dogs eating a range of the best wet dog food

What is the Best Wet Dog Food?

LAST UPDATED 13th March 2024

This article is written by Pet Circle qualified veterinarians, Dr Teagan Lever and Dr Katelyn Bailey

While there are many important decisions to be made as a pet parent, what you feed your dog is one of the most crucial. Diet can impact your pet's energy levels, longevity and overall health- for better or worse.

Over the years, good nutrition has become more of a priority for pet parents, and these days there are an overwhelming number of options available.

With its rich and enticing texture, wet food can be an excellent choice, offering an enjoyable culinary experience for your furry friend. Wet foods provide a highly palatable food option for older dogs, fussy eaters and those who may be off their food due to illness or discomfort caused by dental disease or other oral health conditions. Wet food can also offer a host of health benefits to dogs, particularly when it comes to improving hydration levels which in turn can support good urinary health.

On the other hand, dry kibble helps promote dental health by encouraging chewing and can be more convenient, especially for busy pet parents.

Combining both forms allows you to strike a balance between taste, hydration, and dental care. When doing so, it's crucial to adjust portion sizes and monitor your dog's weight to ensure they're getting the right amount of nutrients. Consulting your veterinarian or our very own Vet Squad can help tailor this dual feeding approach to your dog's specific breed, age, and individual dietary requirements.

But what wet food is best? Read on to see our top recommendations.

Four factors to consider when choosing a wet food for your dog:
  1. Health conditions: Your treating veterinarian should be your first port of call when it comes to dietary advice if your pup has any underlying diagnosed health conditions.
  2. Complete and balanced: In choosing a food, the most important consideration after any health factors is that the diet is complete and balanced for your dog's stage of life, and size. Ensuring that it meets AAFCO or FEDIAF pet food control guidelines is crucial to ensure that your dog receives all the nutrients they require in the correct ratios.
  3. Age: Dogs of different ages have very different nutritional requirements. Puppies require energy-dense food which meets their ongoing growth rates, while senior dogs are often less active and have a slower metabolism which means that they require fewer calories and less fat, but an easily digestible diet, to help them maintain good body condition.
  4. Quality: The quality of the ingredients and the digestibility of the nutrients they provide should be a key factor in choosing a food. Premium foods are designed to be highly digestible (which means smaller, firmer stools) and do not change ingredients batch to batch like grocery type brands, which means less tummy upsets. They also tend to contain higher levels of added beneficial nutrients, such as omega fatty acids for joint and coat health, and some are backed by testing to ensure they deliver the results they promise. Learning how to read pet food labels and knowing the ingredients in your dog's food is a crucial part of knowing what is the best food for them.


  1. Best for Puppies: Royal Canin Puppy range
  2. Best for Adult Dogs: Hill's Science Diet range
  3. Best for Senior Dogs: Advance Healthy Ageing
  4. Best Natural Wet Food: Open Farm Stews
  5. Best Grain Free Wet Food: K9 Natural
  6. Best Novel Protein Wet Food: Ziwi Peak Venison
  7. Best for Weight Management: Royal Canin Light Weight Care

How We Review Our Products

Our Pet Circle Vet Squad comprises 30 vets with over 120 years of collective, independent veterinary expertise. Our Vet team use their health and husbandry knowledge, along with their own personal and clinical experiences to evaluate each product and provide detailed, informative reviews, free of any commercial bias. We then collate this information into our 'best of' recommendations.

Top Wet Food for Dogs in Australia

Best for Puppies: Royal Canin Puppy range


  • Range of puppy wet foods available including specific options for small, medium and large breeds, to meet the particular needs of each size group
  • Available in single serve pouches for ease of feeding
  • Enhanced with antioxidants and vitamin E to support strong immunity, and omega fatty acid to promote healthy brain development


  • Specific meat proteins are not listed in the ingredients
  • Not made in Australia
  • More expensive option for puppy wet foods

Royal Canin have formulated a range of puppy wet foods to compliment their puppy dry foods, and support optimal hydration and urinary tract health while providing variety in your pup's diet.

These wet foods are available in single serve pouches, making them practical to feed (hooray for no open cans of dog food in the fridge!) and easy to calculate suitable feeding amounts if feeding both wet and dry foods.

Royal Canin invests heavily into their scientific research to ensure that their foods meet their stringent quality expectations, and deliver the results they promise. This, as well as the individual serving sizes of the products, mean that the Royal Canin wet puppy foods are among the more expensive options for pups.

For more puppy food recommendations, see our articles on Best Puppy Food and Best Wet Puppy Food.

