Is your dog ready for solid food? Is she suffering from some illness that makes her eat less? Should you buy her dry or wet food? What do the ingredients on the labels mean? Which brand is the best?
Every time you go to the pet store, your brain probably hurts because of all the options you have to choose from. The pet market provides so many brands and so many formulas for dog foods.
To help you make the best choice for your dog, here are some advantages and disadvantages of wet dog foods, a buying guide, and some of the best wet food brands in the market today.
Advantages and disadvantages of wet dog foods
The age-old debate for dog owners is: what is better wet or dry dog food?
Many Americans prefer to give their dogs kibble or dry dog food because these can be bought in bulk and have a long shelf life. However, some also prefer wet dog food because of its natural benefits to dogs.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of the latter option.
Wet dog food has the following advantages:
- It can provide your dog with an extra source of hydration. Your dog may not drink as much water as it should. This is a major cause of concern, particularly in the long hot summer months. Wet foods can assist your dog to eat some water whenever she eats her dinner because it includes water from the meat, vegetables, and sauce or gravy.
- It is the best option if your dog is supposed to be on a soft diet. The diet restriction could be due to an illness, physical disability like misaligned or weak jaws, breed, or old age. Wet food is easier to chew and digest because the ingredients have been cooked thoroughly.
- It tastes richer and has a stronger smell. This could be beneficial if your dog is not hungry or if she is sick. The strong smell of cooked meat is irresistible to many dogs.
- It contains more protein than kibble and just a little bit of carbohydrates. Most wet dog foods ‘ main ingredient is animal flesh. Some formulas are even grain-free.
On the other hand, wet dog food has the following disadvantages:
- It may cause or aggravate dental issues because the pieces of meat may stay long between your dog’s teeth. It doesn’t have kibble’s abrasive quality. If you feed your pet wet dog food, you’ll have to wash your dog’s teeth religiously.
- Eating can get messy. If your dog is a messy eater, then you could see pieces of meat flying everywhere. Be ready to keep clean up after your dog each time she has a meal.
- It should be eaten right away. Once wet dog food is opened, your dog should eat almost immediately because such foods spoil easily. Concerning this, buying a lot of wet dog food is not recommended because of the short shelf life and expiration dates.
- It is considered a bit more expensive than kibble due to the shorter shelf life and since it cannot be bought in bulk.
|1. Additional source of water|
2. Soft diet
3. Richer taste and stronger smell
4. Contains more protein
|1. Could lead to or aggravate dental|
3. Should be eaten right away
What to look for when buying wet dog food
You only want the best for your dog, so make sure that the wet dog food you buy is packed with the nutrition she needs and contains the proper ingredients for her physical condition.
Here is a guide to help you check the features of the wet dog food you are considering to buy. The best wet dog food:
- It has high-quality meat listed as one of the first few ingredients on the label. The order by which ingredients are listed on labels determines how much the product contains per serving.
If the ingredient is listed as one of the top five ingredients, then the product contains a lot of it. For your dog’s nutritional requirements, the source of protein should be listed first. It should not be the tenth or twentieth ingredient listed on the label because this means the product has just a small amount of that protein.
- It has a high percentage of protein since the product is supposed to contain a lot of meat and other sources of protein.
- It names the specific body part and type of animal where the meat or fat comes from. For example, the product should state that a beef ingredient comes from cattle. It should not just state “meat by-product” as an ingredient because this meat could be, for example, from chicken, which some dogs are allergic to.
- It contains few or no by-products of animals. An animal by-product is any ingredient or an animal, such as its skin, meat, fat, milk, or eggs, produces it.
- It has few or no grains. Your dog only requires a small daily quantity of carbohydrates. Grains are sources of extra carbohydrates that may not be needed or can no longer be processed by your dog’s body. Too many carbohydrates can cause your dog’s illness, so be cautious. Some dogs are also allergic to the gluten from these grains.
- It contains vegetables and/or fruits, which could be an additional source of vitamins and minerals. Some products contain whole vegetables and fruits.
- It does not contain a lot of chemicals, additives, or preservatives. Since wet dog foods are cooked meals, it is inevitable that these products contain some form of preservative to keep the food fresh in the can or pack. However, these preservatives should be as natural as possible and should not be a top ingredient on the labels.
- It contains little or no sweeteners, especially sugar. Natural sugar from fruits might not affect your dog’s insulin level, but it is still important to note how much sugar each can or pack contains.
- It has the seal of approval from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The AAFCO is not an official organization that approves pet foods. Its members voluntarily inspect all parts of animal feed from ingredients to labels. The association’s seal certifies that a product has passed its rigid quality control.
Best Wet Dog Foods Brands
Here are five wet dog food brands that are bestselling on Amazon and highly recommended by many pet owners.
You can buy these in packs of 12 or 24. Each 3.5 oz. tray contains chunks of meat with gravy.
