We’d bet it’s safe to say that pretty much every dog will happily gobble down a bowl full of moist, tasty dog food. But certain dogs will benefit from a wet food diet more than others. Dogs with kidney issues, senior dogs and puppies, dogs with oral pain or tooth loss, and dogs who are picky eaters will all benefit from a combined or fully wet food diet.

With so many brands on the market and types of wet dog food, choosing the right one for your pet is a difficult task. The best wet dog food brands should provide both complete nutrition and genuine enjoyment for your pup. Below, we spoke to veterinarians and dog behaviorists in our network to get their insights on exactly how to switch to a wet food diet—and which brands and ingredients to look for.

Our List

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Vetstreet may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The 14 Best Wet Dog Food Formulas to Try

Dog looking up to owner waiting to be fed

If you’re wondering what is the best wet dog food for your canine companion, check out some of our favorite picks below!

Best Wet Dog Food: Overall Winner

Our Pick: The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food

Farmer's Dog Frozen Dog Food

Get 50% off your first box of fresh dog food (valid for new customers only).

Life StageAllAllAllAll
Protein (Ingredients)USDA chicken, USDA chicken liverUSDA beef, USDA beef liverUSDA turkeyUSDA pork, USDA pork liver
Protein Analysis11.5% min11% min8% min9% min
Calories590 kcal/lb 721 kcal/ lb 562 kcal/lb 621 kcal/lb 
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYes

Want a wet dog food that’s as nourishing and nutritious as it is pleasing and palatable? You can’t go wrong with The Farmer’s Dog vet-formulated recipes. Freshly made in USDA-inspected kitchens with human-grade whole ingredients, The Farmer’s Dog is a step up from other wet foods because meals are delivered to your door within days of cooking. Plus, plans and portion sizes are customized to your dog’s specific age, size, weight, and health concerns. So you can feel good about feeding your dog fresh, nutritionally complete and balanced meals, without the hassle of home cooking. Just defrost gently frozen meals — chock full of premium proteins (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey) and beneficial ingredients like kale, carrots, parsnips, and sunflower seeds — then serve up wet dog food unlike any your dog has tasted before.


  • Made from human-grade ingredients and manufactured to meet the safety and quality standards for human food
  • Simple, delicious, nutritious formulas are great for picky eaters
  • Gently cooked in USDA-inspected kitchens to preserve nutrients
  • Minimally processed and free of natural and artificial preservatives
  • Nutritious, vet-developed recipes exceed industry standards for dogs (AAFCO)
  • Plans are customized to fit your dog’s age, weight, and unique health, concerns
  • Subscription is easy to pause, modify, cancel, and reactivate

Things to Consider

  • Pricier than other wet dog foods; plans start at $2/day
  • Currently ships only within the contiguous USA
  • Must be refrigerated
  • Requires a subscription

Best Dehydrated Dog Food Base Mix

Our pick: The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Base Mix

Honest Kitchen dehydrated base mix for dogs

15% off your first purchase at The Honest Kitchen with code 15VS

FlavorBase Mix
Life StageAdult dogs
Protein (Ingredients)None – you add protein
Protein Analysis10%
Calories343 kcal per cup (+ protein)
Meets AAFCO Standards?Yes

Founded in 2002, The Honest Kitchen offers dehydrated dog food to take the guesswork out of preparing a home-cooked meal. Simply add water to the base mix and your own protein, wait a few minutes for it to rehydrate, and serve. Each human-grade formula is made in the USA without artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. Pet parents choose the type of protein they wish added to each bowl.


  • Minimally processed ingredients made without artificial preservatives
  • Finely diced ingredients that are gently dehydrated to help support your dog’s digestion
  • One 10-pound box makes 40 pounds of food
  • Pet parents choose the protein – raw or cooked
  • Contains no rendered meals, GMO ingredients, corn, wheat, soy, fillers, or by-products

Things to Consider

Best Premium Wet Dog Food for Your Budget

Our pick: Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food

Nature's Recipe Wet Dog Food
FlavorChickenChicken & Wild SalmonChicken & Turkey
Life StageAdultAdultAdult
Protein (Ingredients)Chicken, chicken brothChicken, chicken broth, salmonChicken, chicken broth, turkey
Protein Analysis11%11%11%
Calories77 kcal/cup74 kcal/cup76 kcal/cup
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYes

If you’re shopping around for a wet dog food that offers premium quality, nutrition, and ingredients, without the premium price tag, your search ends here. Nature’s Recipe has been a frontrunner in the world of pet nutrition for four decades. And what has helped the brand pull away from the rest of the pack is a commitment to the best possible ingredients at down-to-earth prices. Nature’s Recipe dog food formulas are designed to give every dog the opportunity to enjoy the protein-rich, premium diet they deserve. No need to splurge…Your dog can eat like a king (or queen), enjoying natural, purposeful recipes packed with wholesome ingredients and high-quality protein. And you won’t have to pay a king’s ransom either.