What our customers say: "After several trials of other products, this is the one that my 8 month old Westie loves and I love the fact that PetCircle delivers to my door, so we are both extremely happy at my place."

What our vets say: "Royal Canin places a strong emphasis on precise nutrient profiles to meet the nutritional needs of puppies during their crucial growth stages. Their formulas contain high-quality protein sources, balanced fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Whether you have a small, medium, or large breed puppy, Royal Canin has specialised formulas to address their size-specific requirements. This helps support healthy growth and development for your specific pup." - Dr. Belinda

Shop Royal Canin Puppy range

Best for Adult Dogs: Hill's Science Diet range


  • Premium food enriched with high quality proteins and easily digestible ingredients
  • Suitable for all breed sizes, so adult dogs in multi-dog homes can be fed the same wet food
  • Wide range of flavours and textures available


  • Come in large tins, so no single-serve packaging for smaller dogs
  • Not made in Australia
  • On the more expensive side

The Hill's Science Diet wet food range is our top choice for healthy adult dogs. Its high quality, research-backed wet foods come in a range of flavours and textures to keep mealtime interesting. Each is made with purposeful, premium ingredients to reach the perfect balance of taste and nutrition.

Your pooch will be spoilt for choice with Hills' selection: choose from Beef and Barley, Chicken and Barley, Chicken and Carrot Stew, Savoury Stew with Beef and Vegetables, Savoury Stew with Chicken and Vegetables, Turkey, or Beef, Carrot and Peas Stew.

While the can size for each variety is slightly different, they are all roughly around 360g and can be covered and kept in the refrigerator if needed once opened. Hill's wet foods are not breed or size specific, making them a great choice for multi pet households with dogs of different sizes.

What our customers say: "My Harley loves this food and since we switched him to it I've seen visible changes to his energy, stools are healthier and shiny coat. Highly recommend. Thanks Science diet."

Shop Hill's Science Diet wet food range

Best for Senior Dogs: Advance Healthy Ageing


  • Formulated specifically for senior dogs with a tailored fat content to reduce excessive weight gain, and enriched with antioxidants
  • Increases a dog's moisture intake, which is beneficial for kidney function and overall vitality
  • Made locally in Australia


  • Available only in single serve trays
  • Not specifically formulated for breed sizes
  • More expensive, and more packaging used, than other senior dog foods

Advance Healthy Ageing Single Serve trays are a great way to add variety to your senior dog's diet. They contain a tailored fat content to help prevent excessive weight gain as dogs age, as activity levels do tend to drop with increasing age. The Advance Healthy Ageing wet food also contains antioxidants to help reduce the effects of ageing on the body.

As taste and smell can reduce with age, offering food that is at its freshest is ideal, and as this Advance food comes in single serves, it's easy to ensure that what you're offering is the freshest it can be.

On the downside, as it comes in single serve trays, the Advance Healthy Ageing wet food is more expensive per 100g than other premium senior wet foods that are available in cans, and also uses more packaging. The number of trays which would need to be fed to larger breed dogs may make this food uneconomical.

For more senior food recommendations, see our article on Best Senior Dog Food.

What our customers say: "Small but good for pill pockets or a lickymat - I have a senior greyhound who loves this product and it seems to agree with her stomach too."

What our vets say: "For our older dogs, I recommend Advance Healthy Ageing wet food trays to support their changing needs. It contains antioxidants to improve their brain health and nutrients for healthy digestion and a strong immune system. Wet foods help to increase hydration which is beneficial for our golden oldies to support their kidney and urinary health." - Dr. Michelle

Shop Advance Healthy Ageing wet food

Best Natural Wet Food: Open Farm Stews


  • Natural wet food for all life stages (puppy, adult and senior)
  • Contains only humanely and sustainably sourced ingredients, with a focus on animal welfare in the production process
  • Every ingredient is traceable using the lot code on the packaging
  • Available in a range of flavours
  • Packaging can be recycled through the Open Farm Pet Food Recycling Program


  • Not made in Australia
  • Available in only one texture, with chunks of meat and vegetables
  • Expensive

With no grains or potato in any of their stews, Open Farm offers a range of flavour options to suit any dog. The Open Farm Rustic Stews are suitable for all life stages, meaning that pups, adults and seniors can dig in!

Every Open Farm product is proudly produced with a focus on transparent sourcing and traceability, humane production animal welfare standards, ethically sourced ingredients, and sustainable fishing practices in line with Ocean Wise Standards. For an environmentally friendly, grain-free food, you can't go past this one.