The products come in a variety of flavors like poultry (duck, grilled chicken, roasted chicken, and turkey) or steak (grilled steak and eggs, grilled New York strip with potatoes and vegetables, filet mignon, filet mignon with bacon and potato, porterhouse steak, and prime rib).
Each pack lists the main protein as the first ingredient. For example, the Roasted Chicken lists chicken as the first ingredient on the label.
The products also indicate the source of the protein such as pork by-products or beef lung.
This brand is the bestselling on Amazon, but it is a bit expensive. It also contains artificial ingredients like sodium nitrite as a preservative.
2. Protein is the main ingredient
3. Source of protein is indicated
4. Bestseller on Amazon
2. Contains some artificial
One pack contains 6 tubs, which is 8 oz. each. Flavors include Chicken Paw Pie, Beef Stroganoff, and Chicken Muttballs. Each tub contains a lot of the main protein. For example, the Hearty Beef Stew has the following five ingredients: chicken broth, beef, chicken, dried egg product, and egg white.
It also contains vegetables like peas and carrots. It is gluten-free and does not contain corn, soy, or wheat. The product also indicates where the proteins come from. For example, beef is indicated as from cattle carcass.
On the label, it states it is made in Thailand. Some dog owners have expressed their outrage over this because the country has a reputation for eating dogs.
It also uses controversial ingredients like caramel as a food coloring and menadione as a source of Vit. K. Caramel is said to cause cancer in lab animals while menadione is said to cause allergies and liver failure.
|1. Variety of flavors|
2. Contains lots of sources of protein
4. Indicates where proteins come from
|1. Made in Thailand|
2. Contains controversial ingredients
Purina offers a wide variety of wet dog foods. For example, the Pro Plan and One offerings contain specially formulated recipes to address the needs of dogs from puppy to adulthood. This includes the Veterinary Diets options for dogs with special needs due to intestinal problems, urinary infections, allergies, or other reasons. There are also grain-free options.
Overall, the products of Purina contain the main protein as the number one ingredient.The Chicken and Rice Entrée therefore, lists chicken as the first ingredient followed by water, liver, meat by-products, rice, etc. This implies that your dog is going to consume real meat.
Despite containing quality ingredients, the Pro Plan and One range are still a bit less expensive than other wet dog foods based on price per serving.
On the negative side, not all formulas are grain-free. Some recipes also do not list the main protein as the first ingredient or the source of these proteins.
For instance, the EN Gastroenteric Formula lists meat by-products (does not indicate from which animal the by-product is), water, barley, rice, liver, chicken, and soy as the first few ingredients. This may be because the formula is intended to be readily digestible, but your dog may still be worried about carbohydrates and gluten.
Purina also sells the Alpo brand of wet dog food, which is also a bestseller on Amazon. Although the formula of Alpo is not as high in quality as the other Purina products, it still contains protein like chicken as one of the top ingredients.
Although many owners buy Alpo, there are also many reports about the negative reactions of dogs to the food ranging from skin allergies to illnesses.
|1. Wide range of formulas and recipes for the high-end brands|
2. Lists main protein as the first ingredient
3. Less expensive despite the quality of ingredients
|1. Not all formulas are grain-free|
2. Some labels do not specify the source of protein
3. Alpo brand has low quality and bad reports
Like Purina, Blue Buffalo lists its main ingredient as the primary protein. Additional flavor and components of the main protein are also included in each recipe. For instance, as the next two components on the label, the Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables and Rice has chicken broth and chicken liver. This implies that your dog is going to eat real chicken and a lot of it per serving.
The vegetables in the Chicken Dinner are carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes, which might make some dogs gassy after eating it.
There are also blueberries and cranberries added in some recipes like the Chicken Dinner, which can be a source of antioxidants and sugar.
The products also contain grains like brown rice, barley, and oatmeal, which are easily digestible but are still sources of carbohydrates and gluten.
|1. Main protein is first three ingredients|
2. Contains vegetables and fruits
All Wellness Core wet dog food products are grain-free. Each can contains several sources of protein. For example, the highly-recommended Turkey, Chicken Liver, and Turkey Liver formula lists Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Liver as the first few ingredients. This guarantees that your dog will get a lot of natural protein per serving.
It also contains a mix of vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach, carrots) and fruits (apples, blueberries), which are natural sources of vitamins, sugar, and minerals.
It contains fillers like sweet potatoes, which might lead some dogs to become gassy. It is also costly.
|1. All products are grain-free|
2. Contains several sources of protein per can
3. Mix of vegetables and fruits
|1. Contains some fillers|
2. Very expensive
The main criterion when buying your dog her food is nutrition. She should get the maximum amount of nutrients per meal. Since wet dog foods can be expensive, some other owners combine or alternate wet and dry dog foods to achieve the goal of having a happy, healthy dog.