Best Canned Dog Foods For Taste & Nutrition

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Best canned dog food

When you think of dog food, there's a good chance that you're picturing round, dry kibble in a bowl. However, there's another option for dogs in the form of canned, or "wet", dog food. This food is specifically crafted to mimic the diet that dogs ate in the wild and fulfill their nutritional needs.

Unfortunately, because of the high quality ingredients, canned dog foods do generally come with higher price tags. However, the benefits that the best canned dog foods bring makes the increased price justifiable for some owners. Especially since your dog is your best friend - you want to make sure that they're getting the best care possible.

There are several things to consider when picking the best canned dog food for your pup, so we've created a guide to make sure you're as informed as possible about what should be fueling your dog.

Canned Dog Food vs. Dry Dog Food

When canned dog food is mentioned, it's usually followed up by the question "What's the difference between canned and dry dog food?" This debate has been going on for a very long time, with very strong arguments going for both canned and dry dog food. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what to feed your dog after hearing the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Dry Dog Food

  • Per-weight, contains more nutrients than wet food since it contains less water
  • More economical and convenient to store and feed your dog
  • Rough texture of the kibble is good for a dog's dental health
  • Only about a 10% moisture content
  • Not as tasty
  • Not very clear how much is filler

Canned Dog Food

  • Contains a lot of water which is great for hydration
  • Tastes a lot better and more natural to dogs
  • Excellent for older or sick dogs
  • Less nutritionally-dense
  • Harder to store (spoils a lot sooner)
  • Generally pricier per pound

It's clear that both types of food have benefits and drawbacks, so it's a common sight to see dog owners combine the two to give a tasty and well-rounded meal. The enhanced flavor and much higher water content of the wet food compliments the nutrient-dense, drier kibble.

Canned Dog Food Feeding Guide

Canned dog food is fundamentally different from dry food, so it requires a bit of a different approach in terms of feeding. Making sure that you're following these guidelines ensures that your dog is getting the proper nutrients that it needs to thrive.

To begin with, let's discuss quantity. A dog needs about 1oz of wet food for every pound of body. While that may seem like a lot, it's absolutely necessary to feed them that much as wet dog foods are primarily water.

This large amount is the reason why many owners mix wet food into dry food. 10oz of wet dog food replaces just about 1 cup of dry dog food, so make sure to include that in your calculations.

In addition to quantity is the actual storage of the food. While wet dog food lasts for a while in the can, once it's opened it must be immediately refrigerated and used within 2-3 days. If you're more of a bulk buyer, it's possible to freeze your canned dog food to make it last much longer. If you do freeze it, make sure you're freezing it in individual servings so that you can take it out of the freezer and thaw only what's needed.

Although canned dog food contains a lot of water, it's still important that you provide your dog with plenty of clean, fresh water to drink. The water in the food will help their hydration, but not to the extent of standard water.

Should Dog Food Be Grain-Free?

A common theme observed in the dog food space is that of "grain-free food". While it initially sounds like a health-conscious decision to make for your pup, that may not be the case.

It's been a frequent argument by many people that grain for dogs is simply an unnatural diet. They say that the wild ancestors to our modern-day dogs didn't have grain in their diet, so dogs aren't equipped to properly digest and process grains.

While smart-sounding, this isn't true. Dogs have actually evolved to possess several genes that make the digestion of carbohydrates possible. In fact, grain provides dogs with a great source of energy and fills them up nicely.

So, while dogs can have a perfectly rounded diet that's grain-free, removing grain from their diet isn't necessary to keep their digestion healthy. The only reason why one should aim to feed their dog a diet that's grain-free is if they're allergic to grains. This allergy is pretty rare, with symptoms including itchiness, bald spots, scabs and sores, and hot spots.

What Defines The Best Canned Dog Food?

