Best Canned Dog Food

Wet Dog Food is the second most popular form of dog food and is commonly stored in cans. As the name would suggest, wet dog food contains a significant amount of water, which is more widely described by manufacturers as moisture.

The moisture of any dog food, be it wet or dry, must be displayed on the products Guaranteed Analysis which will be displayed on its packaging/label.

Being stored in a can or other sealed container ensures that the wet dog food remains safe to consume. Also, canned dog food can be stored for a longer period as long as it remains sealed, similar to canned goods for human consumption.

However, unlike dry dog food, once the can is opened, your dog will need to eat the food within a day or two to avoid it going bad.

Also, once opened, you should keep the dog food sealed and consider storing it in the fridge, depending on its contents and the manufacturer’s recommendations. WSAVA recommends that you should ensure that canned dog food is consumed within 48-72 hours.

While your dog may be willing to eat wet dog food that has been left out for a number of days, it could have dangerous side effects and could make them ill.

Dog Food Can

Wet Dog Food is considered by some to be superior to dry food due to the fewer low-quality or filler ingredients it contains.

While this varies from brand to brand, there is most definitely a trend, and it is not one that should be ignored.

As with all forms of pet food, there is a wide variety in the quality and nutrition provided by wet dog food. That is why it’s important to know what you should be looking out for and what you should avoid.

This article will break down all the facts on wet dog food and give recommendations on some of the best canned/wet dog foods currently available.

Canned Dog Food Brands

Most dog food brands produce some variety of wet dog food, whether it be in cans, pouches, or pate form. This includes many of the most popular pet food brands in the United States, like Purina Pro Plan, Blue Buffalo, Royal Canin, and Taste of the Wild.

However, there are some notable dog food brands that do not produce any wet dog food of any description. Some famous examples include brands like Orijen and Acana.

Orijen Logo

Why these brands, some of which are rated very highly by ourselves and others, do not choose to produce wet dog food isn’t clear, but there must be a reason.

One common suggestion is that producing and manufacturing canned dog food is vastly different than dry dog food, and so there is a significant investment and demand required in order to justify setting up a canned dog food production facility.

Many premium dog food brands like Orijen and Acana are unwilling to outsource production, like some of their competitors, which is a credible theory as to their lack of canned products.

Wet Dog Food Nutrition

The Effect of Moisture

As we mentioned previously, the core difference between wet and dry dog food is that wet dog food contains significantly more moisture.

The concentration of moisture in canned dog food usually varies between seventy and eighty percent but can be as high as eighty-five percent in some select formulations.

As a consequence of this higher proportion of moisture, only a small proportion of the food provides nutrition.

Therefore, a dog will have to consume significantly more wet dog food by raw weight than dry dog food to get the same nutrition and calorie intake.

However, this moisture isn’t worthless as dogs need to take in an appropriate volume of water just as humans do.

While dogs do not suffer from a genetic lack of thirst like cats do, wet dog food can certainly help to keep them adequately hydrated without having to take large drinks and frequent drinks at their water bowl.


Lower Carbohydrate Proportion

The most significant nutritional fact about wet dog food is that it almost always contains a smaller proportion of carbohydrates in comparison to dry dog food.

As we regularly preach on this website, dogs’ ancestral diet did not consist of a significant proportion of carbohydrates, and as a consequence, dogs do not need to consume a significant portion of carbohydrates.

While it is true that dogs are very capable of eating a large proportion of carbohydrates, regular consumption can have negative side effects, both visible and invisible.

While inconsistent due to industry pressure, research has suggested that certain carbohydrate-heavy ingredients, such as grains, have consistent adverse effects.

Therefore, wet dog food may be one of the best ways to try and mimic a dog’s natural low carbohydrate intake.

Higher Proportion Of Protein/Fat

Following the fact that wet dog food tends to contain a much lower proportion of carbohydrates than dry dog food, this has the knock-on effect of increasing the overall proportion of protein and fat present.