  • Made with real chicken as the first ingredient to support lean muscle and healthy organs
  • Delicious chunks of meat and wholesome veggies swimming in a savory broth
  • Healthy, natural recipes, purposefully made with quality ingredients
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients 
  • No added corn, wheat, or soy
  • Contains no poultry by-products, artificial preservatives, or artificial flavors
  • Convenient, shelf-stable cups with easy-peel lids
  • Also available in grain-free options, including Chicken, Chicken & Venison, and Chicken & Lamb

Things to Consider

  • Depending on the size of your dog, you may need to serve up more than one cup

Most Convenient Wet Dog Food Delivery

Our pick: Ollie

Ollie Wet dog food assortment

Subscribe today and get 60% off your first box!

Life StageAllAllAllAll
Protein (Ingredients)Chicken, chicken liver, whole dried eggsBeef, beef kidney, beef liverTurkey breast, turkey liverLamb, lamb liver
Protein Analysis10% min9% min11% min10% min
Calories1,298 kcal ME/kg. 1,540 kcal ME/kg.1,390 kcal ME/kg.1,804 kcal ME/kg.
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYes

Ollie is one of our top choices when it comes to the best fresh dog food delivery services, so naturally it’s one of our favorite wet dog food options, too. Their human-grade, nutritionally-balanced recipes feature real chicken, beef, turkey, or lamb as the first ingredient, rounded out by leafy greens, root veggies, and plant-based proteins like chickpeas, peas, or lentils. To get started, simply fill out a quick quiz and Ollie will create a customized meal plan based on your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level, and allergies or sensitivities. We love the easy-to-follow instructions, serving spoon, and airtight “puptainer” that are included with the starter box to make mealtime even more convenient.


  • High-quality, human-grade ingredients. No fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives
  • Four protein-packed recipes to choose from: beef, chicken, lamb, or turkey
  • Food is minimally processed and gently cooked in U.S. facilities at low temperatures to preserve nutrients 
  • Vet-approved recipes are portioned for your dog and delivered right to your door on a flexible schedule
  • Frequency of deliveries can be adjusted to receive more or less food at a time
  • Starter box includes a guide to help you safely transition your dog over to Ollie. If your dog doesn’t enjoy it, Ollie will give you a full refund
  • Meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages
  • Ships free anywhere in the contiguous United States

Things to Consider

  • Turkey recipe is currently unavailable due to a national turkey shortage and supply chain disruption
  • Chicken and beef sourced from the U.S., while lamb comes from the U.S. and Australia
  • Food will stay fresh for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, opened or unopened. The resealable lid of the puptainer will help preserve freshness. 
  • Any food you won’t be using right away can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months unopened. When you’re ready to feed it to your dog, move it to the fridge and let it defrost for 24 hours.

Things to Consider

  • Can become costly in multiple dog households
  • Limited flavor options at this time

Best Eco-Friendly Wet Dog Food

Our Pick: Open Farm Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew Wet Dog Food

Box of open farm wet dog food beef stew

Save 20% off your first auto-ship order! Use code VETSTREET

FlavorChickenBeefTurkeySalmonChicken & SalmonHerring & Mackerel
Life StageAdultAdultAdultAdultAdultAdult
Protein (Ingredients)Humanely raised chicken, chicken bone brothHumanely raised beef, beef bone brothHumanely raised turkey, turkey bone brothWild Pacific salmonHumanely raised chicken, chicken bone broth, wild Pacific salmonOcean herring and mackerel
Protein Analysis8% min8% min7% min8% min8% min8% min
Calories320 kcal/354 g carton354 kcal/354 g carton 363 kcal/354 g carton280 kcal/354 g carton340 kcal/354 g carton265 kcal/354 g carton
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYesYesYes

Looking for a high-quality, science-backed wet dog food that you can feel good about serving your pup? Open Farm fits the bill. The well-loved pet food brand takes care to ensure it’s only using the best ingredients, ethically sourced from family farms. Open Farm’s Rustic Stews are 100 percent human-grade and great for finicky eaters. The grass-fed beef recipe features certified-humane beef raised without antibiotics, non-GMO pumpkin, and superfoods like coconut oil and turmeric. Serve it as a complete and balanced meal, or as a topper!