Alongside their environmentally friendly values, Open Farm foods are made with the most premium proteins and superfoods, providing the highest quality ingredients for your dog.

What our customers say: "As soon as the bowls hit the ground my dogs are chowing down on this stew. I serve my dogs a mix of the stew with the grain free kibbles and their bowls are clean in just minutes!"

What our vets say: "Open Farm is committed to using high-quality, ethically sourced ingredients. Their Rustic Stews feature humanely raised real meat as the first ingredient, ensuring that your dog receives essential amino acids for muscle development. Open Farm also place a strong emphasis on transparency in their sourcing practices. They provide information about the farms and sources of their ingredients, so you can feel confident about the quality and sustainability of the food you're feeding your pet." - Dr. Josepha

Shop Open Farm wet food

Best Grain Free Wet Food: K9 Natural


  • All natural, grain free canned food
  • Free from gelling agents, binders, gum, grains, gluten, dairy, rice, soy, cereals and potato
  • Suitable for all life stages from puppies to seniors
  • Made from ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients including grass fed, free-range meat, cage-free chicken and sustainably caught fish
  • IRecipes are very high in meat content
  • Available in a range of flavours, most of which come in 2 sizes - 170g and 370g cans


  • Not made in Australia
  • On the more expensive side

Every K9 Natural product is proudly produced with a focus on ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients. The parent company of K9 Natural, Natural Pet Food Group, is the first New Zealand member and the first New Zealand company accredited with the Pet Sustainability Coalition - a global community of pet companies dedicated to creating a more sustainable pet industry.

All the K9 Natural canned foods are complete and balanced and nutrient dense with a high meat content, and made with New Zealand water for added hydration. The K9 Natural cans are free from all gelling agents, fillers, grains and preservatives, and the cans are BPA-free. They are available in a range of protein options to suit different preferences.

While they are one of the more expensive options, you do 'get what you pay for' with the K9 Natural foods, with very high quality, nutrient dense ingredients and recipes.

What our customers say: "My golden retriever loves k9 natural. We use this (and their other canned meat varieties) for her breaky and dinner. I mix in fresh veg/fruit and some oats or rice. Since transitioning her to this diet (from a previously kibble diet then exclusively raw barf diet) she has never looked better. Happy and healthy and her coat feels amazing. This and ziwipeak canned meat are the only brands i'll ever buy. Complete and balanced, cannot go wrong."

What our vets say: "K9 Natural takes pride in using very high quality, natural ingredients, and their canned food is no exception. The high meat content in K9 Natural foods provides your dog with the protein they need to support muscle development and overall vitality. K9 Natural also offers a variety of protein sources, allowing you to choose a formula that aligns with your dog's taste preferences or any specific dietary considerations." - Dr. Brittany

Shop K9 Natural wet food

Best Novel Protein Wet Food: Ziwi Peak Venison


  • Premium natural diet containing venison as its sole novel protein source
  • Includes green lipped mussel for joint health, as well as ingredients to improve skin, coat and digestive health
  • Grain free with no artificial fillers, dyes or preservatives
  • Single protein food
  • Formulated for all life stages including large breed puppies


  • Not made in Australia
  • Expensive

With venison sourced from free-ranging New Zealand deer, Ziwi Peak Venison offers an ethically sourced and sustainable diet for dogs of all ages and sizes who may benefit from a novel protein source.

It also contains green-lipped mussel which is a rich natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin, glycogens, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These naturally occurring substances promote long-term joint, skin and coat health.

Other star ingredients include tripe for increased palatability and chicory inulin, a dietary fibre that helps improve digestion.

It is available in 390g tins that after opening must be kept refrigerated and used within 7 days.

What our customers say: "Great for sensitive stomachs. My 8 year old staffy Bull Mastiff has a sensitive stomach and venison is the perfect lean, novel protein for her."

Shop Ziwi Peak Venison

Best for Weight Management: Royal Canin Light Weight Care


  • Reduced fat and calorie content with highly digestible proteins to help maintain an ideal body weight and limit weight gain
  • Formulated with an optimal combination of soluble and insoluble fibers to increase feelings of satiety (fullness)
  • Contains omega 3 fatty acids for added joint support
  • Available in convenient single serve pouches


  • Not made in Australia
  • Only available in one texture (loaf)
  • May not be as effective for dogs that need to lose a large amount of weight- these dogs may need a prescription weight loss diet

This wet food helps to maintain an ideal body condition and is perfect for dogs that have a tendency to gain weight. It can also assist dogs that are mildly overweight to reach their goal weight.

