What’s the Best Wet Dog Food for Adult Dogs?

It’s challenging enough to choose what to feed your pooch, but what if she’s picky or has to be on a special diet where she has to eat only wet food? Is it the same with dry kibbles?

How would you know which is the best-wet dog food? In this article, we’ll cover the best-canned dog food for small, medium, and large adult dogs below.

a bowl with chunky wet dog food
A portion of wet dog food served in a silver bowl

You can use this guide to learn what to look for and how to choose the right recipe for your pet. Stay with us and keep scrolling.

Top 5 Picks for Best Wet Dog Food for Adult Dogs in 2021

  Wet Adult Dog Food Recipes Our Rating
Best Overall Wet Dog Food for Adult dogs (All Sizes) Canidae All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Dog Food

  • No corn, wheat, soy, or carrageenan
  • Suitable for households with multiple pooches
  • A diet formulated by vets to fuel your dog’s daily life
 

4.5

 

Best Budget Wet Dog Food for Adult dogs

Weruva Bed & Breakfast Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

  • Pea-, gluten-, grain, carrageenan- and GMO-free
  • Suitable for all breed sizes and life stages
  • Recommended for pups with sensitive stomachs looking for a diet with minimal carbs
4.5
 

Best Wet Dog Food for Small and Medium-Sized Adult dogs

Cesar Classic Loaf in Sauce Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food Trays

  • Convenient single-serve trays
  • Enhanced with minerals and vitamins
  • Crafted with US chicken and other fine ingredients
5
Best Wet Dog Food for Large-Sized Adult dogs Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree Chunks in Gravy

  • Contains glucosamine and rich in calcium to support overworked dogs’ joints
  • Perfect protein-to-fat ratio for keeping bodies strong and lean
  • Manufactured without any artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors in Purina-owned USA facilities
5
 

Best Grain-Free Wet Adult Dog Food

Wellness Chicken Stew with Peas & Carrots Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

  • No artificial preservatives, filler, any meat by-products, grains, soy, wheat, and corn
  • Has added minerals and vitamins for a complete diet
  • Formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians to ensure that every pooch gets a balance of the finest ingredients from nature
 

4.5

Best Wet Dog Food Brands for Adult Dogs by Sizes

Choosing what to feed our pet is mainly based on preference, but wet dog food is not only easier to enjoy and tastier for our pets.

The best-canned foods have no cancer-causing preservatives, fewer carbs but more protein.

The brands and recipes that we chose are loved by many and offer benefits for dogs based on reviews.

Need more convincing about wet dog food? Listen to this vet’s take on its pros and cons in this video:

The Best Wet Dog Foods for Adult Dogs of All Sizes

This list is excellent for owners with multiple pets and wants to stick to just one wet dog food for adults. Whether you have a combination of small and large dogs, take a look at our picks.

a happy Heeler mix eating
Meet Nugget, a Heeler mix loving his wet dog food – Image source

1. Canidae All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Dog Food

CANIDAE All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver
Type: Wet – Pate

This quality food is a crowd-pleaser that’s pea-free and formulated with wholesome grains and ideal protein levels.

It’s a recipe made from real chicken to create a savory broth that doggos of all ages and sizes will love.

Pros:

  • No corn, wheat, soy, or carrageenan
  • Suitable for households with multiple pooches
  • A diet formulated by vets to fuel your dog’s daily life

Cons:

  • Picky eaters might not like this formula
  • A few owners said it made their dog sick

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Weruva Bed & Breakfast Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Weruva Bed & Breakfast with Chicken, Egg, Pumpkin & Ham in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Egg
Type: Wet – Chunks in Gravy

Does your dog love chicken? This formula only used white breast chicken meat and cooked up with ham, eggs, sweet potato, and pumpkin to make a yummy gravy your pooch will easily enjoy.

It uses cage-free chicken without any hormones or antibiotics.

Pros:

  • Pea-, gluten-, grain, carrageenan- and GMO-free
  • Suitable for all breed sizes and life stages
  • Recommended for pups with sensitive stomachs looking for a diet with minimal carbs

Cons:

  • Some pet parents didn’t like that this wet food is like soup

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PR Canned Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PR Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Water Sufficient for Processing, Rabbit, Potato
Type: Wet – Pate

Specifically formulated for dogs who suffer from sensitive stomachs and skin, this formula has DHA, EPA, and Omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.

It’s essential to ask your vet for a recommendation before making the transition to the Royal Canin diet.

Pros:

  • A limited-ingredient diet that’s free of peas
  • Enriched with antioxidants while providing a balanced and complete nutrition
  • Vet-formulated recipe for canines with sensitivities

Cons:

  • Diet requires authorization from a vet

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Wellness Chicken Stew with Peas & Carrots Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Wellness Chicken Stew with Peas & Carrots Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water Sufficient for Processing
Type: Wet – Stew

Dog breeds of all sizes that require a grain-free diet will love this recipe. The recipe is in the form of a stew from nutrient-rich veggies and tender cuts of premium protein.

