5 Best Healthy Canned, Soft, & Wet Dog Foods
When it comes to dog food, you have two primary options – wet or dry.
Dry dog food is also known as kibble and it is the most popular choice because it is cost-effective, easy to feed, and has a long shelf-life. There are, however, many benefits of wet food that you should consider. It may be a little more expensive, but it also tends to be higher in protein and moisture than dry food. Plus, many dogs find wet food more palatable.
Keep reading to learn more about your dogs’ nutritional requirements and to receive some tips for picking the best wet dog food to meet those needs. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best wet dog food.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
Special Dietary Needs of Dogs
Before you can start shopping for wet dog food, you need to understand the basics about your dog’s nutritional needs. All dogs require a protein-rich diet to support lean muscle mass with healthy fats for energy and digestible carbohydrates. They also need certain vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.
Here are some of the top things to look for in wet dog food:
- Quality Protein. A high-quality animal protein should always be the first ingredient in your dog’s food, so look for meat, poultry, and fish. Your dog needs a minimum of 18% protein, but most wet dog foods are much higher.
- Healthy Fats. Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy and at least 5% of its adult diet should come from this nutrient. Look for quality animal sources like chicken fat and salmon oil instead of plant sources like canola oil.
- Digestible Carbs. Many wet dog foods are grain-free, even if they are not labeled as such. Still, you need to check the list to make sure the product doesn’t contain wheat, corn, or soy ingredients. Instead, look for digestible carbs like whole grain brown rice and fresh vegetables.
- No Artificial Additives. If you compare the ingredients list for wet food versus dry food, the wet food list will probably be shorter but you still need to check for artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. These provide no benefit for your dog and could trigger a negative reaction.
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best wet dog food. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Wet Dog Food
When shopping for wet dog food, the first place to look is the list of ingredients. If the first ingredient is not a high-quality source of animal protein, put the can back on the shelf.
Dogs are evolved to derive nutrition from animal sources more efficiently than plant sources, so most of the protein and fat in your dog’s diet should come from meat, poultry, and fish. Plant-based fats are okay as a supplemental source to ensure the proper balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
In addition to protein and fat, check the label for digestible carbohydrates. Things like whole-grain brown rice, oatmeal, or cracked pearled barley are good options as well as starchy vegetables, beans, and legumes. Make sure the recipe contains plenty of fiber (but not more than 5% crude fiber) with beneficial supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics.
Not only should you check the label to make sure the product contains healthy ingredients, but you should also make sure it doesn’t contain harmful ones. Many low-quality dog foods are thickened with carrageenan, for example, which some researchers believe may cause a negative reaction, though the jury is still out.
You should also avoid artificial flavors and colors which provide no nutritional value and chemical preservatives which can be toxic.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best wet dog food.
The Top 5 Best Wet Dog Foods
Now that you have a better understanding of your dog’s nutritional needs, you can see how important it is to choose a high-quality dog food. Wet dog food provides an excellent source of protein and moisture in addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs for calories and nutrients.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best wet dog food that you should consider:
How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?
The amount you feed your dog depends on its age, weight, and breed. Small-breed dogs need a higher concentration of calories in their diet than larger dogs because they have fast metabolisms. In terms of the amount they eat, however, it only makes sense that a small dog would eat less than a large dog. When it comes to feeding your dog wet food, you’ll need to pay close attention to the feeding recommendations on the can because every product is different in terms of calories and different wet foods come in different-sized cans.
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
All dogs have the potential to develop food allergies and sensitivities. If your dog has frequent ear infections or skin problems, it could be an issue with the food he’s eating. The most common food allergens for dogs are low-quality grains like corn and wheat as well as proteins like pork and beef. If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, try switching to a grain-free recipe or a limited ingredient diet. If that doesn’t work, talk to your vet about the possibility of an underlying problem.
In the end it is a matter of preference whether you choose dry dog food or wet dog food for your dog. Take what you’ve learned here to make a smart choice or try one of our top picks for the best wet dog food if you’re not sure where to start.