Are you meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs? You may want to consider feeding (more) wet dog food. Wet food contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates than dry food, and (ideally) no preservatives. It’s also easier to chew and digest – great for dogs with poor teeth or a sensitive system. But every dog has different needs: To help you to find the best wet dog food for your furry family, Study Finds put together a consensus top five list based on expert recommendations.
We know that good nutrition is essential for a dog’s good health and long life. But researchers also found a less expected positive “outcome” of high-quality dog food: Dogs who eat food made with human-grade ingredients “produce” up to 66 percent less poop, thanks to better digestion. In short: Be more picky with dog food, pick up less dog poop!
Apropos picky: Some pet parents swear by feeding their dogs only raw food to keep them healthy. Science seems to back this approach – to a degree. In an experiment, one group of puppies received raw food and human meal leftovers for their meals. They turned out much less prone to allergies as adults.
“On the other hand, puppies not getting any raw foods, eating most of their food as dry food, i.e. kibble, being fed fruits, and heat-dried animal parts, had significantly more allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adulthood,” said research group team leader Anna Hielm-Björkman.
But while a raw diet can be beneficial for dogs, it turns out to be very dangerous for their owners. Researchers found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in more than half of the tested raw dog foods. Yikes! Better stick with wet food, then. For mouthwatering meals, Study Finds consulted 10 expert websites for our consensus best wet dog food list to satisfy even the pickiest eater.
The List: The Top 5 Wet Dog Foods To Make Fido’s Mouth Water
1. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Wet Dog Food
You probably heard of Blue Buffalo. The brand is known for high-quality, grain-free dog food. “It doesn’t have any meat byproducts,” BestForPets writes about Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle line. “There is also no corn, soy, or wheat, which could make a dog’s stomach upset.”
Veterinarians.org agrees: “Using real meat as the first ingredient, this wet dog food is a quality meal. Blue Buffalo‘s pate recipes are packed with high-quality protein and other nutrients to give dogs what they need to have a balanced diet. […] The carefully crafted wet dog food is ready to support the happy, healthy lives of dogs at all life stages.
Popular Science also points out that the Homestyle wet food has products for all kinds of dogs (and taste buds): “There are six flavors, including one that mixes protein sources. […] This Blue Buffalo line is also available in different formulas based on your dog’s age and health needs. […] This wet dog food also comes in different styles like pate or chunks.”
2. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food
This brand produces human-grade dog food. According to Great Pet Care, “you can’t go wrong with The Farmer’s Dog vet-formulated recipes.” They are “freshly made in USDA-inspected kitchens with human-grade whole ingredients” and “customized to your dog’s specific age, size, weight, and health concerns.”
The Farmer’s Dog “takes visitors through a short questionnaire before they make recommendations for your pet’s individual needs. You can choose from four protein sources […] We liked that they have organ meats, which pack a nutritional punch. The protein levels ensured adequate intake as well,” writes Hepper, and adds: “Unfortunately, their clean ingredients and curated plans are a bit expensive.”
But you do get what you pay for: “All Farmer’s Dog formulas are 100% complete and balanced and meet AAFCO nutrient standards for all life stages… which makes each recipe suitable for puppies, adults or seniors […] Highly recommended (DogFoodAdvisor).”
3. Purina Pro Plan
Purina’s Pro Plan line is a more affordable wet food option. Its High Protein product “is just the thing, as it is packed with protein – each can contains 13 ounces of chicken and veggie goodness! Of course, this wet dog food is made with real chicken and real veggies. That way your pet will get all the essential nutrients from a meal,” writes PetGuide.
Veterinarians.org recommends the product for large breeds and adult, active dogs: “This pet food prioritizes protein for active dogs. The recipe also focuses on ensuring healthy digestion and support for sensitive skin. Every recipe provides full nutrition for adult dogs. The increased protein is perfect for high-energy or working dogs.”
Dog lovers digest gives the Pro Plan Savor Adult Classic Chicken Entrée five out of five stars. Its experts claim that “there is a reason this one is a classic favorite of thousands of dog owners out there. This recipe was formulated to provide your four-legged friend with a perfectly balanced diet while keeping it safe and healthy.”
4. Pedigree Wet Food
A trusted brand with many options, Pedigree made our list. Its Homestyle Meals are Popular Science’s budget choice. The experts there like that “real meat and meat byproduct chunks mixed with vegetables give the food its distinct flavor and high protein content.”
Veterinarians.org mentions that meat is not the first ingredient in the Homestyle Meals. However, its product review continues that “protein is provided by quality meats, like chicken or beef and supplemented with by-products. Wheat flour, whole rice, carrots, and green beans combine with the protein to provide a filling meal. Vitamins and minerals are added, ensuring that adult dogs get vitamin D3, vitamin A, and plenty of other essential nutrients.”
Pedigree’s Choice Cuts is Great Pet Care’s budget pick: It is an “affordable wet dog food [that] 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.”
5. Merrick Dog Food
More than half of the consulted experts recommended a product by this brand. PetListed lists the Merrick Cowboy Cookout, which contains “quality ingredients:” “USDA beef is the first ingredient, alongside others such as carrots, apples, salmon oil, and flaxseed. It’s made in the USA without artificial preservatives, colors, or meat byproducts.”
Merrick’s Chunky Grain-Free Dog Food made it onto the BestForPets top ten list. This product “has a lot of protein and vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A, E, and B12. It has glucosamine and chondroitin added to it, which can help with arthritis and other joint pain. There are no corn, wheat, or soy products, which can upset the stomach of your pet.” BestForPets mentions, however, that they experienced some issues with quality control.
Veterinarians.org recommends Merrick’s Lil’ Plates Grain Free Small Dog Food: “This wet dog food is a great option for small breeds and picky eaters. The natural flavors make dogs love every recipe […] The soft pieces are easily digestible, and with prebiotic fiber, this grain-free dog food is naturally balanced with protein, vitamins, and minerals.”
- Dog lovers digest
- Great Pet Care
- Popular Science
- Flat White Cafe
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. Study Finds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.