Top 10 Best Canned Dog Foods
You have plenty of options when it comes to feeding your dog, so how do you choose? Do you shop by price or quality? Can you find the perfect combination of both? Canned dog food has some benefits over dry kibble, which is typically considered a more convenient and cost-effective option.
- Top 10 Best Wet Dog Foods
- Top 10 Best Dry Dog Foods for Large Dogs
- Top 10 Best Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs
- Top 10 Best Dry Dog Food
Canned dog food has a limited shelf life once opened—it’s often higher in moisture and protein but lower in carbohydrates than its dry counterpart. But before you default to dry, we encourage you to consider the benefits of canned food for dogs—we’ve outlined some nutrition information here and picked out some high-quality and affordable options.
Why Canned Dog Food?
While there is certainly a great deal of low-quality canned dog food out there, products that are properly formulated and made from quality ingredients offer some significant benefits.
Here are some of the benefits of canned dog food:
- Higher concentration of meat ingredients than most dry foods
- Lower concentration of grains and other carbohydrates
- Fewer preservatives—ingredients are naturally preserved through the canning process
- More palatable and closer to the texture of a dog’s natural diet
- Higher moisture content to support hydration and healthy digestion
- Easier to chew for puppies and senior dogs
Whether canned or dry, dog food gets more expensive as you increase the quality, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable options available. Before we get into our list of the best affordable canned dog food options, let’s take a moment to talk about how to tell the good from the bad.
What Makes Dog Food Good?
All dogs have the same basic requirements for protein, fat, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Protein provides the foundation for strong muscles and lean mass while fats provide a concentrated source of energy as well as essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Fiber and moisture support regular digestion while vitamins and minerals keep your dog’s body working properly.
High-quality dog food will contain whole-food sources for these essential nutrients with minimal processing and no artificial additives. Here are some key things to look for on a dog food label:
- Identifiable animal proteins like chicken, eggs, beef, and fish
- Easily digestible carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables
- Healthy sources of animal-based fat like chicken fat and salmon oil
- Fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of key micronutrients
Avoid any dog food that doesn’t list a quality source of animal protein as the main ingredient, or that has a high concentration of carbohydrates (especially grains like corn and wheat). Dog foods made with by-products, fillers, and artificial additives should be left on the shelf, and you should purchase the highest quality dog food you can consistently afford—your dog deserves it! For more information about choosing a high-quality dog food brand, check out Dog Food Advisor. We also recommend checking with your vet before making major changes to your dog’s diet.
Read on to learn about some of the best affordable canned dog foods on the market.
The 10 Best Canned and Wet Dog Foods
Below you’ll find a list of our top 12 picks for the most affordable canned dog food brands. These products are priced at or under $0.20 per ounce and have received at least a four-star rating from Dog Food Advisor. Please note that prices are averaged and subject to change.
Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Stew Canned Dog Food — Best Value
|Size||10 oz., case of 12|
|Flavor:||Chicken and turkey stew|
|Special diet:||Grain- and pea-free|
Our pick for the best overall canned dog food is Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Stew. It’s grain and pea-free, and it’s a stew that includes chicken, turkey, sweet potato, and green beans, making for all-natural dog food. It has added vitamins and minerals and is full of natural fiber and carbohydrates. What it doesn’t contain is corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-products, or any artificial flavors or preservatives.
The only real disadvantage of this dog food is that it is liquidy in texture, as it is a stew. If you’re after something substantial in texture, this isn’t it, so for some dogs, it might work best as a topper.
Ollie Fresh Human-Grade Dog Food Subscription — Best Overall
|Size||Subscription box tailored to your dog|
|Flavor:||Chicken, beef, turkey, lamb|
|Special diet:||Human-grade ingredients|
Ollie is our top pick as the best wet dog food. They are a dog food delivery service that makes fresh meals catered to your dog’s individual needs, with all recipes made with human-grade meat. Depending on your dog’s preferences, you can choose beef, lamb, turkey, or chicken — and they all come with healthy, fresh vegetables, like sweet potatoes, peas, and spinach. The food is gently cooked to preserve the nutrients, and all the recipes are free from artificial flavors, preservatives, and fillers like wheat, corn, and soy.
Ollie is known for its consistency, healthy ingredients, and canine nutritionist-formulated recipes. The service is pricey, but where you get your value is in the recipes, ingredients, and services – and by feeding your dog premium quality foods, you’re bound to avoid many health problems now and down the track.
Ollie creates a customized meal plan that arrives on your preferred schedule — biweekly or monthly — and offers healthy treats too, though you cannot customize the recipes themselves.
All in all, we think this is the best wet dog food for small, medium-sized, and big dogs.
The Farmer’s Dog Human-Grade Dog Food — Premium Choice
|Size||Subscription service tailored to your dog|
|Flavor:||Turkey, chicken, beef, or pork|
|Special diet:||Human-grade, limited ingredients, grain-free|
The Farmer’s Dog delivery service is a well-known dog food subscription service, that has four human-grade recipes full of mouth-watering ingredients – for your dog (though you might be tempted to try it, we don’t recommend!). All protein sources (turkey, chicken, beef, or pork) are sourced from human food suppliers, including local farms, and all are prepared fresh, with none of the meals subjected to freezing for long periods.
