Hit the supermarket in search of the best wet dog food and there's a good chance you'll find yourself feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices staring back at you. The pet food market has exploded in recent years, but don't worry because we've done all the hard work for you, so you'll find everything you need to know right here.
When it comes from selecting from amongst the best dog food, there are a few things worth considering. You may have noticed there's a continual debate about whether wet or dry food is better for dogs and both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages that are worth considering.
It's true that a lot of pet parents tend to opt for the best dry dog food when it comes to feeding their pup and there's certainly some perks to kibble. The crunchy texture is great for keeping teeth clean and you can leave it out for far longer than wet food without it spoiling or going smelly. But the wet options available today are no slouch in the food department and they're worth considering for a number of reasons.
While kibble can be a good choice for younger dogs, it's not always ideal for the more mature mutt. As your dog ages, there's a good chance that they may start to develop dental issues that make chewing more of a challenge. Kibble can be painful to eat for dogs with sore or missing teeth whereas soft cuts in gravy and pate-style dishes are moisture-rich and tender, so they're much easier to consume.
Another issue for a lot of dogs is frequent urinary tract and kidney infections which are often caused by a lack of fluid. Kibble has very little moisture, whereas wet food clocks in at well over 70%, so it's an excellent option if you notice your dog isn't drinking as much as they need to. Getting adequate fluid is vital for keeping their system flushed, so if your dog does suffer from urinary tract or kidney issues, wet food could be well worth it.
Just like the best cat food has been designed to be nutritionally complete for our feline friends, wet dog food has everything your canine needs to stay healthy and strong, so you needn't worry about your pup missing out on anything if you choose to opt for wet food over dry.
Now that you know a little bit more about the benefits of wet dog food, let's take a spin down the pet food aisle and find the best option for your foodie fur baby.
PetsRadar's pick of the best wet dog food
- Best overall wet dog food: Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food
- Best budget wet dog food: Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Wet Dog Food Variety Packs
- Best grain-free wet dog food: Nutro Cuts in Gravy
- Best low-fat wet dog food: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food
- Best nutrient-rich wet dog food: Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Adult Canned Wet Dog Food
- Best wet dog food for picky eaters: Cesar Soft Wet Dog Food Classic Loaf in Sauce Filet Mignon Flavor Multipack
- Best wet dog food variety pack: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food
Best overall wet dog food
Recommended age range: 1-6 years | % Protein: 4 | % Fat: 2 | Calories per can: 305
Hill’s seems at pains to emphasize its credentials, what with the inclusion of the words ‘Science Diet’ in the product title. Indeed, with it also being #1 Veterinarian Recommended (based on a 2019 survey), this could be described as the thinking person’s wet dog food of choice.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. Combining high-quality natural ingredients (in this case, chicken, brown rice, and a mix of vegetables smothered with gravy) with an infusion of protein and Vitamin E for keeping their skin and coat healthy, you can be guaranteed that your dog will enjoy the great taste that accompanies their good health. Moreover, the moderate levels of sodium and phosphorus present ensures kidney and heart health.
Moreover, it allows for versatility with your feeding methods. If you so choose, this can be served alongside dry food, allowing for some variety with your pet feeds. At only 305 calories per can, you can be rest assured that your dog is unlikely to get more than his or her fair share, and is less likely to suffer from obesity as a result.
Scouring the Amazon reviews, there was little negative to note about the product itself, and the validation of vets can only have a positive impact on buyer confidence. Some complaints were received about the poor condition some products arrived in, but thankfully these generally seemed to be exceptions. When it comes to the reaction of people’s pets, their seal of approval was gratefully received.
So in short, we can see few downsides to trying this out. With numerous flavors to choose from, you can rest assured that this will supply your dog with everything they need from a nutritional standpoint.
Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy Adult Wet Dog Food Variety Packs
Best budget wet dog food
Recommended age range: 1-7 years | % Protein: 8 | % Fat: 3 | Calories per pouch: 340
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly approach towards feeding your dog then Pedigree could be the way to go. At $15.99 for a multi-pack of 30 pouches, this should definitely be worthy of your consideration on the value front alone.
