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Best Canned Dog Food For Sensitive Stomachs, Grain-Free & More

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Last Updated: June 5, 2024 | 12 min read | Leave a Comment

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There are so many different doggy diets to choose from. From dried kibble to freshly prepared, raw, and even more. Where do you start? Why not start with canned food? It’s simple, convenient, and super tasty too. Canned food is high in moisture, making it juicy and delicious. It usually comes in a broth or stew consistency which most dogs find irresistible. Much more interesting than plain ol’ kibble.

Also, canned food is a great way to hydrate your pup if they struggle to stay hydrated or live in a hot climate. Or if Fido is just plain fussy, canned food can be a great go-to. Sure, canned food is not the best option for every dog and every owner. But for many, it can be the savior of mealtimes and offers the convenience that home-prepared or raw diets do not.

Canned food comes in various options catering to different types of dogs and other medical needs. Whether your pup has a sensitive stomach or needs to shed a few pounds, there is something here for them. From the super meaty to the plain and simple, we have something for everyone. Plus, we look at gourmet options and budget-friendly options too. Let’s take a closer look at our best canned dog food picks.

At A Glance: Our Favorite Canned Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Our Rating

Best Overall

Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken

Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream
Our Rating

Best For Sensitive Stomachs

Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin

Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream
Our Rating

Best Grain-Free

Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream

What Are The Advantages Of Canned Dog Food?

four cans of dog food
Here are some of the main benefits of canned dog food.

Just like all doggy diets, there are many advantages to canned dog food. However, there are some occasions when it is not the best option. If you are unsure what is best for your pup, speak to your vet, who can recommend the best diet for your dog.

  • Canned food has a very high water content which usually means that they can eat a more significant portion to provide them the equivalent calories compared to a portion of dry food. This makes cans an excellent option for dogs who don’t drink as much as they should, are dehydrated, suffer from constipation, or don’t feel full after kibble.
  • Canned food is usually much juicier and tastier compared to dried food. Most canned foods contain gravy or jelly, which is much more palatable and appealing to dogs. Making cans an excellent choice for fussy dogs or those experiencing a change in circumstance that is causing anxiety and leading to them not eating their usual kibble.
  • Canned food can be just as nutritious as fresh or frozen foods because canning food preserves nutrients that some dried food loses during cooking.
  • Canned food is usually higher in protein and fat and lower in carbohydrates than dried food. A diet high in carbohydrates can contribute to canine obesity. Therefore wet food can prevent weight gain in some pups.
  • Canned food is more convenient than raw or home-prepared meals but provides the juice and the taste that dogs crave.

Ingredients To Look For

Assortment of Beans
Choosing the proper nutrition is one of the most critical decisions we have to make.

Our dogs count on us to provide them with a nutritionally balanced and high-quality diet. All dog food, whether canned or kibble, should meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. So be sure to look for their seal of approval.

If you are feeding your pooch wet food only (not mixing it with kibble), you must also ensure it is labeled as “complete and balanced.” Some canned foods are intended as a supplement rather than providing all the nutrients a dog needs. And these products state “for intermittent or supplemental use only.” Growing puppies need more energy, fat, and other nutrients than adults. Products must state whether they are for “growth” or “adult maintenance.” If it says “all life stages,” it has met the requirements for puppies.

It’s also important to look at the ingredients list to ensure that it includes the following nutritional elements. Looking at the ingredients list is especially important if your pooch is allergic to something. Let’s look at what they need and what ingredients to look for.

Protein

Protein is the most crucial element of your dog’s diet. It helps to build and maintain muscle mass, supplies energy and keeps bones, muscles, and skin healthy. Protein is full of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals too, which contribute to a balanced diet. Plus, meat protein is super tasty. Grains and some veggies, like peas, provide protein but have a much lower protein content than meat.

Look for meat protein in the ingredients list, such as beef, chicken, fish, or lamb. Unlike dried food, protein isn’t always the first ingredient, which is fine. Sometimes, broth or water is. But look for protein listed near the top of the ingredients list, ideally within the first two or three. Otherwise, look at another option as it probably isn’t a good quality product.

Healthy Carbohydrates

Healthy carbohydrates play an essential role in doggy diets because they provide glucose which supplies energy. If your dog doesn’t have glucose, it seizes amino acids from other areas, leading to a deficiency in their body. Healthy carbs are the primary fiber source, which plays an important told in the digestive system. Look for ingredients such as potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, lentils, rice, oats, barley, and other grains.