It can be served as a meal, snack, or mixed with your pet’s favorite dry kibbles.

Pros:

  • No artificial preservatives, filler, any meat by-products, grains, soy, wheat, and corn
  • Has added minerals and vitamins for a complete diet
  • Formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians to ensure that every pooch gets a balance of the finest ingredients from nature

Cons:

  • A few owners complained that their dogs wouldn’t eat this stew

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Merrick Chunky Grain-Free Wet Dog Food Big Texas Steak Tips Dinner

Merrick Chunky Grain Free Wet Dog Food Big Texas Steak Tips Dinner

Our rating: 4
Top ingredients: Deboned Beef, Beef Broth, Vegetable Broth
Type: Wet – Chunks in gravy

This recipe from Merrick is made with USDA-inspected deboned beef as the first ingredient.

It means that this properly labeled, wholesome, and safe dog food has high-quality protein sources and ingredients.

Like dried egg product, flaxseed, and salmon oil that has DHA to help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

Pros:

  • No wheat, soy, or corn, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • A savory gravy with chunks of beef to make it extra tasty
  • Grain-free recipe that’s also free of gluten

Cons:

  • One owner said the can wasn’t full and it’s not worth the price
  • Some dogs simply won’t eat this particular wet food

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Wet Dogs Foods for Small and Medium-Sized Adult Dogs

a Frenchie puppy eating wet dog food on a new plate
A French Bulldog enjoying its wet dog food in a bamboo plate – Image source

An adult dog’s specific nutritional needs get categorized by a breed’s size.

Small and medium dogs need high-quality meat proteins with healthy fats, a small serving of carbs, and essential vitamins. 

The following recipes represent a variety of protein sources which are all suitable for small- and medium-sized dogs.

1. Solid Gold Green Cow Green Beef Tripe in Beef Broth Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Solid Gold Green Cow Green Beef Tripe in Beef Broth Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Green Beef Tripe, Beef Broth, Potatoes
Type: Wet – Minced

Another wet dog food that’s made for all life stages and breed sizes, this particular recipe can be used as puppy food or to feed senior dogs.

It’s specifically formulated for doggos suffering from sensitive digestion, so it has no chicken, pea, gluten, or grains like soy, wheat, and corn.

Pros:

  • Formulated with healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, and nutrient-rich protein
  • Highly digestible and holistic recipe for dogs suffering from kidney problems
  • Chicken-free, pea-free, gluten-free, and grain-free

Cons:

  • An owner said that their dog became weak and wobbly while being on this diet

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Small Breed Lamb Dinner Canned Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Small Breed Lamb Dinner Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver
Type: Wet – Pate

Suitable for toy and miniature breeds, this formula lists lamb as its first ingredient to support healthy muscle maintenance, especially for highly active canines.

It has a fat content of 8%, and smaller dogs may benefit from a recipe that’s not not-so-much calorie-dense food.

Pros:

  • Packed with garden veggies and fruits as natural sources of minerals and vitamins
  • No by-product meals, artificial preservatives, flavors, soy, corn, or wheat
  • Formulated with a careful balance of carbohydrates and protein

Cons:

  • Some dog owners said their pets wouldn’t eat, while others would prefer a different flavor

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Halo Turkey & Duck Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed Canned Dog Food

Halo Turkey & Duck Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver
Type: Wet – Pate

This grain-free canned dog food suitable for small breeds contains whole meat and is rich in antioxidants.

It includes sustainably sourced fruits and veggies, which provide your pooch with a natural balance of minerals and vitamins.

Pros:

  • Crafted using only whole meat and sustainably sourced non-GMO ingredients
  • No artificial preservatives and ingredients to ensure easier absorption of nutrients
  • Has healthy fats for nourishing canines with high metabolisms

Cons:

  • One pet parent said that this recipe has a mushy consistency and smells like fish

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Grain-Free Salmon & Vegetable Entree Canned Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Grain-Free Salmon & Vegetable Entree Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken Broth, Salmon, Carrots
Type: Wet – Minced

Specifically made for pets with sensitive stomachs, this grain-free formula is another option owners should try.

Not only does it have vitamin E for healthier skin and coats, but it also has Omega-6 fatty acids and natural fibers for better digestion.

Pros:

  • Also suitable for all breed sizes
  • Vet-recommended recipe
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Not all dogs may like this particular recipe

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Cesar Classic Loaf in Sauce Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food Trays

Cesar Classic Loaf in Sauce Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food Trays

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Beef Lung
Type: Wet – Pate

Although this pea-free and the grain-free recipe is made for small and extra small breeds, it’s also an excellent choice for all breed sizes.