But being cheap shouldn’t be the sole factor when it comes to feeding your pet – after all, at what price should their health and happiness come?
Thankfully, you don’t need to worry about this when it comes to Pedigree. Filled with great meaty flavors (this multipack includes hickory smoked chicken, filet mignon in gravy, and beef, noodles & vegetables in sauce), and a decent proportion of protein combined with a low rate of fat, all your dog’s dietary needs will be fulfilled.
The real beef and chicken ingredients will appeal to every dog, providing them with the substance they need, with the oils and minerals present allowing for healthy skin and coat.
Our one real quibble is the portion sizes. The feeding guide suggests that you should offer three portions daily for every 10lb of dog, meaning this might be more ideal for smaller breeds, otherwise you’ll find yourself working through it pretty quickly.
Also, the packaging will divide some people. Personally this writer is fine with the idea of pouches, as they’re easier to store than tins and take up less room, but they won’t be to everyone’s liking.
So for those of you with smaller breeds, the Pedigree pouches could represent a great value option, saving you having to gradually work your way through tins, and making it easier to keep track of feeds.
Nutro Cuts in Gravy
Best grain-free wet dog food
Recommended age range: Adult | Protein: Min 8% | Fat: Min 3.5% | Calories per tray: Under 100
If you’re looking for a delicious grain-free dog food that’s rich in nutrients and full of flavor, then look no further than these mouth-wateringly moist dishes from Nutro, made with non-GMO ingredients.
Featuring only the finest cuts of real beef, lamb, chicken, or turkey, these easy-peel trays offer tons of variety and come packed full of vegetables. Made with Nutro’s clean eating philosophy in mind, there are zero chicken by-products, artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors and all the dishes are free from corn, wheat, and soy.
High in protein and with plenty of vitamins and minerals, you’ll find the ingredient list has everything your doggy needs to thrive and none of what they don’t. While it may not be the cheapest multi-pack on the market, the quality makes it well worth the extra money.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food
Best low-fat wet dog food
Recommended age range: 1-6 years | % Protein: 6 | % Fat: 1.43-3.75 | Calories per kg: 910
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that at some point in their life, your dog might suffer from some health problems. As a result of this, your standard everyday dog food might not be what they need.
Luckily, Royal Canin are about. Famous for a number of products that are geared towards pets with digestive disorders, here they have formulated a type of wet dog food that should assist your dog with any such problems they might have.
Since it’s aimed primarily at dogs whose issues mean they have a hard time digesting fat, the fat content of this product is accordingly low. To make up for the reduced fat, fiber and moisture levels are adjusted in line with this, so your dog will always get the nutrition they need.
Additionally, the presence of highly digestible proteins and prebiotics help support digestive health and good gut bacteria, while antioxidants that are present ensure a healthy immune system. In this process, this food also prevents the formation of crystals in the bladder, making passing urine easier.
Since this is the kind of food that is usually recommended by a vet in response to a digestive disorder, it’s not the kind of thing we’d recommend giving to a dog with no known health conditions, since they might not get everything they need from it. Still, it’s nice to know that it’s there if you need it.
All in all, this is a great product for dogs who suffer from issues like diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Talk to your vet before buying, but after that you can do so in confidence.
Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Adult Canned Wet Dog Food
Best nutrient-rich wet dog food
Real meat?: Yes | % Protein: 8 | % Fat: 8 | Calories per kg: 1,251
Purina has long promoted itself for producing foods that are sources of real meat. This might not be such a talking point now considering that many other brands are in on the act, but their reputation still provides a high level of confidence when it comes to picking food that you know won’t be too high in heavily processed ingredients.
This particular brand is made from real chicken and venison (along with turkey, turkey broth, pork lungs, and liver), in addition to four types of antioxidants aimed at supporting the immune system, with no artificial colours or preservatives included.
It may seem like a lot has been packed in, but dogs won’t have any problems stomaching it. With such a high concentration of meat products, the level of moisture is correspondingly high as a result, polling in at 78 per cent of it.