Omega Fatty Acids

Despite having a bad reputation, fats are a crucial component of your dog’s diet. Healthy fats, particularly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, provide energy and support joint, bone, skin, and coat health. And they also contribute to healthy eye and brain function. Fats are especially crucial for puppies whose body is developing. Healthy fats come from meat, fish, plant oil, eggs, and flaxseed.

Fruits & Vegetables

Meat isn’t the only important component in your dog’s diet. You might be surprised to learn that fruits and veggies have many nutritional benefits for Fido. They provide fiber which is essential for a healthy digestive tract. And they are also full of vitamins and minerals which support their immune system. Look for dog-safe veggies and fruits like bananas, blueberries, peas, broccoli, and pumpkin.

Vitamins & Minerals

Like ours, a dog’s body needs various vitamins and minerals to function correctly. Although some of these vitamins and minerals are naturally found in other ingredients, such as protein, fruit, and veg, some dog foods need an extra boost to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. Here are some of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs.

  • Vitamin A bolsters eye health and the immune system.
  • Vitamin B12 supports the digestive and nervous system.
  • Vitamin C and E are antioxidants that are key to your dog’s overall health.
  • Vitamin D helps your dog to absorb vitamins and minerals effectively.
  • Vitamin K promotes healthy blood and prevents blood clots.
  • Calcium and phosphorus are necessary for bone and joint health.
  • Choline supports liver and cognitive function.
  • Iron carries oxygen and supports most other bodily functions.
  • Zinc promotes a healthy immune system, thyroid function, and healing.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine is an important compound naturally found in cartilage, the tissue that cushions joints. It is also harvested from the shells of shellfish, or it is artificially made in a lab. Glucosamine has anti-inflammatory benefits, and it can also aid the development of the joints and slow the degeneration of cartilage. The glucosamine content is typically higher the better quality products.

Brand History

Choosing a brand is more critical than most pet owners think. Some brands are better than others, not only in ingredient quality but also in putting your pup’s safety before anything else. Research the company and learn about any recalls they have had, including lawsuits and rebranding. Explore their ethos and whether they are sustainable if that’s important to you. Good reviews are another indicator of a top-quality product, but be sure to look for some independent reviews too.

Best Canned Dog Foods

Here are the best canned dog food options.

Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken

  • A gourmet natural canned dog food.
  • This simple recipe contains chicken breast in tasty gravy.
  • Has minimal carbs and high protein content.
  • Suitable for all life stages.
  • Nutritionally complete.
  • Grain and gluten-free.

Weruva is a gourmet brand that provides high-quality food made in human-grade facilities. The first ingredient is skinless and boneless cage-free chicken breast. Not only is this super tasty, but it is also the leanest part of the meat without any skin, meaning it is healthy too. This canned dog food provides your pooch with high protein content, with a minimum of 10%.

You can feed this to your dog as a standalone dinner because it is nutritionally complete or as a meal topper. It is also suitable for all life stages. It is fortified with added vitamins and minerals to support your pup’s immune system. Weruva makes this product with delicious gravy, so most dogs love it. And it also comes in 14 flavors, so your pooch is spoilt for choice. There is a chicken-free option, seafood, red meat, duck, and more. It also comes in smaller cans for smaller dogs, meaning fresher dinners for everyone.

We love this product because it is the best canned dog food for the above reasons. It also has the widest protein and flavor selection.

Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin

  • Specially designed to support your dog’s sensitive stomach.
  • Contains easy-to-digest chicken, turkey, and rice.
  • Fortified with vitamin E and omega-6 healthy fats to promote healthy skin.
  • Contains veggies like carrots, spinach, and green peas.
  • Nutritionally complete.
  • Slow-cooked for extra taste and juiciness.

Hill’s Science Diet is a well-known and trusted brand that produces various formulas for every dog and health need. This nutritionally complete canned food is aimed at adult dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin. They only use easy-to-digest ingredients such as turkey, chicken, and rice. It also lists pork liver which is full of nutrients and has extra taste. The protein content is low at 2.8%, but some sensitive dogs need this.

Just because this canned food is designed for sensitive stomachs does not mean it is dull. It is slow-cooked to maintain nutrients, taste, and tasty juices, providing a delicious stew-like dinner. Chicken broth is the first ingredient, and it contains a high moisture content to provide your pooch with extra hydration. The ingredients list includes lots of vitamins, minerals, nutrient-rich carrots, and spinach.

