The Best Wet Puppy Foods, According To Vets

Your puppy will love these foods 😋

royal canin and hills puppy wet food cans

Have you wondered what the difference is between dry and wet dog food? And which one you should feed your new puppy?

It can be confusing to try to figure out the best diet for your new dog, especially with so many food options out there.

And when it comes to giving your puppy wet food, there are some positives and negatives that you should consider before feeding it to him.

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Keston Smith, medical director at Bond Vet, and Dr. Sara Ochoa, a veterinarian consultant at Senior Tail Waggers, to find out what the benefits of feeding your pup canned food are and their recommendations for the best wet puppy foods you can buy.

What's the difference between dry and wet dog food?

The major differences between dry and wet dog food are how the foods are processed and the water content of the foods.

Wet dog food is what it sounds like — wet. According to Dr. Smith, wet foods contain approximately 75 to 78 percent moisture levels, while dry foods only have around 10 to 12 percent.

“A wet food will start with grinding the protein sources (the meat), then a gravy of vitamins, minerals and grains are added,” Dr. Smith told The Dodo. “Dry dog food contains the same ingredients, but [it’s] made into a dough, which is then cooked and pushed through specific shaped holes to make the shape of the kibble.”

Should I feed my puppy wet or dry food?

The kind of food you feed your puppy depends on your preference, but there are some upsides to wet food (and some downsides, too).

“Wet food may be more filling due to water content, and it may be more aromatic, which may entice a pickier pet to eat,” Dr. Smith said.

Wet food can be a good transition for puppies who have just recently been weaned from their mothers’ milk since they’re not used to solid food yet. Puppies also still have their baby teeth or are just starting their teething phase, so wet food can be a good choice because it’s softer than kibble and won’t hurt their sensitive teeth and gums.

But while wet food can get your puppy interested in his food, it can also make some dogs even pickier. “Giving too many options may also lead to picky pet syndrome, where the patient is given too much food and thus only picks the type and amount that they like the best, leaving behind the rest,” Dr. Smith said.

Wet food can also lead to overfeeding in some cases since it’s harder to tell exactly how much you’re serving to your dog. “I like to promote dry food unless there is a medical need, as it is easier to not overfeed,” Dr. Smith said. “However, I am usually not so worried about overfeeding in growing puppies, so wet or dry or mixing is just fine.”

How much wet food to feed a puppy

How much wet food to feed your puppy will depend on the brand of food that you’re feeding him since one brand of puppy food might have a different amount of nutrients and calories compared to another brand. To find out how much you should feed your puppy, look at the food’s packaging for guidelines.

“Whereas this is relatively easy for dry food as it is usually on the side or back of the bag, in wet food, you may have to go to the brand’s website to find the amount,” Dr. Smith said.

And if your puppy eats too much too fast, you can try a slow feeder or an automatic feeder.

“How to feed is usually pretty general; however, if the pet eats too fast, there are bowls that can slow the pet down,” Dr. Smith said. “Automatic feeders can be very useful in helping control a pet’s weight.”

Try this automatic feeder from PetSafe for $179.95

What to look for in wet puppy food

When choosing a wet food for your puppy, make sure it has all the nutrients your puppy needs. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets standards for the amount of certain nutrients required to be in dog foods.

“You must ensure that the dog food is AAFCO approved,” Dr. Smith said. “You can look at the nutritional adequacy statement on the label of any dog food you are purchasing, and if the phrase ‘complete and balanced’ appears, then the food has met the AAFCO's nutritional profile regulations.”

For wet food, the percentages won’t be exactly the same as the AAFCO requirements because wet food has a higher moisture content, so you have to do some math to figure out how it compares to dry food.

To find the nutrient levels in wet food, divide the percentage of the nutrient (usually found on the label), such as crude fat, by the percentage of dry matter (the percent moisture content subtracted from 100), and multiply that number by 100. That number should be in the range of the AAFCO guidelines. But if the food’s label says the diet is complete and balanced, it should be good to feed your puppy.

Make sure the food is made with real ingredients, such as lamb, beef and corn. The first ingredient in wet food will usually be water since it needs moisture, but the next ingredient after water should ideally be a source of protein.

Dr. Smith also recommends choosing food that’s not grain free. “Grain-free diets that are not prescription may be associated with heart disease if given over long periods of time.”

Best wet dog food for puppies

Here are some of the best wet puppy foods, recommended by Dr. Smith and Dr. Ochoa. Dr. Smith recommends Royal Canin, and Dr. Ochoa recommends Purina Pro Plan, Royal Canin, Eukanuba and Hill’s Science Diet.

All of these puppy foods meet the AAFCO nutrition recommendations.

Royal Canin Wet Dog Food, 13.5 oz., Case of 12

This puppy food includes vitamins C and E to help your puppy develop a strong immune system, plus beet pulp and fish oil to support his stomach and digestive system.

Purina Pro Plan Pate FOCUS Classic Chicken & Rice Entree Wet Puppy Food, 13 oz., Case of 12

The first ingredient of this wet puppy food is real chicken, so it’s definitely healthy for your pup. It contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, to help your puppy’s brain and eyes develop and omega-6 to make his coat extra strong and shiny.

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Chicken & Barley Entree Canned Dog Food, 13 oz., Case of 12

This puppy food includes high-quality ingredients that your puppy will love, such as chicken, whole grain corn and barley. DHA from fish oil supports your puppy’s brain and eye development, and vitamins C and E support your puppy’s immune system.

Eukanuba Puppy Lamb & Rice Wet Dog Food, 13.2 oz., Case of 12

This wet puppy food is made with high-quality chicken and lamb, so it has plenty of protein for your puppy to grow big and strong. It’s complete and balanced with all the nutrients your puppy needs.

Need some treats to go with that puppy food? We spoke to a professional dog trainer to find out what to look for in the best training treats for puppies.

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.