  • Packed with hearty ground beef, nutrient-rich veggies, and superfoods
  • Single-protein option 
  • No grain or potato
  • No antibiotics, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • The BPA-free cartons are easy to seal and store in the fridge
  • Recyclable packaging 
  • Available in other proteins, including turkey, chicken, or salmon

Things to Consider

  • Certain pet parents report that their dogs took time to warm up to this formula

Best Human Grade Dog Food

Our Pick: Raised Right

Raised Right Whole Food Diet

Get 20% off your first 16 bag box with code PETS20

FlavorOriginal Turkey Adult Dog RecipeOriginal Beef Adult Dog RecipeOriginal Pork Adult Dog RecipeOriginal Chicken Adult Dog Recipe
Life StageAdultAdultAdultAdult
FormFresh frozenFresh frozenFresh frozenFresh frozen
Turkey thigh, turkey heart, turkey liverBeef, beef heart, carrots, beef liverPork, pork heart, pork liverChicken thigh, chicken heart, chicken liver
Protein Analysis19% min23% min20% min20% min
Calories328 kcals/cup408 kcals/cup368 kcals/cup360 kcals/cup
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYes

Raised Right is a family-owned, human-grade dog food company that works with veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker and pet food formulation expert Steve Brown to formulate limited ingredient recipes that are high in protein and low in carbs.

Human-grade dog food is a popular option for many pet parents. One of the most important things to look for when considering nutritional adequacy for your dog is the AAFCO nutrient profile. Each Raised Right recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels AAFCO established for a complete and balanced diet. What’s more, the company was able to formulate their adult dog recipes to be complete and balanced by using only whole foods and without having to add any synthetic vitamins or minerals.

Raised Right places a strong emphasis on safety as each batch is:

  • Lightly cooked in a USDA-inspected, human-grade facility
  • Laboratory tested to ensure they include zero pathogens
  • Placed on a hold release program so it does not ship without passing a lab safety test

Most of Raised Right’s recipes have less than 2 percent carbs because they don’t use any high-carb fillers like potato, rice, oats, yam, pasta, barley, parsnips, corn, or wheat. All of their adult dog recipes have 10 ingredients or less, with some having as few as just 7 or 8 ingredients.


  • Offers limited ingredient recipes that are high in protein and low in carbs
  • Adult dog recipes meet AAFCO’s requirements for a completed and balanced diet by using only whole foods without any synthetic vitamins & minerals
  • Most of their recipes have minimal carbs because the don’t contain the usual high-carbohydrate fillers, such as potato, rice, oats, yam, pasta, barley, parsnips, corn, or wheat
  • Strict laboratory testing with every batch cooked
  • Created stage-of-life specific recipes for both adult dogs and puppies
  • Each recipe is made with human-grade ingredients in a USDA-inspected facility
  • Choose from custom meal plans or sample boxes to try first

Things to Consider

  • Meals are not pre-portioned, so be sure to follow the packaging and feeding instructions carefully, as each dog’s caloric requirement is unique
  • Food must be stored frozen and refrigerated after defrosting
  • Bags remain fresh in the refrigerator for six days after defrosting

Best Fresh Wet Dog Food

Our pick: Nom Nom

Nom Nom fresh dog food

Get 50% off your first order when you use this link to sign up.

FlavorBeef MashChicken CuisinePork PotluckTurkey Fare
Life StageAllAllAllAll
Protein (Ingredients)Ground beef, eggs ChickenGround porkGround turkey, eggs
Protein Analysis8% min8.5% min7% min10% min
Calories1,239 kcal/kg 1,255 kcal/kg.1,246 kcal/kg.1,479 kcal/kg.
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYes

You wouldn’t feed a Yorkie the same meal you’d feed a Rottweiler. But you’d want the same fresh, delicious, high-quality nutrition for both. With Nom Nom, it’s easy to get wet dog food customized to your pup’s exact caloric requirements. Just answer a few simple questions about your pet, and Nom Nom will deliver a customized meal plan tailored to your dog’s immediate goals and long-term needs. You’ll be presented with a menu of delicious options — and these aren’t typical dog food recipes. We’re talking meals like Turkey Fare, Pork Potluck, Beef Mash, and many more.