Its high protein, low fat formulation aids in maintaining healthy muscle mass while limiting excess weight gain. It also contains omega fatty acids for joint health, as well as a range of soluble and insoluble fibres to help your dog feel fuller for longer.

As it is such a low calorie food, to be more economically viable we recommend feeding it alongside a dry food. Another option is to use it as a meal topper for added flavour.

Please note that this food may not be as effective for dogs that need to lose a moderate to large amount of weight- a prescription weight loss diet may be a better choice for these pups. We always recommend checking with your vet before starting your pet on a prescription diet.

For more weight loss tips see How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight and Pet Obesity Facts.

What our customers say: "It must be tasty because my little tubby kelpie girl likes it (as does her lean brother). In 6 months my little tub has managed to lose over 3kgs and is past the halfway mark to achieving our goal weight for her."

Shop Royal Canin Light Weight Care

What to look for when choosing a wet food

When choosing wet food for your pooch, it's important to consider their specific nutritional needs as well as their personal preferences. Here are some key factors to look for when selecting the right wet food for your dog.

Moisture content and quality

Wet foods for dogs can have vastly different moisture contents, digestibility and ingredients so it can sometimes be like comparing apples to oranges. When it comes to comparing wet food for dogs, it definitely pays to do your research.

Of course, wet foods have a higher moisture (water) content than dry foods and this is not a bad thing - more water in the food can help to increase hydration levels which in turn is beneficial for urinary tract and kidney health. The flip side of this however is that high moisture content (typically 70% and higher in wet foods) means that wet foods are less energy and nutrient dense than dry food options (which are comparatively about 6-10% moisture).

High moisture content does mean that you need to feed a lot more by weight of most canned foods to meet your dog's nutritional needs, which makes them generally less economical, particularly for medium and large breeds.

High quality, scientifically based canned dog food formulas have proven high levels of digestibility, which means the nutrients in your dog's food are easily digested and utilised. Lower quality foods can have reduced levels of digestibility which can result in tummy upsets, gas production and soft or runny stools.

Although the ingredients listing alone doesn't provide sufficient information to determine the quality of a dog food, it can give you some hints as to its quality. Lower quality foods may use gelling agents such as guar gum or seaweed extracts to give their foods a more appealing texture; while gelling agents are generally considered to be safe they don't offer any nutritional benefits to your pet so many pet owners prefer to avoid them. Conversely, higher quality wet foods may contain added ingredients designed to support your dog's overall health and wellbeing such as green lipped mussel for joint function or fish oil for skin and coat health.

The takeaway message: moisture content varies greatly between different canned foods so it can be difficult to compare them nutritionally at face value.

Want to know more? Read more about ingredients in dog food and ingredients vs nutrients in pet foods.

Cost per feed

The high moisture content of canned foods can make them much less economical to feed, particularly for larger dogs. Calculating the cost per feed for wet foods is the best way to find the most economical option as moisture content, digestibility, nutrient density and feeding amount can vary significantly from product to product making a cost per kilogram comparison pointless.

Although some brands might appear more economical due to larger can size or lower price, you may be surprised to find that some high end brands actually offer better value for money.

The takeaway message: the high moisture content of wet foods makes them less economical than dry food.

Want to know more? Read about calculating cost per feed

High quality protein source

Dogs of all ages require high-quality, highly digestible nutrients to meet their needs. Premium diets use protein that is easily digested and assimilated into the body, meaning the maximum amount of protein is absorbed and transported to where it's needed as fast as possible. Look for wet food that lists a high-quality source of animal protein (such as chicken, turkey, beef, or fish) as the first ingredient.

Consider your dog's specific needs

When you're looking for a wet food for a dog, consider their specific needs to help narrow down the search. For instance if you have an older dog, a senior or mature formula will offer increased digestibility and added benefits such as joint health support. If your dog is a little on the heavy side or prone to weight gain, you may be better served by choosing a weight control recipe which is lower in fat and higher in fibre to promote feelings of satiety.

Some dogs may have special dietary requirements due to health conditions or sensitivities. Look for wet food that is highly digestible and easy to transition on to or which meets those dietary requirements. If your pup has specific dietary needs, consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations.

The bottom line

Choosing the best wet food for your dog is not a simple process, but with a little research you can find an option that is not only cost effective but offers a whole host of benefits for your canine companion.

Further Reading

How To Spot A Good Pet Food

The Benefits of Feeding Both Wet and Dry Dog Food

Australian-made Pet Products

How Much Should You Feed Your Pet?

Fussy Dog Feeding Tips