All you have to do is fill out a quick questionnaire about your dog and choose the protein and recipes that they’d prefer, and the Farmer’s Dog will ship it to you frozen in any of the lower 48 states.
The recipes all meet Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards, are cooked in human-grade kitchens, and are immediately frozen and shipped direct to you. While this meal service is rather pricey, the company uses some of the best ingredients possible and easily earns its spot on our list as the premium option for best wet dog food.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Wet Dog Food
|Size||5 oz., case of 24|
|Special diet:||Veterinary, sensitive digestive issues|
Royal Canin’s Veterinary Gastrointestinal Dog Food is low in fat for dogs that have issues with digesting fats and is still palatable. It contains prebiotics to maintain the good bacteria in your dog’s gut and dietary fibers that also help with digestion. It also has omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, and an S/O Index, which supports urinary health.
Unfortunately, it is expensive, and you will need veterinary authorization to purchase it.
Purina Pro Plan ‘Development’ Wet Dog Food — Best for Puppies
|Size||13 oz., case of 12|
|Flavor:||Chicken and rice|
|Special diet:||High protein|
Purina’s Pro Plan Development Dog Food is designed for puppies under 1 year of age, with chicken as the first and main ingredient. It’s high in protein, which will aid in building muscles and providing energy. It also has DHA for eye and brain development. It can help keep your puppy’s skin and coat healthy and soft and contains 23 vitamins and minerals, all meant to support a growing puppy.
The issues with this food are that the cans are large, and when you’re feeding a small puppy, they might be sitting in the fridge for too long. Plus, it contains meat by-products.
Purina Bella Small Breed Wet Dog Food
|Size||5 oz., case of 12|
|Special diet:||High protein|
Purina’s Bella Small Breed Dog Food is our next pick on the list. This is food designed especially for small and toy breeds and is high in protein and flavor. It’s full of antioxidants and nutrition, perfect for a smaller dog’s higher metabolism. It’s a pâté that also has juices, so it’s easy to eat and tasty for your pup, and it comes in small, portable trays, making it easy to serve.
However, it has meat by-products as the first ingredient, and it contains carrageenan, so if you don’t want your dog eating these ingredients, this one might not be a good fit. Plus, the packaging, while convenient, isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.
This is definitely one of the best wet dog foods for small dog breeds.
Purina Pro Plan Savor Canned Dog Food
|Size||13 oz., case of 12|
|Flavor:||Chicken and rice|
Purina’s Pro Plan Savor Dog Food has whole chicken as the main ingredient, which makes this food high in protein. Rice is combined for added nutrition and taste, and it contains 23 essential minerals and vitamins, which provide 100% balanced nutrition. It doesn’t have any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colorings, and most dogs love it.
However, there isn’t that much fiber in this food, and this could affect your dog’s poop. Plus, it contains meat by-products and carrageenan.
Cesar Classic Loaf Variety Pack Wet Dog Food
|Size||5 oz., case of 36|
The Cesar Classic Loaf is in a variety pack and comes in grilled chicken, filet mignon, porterhouse steak, beef, chicken and liver, and turkey flavors. The food comes in convenient single-serve trays, and each flavor has either chicken, beef, or turkey as the first and main ingredient. These have vitamins and minerals added, so each meal is balanced, and it’s all grain-free and made in the U.S.A.
However, the packaging isn’t environmentally friendly, and the food contains carrageenan and meat by-products. Plus, variety packs are fun for us, but picky dogs might not enjoy all the flavors.
Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Canned Dog Food
|Size||13 oz., case of 12|
|Flavor:||Rice and turkey/chicken|
|Special diet:||Low fat, sensitive digestion, veterinary diet|
Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Dog Food is low fat to help dogs with digestive issues, and it was developed by veterinarians and nutritionists. It contains prebiotic fibers that aid in the growth of good bacteria in the gut, and it also has ginger that helps soothe any irritation of the GI tract. It also includes omega-3 fatty acids for the skin and coat, along with antioxidants.
The flaws include that it needs veterinary authorization, and it’s expensive. Sometimes, the pâté can actually be a little dry. The texture can be inconsistent.
Purina Beneful IncrediBites Wet Dog Food
|Size||3 oz., case of 12 or case of 30|
|Special diet:||High protein|
The Purina Beneful IncrediBites Variety Dog Food is designed for small dogs. It is a variety pack containing three flavors: chicken, beef, and salmon, all with carrots, tomatoes, and wild rice. The food is in a chopped-up/shredded texture and is cut up fine enough for the tiny mouths of your tiny dogs. The meat is farm-raised and includes healthy veggies and a tasty gravy for a nutritious meal.
However, it does contain wheat gluten and meat by-products, and the main ingredient in the salmon flavor is chicken. Also, while it’s always nice to have variety, some picky dogs might not enjoy all the flavors, which can be a waste.