Each pre-portioned meal is prepared fresh and shipped cold to your doorstep. Meal packs can be refrigerated for up to seven days and frozen for up to six months. If you prefer variety, choose Nom Nom’s rotation feature, so your dog rotates through recipes at no additional cost. Because each recipe uses fresh, whole ingredients, it’s a great option for dogs with food sensitivities and allergies.

No matter what life stage your dog is in, Nom Nom will grow and adapt with your dog. You can access your dog’s personalized insights prepared by a team of scientists at any time. From picky eaters with digestive issues to energetic puppies with high energy, there’s a formula for every dog.


  • Each recipe meets the canine nutritional levels established by AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles.
  • All meals are prepared, mixed, and packed in USA-based kitchens.
  • Recipes are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists and a PhD-led science team.
  • Recipes are prepared fresh with real fruits and vegetables and proteins like beef, chicken, pork, and turkey.
  • Multi-pet discounts are available.
  • Convenient kitchen-to-doorstep delivery
  • Meals can be tailored to your dog’s individual goals (e.g., weight loss, weight gain, weight maintenance).
  • Learn the exact price of your dog’s meal plan before committing.
  • Reschedule, pause, or stop deliveries at any time.

Things to Consider

Best Rolled Wet Dog Food

Our pick: Redbarn Naturals Semi-Moist Rolled Food

redbarn naturals rolled wet dog food
Flavor BeefGrain-Free BeefChickenGrain-Free ChickenLamb
LifestageAll All All All All 
FormSemi-moist rolledSemi-moist rolledSemi-moist rolledSemi-moist rolledSemi-moist rolled
Protein (Ingredients)Beef, beef liver, beef lungBeef, beef liver, beef lungChicken, chicken hearts, chicken liverChicken, chicken hearts, chicken liverLamb, lamb liver, lamb lung
Protein Analysis15% min14% min14% min14% min16% min
Calories329 kcal per one inch of 2- to 4-lb roll349 kcal per one inch of 3-lb roll312 kcal per one inch of 2- to 4-lb roll333 kcal per one inch of 3-lb roll336 kcal per one inch of 2- to 4-lb roll
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYesYes

No matter how you slice it, Redbarn Naturals rolled dog food is a nutritious, high-quality wet dog food option. Each roll features more than 40 percent fresh beef, lamb, or poultry, depending on the recipe. Functional ingredients include sunflower oil as a source of omega-6 fatty acids and flaxseed to aid in digestion and support your pup’s skin and coat health. We love that you can shred or cube it, use it as a full meal or topper, or even a tasty training treat! Plus, you can easily store these rolls in your pantry, as they don’t need to be refrigerated until opened. 


  • Single-protein recipes with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Serve as a full meal, topper, or training treat
  • Can be shredded or cubed, depending on your dog’s preferences
  • Available in grain and grain-free recipes
  • Comes in a variety of sizes, including 4-oz travel size, 2 lb 3 oz, and 4 lb. Variety packs are also available
  • Subscribe and save and get 15% off your first order

Things to Consider

  • Refrigerate after opening. Once opened, food has a shelf life of 2 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. 

Best Gut Health Dog Food

Our pick: The Pets Table

Get 50% Off Your First Box (and free shipping) with code VETSTREET50 at The Pets Table!

FlavorChicken Casserole with Green BeansBeef Stew with CarrotsTurkey Casserole with Broccoli
Life StageAllAllAll
Protein (Ingredients)Chicken and fishBeef, eggs, fishTurkey, fish
Protein Analysis12% min13% min10%
Calories496 kcal/12 oz pack533 kcal/12 oz pack516 kcal/12 oz pack
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYes

Fresh dog food is a viable and healthy alternative to kibble, but The Pets Table goes one step further. In addition to fiber from their fresh fruits and vegetables, they add a yeast culture to each meal. This postbiotic is designed to support your dog’s gut health and ensure nutrient absorption. Since a large part of your dog’s immune system is located in their gut, pet parents can feel good serving these recipes. In addition to the necessary vitamins and minerals, each fresh food meal contains salmon oil for skin and coat health.


