What is the Best Wet Dog Food? 
This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian,
Wet food can offer a host of benefits to dogs, particularly when it comes to improving hydration levels which in turn can support good urinary health. Wet foods also 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.
Sounds good right? However, not all wet foods are created equal. There are a few things to consider when choosing the best wet food for your pooch.
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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 comparitively 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.
As we touched on earlier, 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 signifcantly 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 suprised 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.
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.
|Product Name||Pack Size||Cost per Day 10kg dog*||Cost per Day 25kg dog*||First 5 Ingredients||The Details|
Royal Canin Light Weight Care
|12 x 85g||$10.50||$17.80||Meat and animal derivatives, derivatives of vegetable origin, cereals, minerals||Delivers high quality nutrition with reduced calories for dogs with a tendency to gain weight.|
Ziwi Peak Venison
|12 x 390g||$3.80||$7.55||Venison, Venison Broth, Venison Heart, Venison Lung, Venison Liver||Natural, limited ingredient canned food made in New Zealand with a novel protein (Venison).|
K9 Natural Lamb Feast
|12 x 370g / 24 x 170g||$3.80||$6.05||Lamb, Lamb Blood, Lamb Tripe, Eggs, Lamb Liver||Natural, grain free, high meat canned food, complete and balanced for all life stages.|
Black Hawk Grain Free Chicken
|12 x 400g / 9 x 100g||$1.76||$3.55||Chicken, Lamb, Carrots, Peas, Potato||Natural, grain free, Australian made canned food for adult dogs.|
Hill's Science Diet Chicken & Barley Entree
|12 x 370g||$2.30||$5.40||Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Whole Grain Corn, Cracked Pearled Barley||Premium quality, highly digestible, complete and balanced canned food for adult dogs.|
My Dog Chicken Supreme
|6 x 100g / 12 x 100g||$6.60||$13.25||Meats including chicken, lamb, beef, pork; gelling agents||Australian made, highly palatable canned food with no added preservatives.|
Pro Plan Savor Lamb & Vegetables Entree
|12 x 368g||$2.85||$5.10||Water, Lamb, Liver, Wheat gluten, Poultry||Premium quality, highly digestible canned food recipe suitable for adult dogs.|
Ivory Coat Lamb & Sardine Stew
|12 x 400g||$3.90||$5.86||Lamb, Chicken, Pea Flour, Sweet Potato, Sardine||Natural, grain free, canned food with an appealing stew texture.|
Optimum Adult with Beef & Rice
|12 x 700g||$2.56||$6.00||Meat (chicken, beef, lamb &/or pork); rice; egg; gelling agents; vegetable oil; vegetable fibre||Australian made canned food for adult dogs featuring a large, 700g can size.|
*Cost per day calculated based on feeding 50% of daily energy needs using wet food in the most economical pack size. Prices correct as of 30 March 2021. Where DE contents for foods were not provided recommended feeding guide was used to calculate feeding amount.
Best value wet foods for dogs
The canned foods with the lowest cost per kilogram were not always the most cost effective feeding option, this is likely due to the fact that cheaper products could be less energy dense, less digestible and have higher water contents.
Highest rated wet foods for dogs
Super premium science based and high meat, premium natural brands featured at the top of Pet Circle customer ratings for canned dog foods demonstrating that it pays to look at the ingredients listing and proof behind product claims when choosing a canned food for your dog.
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.