Protein and fat should make up the majority of your dog’s nutrition, as dogs can easily digest and utilize them.

The protein is vital and will ensure that your dog can grow, repair, and maintain their bodies and muscles while the fat is essential for a multitude of bodily functions as well as being its primary source of energy.

In addition, excess protein is not wasted, as many believe, and can be burned as a source of energy.

Wet Dog Food Ingredients

While there are many similarities in the ingredients used in dry dog food and wet dog food, there are a few notable differences.

Lack of Grain Ingredients

Experienced dog owners will quickly notice that there is a noticeable reduction in the use of grains in canned dog food.

The primary reason behind this is that wet dog food doesn’t need to be bulked out as much as dry dog food to keep it cost-effective for consumers. This is as the majority of the contents of a wet dog food recipe is moisture (water).

Grain-free dog food has become exceptionally popular over the last two decades, and many will see wet dog food as an easy way to provide a grain-free diet.

While we won’t get into the fine details in this article, grain ingredients aren’t quite the evil they are often portrayed as and can be a viable component of a dog’s diet.

However, a reduction in plant matter, such as grains, is almost certainly a positive for most dogs and allows them to instead consume more meat and fish content.

The Inclusion of Broth

Many wet dog food formulas contain some variety of “Broth”. These broth-based ingredients are usually of the same array as the primary meat ingredient.

For example, dog food with a focus on Chicken would often contain both Chicken and Chicken Broth, or dog food with a focus on Beef could contain Beef and Beef Broth. But what exactly is Broth?

Meat Broth is a liquid that has had meat cooked in it, and it is created by simmering meat, bones, and unedible tissues together for a moderate period of time, usually between two to three hours.

Despite this lengthy simmering, the majority of Broth ingredients are still water, but it also includes a notable portion of fat and a small portion of protein from ingredients present during the simmering.

Lastly, the inclusion of bones and inedible tissues can cause Broth to contain some minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorous, which can be a beneficial component of a dog’s diet.


Salt is a far more common ingredient in wet dog food than in dry food. While Salt might sound scary to many, especially to be feeding to dogs in appropriate portions, it can be a positive addition.

This is because it helps to preserve the food to ensure it does not quickly go bad, as well as add flavor to make it more appealing and palatable.

Salt also plays a vital role in many bodily functions, such as maintaining healthy blood pressure, among others.

Despite these benefits, dogs that suffer from heart or kidney conditions may need to consume a diet low in Salt.

Therefore formulas that add Salt may not be appropriate for them as high levels of Salt can exacerbate their existing health conditions.

You can learn more about what kind of dogs need a low-sodium diet as well as some of the best low-sodium dog food formulas in our article Best Low Sodium Dog Foods.

However, for those dogs without health issues, the quantity of Salt added to most dog food recipes is not significant and should not overly concern you.

Salt Shaker

Thickening Agents/Emulsifiers

There are some ingredients that are regularly found in wet dog food that are used as thickening agents, emulsifiers, or stabilizers.

These ingredients aren’t present to provide any significant nutrition to dogs, but they are instead used to maintain the shape and consistency of the dog food.

Typical examples include Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, and Potato Starch, but there are many others that also tend to have unusual or unrecognizable names.

In small quantities, these ingredients are unlikely to be a significant factor in your decision, but in larger proportions, you may want to avoid them.

You can learn more about one of these ingredients in our article Carrageenan In Dog Food.

A positive trait to many is that many of the more premium and high-quality canned dog food recipes are free from these ingredients.

Best Canned/Wet Dog Food

Nailing down the “Best” canned dog food is not a simple task. There is such a vast range of formulas to choose from, and they all offer their unique benefits.

Below we’ve decided to break down the best-canned dog foods into a few categories to help you make a more informed decision.  Check out the category that you think is most applicable to both your canine friend and your budget.

Our current categories include our favorite all-around recipes, recipes that are affordable without dropping quality, premium or super-premium formulas for those willing to pay big, and finally, our favorite wet puppy food recipes for those small bundles of joy.