  • Cooked with a gentle, low temperature process which retains naturally occurring vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients for your dog’s health
  • Highly palatable and digestible
  • Arrives frozen to be thawed in your refrigerator
  • All formulas meet or exceed AAFCO’s complete and balanced dietary standards
  • Contributes to a healthy and shiny coat thanks to salmon oil and more
  • Recipes support your dog’s immune system

Things to Consider

  • May need to try different formulas to see which works best for your dog
  • Multi-dog households require a separate account for each pet
  • Fresh meals can be be frozen for up six months and in a refrigerator for up to seven days

Best Affordable Wet Dog Food 

Our pick: Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy Country Stew Canned Dog Food

Pedigree country stew wet dog food formula
FlavorChicken & RiceCountry StewSteakBeefChicken & VeggieSteak & Veggie
Life StageAdultAdultAdultAdultAdultAdult
FormChoice cuts in gravyChoice cuts in gravyChoice cuts in gravyChoice cuts in gravyTender bites in gravyTender bites in gravy
Protein (Ingredients)Chicken, meat by-productsChicken, meat by-products, beefChicken, meat by-products, beefChicken, meat by-products, beefChicken, meat by-productsChicken, meat by-products, beef
Protein Analysis8% min8% min8.5% min8% min10% min10% min
Calories332 kcal ME/can332 kcal ME/can332 kcal ME/can332 kcal ME/can340 kcal ME/can303 kcal ME/can
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYesYesYes

This affordable wet dog food is an ideal option for topping or mixing with dry kibble thanks to its added gravy and chunky cuts of meat. The tasty flavor is also a favorite among picky dogs and pet parents trying to ensure a balanced diet.


  • The balanced formula is highly digestible and easy on the stomach
  • Includes optimal levels of oils for a healthy coat
  • Formulated and packaged in the United States

Things to Consider

  • Chunky formula may be hard for some dogs to chew

Best Vegetarian Wet Dog Food

Our pick: Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Canned Dog Food

Life StageAdult
FormWet, canned
Protein (Ingredients)Brown rice, barley, oat groats, potato protein, peas 
Protein Analysis5% min
Calories400 kcal/can
Meets AAFCO Standards?Yes

If your dog has food allergies or sensitivities to meat and dairy, and you are considering a vegetarian or vegan dog food, Natural Balance Vegetarian Canned Dog Food is a premium option. It’s designed to provide all breeds of adult dogs a complete and balanced alternative to a meat-based diet. This formula offers dogs the same essential nutrients found in diets with meat as the primary protein source, but it is made with no animal or dairy products.


  • Vegan formula
  • Premium energy sources including brown rice, oatmeal, and potatoes
  • Natural health support from green peas
  • Supports healthy skin and shiny coat
  • Complete, balanced nutrition for adult dogs

Things to Consider

  • Before switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, work with your veterinarian to ensure it’s a good fit for your pet

Best Grain-Free Wet Dog Food 

Our pick: Wellness CORE Grain-Free Formula

Wellness Core grain free can of wet dog food formula
FlavorBeef, Venison & LambChickenWhitefish, Salmon & HerringTurkey, Chicken Liver & Turkey LiverTurkey, Pork Liver & Duck
Life StageAdultAdultAllAllAdult
Protein (Ingredients)Beef, beef broth, beef liver, pork liver, venison, lamb, chicken meal Chicken, chicken broth, turkey broth, pork liver, whitefish, chicken meal, turkeyChicken, salmon broth, whitefish, chicken liver, salmon, herringChicken, turkey, chicken broth, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken mealTurkey, turkey broth, pork liver, duck, chicken meal
Protein Analysis12% min11% min10% min11% min11% min
Calories450 kcal/can319 kcal/can 446 kcal/can446 kcal/can 464 kcal/can
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYesYes

Looking for a wet dog food formula without unnecessary filler and additives? The Wellness CORE Grain-Free Formula is not just grain free, it’s also free of gluten, corn, soy, and peas, resulting in a highly nutritious blend of lean protein and superfoods like spinach and kale.


