and activity level, as well as whether you feed only canned food or if the wet food supplements something else. It also depends on the food itself – some dog food brands are higher in calories than others.
As a general guideline, if you're only feeding wet food, you should feed approximately 1 ounce of food per 10 pounds that your dog weighs. That looks like:
When in doubt, your vet can help you figure out how much canned food to feed every day.
Does Canned Dog Food Have Less Protein than Dry Dog Food?
The way the labels look, it certainly appears that wet food has less protein than dry food. However, that's only because the moisture content of canned food is so high. On a dry matter basis, wet food typically has more protein than dry food.
Can You Store Wet Dog Food in the Freezer?
Yes, you can store canned food in the freezer. This can help you prolong the shelf life of an opened can longer than if you kept it in the fridge.
Can You Microwave Wet Dog Food?
Yes! Some dogs hate cold food, so if you pull an opened can of food from your fridge, you can microwave it to heat it up. CAUTION: Always put the food in a microwave-safe dish first – never put a can in the microwave. Also, check the temperature to make sure it isn't too hot before feeding it to your dog.
Is Canned Dog Food Bad for My Dog's Teeth?
While kibble may help scrape some plaque or tartar off your dog's teeth, it really isn't sufficient all by itself. That shouldn't affect whether you choose wet or dry food.
Bacteria from under your dog's gum line can travel through their bloodstream and affect their heart or other organs. So, regardless of what food you feed, you should brush your dog's teeth every day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs and provide plenty of toys or bones for them to chew on.
Is Wet Dog Food Easier for Dogs to Digest?
Since canned food has higher moisture content and requires less processing than dry food, it may be easier for dogs to digest. If your dog has chronic diarrhea or constipation, wet dog food may help.
Is Canned Food Good for Overweight Dogs?
It can be. Wet dog food tends to have lower fat and carbohydrates than dry food. When in doubt, talk to your vet about the best food to help your dog lose weight.
Can I Mix Wet and Dry Food?
Yes! Dry food is typically more cost-efficient. If your pup won't eat dry food by itself, though, then mixing in wet food can help make it more appealing for your dog.
Is Canned Food Better than Kibble?
There's no straightforward answer to this question. A premium dry kibble with high-quality ingredients could be "better" than a low-quality wet dog food. A premium canned food might be better than any kibble. You need to balance your dog's nutritional requirements and personal tastes with what your budget can handle to find the best food for your dog.
Why Do Dogs Prefer Wet Dog Food?
If you think about it, wet food is a bit closer to eating a freshly killed animal than kibble is. That may be why many dogs prefer the taste of canned food over kibble. Dry food is highly processed and doesn't resemble anything that a dog (or their wolf ancestor) would eat in the wild.
Can I Feed My Dog Only Canned Dog Food?
Yes, you can feed your dog only wet food, as long as you choose a food that offers "complete and balanced" nutrition. Some wet food is designed to supplement kibble and won't provide all the nutrients a dog needs.
Is Wet Dog Food Good for Puppies?
Canned food is excellent for puppies! Kibble can be difficult for puppies to chew, especially for small breeds with tiny mouths. However, puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs, so make sure you buy puppy food rather than adult food.
Food that's made for "all life stages" is OK for puppies of a certain size, but small and large breed dogs need the specialized nutrition of a puppy food.
Are There Side Effects to Feeding Canned Dog Food?
High-quality canned dog food shouldn't have any side effects. Most dogs on canned food have healthy skin, healthy weight, and a shiny coat.
However, any time you change your dog's diet, you should transition their food slowly over a week or two. Abruptly switching your dog's food may upset their digestive system and cause gas or diarrhea.
Wrapping Up: Which Is the Best Wet Dog Food?
Only you can decide which is the best canned food for your pup. You need to factor in what textures and flavors they enjoy, along with the quality of the ingredients and the price to pick the best wet dog food for your fur child.