We love this canned dog food pick for those with sensitive stomachs looking for an easy-to-digest recipe.

Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream

Blue Buffalo Baby Blue Growth Formula
  • This recipe is grain-free and uses peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes instead.
  • The first ingredient is real salmon, along with other ocean fish.
  • Contains nutrient-rich blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes.
  • Added vitamins and minerals.
  • Nutritionally complete.
  • This is a chicken-free recipe.

Taste of the Wild is another popular brand that offers a wide selection of tasty recipes using different proteins. This fish-based recipe lists salmon and whitefish in its ingredient list. It also lists turkey, turkey liver, and dried egg whites, all full of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. Blueberries and raspberries add extra antioxidants to support Fido’s immune system further.

The protein content of this canned food is 8%, which is an excellent balance for most dogs. There are many other recipes in their range, including red meat. It contains yucca schidigera extract that aids smooth digestion and healthy stools. This grain-free option lists prebiotic fiber, which helps your pooch feel fuller for longer and aids in smooth digestion. This is a nutritionally complete option for adult dogs.

We love that this option is the top choice for dogs seeking grain-free canned dog food.

Blue Buffalo Baby Blue Growth Formula

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet
  • Made with turkey, chicken, and chicken liver, that boosts muscle growth.
  • Contains fish oil and flaxseed that are rich in healthy fats for eye and cognitive development.
  • Features a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Whole grains, veggies, and fruit are listed, which are full of fiber and vitamins.
  • High in calories needed for growing puppies.
  • Suitable for all-size puppies.

Blue Buffalo is one of the best-known pet food brands with a wide variety of foods. This canned food is from their Baby Blue range, specifically designed for growing puppies’ developmental needs. It is also suitable for all dog breeds, from the tiniest Chihuahua to the largest Mastiff. So you can be sure your pup gets everything they need with this formula.

Turkey, chicken, chicken liver, and other proteins such as peas contribute to the high protein content of 10.5%. Chicken broth is the second ingredient, ensuring it is tasty and juicy. Flaxseed and fish oil are rich in healthy fats found in mothers’ milk, assisting with the healthy development of eyes and cognitive function. This canned option is fortified with extra vitamins and minerals to help your pup grow into a healthy adult.

We love that this canned option is the best pick for puppies looking for tasty wet food.

Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight

  • Nutritionally complete for adult dogs who require fewer calories.
  • Made with lean meat to achieve a healthy weight.
  • Prebiotic fiber helps your pooch feel fuller for longer.
  • Over 70% of dogs lost weight within 10 weeks.
  • Fish oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed provide healthy fats.
  • Fortified with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals.

We have selected another Hill’s Science Diet product because it is designed for dogs with a particular aim, and that is to shed some pounds or maintain their weight easier. It has a low calorie and fat content. Instead, it is full of prebiotic fiber that not only aids in smooth digestion but it also helps them feel fuller. Which hopefully means less snack begging between mealtimes. It also lists L-carnitine, which is a metabolism booster.

Chicken broth is the first ingredient making it juicy and delicious. So your dog won’t realize they are on a diet. Pork liver and chicken are the primary protein sources contributing to low to moderate protein content. The fats listed are healthy, such as coconut, fish, and flaxseed. So your dog still gets all the fat they need to function and nourish their skin and coat.

We love that this canned food concentrates on weight management thanks to its low-fat content. Making it a top choice for dogs looking to lose a few pounds.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet

Wellness Core Protein Rich
  • Limited ingredient and grain-free diet for sensitive puppies and adult dogs.
  • Duck is the main protein source.
  • Made with one protein and one carb, it’s simple to digest.
  • Boosted with vitamins and minerals.
  • Nutritionally complete.
  • Available in other flavors.

Natural Balance is an excellent choice for canines who need a limited-ingredient diet. They have a wide variety of flavors, but this one is made with duck, an excellent alternative to the commonly used proteins. Duck is simple to digest, lean, nutritiously rich, and super tasty, and it is the first ingredient that contributes to a protein content of 5%. This recipe is boosted with extra vitamins and minerals too.

Just because it is a limited-ingredient diet doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Duck broth adds extra flavor for dogs that are used to plain dinners. Canola oil is an excellent source of healthy fats, nourishing your dog’s skin and coat from the inside out. Yucca schidigera extract is listed, which can help to improve the health of your dog’s stools.

We love that this option has limited ingredients, which is excellent for dogs who are allergic to other commonly used ingredients.