Best Canned/Wet Dog Food – All Round Picks

What makes an all-round pick? We define our all-around picks as formulas that provide appropriate nutrition from high-quality ingredients at a moderate price.

These recipes may contain some vegetable ingredients or small quantities of lower-quality ingredients, but all around, they are fantastic choices that are suitable for the vast majority of dogs.

Merrick – Grain-Free Real Beef, Lamb + Bison Dinner Review

Merrick Real Beef, Lamb + Bison Dinner

Merrick is a brand that many readers will quickly recognize and is commonplace on the shelves of large pet food stores like PetSmart but also many specialty pet food stores.

Merrick is a longstanding pet food brand that first appeared in the 1980s. It stayed an independent brand until 2015, when it was acquired by Purina, which many will recognize thanks to brands like Purina Pro Plan and Purina One.

One of Merrick’s greatest advantages is the sheer size of its product range. This range includes traditional dry dog food, limited-ingredient dog food, raw dog food, wet dog food, and food for small breed dogs and puppies.

You can check out Merrick’s full product range and the advantages of each range in our Merrick Brand Review.

Merrick’s grain-free wet dog food range is one of their best; this recipe contains approximately 96% meat, which is leaps and bounds above most of its competitors.

The Real Beef, Lamb + Buffalo Dinner formula is very straightforward and only contains the three mentioned meat ingredients plus a few other minor ingredients like Salt and other preservatives.

Thanks to this abundance of high-quality meat ingredients, the recipe contains a generous proportion of animal-based protein, which should be at the core of every dog’s diet. In addition, the unique combination of Beef, Lamb, and Buffalo is sure to provide an appealing taste.

This recipe has a higher proportion of fat than some others, which means that it is ideally suited to active dogs who need a higher calorie intake.

If you have a relatively inactive dog, such as a senior dog or one who is susceptible to weight gain, you may want to consider some of the other recipes discussed later on.

Health Extension Salmon Recipe Review

Health Extension Salmon Recipe

Health Extension is a family-owned pet food company based in the United States and is modestly sized compared to some of the giants of the pet food world.

Health Extension has very impressive transparency about the source of its ingredients, including an interactive map for visitors to its site to explore.

This level of transparency is unprecedented in the industry and is something that many brands could learn from.

You can learn more about this transparency as well as the background of Health Extension in our Health Extension Brand Review.

Health Extension has an expansive range of both traditional dry dog food and canned dog food. The canned dog food range includes some extremely simple formulas as well as some specially themed ones such as Tuscan Style and Carolina Skillet Pork Recipe.

While simplistic may sound boring or basic, we strongly disagree and believe that Health Extension’s Salmon Formula is exceptional thanks to its simplicity.

The primary driver behind this is that Health Extensions Salmon Formula only contains four ingredients, three of which are inconsequential. The first of these, and the one which constitutes the vast majority of the formula is whole Salmon.

Salmon is known to be one of the best sources of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which can provide noticeable benefits and improvements in a dog’s cognitive function and the condition of their skin and coat.

The other three ingredients are water, fish broth, and Guar Gum. The water and Fish Broth are present to provide moisture and will provide little nutrition. Lastly, Guar Gum is present as an emulsifier.

This lack of questionable or poorly understood ingredients will ensure that dog owners know exactly what they are feeding their canine friends. This could strongly appeal to dogs who suffer from allergies or dietary sensitivities.

Health Extension’s Salmon Formula isn’t the only recipe that follows this simplistic model, and they also have alternatives with meat ingredients such as a Beef Recipe and a Chicken Recipe.

Chicken & Salmon Rustic Stew Review

Open Farm Chicken & Salmon Rustic Stew

Open Farm is a Canadian pet food brand based in Toronto, Ontario. The brand has seen serious growth over the last few years, and much of this growth is well deserved.