Not all canned dog foods are created equal, and some are actually quite terrible. Therefore, you should know what defines the best canned dog foods in order to choose the right one for your dog:

  • Protein as first ingredient - The first ingredient of every canned dog food should be an animal protein, as foods without this can be severely lacking in content. Read the first several ingredients to make sure that a specific animal protein is defined, too. Ensure that the food is made with a meat such as chicken, fish, or beef.
  • Good nutritional content - A food can have a protein as the first ingredient, but if it's lacking in nutrients then it would make for a simply horribly food. Adult dogs require about 18-25% protein composition, 10-15% fat, and 30-70% carbohydrates. In order to meet these requirements, a lot of owners mix wet food with dry food.
  • Veggies and whole grains - Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for you dog, while whole grains provide a very healthy source of energy. These also provide healthy amino acids which enhance the benefits of the amino acids found in the protein.
  • No artificial ingredients - Some times, dog food will possess artificial ingredients to enhance the color, flavor, and longevity of your dog's food. Even small amounts of these can be harmful, so it's best to avoid them altogether. Fortunately, many canned dog foods don't require many preservatives at all since the air-tight can keeps the food fresh.
  • Reputable brand - While brand isn't everything, it is something that should be considered. A more reputable brand will have the mean to provide high quality food at an affordable price, and they have more to lose if they create a bad product.

What Is The Best Canned Dog Food?

Reading the guide above, it can be slightly intimidating trying to find the best canned dog food for your pup. That's why we've compiled a list of the five best foods available and discussed their pros, cons, and what makes them so great.

Purina has been at the top of the dog food game for a very long time, and looking at this food, it's clear why that's the case. This food is a great combination of quality and value, and it has become the staple of many dogs' diets. Aside from the water (that and broth are common first ingredients of canned dog foods), the first ingredients are chicken, turkey, and liver, which is an excellent diversity. The food also comes with accents of vegetables which really rounds out the diet. With each can having 10% protein, 3% fat, and 1.5% fiber, when the correct amount is fed to a dog, it should get all of the nutrients that it needs.

Many dog owners that feed their dogs this food have the same story to tell: they tried to feed their dogs expensive food but they would only eat this one. Purina has spent years perfecting the taste of their foods, and it shows here. Dogs on this diet are eager to eat and are noticeably healthy and energetic overall.

While the reviews of this food are overwhelmingly positive, all dogs are different. This means that a few dogs respond negatively to the food, with some getting sick after eating it. However, this is a rare occurrence, as most dogs like the dogs love the food and don't have a negative reaction to it at all.

PROS​

  • Many different flavors
  • Excellent value
  • Contains several proteins
  • Nice nutritional value

CONS

  • Some dogs react negatively to it

This food by Hill's Science Diet was crafted for dogs with sensitive stomachs, but it makes an excellent food for all kinds of adult dogs. Made without artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, this canned food gives your dog a nutritious yet natural diet that they need. A healthy blend of vitamins, omega-6 fatty acids, and other nutrients pad this food out into a staple diet and a way for elderly or sick dogs to feel great. The variety of flavors and sizes also makes it easy for you to find exactly what works for you and your dog.

Dog owners say awesome things about this food, with the most prominent praise being that dogs love the stuff! Many owners were stating that their dogs wouldn't be satisfied with other foods and had unhealthy coats, but both of those problems stopped with this food. For the quality, too, the price is very affordable for most owners.

The sensitive stomach help did work for an overwhelming majority of dogs, but some dogs didn't get those results. A couple pups saw a slight improvement of their allergies, while some saw none and a continued upset stomach. With stomach issues like this, it's essential to test several different foods for you dog as every dog is different inside and out.

PROS​

  • High quality ingredients
  • Helps most dogs with allergies and stomach problems
  • Great taste

CONS

  • Doesn't help some dogs

AvoDerm's take on canned dog food is extremely solid, and it's very clear that they understand what a dog needs in their diet. The first few ingredients, besides chicken broth as the second ingredient, are all protein, making this a very wholesome food. In addition to this protein, a healthy blend of vitamins and antioxidants provides all the nourishment that a dog needs. One interesting ingredient in this food is the California avocado which promotes healthy skin and a strong soft coat. Being wheat-free, corn-free, soy-free, and artificial flavors and preservatives-free, there isn't much in this food that doesn't directly help your dog live a healthier life.