Wellness Core Protein Rich

American Journey Premium Loaf
  • High protein food made with 95% beef.
  • Made with premium animal protein and antioxidant-rich superfoods.
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals.
  • Nutritionally complete wet food.
  • Comes in a pate-like texture.
  • Grain-free diet.

This canned dog food is for dogs who crave lots of meat and a big taste. Or those who are super active and need additional protein in their bowls. Wellness makes this option, and it is from their high protein Core range. There are several recipe options, but this beef recipe is very popular with meat-hungry Fidos. It has a high protein content of 10%, and 95% of that is from real beef, so you can be sure this is one of the meatiest options available.

Carrots feature high up in the ingredient list, which is rich in nutrients and a source of prebiotic fiber to help with digestion. This grain-free recipe is full of added vitamins and minerals. Ground flaxseed provides healthy fats for your dog’s overall wellness. And it is nutritionally complete so that you can give it as a meal or a tasty meal topper.

We love that this option is great for dogs who crave a high-protein recipe made with 95% meat protein.

American Journey Premium Loaf

  • Made with a variety of meat proteins.
  • Lists pork liver which is rich in nutrients.
  • Contains beef broth for additional moisture and taste.
  • Nutritionally balanced and complete.
  • Lists prebiotic fiber like pumpkin to aid digestion.
  • Grain-free recipe.

American Journey is a relatively new brand, and it is the home brand of Chewy. However, it has an excellent reputation for providing top-quality products at affordable prices. This choice provides a protein content of 9% thanks to tasty beef, chicken, pork liver, and whitefish. Not only does your dog get an extra taste from a wide selection of meats, but you can also be sure they are getting all the amino acids they need. This is important for muscle maintenance and overall wellness.

Pumpkins, blueberries, and cranberries are rich in antioxidants and excellent fiber sources. This recipe is also enriched with additional vitamins and minerals for better immunity. Sunflower oil and ground flaxseed ensure your pooch receives healthy fats to keep their joints healthy and their skin and coat nourished. There are other recipe alternatives, including chicken, lamb, and turkey.

We love that this option is excellent for owners seeking a budget-friendly choice that still offers high-quality nutrition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Canned Dog Food Is Best?

You can only answer this as you know what you and your pooch need. If you’re seeking a budget-friendly option, you might opt for American Journey. If your dog needs a grain-free choice, you should consider Taste of the Wild. Ultimately, the best canned dog food depends on your dog’s nutritional needs.

Is Canned Dog Food Or Kibble Better For My Dog?

Again, there isn’t a one-and-done answer here. Both canned and kibble have benefits, as do other fresh and raw diets. It depends on your dog’s needs, preferences, budget, and convenience. Canned foods typically contain more protein than dry, add natural moisture, contain no preservatives, are easier to chew and are usually more appetizing. But dry food has advantages over canned food, such as lower cost, more convenience, and better shelf life.

How Much Canned Dog Food Equals Dry Food?

Due to the higher water content, dogs can enjoy more canned food to get the same energy and calories as dry food. Purina advises that three ounces of canned food replace about a quarter cup of dry food. Thankfully, each can has guidelines about what to feed your pup according to their weight.

Can You Mix Canned And Dry Dog Food?

Yes, you can mix canned and dry dog food. Incorporating a few spoons of juicy canned food is a great way to encourage your pooch to eat their meal. It’s also an easy way to add moisture to their diet if they don’t drink much water. Most dogs appreciate it as long as the canned and kibble meet your dog’s nutritional needs and are suitable for the same stage of life.

How Long Can Canned Food Sit Out?

Not every dog can finish off a can in one sitting, so you need to store it correctly to ensure it lasts. Put the remainder of the can in an air-tight container and keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh. Alternatively, you can purchase dog can covers. Place the lid on the can, and pop it in the refrigerator. Once in the refrigerator, canned food should last three to five days before you need to dispose of it. Not storing it correctly, leaving it uncovered, or leaving it out at room temperature can cause bacteria and mold growth, which can make Fido very ill.

Final Thoughts

After reading our comprehensive guide to canned dog food, not only do you know what to look for in a high-quality can, but you also have a wide variety of options to choose from. We have taken all the laborious work out of your decision, so all you need to do is pick the best one for your pup. Remember to follow the feeding instructions on the packaging to ensure you are not under or over-feeding your dog. With a wide selection of canned dog food, you can be sure everyone’s a winner with these canned dog dinners.

Dog lying near its bowl full of fresh dog food looking at camera

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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