Dogs are more than pets. They’re a furry member of the family. You want healthy dog food for your dog, just like you want nutritious food for the rest of your family. The best dog food choices run far and wide. There are limited ingredient recipes, puppy and senior dog recipes, and organic dog food, among the many options. The best wet dog food is the one that meets the dietary needs of your dog based on his age, size, activity level, and medical history. We’ve created a list of some of the healthiest wet dog foods so that you know your dog gets the nutrients he needs for his stage of life.
- Best for adult dogs: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Wet Dog Food
- Best limited ingredient dog food: Natural Balance LID Wet Dog Food
- Best dog food for small dogs: Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food
- Best subscription service: Farmers Dog
- Best budget: Pedigree Homestyle Meals Adult Wet Dog Food
What to consider when shopping for the best wet dog food
The best wet dog food for one dog might not be the best choice for another. That’s because dogs have different nutritional needs as they go through different stages of life. The soft dog food that’s right for your puppy doesn’t contain the same nutrients he needs when he enters his senior years. Before you stock up on pouches or canned dog food, make sure you’re getting the best dog food for your dog.
How old is your dog?
Puppy food often contains additional nutrients like DHA and extra calories to fuel a puppy’s brain development and high growth rate. However, if they’re fed puppy food for too long, they can gain too much weight.
Toy and small breeds that weigh less than 30 pounds usually mature at nine to 12 months old. Medium-sized dogs that weigh between 30 and 80 pounds at maturity typically reach their full-grown size in 12 to 16 months. Large breeds typically take about 24 months to reach maturity. After that, they’re ready for adult dog food.
Not all dogs need senior dog food. Senior dogs may have health issues like diabetes or heart disease that benefit from a modified diet. Senior dog foods often have a lower calorie content to help control weight. However, if your senior dog isn’t overweight and doesn’t have additional health problems, he’ll probably get the right nutrition from an adult wet dog food.
How big is your dog?
Dogs of different sizes burn calories at different rates. In general, large breeds burn 20 calories per pound, while small breeds burn 40 calories per pound. Consequently, dogs of different sizes (and breeds) need foods of different caloric densities. Small breeds benefit from foods designed with a higher caloric density for a small dog’s faster metabolism.
How active is your dog?
Does your dog mostly lay around the house, or does he spend his days outside playing? Older dogs or dogs who’d rather nap than play may need a diet dog food to keep their weight at healthy levels. However, puppies and active dogs may need caloric dense food to keep up with calorie burn.
Talk to your veterinarian about the optimum weight for your dog. If he falls above or below that weight, you’ll quickly get an idea of if his food is meeting his caloric needs.
Does your dog have a medical condition?
Medical conditions like diabetes or allergies may require specialty dog food. For example, obesity or diabetes may require a low-calorie or diet dog food. Food allergies, though, are more universal among dogs. Some of the most common culprits include beef, dairy, wheat, eggs, chicken, lamb/mutton, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish.
Limited ingredient dog foods have a single protein source and a shorter list of ingredients to make it easier to find tolerable food. Other recipes are made without common allergens like wheat, soy, and dairy. If you don’t know what your dog is allergic to, LID foods can help you identify the potential culprit.
Do you want to feed your dog fresh food or stock up?
Wet dog foods come in a wide range of options. There’s the traditional canned, but there are also pouches or meal subscription services that deliver fresh meals weekly. The nutritional value is about the same between the different wet food types. Some people prefer the freshness of a meal service, but, nutritionally speaking, the dog gets the same nutrients.
For most people, budget and lifestyle determine which wet food type works best. Subscription services deliver prepared meals according to your dog’s nutritional needs. They go in the refrigerator until you’re ready to feed your dog. However, they’re the most expensive option. Pouches are incredibly convenient. You don’t even need a can opener to open them. They’re a great option when you’re traveling or if you’re in a hurry. Canned dog food is the least expensive option and offers the widest variety of options. They’re easy to store and last a long time.
The best wet dog food
Finding the best wet dog food among the wide range of choices is an overwhelming task. Narrow the field by determining which factors are the most important for your dog—age, size, activity level, and medical conditions. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can choose organic, pouch, canned, or a subscription service for the freshest meals.
