We have done the hard work for you in identifying the 10 best canned dog food options available in 2020. Your pets are part of your family and you want them to be properly nourished with only the best food. With so many canned dog foods out there claiming to be the best, it can be overwhelming and difficult to make a confident decision on what to feed your dog.
Here’s a helpful buying guide to familiarize yourself with some of the top brands. We’ll also educate you on the things you should consider when it comes to your dog’s canned food.
Overview of the Top 10 Canned Dog Food
This wet dog food from Royal Canin is formulated specifically to support healthy skin for dogs 10 months and older. Healthy skin means your dog will also have a thick, shiny coat of hair. The special blend of ingredients meets AAFCO standards for proper nutrition levels. It can be fed as a complete meal or as a complement to dry food for an extra boost of hydration.
Helps to maintain a healthy body weight
Palatable even for picky eaters
Can be purchased in large bulk packs
Only available in 1 flavor
Purina created these single-serve, nutrient-packed meals just for small dogs. They’re a perfect serving size and are packed with protein, vitamins, antioxidants and more to provide your dog with a complete and balanced meal. This food supports healthy body weight and immune system. Your little dog will love these tender, savory meals.
Available in a wide variety of flavors
Supports longer life expectancy
Perfectly portioned meals
Packaging could be more user-friendly
This grain-free recipe is free of corn, wheat, and soy. With real chicken as the first ingredient and hearty, nutritious vegetable throughout, it’s a great, healthy option for adult dogs.
It’s enriched with extra vitamins and minerals to ensure your dog is getting a well-rounded, nutritious meal. Each ingredient is easily recognizable and can be traced back to the source.
Gluten and grain-free
Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
The perfect balance of macronutrients
Dents on some cans when they were first delivered
Here is a wet, pate dog food with real beef as the top ingredient and easily digestible rice. It nourishes your dog with 23 essential vitamins and minerals for a 100% balanced meal that supports healthy body composition, and a healthy dose of omega-6 fatty acids promote a healthy coat and skin.
Contains a natural source of prebiotic fiber to support digestion and gut health
Dogs love the mix of crunchy and tender textures
Real meat is always the first ingredient
Might require a slow transition, as it is quite rich
These perfectly portioned meals are great on their own or mixed with the dry kibble to provide your dog with a well-balanced meal. Formulated specifically for small breeds, it’s fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s all-around health. It comes in a wide variety of flavors to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
Easy, peel-away seal for freshness
Convenient, pre-portioned meals
Meets AAFCO nutrition standards
Only ideal for small dogs
Made with the finest, natural ingredients to support all aspects of your dog’s health. It’s formulated without chick by-products, corn, wheat or soy, making it especially ideal for dogs with these common food allergies. Real beef or chicken is always going to be the first ingredient and it’s enhanced with all of the essential vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to thrive.
Contains no artificial flavors or preservatives
Available in a flavor variety pack
Promotes healthy muscles
Can be difficult to open
This wet dog food is packed with natural ingredients like real turkey and venison. It’s an excellent source of glucosamine that helps to support healthy joints and bones and has a special blend of antioxidants for a strong immune system in adult dogs. It’s formulated without fillers or poultry by-products and has a nice blend of textures that your dogs will love and never get bored of.
Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
The tender, meaty texture
Depending on your dog’s size, they may require several cans per day
A perfectly balanced meal for adult dogs. It can be served alone or mixed with the dry kibble for some variety. It contains either real beef, chicken, turkey or lamb, making a great source of protein. The perfect balance of meat, oils, and minerals supports all areas of your dog's health. Plus dogs love that it has a mix of gray and tender bits.
Convenient, easy-to-open pouches
A great addition to dry food for extra hydration and flavor
Chunks of 100% real meat
Servings are too small to work as meals for large dogs
Available in beef or chicken recipes, this food is savory and tempting for all dogs. It’s formulated with 23 essential vitamins and minerals that support your dog’s overall health and quality of life.
Every serving supply and an excellent source of protein that helps to build and support strong muscles and energy levels. The ground texture and savory gravy make it very appetizing for your dog
Real chicken and beef
Available in a bulk variety pack
Promotes healthy coat
Very densely packed into the can - can be difficult to get out
Celebrity Chef, Rachael Ray, has put together a variety of savory recipes that are free of corn, soy, and wheat. Real meat - like salmon, chicken and whitefish - is the #1 ingredient in all of the varieties and they also feature blends of hearty vegetables, vitamins, and minerals for a healthy dog. You can see the tender chunks of meat and veggies in each portion, so you know it’s definitely quality food that you’re feeding your dog.