The development, formulation, and distribution of Open Farm recipes take place within Canada. However, their manufacturing facility resides in the United States in Minnesota. The reasoning behind this is as most of Open Farm’s suppliers are in the United States.

This cross-border approach is quite unique to Open Farm and allows them to succeed on both sides of the border, which is something many other brands have struggled to do.

We would recommend checking out their FAQ page to learn more about the brand or taking a read or our Open Farm Brand Review to see our detailed review.

While Open Farm’s Rustic Stew range may come in a box, it is, in fact, wet dog food. As we mentioned earlier, traditionally, this type of food is stored in cans, but Open Farm has chosen to use more sustainable and recyclable packaging, which is appealing to some consumers.

Most Open Farm recipes do not mix different types of meat and fish ingredients, but the above recipe is one of a few exceptions. It combines Chicken and Salmon ingredients to provide a unique flavor.

As we’ve discussed extensively, Chicken and Salmon are excellent additions to dog food and can provide high-quality protein and fat, including high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

The wet dog food recipes from Open Farm contain a minimal amount of plant-based material. This particular recipe uses small portions of vegetables like Pumpkin, Carrots, Green Beans, and Spinach.

These vegetables will add some additional flavor and texture as well as provide a modest portion of carbohydrates and fiber.

Wellness – Core – 95% Turkey with Spinach Review

Wellness Core 95% Turkey With Spinach

While not as popular or flashy as some of the other brands mentioned in this article, Wellness is still a big player in the pet food market and worthy of a place in this article.

Like others, they also regularly feature on the shelves of some of the large pet food stores in the United States like PetSmart or Petco.

Their Core range of dry and wet dog food is perhaps their most popular and provides excellent nutrition for its price point. For this reason and others, their Core Puppy dry food recipe is one we have recommended for large breed puppies in a few of our guides.

Another important note about Wellness is that their wet dog food formulas also contain some ingredients not commonly found in products produced by other leading brands, which could be considered a unique selling point.

The above-mentioned Turkey and Spinach recipe is an excellent example of the quality of their formulas. Similar to the recipes discussed previously, it contains a very select number of ingredients.

The only three that are noteworthy are Turkey, which provides the bulk of the recipe’s protein and fat content, Spinach, which provides some excellent minerals and vitamins; and Flaxseed, which boosts the levels of the Omega Fatty Acids, and offers a wide range of health benefits to dogs.

The simplicity of this formula could make it very suitable for those dogs with allergies and sensitivities. In addition, by utilizing Turkey as its primary ingredient, this recipe contains a lower proportion of fat which could make it advantageous to less active dogs.

Also, there are other similar formulas with alternative meat ingredients if Turkey doesn’t suit your canine friend’s tastes.

You can check out these alternatives and learn more about Wellness in our Wellness Brand Review.

Best Canned/Wet Dog Food – Best Value Picks

Our value picks are simple; they are canned dog food formulas that can provide above-average nutrition and ingredients at an affordable price.

These are most suited to those dog owners on a tight budget or with large dogs that will crave and eat a significant quantity of dog food meaning premium recipes are unreasonable.

Crave Chicken Pate Review

Crave Chicken Pate Dog Food

Crave is a relative newcomer to the pet food market and is owned by Mars Petcare, which produces other recognizable brands such as Pedigree dog food and Whiskas cat food. The brand was launched to cater to consumers who demand higher-quality pet food.

The number of consumers who have become more aware and better informed on dog food nutrition has increased significantly in recent years, and we believe it will continue to grow.

Crave is often available at large brand pet stores or grocery stores, such as Walmart & PetSmart, and is surprisingly affordable.

While wet dog food is still more expensive than dry food, Crave’s products won’t break the bank or make you flinch.

You can learn more about Crave, including its ingredient selection and its full product range, in our Crave Brand Review.

Crave’s Pate range is one of their best and offers a small variety of wet dog food formulas. Each formula contains both traditional meat cuts alongside organ meat ingredients,

The above Chicken recipe uses a large portion of Chicken as its primary ingredient and then is joined by organ meats such as Liver and Heart.