They said even picky eaters would love its smell and taste of this wet dog food that offers a complete and balanced diet.

Pros:

  • Convenient single-serve trays
  • Enhanced with minerals and vitamins
  • Crafted with US chicken and other fine ingredients

Cons:

  • One owner thinks this product is too pricey

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Wet Dog Foods for Large-Sized Adult Dogs

a Blue Great Dane wearing a hat while eating ice cream
Meet Ranger, a Blue Great Dane cooling off with ice cream – Image source

Larger dogs require high-calorie recipes with quality meat protein – preferably a diet with more protein with less fat.

And since canines of this size usually suffer from bone and joint problems, it’s best to choose a dog food with chondroitin and glucosamine. Here are a few of our picks.

1. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree Chunks in Gravy

Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree Chunks in Gravy Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Water Sufficient for Processing, Beef, Liver
Type: Wet – Chunks in gravy

Created for large dogs that are also adult dogs, this wet dog food is an affordable choice.

If your pooch loves savory and rich dishes, the premium chunks of liver and beef smothered in gravy will surely entice him more.

Pros:

  • Contains glucosamine and rich in calcium to support overworked dogs’ joints
  • Perfect protein-to-fat ratio for keeping bodies strong and lean
  • Manufactured without any artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors in Purina-owned USA facilities

Cons:

  • An owner said their Lab is allergic to this specific formula, but not with other flavors

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Nutro Hearty Stew Tender Chicken, Carrot & Pea Stew Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Nutro Hearty Stew Tender Chicken, Carrot & Pea Stew Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Pork Broth, Chicken Broth
Type: Wet – Chunks in gravy

Containing real meat and crafted for large breed adult dogs, this non-GMO wet dog food is a balanced diet packed with minerals and vitamins.

It’s made with quality ingredients without chicken by-product meal, grains, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, as well as soy, corn, and wheat.

Pros:

  • Ingredients are sourced from trusted suppliers and farmers and made in the US
  • Savory and flavorful while keeping adult dogs strong and healthy
  • Grain-free and high-protein diet

Cons:

  • Some of the owners said there was a sudden change to this recipe going grain-free and aren’t happy about it

CHECK PRICE HERE

Wet Dog Foods Buyer’s Guide

To choose the best from many pet foods, it’s important to understand the various types of food on the market and what benefits they offer.

a dog patiently waiting on its wet dog food
A lime bowl with canned dog food

Adult Dog Nutrition 101: What kind of wet food does your adult dog need?

The best-wet dog foods contain more protein, fewer carbs, and no artificial preservatives.

The Turkey & Duck recipe from Halo contains 11% protein. It has the highest protein content of our selection of wet dog foods.

But what should we look for when buying wet dog food?

Choose foods with premium protein sources like beef, chicken, lamb, and turkey.

Vegetables are a great source of essential nutrients. Carrots and sweet potatoes often appear in the top five main ingredients.

Top-quality canned dog food provides an adult dog with a balanced diet, supports a healthy immune system, and should be placed in a container that’s BPA-free.

The FDA approves ingredient lists with carcinogenic additives but is considered safe, like Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

However, we recommend choosing foods with natural antioxidants.

Similar quality processed parts to avoid are the preservatives Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Ethoxyquin which can affect a dog’s health by compromising its liver and kidney.

The best-canned foods have no cancer-causing preservatives and do not contain sweetener, artificial color, and artificial preservatives, like corn syrup.

Wet Dog Food VS. Dry Dog Food: Which is better for your adult dog?

Dry dog food and wet dog food
Dry dog food kibbles and chunky wet dog food

If your dog has trouble eating dry kibble, wet dog food provides a more suitable source of nutrients. Most wet dog foods are easier to chew and offer more nutritional value but are also more expensive.

In addition, the high moisture content helps your pup stay hydrated. The taste and texture are similar to what their ancestors would have eaten.

Recipes with chunks in gravy typically have the highest moisture content.

The lower fat and carbohydrate content in wet dog foods assists with weight loss, while high amounts of protein assists in maintaining muscles and a healthy weight.

A wet-food-only diet is perfect, although a combination of wet and dry dog foods is a more affordable alternative.

A wet-food-only diet is perfect, although a combination of wet and dry dog foods is a more affordable alternative. Dry dog food, on the other hand, has a longer shelf life.

7 Ways To Compare Canned Dog Foods VS. Dry Dog Foods Nutrient Levels

You can learn to compare both canned dog food and dry dog food by looking at the following.

Name of the product

The name of the product should be the same as the primary ingredient. If you buy dog food with primarily chicken in it, then the name of the food should also list chicken.