Formulated without artificial flavors and preservatives
Free of poultry by-product meal
Convenient individual servings
Small servings aren’t ideal as a main meal for large breeds
Important Ingredients to Look For in Canned Dog Food
When looking for the best-canned dog food for your pet, it is important to make sure it has the ingredients necessary for a healthy and balanced diet.
High-quality animal proteins are a must for any dog’s diet. They are designed to have meat in their diet and protein is essential for helping your dog stay active.
Look for animal meat as the first ingredient and make sure they are not by-products or meals. You also need to look for the right percentage of protein to make sure you aren’t giving too much or too little for your dog’s diet.
While it seems like everyone is trying to cut grains out of pet food, they are an essential part of their diet. You want to look for whole grains or unprocessed grains for your dog’s food, and avoid lower quality grains that act more like fillers. Focus on brown rice or wild rice for your dog’s grain needs.
Vegetables are a must for any balanced diet to keep healthy and avoid ingesting too many carbs. Vegetables will help your dog feel fuller and get necessary vitamins, but should not be the main ingredient of your dog food.
Look for non-starchy vegetables like carrots, apples, and alfalfa, but you can also use sweet potatoes if the others are not available.
Vitamins and Nutrients
While humans can eat a wide range of foods and supplements to get all the vitamins and nutrients they need, dogs rely on the food given to meet all their requirements. Look for dog foods that include the essentials, while also making sure you don’t give them too much of anything.
Factors to Avoid When Buying
There are some things that you need to watch out for when you feed your dog canned food.
Higher Fat Content
Canned food typically has a higher fat content percentage than dry food. While it may be higher, it is important to make sure you do not get canned food that has too much fat in it.
Carrageenan is an ingredient often used in canned dog food to help thicken it. With carrageenan comes poligeenan, which has a direct link to causing cancer in humans and pets. There are other chemical additives like ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT that can make your dog sick and should be avoided.
Sadly, dog food has become known for byproducts like highly processed and low nutrient ingredients. They are extremely low-quality ingredients and do little for your dog other than provide calories. In many cases, these ingredients can do more harm than good.
You should never buy foods that include anything saying “byproducts” or “modified” in the ingredient label.
Non-Specific Animal Products
Another problem with dog food is the non-specific animal products used. Using broad terms like “organ meat” or “poultry” rather than being specific with where the meat is coming from is troubling.
This can mean the meat is both very low-quality, and more than just the meat is being included. That can mean feet, beaks, bones and much more getting mixed into your dog’s food.
You should never see any types of sugar or sweeteners in your pet foods because they serve no nutritional purpose. Instead, these ingredients are added to dog food to make them more appealing and addicting to the dogs so they are more likely to eat it.
Benefits of Canned Dog Foods
If you are still on the fence as to whether or not you should feed your dog canned food, consider these benefits:
Canned food maintains its smell and flavor much better than dry food. This, combined with the natural gravy that comes in canned dog food makes them a delicacy for any dog.
Canned dog foods come in a wide range of flavors to choose from. Unlike dry food, you can mix up the flavors you give to your dog with every can, allowing for much more variety for them. This will help to prevent them from getting tired of their food and not wanting to eat.
Easy to Eat
Because of the high moisture content in canned food, it is much easier to eat than dry food. Canned food can be eaten by dogs of any age and are ideal for dogs with sensitive teeth and stomachs.
Easy to Digest
Canned food has a much softer, smoother texture than dry food, making it more easily passed through the digestive tract and broken down. The high moisture content also helps dogs with upset stomachs and those with chronic digestive issues.
While a can of dog food will only stay fresh when covered in the fridge once opened, the small container allows you to get through it before the food expires. The three-day rule means you are opening fresh cans much more frequently than you would open even a small bag of dry dog food. It also will not go stale like dry food before you can get through it.
Even though canned food typically has more fat than dry food, it has a much better protein to carbohydrate ratio.
Canned food has much fewer carbs than dry food and can cut out the unnecessary base ingredients. This means more meat ingredients and more direct protein for your dog.
Helps Prevent Bloat
Canned food greatly decreases the risk of bloat in your dogs because it already has such a high moisture count.
Dry food absorbs more liquid as it is ingested and can lead to many more problems. Canned food is also much harder to gulp down that dry food, making your dog have to eat slower.
Whether you are switching your dog to a canned food diet, or you want to include it along with dry, it is important to choose a high-quality product that will meet your dog’s needs. A complete and balanced diet is key for giving your dog what they need and helping them to live a long and happy life.