These organ meats provide beneficial Vitamins and Minerals that standard meat cuts lack, as well as enhance the palatability of the recipe. This combination of chicken ingredients offers fantastic nutrition, high in animal-based protein and fat.

Finally, none of their Pate recipes contain a significant amount of vegetable ingredients, let alone frowned upon vegetable by-products which are present in some of Crave’s dry food products.

Taste of the Wild – Southwest Canyon Wet Dog Food Review

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Canned Recipe

Taste of the Wild is one of the most widely recognized brands sold in the USA today. They are fortunate enough to have found the perfect middle ground between an affordable price and a high-quality product.

As a consequence of this, their recipes are eaten by millions of dogs across the country on a regular basis.

One of the primary drivers behind this is the fact that Taste of the Wild is extremely easy to come by and is often sold at large retail pet food stores along with smaller, more specialized pet food stores.

The vast majority of Taste of the Wild’s products are dry dog food, split between traditional adult recipes, puppy recipes, and their newly released limited ingredient range – Prey.

You can learn more about Taste of the Wild, including where their food is produced, their recall history, and their recently launched grain-inclusive recipes in our Taste of the Wild Brand Review.

However, they do produce a select number of wet dog food formulas, one of which we have featured above.

The Southwest Canyon recipe is by far our favorite wet dog food formula from Taste of the Wild. The principal ingredients of the formula are Beef, Beef Broth, and Beef Liver, which are sure to provide an ample portion of protein and other nutrients.

Red meat ingredients such as these are ideally suited to a dog’s diet and are extremely digestible as well as appealing, thanks to their high protein and fat content.

However, there are some other ingredients present in the recipe, including Egg Product, Lamb, Wild Boar, and Peas.

Both Lamb and Boar are far less common additions to commercial dog food and can further enrich the taste, while the Peas provide a modest proportion of carbohydrates.

We will note that the formula also contains Potato Starch, which can be considered a low-quality ingredient in large portions, but the portion in this formula doesn’t appear to be significant, and we believe it is being used as an emulsifier/binding agent.

American Journey Chicken & Turkey Recipe Review

American Journey Chicken & Turkey Wet Dog Food

Chewy’s own brand of American Journey gets a deserved mention in the value section of this article. American Journey competes with other value brands such as Crave and Pure Balance but still uses higher-quality ingredients and provides impressive nutrition.

Their canned dog food, along with almost all of their products, is very competitively priced, which can make it viable for those of us without buckets of spare cash.

This is because Chewy is an online-only brand and offers a combination of free delivery and subscription discounts. These perks, combined with the rise of online shopping, have caused Chewy to grow tremendously over the past decade.

Learn more about American Journey and its parent company Chewy including an in-depth look at their massive product range in our American Journey Brand Review.

One of our favorite wet dog food recipes from Chewy is the above-mentioned Chicken & Turkey recipe. The biggest motivation behind this is that it is straightforward and only contains a few notable ingredients.

The majority of the formula is made up of poultry ingredients such as Whole Chicken, Whole Turkey, and Chicken Liver.

This Chicken and Turkey provide the bulk of the recipes protein and fat content, while the Chicken Liver can provide some vitamins and minerals that traditional meat cuts lack.

The formula also includes a small portion of White Potatoes. Many dog owners choose to avoid recipes with White Potatoes as they don’t believe they are the most appropriate carbohydrate ingredient for dogs, but given the small portion size here, you should not be overly concerned.

These Potatoes can offer a small number of other micronutrients and dietary fiber and should, therefore, be considered a step up from low-quality fillers.

If you are interested in discovering more high-quality yet affordable dog food recipes, such as the ones we’ve highlighted above, be sure to head over to our article Best Cheap Dog Food for an in-depth run down.