  • The filler-free formula is packed with lean protein and nutritional supplements
  • Picky dogs love the full flavor taste
  • Helps skin and coat as well as digestion

Things to Consider

  • Rather expensive compared to other brands

Best Senior Wet Dog Food

Our pick: Purina Pro Plan Savor Classic Adult 7+

Purina Pro Plan Adult 7+ canned dog food
FlavorBeef & Rice Adult 7+Chicken & Rice Adult 7+Turkey & Rice Adult 7+
Life StageSeniorSeniorSenior
FormMorsels in gravyPatePate
Protein (Ingredients)Beef, poultry, meat by-productsChicken, liver, meat by-productsTurkey, liver, meat by-products, chicken
Protein Analysis10% min9% min9% min
Calories312 kcal/can415 kcal/can414 kcal/can
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYes

Senior dogs or pups with missing teeth or oral pain will particularly enjoy the Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Classic for its soft pate formula and energy-boosting rice and lean protein. The tasty chicken and rice formula is also packed with added carrageenan, which will help boost the immune system and protect against canine colds.


  • Great price-to-quality ratio
  • Packed with energy-boosting complex carbohydrates
  • Very easy for senior dogs or dogs with oral pain to chew

Things to Consider

  • Certain pet parents report that the formula can be quite watery
  • Contains meat by-products

Best Wet Dog Food for Puppies

Our pick: Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Chicken & Barley Entree

Hill's science tin of wet dog food formula
FlavorChicken & VeggieChicken & Barley
Life StagePuppyPuppy
Protein (Ingredients)Chicken, pork liver, pork plasmaChicken, soybean meal, pork liver
Protein Analysis5% min7.4% min
Calories323 kcal / 12.8 oz can482 kcal/can
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYes

Starting your puppy on a diet supplemented with wet food is an excellent way to ensure they’re getting enough balanced protein and liquid in their diet. The Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Chicken & Barley Entree comes highly recommended by vets for its high-quality ingredient list and easy-to-chew pate.


  • Intentionally crafted to foster immunity and mobility
  • Very popular among veterinarians 
  • Formulated in the United States

Things to Consider

  • Minced formula is quite clumpy and can be hard to serve

Wet Dog Food: Buyer’s Guide

Wet vs Dry Dog Food: Which Is Better?

Dog outdoors head tilted

Wet dog foods are certainly becoming more popular, especially as we learn more about what our dogs need out of their diet in order to thrive. These days, pet parents can choose from a wide variety of wet dog food options, ranging from fresh dog food to shelf-stable stews and canned dog food. While there are tons of benefits that come along with wet dog food, it’s important to remember that it does have its pros and cons when compared to dry dog food and even raw dog food.

“Wet dog foods are palatable for dogs, made with less room for additives or artificial ingredients, and they are often easier to digest,” says Jen Jones, professional dog trainer and behavior specialist. “However, wet dog foods also contain less carbs, which are helpful to keeping your dog feeling full and satiated.” 

Some wet dog foods can also upset your dog’s stomach if they are not made with quality ingredients. Be sure to choose dog foods that are high quality and contain real meat protein. Avoid wet dog foods with additives, dyes, or unnecessary fillers. If you choose a grain-free diet, know that the FDA is still investigating a possible connection between diets with legumes and pulses (like peas or lentils) high in their ingredient lists and the development of canine heart disease. If you see “by-products” listed in the ingredients, don’t panic. They may sound bad, but they are just organ meats like liver and kidneys and they are full of beneficial vitamins and minerals.

“Canned food is higher in protein and moisture than dry food, which is the primary benefit for feeding a combination of both canned and dry food,” adds Dr. Sarah Wooten, a Colorado-based veterinarian.

Wet Dog Food Benefits

Happy bulldog laying down at home

The price of wet dog food might be a bit higher than dry kibble—but the benefits of switching to a wet food diet might be worth it for certain pet parents and their dogs. Here are a few benefits that come with switching to a wet food diet or mixing wet and dry dog food:

Great for preventing dehydration: Wet dog food is great for dogs who are dehydrated. “If your dog is not drinking enough water, wet food will help increase their water intake,” explains Dr. Sara Ochoa, a small animal veterinarian. “For many dogs with kidney or urinary issues, I will recommend they switch to wet dog food to help increase their water intake.”

Dog eating from bowl happily

Helpful for dogs with a low appetite: “Most wet dog foods are healthy and filled with quality ingredients that you can see and smell,” says Jones. “This is one of the reasons wet dog foods are so popular with owners who have dogs with poor appetites.”

Lasts for a very long time: Wet dog food has a long shelf life and can often last for years when canned—this makes for a great option to store in the pantry to ensure you always have food on hand or to buy in bulk to cut some of the cost of wet food.