Best wet dog food for adults: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe
This formula puts protein first and leaves a few common allergens out of the recipe. Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Wet Dog Food always starts with protein as the first source on the ingredient list. There are six flavors, including one that mixes protein sources. Every recipe in this line is free of corn, wheat, and soy. This Blue Buffalo line is also available in different formulas based on your dog’s age and health needs. For example, there are recipes in this line for dogs of different sizes, weight management, puppies, and senior dogs. It also comes in different styles like pate or chunks.
Best limited ingredient dog food: Natural Balance LID
Supports Digestive Health
Each flavor includes a single protein source and a shortened list of ingredients to help dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs get good nutrition. Natural Balance
Natural Balance’s LID (Limited Ingredient Diets) Wet Dog Food comes in six flavors, each with a single protein source that’s also the main ingredient. There are a few unusual flavors like buffalo and venison to get away from the more common beef and chicken, which are also more common allergens. Protein sources are all paired with complementary carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes or brown rice. Every limited ingredient dog food recipe is designed to support healthy digestion and minimize exposure to allergenic ingredients.
Best dog food for small dogs: Hill’s Science Diet
Formulated for Small Bodies
Peel-and-serve trays filled with meals balanced for the energy needs of small breeds. Hill’s Science Diet
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food comes in convenient peel-and-serve trays to keep pint-sized pups well-fueled. They’re designed for breeds under 30 pounds. However, the smallest of breeds may only need a portion of a tray at each meal. The trays come in chicken or beef flavors in a stew-style mix. The small, soft chunks are easier for tiny jaws to chew. A healthy dose of Vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids provides nutrients that boost skin and coat health.
Best subscription service: Farmers Dog
Farmers Dog offers fresh dog food delivery made of human-grade ingredients and tailors the meal plan to each dog’s specific needs. You fill out a profile when you sign up for the service, detailing your dog’s size, age, and any dietary restrictions. Meal plan options are then customized based on your answers. The options range in price from $2 to $12 per day. Meals arrive in preportioned, eco-friendly packets, ready to serve your dog. They’re stored in the freezer or refrigerator until served.
Best budget: Pedigree Homestyle Meals
Pedigree’s Homestyle Meals include three protein options mixed with vegetables, vitamins, and minerals that nourish dogs at an affordable price. Pedigree
Pedigree Homestyle Meals Adult Wet Dog Food is a chunk-style canned dog food mixed in gravy. It comes in prime rib or chicken flavors. This food is also ready to pair with Pedigree’s dry mixes for a little variety. Real meat and meat byproduct chunks mixed with vegetables give the food its distinct flavor and high protein content. However, the use of meat byproducts is also what brings the price down. They’re less expensive than meat but may require the addition of nutrients into the recipe to make up for what they lack.
Best wet dog food FAQ:
How long does wet dog food last if it’s not opened?
How long wet dog food lasts if it’s not opened depends, in part, on the type of wet dog food. Canned wet dog food lasts the longest at approximately two years from the time it was purchased. However, check the can for a “best by” date and abide by that date. Freshly made and packed meals, like those from Farmers Dog, should be eaten within four days if refrigerated or four months if frozen. Pouches fall somewhere in between, so check the “best by” date to make sure it’s still safe to eat.
What is the best wet dog food recommended by vets?
Many dog food companies consult vets when designing their healthy dog food recipes. For example, Farmers Dog, the subscription service on our list, consults veterinarians to determine the right nutritional mix and portion size based on a dog’s size, activity level, and medical history. Hill’s Science Diet is another one that’s known for working closely with veterinarians to develop digestible, nutritive dog food.
What wet dog food is the best quality?
The best quality wet dog foods are the ones made from fresh ingredients, designed to be eaten a few days after arrival. These meals may not last long (typically about four days after delivery), but they’re packed with nutrients and natural ingredients. However, if they’re not within your budget, pouches and canned foods have similar nutritive value, except the ingredients aren’t quite as fresh.
A final word on food shopping for happy, healthy canines
The best wet dog food makes your dog’s mouth water while filling him with the vitamins, minerals, and calories he needs to live his best life. Base your choice on your dog’s age, medical history, size, and activity level to make sure he gets healthy dog food with enough calories. Whether you’ve got a puppy or a dog with allergies, there are healthy foods made to make sure he’s strong, healthy, and active.>