Best Canned/Wet Dog Food – Premium Picks

Our premium picks are the Rolls Royce or Lamborghinis of the canned dog food world. For most, these are just plain unaffordable, but for those willing to splash out, these formulas offer incredible nutrition from very high-quality and unique ingredients.

Some might go as far as to say that the ingredients in these formulas are notably higher quality than the food that most humans consume on a daily basis, which is food for thought.

Ziwi Peak – Moist Beef For Dogs Review

Ziwi Peak Moist Beef Recipe For Dogs Can

Ziwi Peak is a New Zealand-based pet food brand that is best known for its range of Air Dried Dog Food recipes.

Air-dried dog food is similar to freeze-dried dog food and is probably the most expensive form of dog food available. Many dog owners may have purchased freeze-dried treats before and will know how appealing they can be.

While these niche products may be Ziwi Peak’s best-known feature, we should also note that they have some of the highest-quality ingredients found in pet food.

High-quality meats like Lamb, Venison, and Beef are sourced from local New Zealand suppliers and are comparable to the meat that many dog owners will eat.

You can learn more about Ziwi Peak’s ingredients, including where they are sourced in our Ziwi Peak Brand Review.

While it does not get much focus, Ziwi Peak produces moist dog food, which is just another way of describing wet or canned dog food. The above Moist Beef Recipe is a prime example of this.

While we have already discussed the use of organ meat ingredients in dog food, Ziwi Peak takes this one step further and includes a massive range of organ meat ingredients in their recipes.

Examples of this include the Liver, Kidneys, Lungs, Heart, and more. The broad range, the high quantity, and the source of these organ meats are a guarantee that they can provide dogs with a range of beneficial vitamins and minerals.

If that wasn’t enough, Ziwi Peak’s formulas also contain mussels as a minor ingredient. These Mussels are high in glucosamine and are a unique ingredient not included in food produced by almost any other dog food brand.

As we briefly mentioned earlier, Ziwi Peak produces formulas that focus on a number of red meat ingredients, including the above-mentioned Beef, but also Lamb, Venison, and Rabbit.

A Chicken-based product range was also recently released by the brand, which is an appealing addition for many.

Hound and Gatos – 98% Paleolithic Meat Review

Hound & Gatos Paleolithic Meat

Hound & Gatos is another notable brand in the Ultra-Premium Dog Food world, and they produce a moderate range of dog and cat food.

The cost of their recipes will make most readers wince, but behind that price tag is some excellent dog food formulas.

Hound & Gatos really comes into its own with the quality of its meat ingredients.

They use cuts and sources that are very comparable with meat found in your local butchers or meat store, and in some cases, the meat may be of an even higher quality than most of us are used to, which is unheard of in the dog food industry.

If that wasn’t enough, Hound & Gatos have a strong focus on wet/canned pet food recipes over dry food recipes, which bucks the trend and makes them a perfect inclusion for this article.

You can find Hound & Gatos’s full wet dog food range, as well as more information about their history and ingredients, in our Hound & Gatos Brand Review.

Their Paleolithic Meat formula is one of our favorites; due to the fact that it offers a wide range of red meat ingredients, including Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Deer.

This variety of meat ingredients will produce an excellent flavor and provide a reliable range of minerals and vitamins to keep your canine friend in good health.

Deer or Venison, as it’s more commonly known in the pet food world, is seeing a noticeably increased use in dog food which has driven the price sky-high. This has caused many brands to discontinue their venison-based recipes, but Hound & Gatos have not succumbed to this yet.

You can learn more about the use of Venison and the current shortage in our article Best Dog Foods With Venison.

Back on the topic of the Paleolithic recipe, the only other ingredients present are Agar-Agar, which is used to help maintain a consistent texture, and preservatives such as Salt.

K9 Natural Lamb Feast Review

K9 Natural Lamb Feast Can

K9 Natural is another New Zealand-based brand and could be easily compared or equated to Ziwi Peak.