Customer reviews have generally been positive, with as well as satisfied and happy pets, owners also reporting that their coats were visibly glossier. When it’s as swimming in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins as this is, there’s no surprise that there are visible benefits.
Our only real concern with this is the relatively high calorie count – at 1,251 per kg, it’s a fair amount higher than the other products reviewed here. All this means is that servings at meal time might need to be smaller as a result, but that’s a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.
So if you want to ensure that both you and your dog get your money’s worth, Purina might be the brand to go for.
Cesar Soft Wet Dog Food Classic Loaf in Sauce Filet Mignon Flavor Multipack
Best wet dog food for picky eaters
Real meat?: Yes | % Protein: 8.5 | % Fat: 4 | Calories per kg: 951
One of the more popular brands for small dogs, Cesar has endured through the rise and fall of other brands thanks to combining its ‘gourmet’ brand with a relatively low price tag. Dogs owners can rest assured that they’re buying a reliable and high-quality product without breaking the bank.
This multipack, containing recipes for duck, turkey, grilled chicken and oven roasted chicken, plays to Cesar’s strengths. Present, as per usual, are real meats, combined with a variety of minerals and vitamins. The different flavors keep dogs interested and on their toes, while the peel-away trays ensure that they retain their freshness before being eaten.
This multipack is just one of the buying options available – whatever Cesar product you choose, you can be sure that your pooch will be the grateful recipient of a balanced and highly nutritious meal.
Due to the portion sizes, this probably isn’t the best option for medium-sized or larger dogs, and some of the recipes might not necessarily represent the best source of protein (we’re thinking specifically of the pork-flavored options here). Then again, considering the image of the dog on the packaging, we doubt it’s the kind of thing you’d go for if you’ve got a doberman or a labrador anyway.
Even so, when it comes to smaller dogs, there aren’t all that many products that can claim to be superior to what Cesar comes out with. Healthy, tasty, and unlikely to break the bank, you are unlikely to go far wrong should you choose to make this your dog’s primary source of sustenance.
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food
Best wet dog food variety pack
Real meat: Yes | Protein %: 8.5 minimum | Fat %: 6 minimum | Calories: Varies
While Blue Buffalo has never been the cheapest brand on the market, it's certainly one where you get what you pay for. Using only the best healthy and wholesome ingredients, you can rest assured that your pooch is getting everything they need to thrive.
Available in packs of eight, you'll get four homestyle chicken and four homestyle beef dishes that come packed with vegetables, including peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and feature real meat as the first ingredient.
There's also plenty of whole grains in the form of brown rice, oats and barley to supply the complex carbohydrates your dog needs and lots of fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly.
We love the addition of blueberries, that provide a powerful hit of antioxidants, and cranberries, which are beneficial for keeping the urinary tract healthy. The dishes also have a minimum of 78% moisture, so they're a great choice if your dog doesn't frequent their water bowl as often as you'd like them to.
How to choose the best wet dog food
By now, there are a number of factors that you will likely be considering when it comes to choosing what wet dog food to give to your dog. To summarize, we would say the main things you need to bear in mind before buying are:
- Should you even buy wet dog food? Dry food might be more ideal from a practical standpoint, but it’s not all about you.
- What can you afford? We’d all like the best from our pet, but don’t bankrupt yourself in the process.
- What size is your dog? Certain types of food are geared towards dogs of a particular size, so choose accordingly.
- Is the food healthy? Make you choose something that balances all of your dog’s nutritional needs.
- Does your dog have any health issues? If they do, then you might need to choose a particular kind of food that helps with their ailments. Always consult a vet before making a concrete decision on this.
- More importantly, do they like it? Some pets are picky. If they turn their noses up at it, or display odd behavior after eating, then it may be worth choosing something else. Maybe take a look at our round up of the best dry dog food instead?
Steve has combined editing and writing for publications like SciFiNow, How It Works and All About History with being a doormat to various cats and dogs. He lodges with two moggies called Giles and Willow, and will be told off if he doesn't mention his girlfriend's magnificent pooch, Toby.
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