Most dogs on this diet are more than satisfied, with lots of picky dogs having no problem eating this food. For dogs with sensitive skin, this canned dog food provides the oils necessary to keep their skin and coat healthy. The owners also love the fact that there's some vegetable chunks in the food, removing the necessity to add much more themselves.

Like all foods, this food does have some critics. Some dogs do not like to eat this food, and a couple have had stomach issues after switching over to it. These problems are much rarer than the positive experiences dogs have with it, so it really comes down to your dog's personal preferences. Additionally, this food is a bit pricier than others available, which is chalked up to the higher-quality ingredients.

PROS​

  • Lots of protein-rich ingredients
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Added avocados for healthy oils

CONS

  • Slightly pricey
  • Some dogs don't enjoy it

Simply perfection is a relatively new face in the pet food space, but they have created an excellent quality canned dog food. This particular food is a "Limited Ingredient Diet", meaning that as few ingredients as possible are used in the creation of this food. Don't worry though, it's not lacking in nutritional content. This food's first ingredient is turkey, and it contains lots of vitamins and minerals for added nutrition. Within those ingredients there's no fillers, no artificial ingredients, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that make for a healthy coat. All of these ingredients are wrapped up in a well-priced, great tasting canned dog food.

Dog owners that feed their dogs this food are pleased with their choice. Most dogs have no problem eating the entirety of this food, and are reaping the rewards. Dogs of all ages eat this food, and they all get sufficient nutrition from the ingredients within it. Most, if not all dogs have no stomach issues with this food, and weight management is made simple with the lack of grains.

Although this food is well-received, there are a few complaints about it in regards to its ingredients. First of all, guar gum and carrageenan are present, which are ingredients that should optimally be almost non-existent in the best canned dog food. Additionally, pea fiber is an ingredient, which is said to be included in grain-free foods to increase protein content. Despite these ingredients, this food is still high quality and nutrient-rich.

PROS​

  • Great value for quality
  • Turkey as first ingredient
  • Very few fillers and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

CONS

  • Contains some unfavorable ingredients

Blue Buffalo has been a name in the pet food space for a long time, so you can expect a certain quality when buying their product. This Homestyle Recipe Natural canned dog food is excellent for dogs of all ages. Chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver are the main ingredients of this food, providing a great source of protein. In addition to that, it contains garden veggies and fruit such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and cranberries to add diverse nutrients. Overall, it easily fulfills a dog's nutrition requirements while giving dogs of all ages plenty of energy to live an active life.

"Gentle and nourishing" is one of the most common ways that owners describe this food. Both puppies and senior/sick dogs eat this food and have no problems getting the nourishment that they need. Plenty of owners mix this food into dry food and find that it works perfectly as an additive or by itself. In addition, owners love that there are visible chunks of vegetables in the food.

A couple owners aren't a fan of the food, which is a bit more mushy than they would have liked. However, most dogs don't have a problem with this consistency. In addition, some dogs simply don't like the food very much, which is to be expected with any food.

PROS​

  • Visible vegetable chunks
  • Great for unhealthy dogs
  • Tastes great

CONS

  • Weird consistency
  • Dented cans in shipment

Our Choice

All of the foods that we have reviewed are more than suitable for dogs and contain all of the essential nutrients that they need to live a happy and healthy life. Dogs have specific dietary needs that need to be met for them to be energetic and healthy, and these foods meet those needs. There are plenty of canned dog foods available, but you don't really want to take a gamble when it comes to your dog's health.

So, after analyzing all of the foods available, we've determined that the best canned dog food is Purina Alpo Prime Cuts In Gravy.

This well-priced ferret food has been specifically crafted for ferrets by one of the leading ferret food manufacturers around. The benefits that it brings ferrets along with its lack of apparent flaws and big focus on natural ingredients makes it a very safe choice for the staple of any ferret's diet.

Zach David
Zach David
Zach is a life-long pet owner and enthusiast. He was born into a family with a dog named Murphy, and since then has owned several other dogs, tarantulas, mice, ferrets, fish, geckos, and a cat. This experience has given him the knowledge necessary to help others become excellent pet owners.