K9 Natural shares the excellent trait of using very high-quality ingredients that are sourced from New Zealand and are suitable for human consumption.

They also use an in-house animal nutritionist to ensure that dogs’ nutritional needs are met.

This is something that many dog owners are looking for before selecting a recipe, especially due to the recent suspected concerns around an increased risk of Canine Heart Disease and certain dog food recipes.

You can learn more about this in our K9 Natural Brand Review.

K9 Naturals has a smaller range of canned dog food recipes than most, but this includes a Lamb Formula, Chicken Formula, and Beef Formula.

We’ve chosen to discuss the Lamb Formula as Lamb is the primary livestock animal of New Zealand and a more unusual dog food ingredient than Beef or Chicken.

As you would imagine, the primary ingredient is whole Lamb, but there are also a number of Lamb organ meats present, including Lamb Liver, Lamb Heart, and Lamb Kidneys.

As we mentioned when discussing Ziwi Peak, these organ meats can provide a unique cocktail of vitamins and minerals.

However, K9 Naturals includes some ingredients that Ziwi Peak does not. This includes Lamb Blood, Eggs, and a small range of vegetables such as Pumpkin, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage.

Eggs are very underutilized in pet food and are incredibly nutritionally dense, enabling a dog’s digestive system to easily absorb their nutrition.

The tiny portion of vegetables will provide additional vitamins and minerals, as well as a very modest portion of carbohydrates and fiber.

Best Canned/Wet Puppy Food

Last but not least are our favorite wet puppy food picks. Puppies require a slightly different nutritional profile and food texture than adult dogs, and as a consequence, there are formulas specially designed by dog food manufacturers to meet the specific needs of puppies.

Nulo Freestyle Puppy With Turkey, Cod & Sweet Potatoes Review

Nulo Freestyle Puppy With Turkey, Cod, And Sweet Potatoes

After seeing the disproportionate quantity of carbohydrates used in modern dog food, Michael Lander created Nulo in an attempt to produce a more balanced type of dog food.

Thankfully, Nulo hasn’t strayed from this idea since its inception almost two decades ago and produces a range of formulas for puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs.

Almost all of these recipes from Nulo consistently provide high levels of animal or fish-based protein and fat and a modest proportion of carbohydrates. It is for this reason that we feature them regularly.

If you’d like to see a more in-depth discussion on Nulo’s ingredient quality and nutritional values, check out our Nulo Brand Review.

Nulo’s puppy range is relatively small, but that does not mean they should be discounted. Two of these recipes are canned dog food, Turkey, Cod & Sweet Potatoes, and Chicken, Salmon & Lentils.

Both of the recipes are very similar, but we have chosen to highlight the Turkey, Cod, and Sweet Potatoes recipe.

The primary ingredients are Turkey, Turkey Liver, Cod, and Turkey/Salmon Broth. This combination of Poultry and Fish provides a satisfactory proportion of bioavailable animal protein and fat.

The recipe also contains small portions of some vegetable and starch ingredients, including Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Lentils.

These starches and legumes are industry favorites and can provide a small proportion of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

Blue Buffalo Carnivora Woodland Blend Puppy Recipe Review

Blue Buffalo Carnivora Woodland Blend Wet Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo, along with Taste of the Wild, is probably the most popular brand to get a mention in this article.

Blue Buffalo is a giant in the industry and was one of the first brands to invest in marketing and branding heavily.

Their product range is huge and can often take up the entire aisle of a large pet food store like PetSmart. This range includes dog and cat food as well as specializes in recipes for health issues, life stages, and breed size.

However, Blue Buffalo can be a controversial brand to some due to this heavy focus on marketing, its recall history, and its use of select ingredients. You can learn about all of these issues in our Blue Buffalo Brand Review.

Blue Buffalo has launched a new sub-brand in the last few years known as Carnivora. This sub-brand addresses many of the previous concerns around Blue Buffalo recipes.

These recipes often feature high proportions of meat and fish ingredients which in turn means they can provide excellent nutrition, high in animal-based protein and fat.