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Wet Dog Food
|Size||5 oz., case of 12|
|Flavor:||Chicken with vegetables and rice|
|Special diet:||No corn, wheat, soy|
Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle Recipe Dog Food is full of natural ingredients, including chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, brown rice, and blueberries. It also has added vitamins and minerals to help support muscles. It has no corn, wheat, soy, by-products, or any artificial preservatives or flavors.
Unfortunately, it is a little pricey, and the texture can be inconsistent from can to can. Sometimes it’s too dry, sometimes too watery (and sometimes just right). Plus, it contains carrageenan.
Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner Wet Dog Food
|Size||2 oz., case of 12|
|Flavor:||Filet mignon & Beef|
Pedigree’s Chopped Ground Dinner Dog Food comes with two flavors — filet mignon and beef — and both are in a minced texture. It contains minerals and oils designed to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy and is a tasty meal for most dogs.
The worst thing about this food is that it isn’t actually made with any kind of beef — its primary ingredient is chicken. It also contains carrageenan, meat by-products, and artificial coloring and preservatives.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Pick The Best Canned and Wet Dog Foods
Before you make any decisions, read through our buyer’s guide. We go over a few points that are worth considering before you make your purchase.
If your dog enjoys certain flavors and not others, you should definitely avoid the latter. This includes variety packs. On the other hand, if you have a new dog and still haven’t figured out their likes and dislikes, a variety pack is a great way to experiment so you can figure out your dog’s favorites.
Most pet owners don’t bother reading the ingredient list, but this is a great habit to get into. If you’re not too concerned about what is in your dog’s food and they don’t have any health issues, you can choose to read the ingredients or not. But many manufacturers include ingredients that you might want to avoid. The rule of thumb is that the first five ingredients should be whole ingredients and real meat.
Are There Some Ingredients to Avoid Altogether?
Yes. As with human foods, some ingredients are best to be avoided completely.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a chemical preservative that gets added to fats and oils. Even small amounts of BHA can be harmful to your dog’s health. The Center for Disease Control even says that BHA is carcinogenic for humans and studies show that it can act the same in animals.
White flour is highly treated and stripped of most of its nutrients during processing. Its main function in dog food is to act as a binder and to add texture.
Meat meal is any unlabeled meat ingredient in your dog’s food. Companies tend to be very vague about what this ingredient is, which should raise red flags right from the get-go. These meats are usually made with low-quality, expired, or even infected meat. Meat meal can also contain fatty tissues, and dead animal remains. The purpose of this ingredient in dog food is to act as a filler. It has almost no protein and quality control is difficult to, well, control.
Artificial colors are used a lot in human food to make food look more appealing. The presence of fake coloring in animal food is completely unnecessary. We don’t need to find the appearance of our dog’s food to be appealing. All that matters is that your dog finds it appealing, and chances are he will put a lot more stock into the scent and texture of the food than its color.
Farmed salmon might sound like a healthy ingredient to have in your pup’s food, but it’s not. Many dogs are interested in eating fish, salmon included. Farmed salmon, though, can include harmful toxins that can be dangerous for your pup. Farmed salmon, including salmon meal and oil, can add high levels of mercury and other fat-soluble toxins into their diet. This type of salmon can contain toxic chemicals and cancer-causing PCBs.
Always double-check every aspect of the food before you buy it. Is it pâté or shredded? Does it contain real, whole meat, or just flavors? If your dog is sensitive to specific ingredients, like chicken, make sure it doesn’t include any. Double-check everything.
The larger your dog, the more you have to buy. Aim for large cans because they won’t sit in the fridge for long, and you’ll get one or two servings from each can. You should aim for small containers for your small dogs. If you purchase 13-ounce cans for your Chihuahua, they will end up sitting in the fridge for a long time. The size of the can/container should be relative to the size of your dog.
Is Wet Food Better Than Dry Food?
Wet food can sometimes provide more benefits for your dog than dry food.
Wet foods have a higher moisture content, which is very beneficial for dogs who might not drink as much water as they should. It’s also great for dogs with certain medical conditions that necessitate a proper amount of hydration, like kidney disease.
Canned food also tends to be more palatable to most dogs. It has aromas that dry food cannot and may also be more flavorful. Offering wet foods is a great way to entice your dog to eat if they’re sick or have a low appetite.
Wet foods can help increase satiety. This is beneficial for dogs who need assistance with weight loss as it will help them feel fuller for longer after meals.
Finally, wet foods are, by nature, simpler to chew. If your dog has dental disease or other oral concerns, he might be more apt to eat wet food because of how easy it is to eat.
Now, that’s not to say that dry food doesn’t have its list of benefits. It can be more convenient as portioning it out is easier. Dry food is often more affordable and can work well as a food enrichment item in puzzle toys and food feeders.
Our pick for the best wet dog food is Ollie because of their human-grade meat ingredients and quality service. Our pick for best canned dog food for the money is Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Stew because it’s grain-free and an all-natural stew for your pup. Finally, The Farmer’s Dog delivery service is expensive, but it’s an excellent food for dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.
Hopefully, our reviews of the best canned and wet dog food have at least started you on the path to finding the right food for your pup. Our dogs only deserve the best!