Quantity

It’s difficult to compare the quantity of wet dog food against dry dog food. Look at the recommended portions for feeding and the average kcal/kg before determining the cost per serving.

Guaranteed Analysis

Minimum and maximum percentages displayed on the product and packaging give the consumer an idea of what the wet and dry dog food contains.

Wet dog food with a 10% protein content contains more protein than dry dog food with 10% protein content due to the mass of the liquid.

List of Ingredients

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulations ensure individual ingredients appear according to weight in descending order.

By focusing on the first three ingredients, you’ll determine which of the foods found in canned or dry dog food makes up most of the meal.

Statement on Nutritional Adequacy

Manufacturers often use terms like “100% nutritious” or “balanced meal” on dog food products. This is a good indication to a customer. However, the size or age of the dog must appear alongside the claim.

Feeding Instructions

Canned dog food will typically recommend a similar mass per meal as dry dog food. The high protein content and moisture level mean the meal will often appear smaller in size

Terminologies

The USDA’s National Organic Program defines the use of the word “organic” in dog food as not containing artificial preservatives, antibiotics, and fillers. The word “natural” is not the same as organic.

Do all adult dogs need wet grain-free food?

If your dog isn’t sensitive to grains, you can include high-quality whole grains such as barley and brown rice in their diet.

These carbs provide fiber and slow-releasing energy and are more beneficial to small and medium breeds.

Larger breeds are more suited to a high-protein, grain-free diet. Processed grains like white rice give no nutritional value.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

a happy Beagle asking for a plate of ravioli
Meet Sox, a hungry Beagle always ready for a healthy meal – Image source

How much-wet food should you feed your adult dog?

Portion size varies according to your dog’s age, breed, weight, and size. A dog that weighs 50 pounds is estimated to need 900 kcal per day, which equates to around 2 ½ cups of food.

It’s vital to work from your dog’s caloric requirements. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian for advice.

When and how often should you feed wet food to your adult dog?

Wet dog food is best served once, twice, or three times daily. Adapt the portion to the size of your dog and the amount they can comfortably consume in a single sitting.

An energetic small or medium dog’s diet can include as many as four meals per day to encourage metabolism and digestion.

What’s the right time to switch my adult dog to wet food?

If an older dog shows dissatisfaction with dry kibble, it’s a good time to consider changing to wet dog food.

The change should take place gradually for 7 days or longer. Senior dogs should switch to wet dog food if explicitly instructed by a vet.

How long does wet dog food last if it’s not opened?

Depending on the brand, wet dog food can have a shelf life of up to 3 years. The best before date will always be marked on the food item.

Once opened, wet dog food is best consumed within two to three hours. If your dog has not finished eating the food, you can refrigerate it in an airtight container until the next mealtime.

An open meal once in an airtight container is safely refrigerated for up to 7 days. Should you need the food to last longer, store it in the freezer for up to two months.

Once defrosted, it’s best served at room temperature or heated. Dogs enjoy warm food.

Is it good to mix wet and dry dog foods? 

Many dogs love the combination of dried and canned foods. However, there are wet dog foods called toppers, which complement dry dog food but aren’t balanced when served alone.

What are the side effects of wet dog food?

Wet dog food is unlikely to have side effects. They’re usually associated with lower-quality brands. While wet dog food is not bad for your dog’s teeth, it is not as good as dry kibble.

Can you give homemade wet dog food for your adult dog?

Homemade wet dog food is as nutritious and affordable as a portion of Amazon-bought wet dog food.

Try this hearty recipe at home for dog food with 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 20% fruits, and vegetables, and 10% fat, amounting to 400 kcal per cup: 

Ingredients:

1 pound organic lean meat

1 pound of carbohydrates like organic sweet potato, pumpkin, brown rice, or lentils

1 cup of organic carrots

Half a cup of organic yogurt or scrambled eggs

4 tbs of olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces
  2. Add the olive oil to a pan and cook the meat thoroughly
  3. Cook the carbohydrates
  4. Add grated carrot, yogurt, or scrambled eggs next
  5. Divide into suitable portions using airtight containers

Let’s talk about the winning wet dog foods

a Beagle trying to open a half opened canned dog food
Meet Cookie, a Beagle ready to devour the canned food – Image source

The best-wet dog food is Canidae Chicken & Rice Formula canned dog food suitable for all sizes of adult dogs. It contains human-grade ingredients at an affordable price with high protein content.

Cesar Classic Loaf in Sauce Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food Trays is best for your small or medium-breed adult dog.

If you have a large breed of dog, we recommend Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree Chunks in Gravy. It focuses on delivering the nutrients needed for healthy bones and joints.

If you found our guide to wet dog foods helpful, let us know which is the best-wet dog food your pooch enjoys in the comments below. Don’t forget to talk to your vet about the choice you made!

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