While this kind of nutrition is important for all dogs, it is especially important for puppies who need this nutrition for their growth and activity.

This Woodland Blend recipe uses a mix of Chicken and Turkey as its primary ingredients, as well as some organ meat ingredients like Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver.

These are combined with several other animal-based ingredients in small quantities, such as Egg Product, Duck, and Mackeral.

This huge combination of animal-based ingredients makes up 95% of the recipe, which is similar to some others we showcased earlier.

Outside of this, the recipe contains little to no plant matter except a tiny portion of Pea Flour and Carrots.

Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Plate Review

Merrick Puppy Plate Chicken Recipe

Merrick is the only brand to feature in this article twice, and it does so for a good reason. As we mentioned earlier, they are a widely recognized brand, featuring on the shelves of most pet food stores.

If that wasn’t enough, the nutrition provided by the majority of their formulas is impressive and above-average compared to competitors.

Thanks to the huge size of its product range, Merrick has several puppy food recipes they can offer to young dogs, including the above. This range also includes dry puppy recipes and recipes for large or small-breed puppies.

The Puppy Plate formula contains a variety of poultry ingredients, including Chicken, and Turkey, which are both great sources of lean animal-based protein.

These poultry ingredients are combined with a tiny and satisfactory portion of Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Carrots, and Apples, which provide a small portion of carbohydrates and fiber for improved digestion.

The substantial portion of protein and fat provided by this formula is sure to promote growth and provide energy for all that activity they are sure to take part in.

What Are The Alternatives To Canned/Wet Dog Food?

You’ve learned the basics of canned dog food is, but what are the alternatives? Every dog is unique, and one of the different varieties of dog food may suit their needs better than canned dog food. Here is a brief rundown of the other types of dog food available.

Dry Dog Food

Dry Dog Food is by far the most common form of dog food. As the name implies, dry dog food has significantly less moisture than wet or canned dog food.

This means it is much more calorie-dense. Its higher density in calories allows dry dog food to be more cost-effective to transport and purchase. For those dog owners on a budget or who own huge or large breed dogs, dry dog food is usually the obvious choice.

The downside of dry dog food is that it often contains lower-quality or filler ingredients as producers fight to keep costs low. Examples include grains and vegetable by-products.

While your dog can digest these ingredients, they are not biologically appropriate and are a poor reflection of their ancestor’s natural diet.

These ingredients, alongside common starches and legumes, often contribute to a very high proportion of carbohydrates, which we often deem to be excessive.

Freeze Dried Dog Food

Freeze Dried Dog Food is much less common than dry or wet dog food but could be an option for those willing to splash out.

Freeze-dried or air-dried dog food has had its moisture removed without undergoing the cooking process that dry dog food experiences.

The lack of cooking gives freeze-dried dog food a unique taste and texture as well as retaining more of its nutrients.

Unfortunately, because you need large quantities of costly meat ingredients to produce freeze-dried dog food, the price is very high.

To get around this, you could feed your dog freeze-dried dog food occasionally or mix it with cheaper homemade ingredients. There are a growing number of brands that produce such food, and some of the more popular brands include Ziwi Peak and Orijen.

A Mixture of Dry and Wet Dog Food

Many dog owners think they need to stick to a single type of dog food, but this isn’t the case. Many dogs will benefit from a mix of dry and wet dog food.

Dog’s ancestors would have consumed a wide variety of food, and your dog will likely enjoy the variety offered by dry and wet dog food.

For example, if you feed your dog twice a day, you could offer them an appropriately sized bowl of dry dog food in the morning and then provide them with some canned dog food in the evening.

However, when attempting to mix dry and wet food in the way we just described, it is important to track your dog’s intake of food to avoid overfeeding.

Not keeping track of your dog’s consumption of food can lead to obesity and other health-related problems.


  1. Darinda August 26, 2020 Reply
  2. Regina W February 28, 2021 Reply

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