Easy to ensure high-quality protein: According to Jones, wet dog food is generally rich in quality meat proteins and less likely to contain the same number of additives that certain dry foods do.

Wet Dog Food: What to Look For

Dog looking out to owner

There are endless wet dog food options on the market—but certain brands and formulas significantly outperform others in terms of quality of ingredients and nutritional value. Here’s what to look for when shopping for the best wet dog food:

Seek out the AAFCO statement: AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials, which is an organization that publishes guidelines to make sure that the food your pet is eating is formulated correctly to support health. There will be a statement on the can that says the food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for “growth,” “all life stages” or “maintenance”. If that statement is not present, Wooten suggests choosing a different food. 

High-quality meat: “Canned food should be primarily meat and water, so look for canned food that has an identifiable meat source as the first ingredient, and water or broth in the first three ingredients,” Wooten recommends. 

Sack of potatoes on a table

Fruits and veggies: Fruits and veggies are good to have in canned food as well, but the same rule applies—they need to be further down the ingredient list.

Look for convenient sizing: Ochoa suggests looking for food that allows you to give your dog only one or two packages of food each day. “You will not want to have to save food for the next day as this can go bad very quickly once open,” she explains.

Wet Dog Food FAQ

Dog laying down in the kitchen looking hungry

When it comes to wet dog food, pet parents have plenty of questions! Here are some helpful answers to the ones that tend to pop up most frequently

Is wet dog food good for dogs?

Wet dog food is typically higher in protein and moisture than dry dog food and lower in carbohydrates. It may also contain less additives or artificial ingredients than certain dry foods. Your dog may find wet dog food more palatable and easier to digest than dry dog food, and the moisture content helps with hydration.

How much wet food should I feed my dog? 

​​The amount of wet food you should feed your dog depends on a variety of factors, including his or her age, weight, and activity level. Follow the recommended feeding instructions on the label, or talk to your veterinarian if you are still unsure about the right serving size. 

How long can wet dog food sit out?

Most dogs will gobble down their entire serving of wet food in one go—but if your dog is more of a picky eater, be sure to keep track of how much food is left in their bowl and for how long. Wet food shouldn’t sit at room temperature for more than 4 hours and a wet food bowl should be washed between every feeding.

Does wet dog food need to be refrigerated? 

Fresh dog food should be stored in the refrigerator, or placed in the freezer if your dog will not be eating it right away. Unopened canned dog food can be stored in the pantry. However, once the can is opened, any remaining portions should be covered and stored in the fridge. Due to the general lack of preservatives and additives, opened wet dog food is made to be eaten in 3-5 days or less.

How long is wet dog food good for?

Unopened canned dog food will typically last for up to five years—but if you’re buying in bulk or planning to store food in your pantry for a while, consider double checking the date on the bottom before grabbing the can opener. Depending on the brand, fresh dog foods are typically good for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months unopened in the freezer. 

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This article was written by journalist Kaitlyn McInnis based off of interviews with both veterinarians and a dog behavior specialist. Kaitlyn’s work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, CNN, The Points Guy, and more.

Our editorial and product teams have worked in the pet industry for over 10 years and with previous experience at leading pet-industry brands including petMD.com, PetSmart, and Petco. This list of foods is based on in-depth brand research and product knowledge

For information about the nutritional value of wet dog food and what pet parents should look for when buying wet food for their dogs, we consulted the following experts:

  • Dr. Sarah Wooten, a Colorado-based veterinarian and veterinary journalist 
  • Dr. Sara Ochoa, a small animal veterinarian based in Louisiana 
  • Jen Jones, a professional dog trainer and behaviorist

This article was also reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr. Elizabeth Racine, a small animal veterinarian and certified veterinary journalist. 

In addition to interviewing veterinarians and dog trainers, Great Pet Care also compiled this list of dog foods based on the following criteria:

AAFCO requirements: The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a non-profit organization that sets nutritional requirements for pet food. Dog foods that feature the AAFCO label are considered a complete and balanced diet. 

Access and availability: The wet dog foods on this list are widely available for both in-store and online shopping. They represent varying price points, giving dog owners a wide range of options to meet their budgetary and lifestyle needs.

Nutrient profiles and analysis: These dog-food recommendations all offer a guaranteed analysis to meet the minimum protein and fat requirements for (non-pregnant) adult dogs. Additionally, we prioritized foods with human-grade ingredients and safety testing.