Bringing home a new puppy can be an overwhelming experience; you’re still getting to know their unique personality, how to look after them, and most importantly, learning what to feed them! The quality of the food you choose to feed your new puppy will go a long way in ensuring their health in the future and sets the foundation for their overall health and wellness.
While dry food is great for adults, canned or wet food is arguably more suited for puppies as it’s softer and easier to digest, easier on their developing teeth, and has a high moisture content. Canned foods also typically have a higher protein content and fewer “filler” ingredients too, and so are ideal for growing pups.
Of course, there are a ton of different puppy foods available on the market, and choosing the right one can certainly be challenging. We’ve done all the heavy lifting and found 10 of the best puppy foods on the market. Below, we list these foods complete with in-depth reviews to help you choose the best canned food for your new puppy. Let’s get started!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites – 2022 Update
The 10 Best Canned & Wet Puppy Foods
1. Purina ONE SmartBlend Lamb & Rice — Best Overall
|First listed ingredients:||Lamb and Chicken Broth, Lamb, Chicken|
|Crude protein:||8% min|
|Crude fat:||7% min|
|Caloric content:||426 kcal/can|
Purina ONE SmartBlend Classic Canned Puppy Food contains a delicious and healthy lamb and chicken combination as the first-listed ingredients and is our top choice overall. It’s packed with healthy carbs like long-grain rice and oatmeal to give your pup the energy they need to explore, and healthy vegetables like carrots and spinach. The food is free from poultry by-products but packed with essential omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat development, plus added vitamins and minerals for a complete and balanced meal, every time. It’s also free from fillers, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
2. Pedigree Puppy Canned Dog Food — Best Value
|First listed ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken By-Products, Meat By-Products|
|Crude protein:||9% min|
|Crude fat:||7% min|
|Caloric content:||449 kcal/can|
The Chopped Ground Puppy Food from Pedigree is the best canned puppy food for the money, offering 100% balanced and complete nutrition. The food is formulated specially for growing dogs and contains a high protein content of 9% which comes primarily from chicken and beef. It’s formulated with DHA to help with cognitive support in your pup and aid in coat and skin health, plus beneficial vitamins like vitamin A, B1, D, and E, and essential minerals like calcium and potassium.
Our main concern with this food is the inclusion of meat by-products, which can cause gas and diarrhea in some puppies.
3. Royal Canin Puppy Canned Dog Food — Premium Option
|First listed ingredients:||Chicken By-Products, Chicken, Pork By-Products|
|Crude protein:||7.5% min|
|Crude fat:||4% min|
|Caloric content:||166 kcal/can|
This canned puppy food from Royal Canin is a great choice if you’re looking for premium wet food for your puppy. The food has multiple protein sources like chicken, pork, and salmon, and contains natural sources of essential omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. It’s packed with vitamin C, E, and taurine to help support your pup’s developing immune system, with added beet pulp for digestive aid. It contains all the vitamins and minerals your pooch needs and is 100% complete and balanced. The food is great for small breeds up to 10 months and large breeds up to 15 months.
This food, unfortunately, contains cornmeal as well as powdered cellulose, both of which are filler ingredients and an unnecessary inclusion in this food.
4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Chicken Dinner Canned
|First listed ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver|
|Crude protein:||9% min|
|Crude fat:||6% min|
|Caloric content:||422 kcal/can|
This Homestyle Recipe Canned Puppy Food from Blue Buffalo contains chicken as the first listed ingredient, with an overall protein content of 9%. It’s also packed with healthy garden vegetables and fruits like carrots, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. The included fish oil and flaxseeds are a great natural source of essential omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat development, and the added blueberries are a great natural antioxidant source. The food is also formulated with DHA for brain, eye, and cognitive development, and is free from by-product meals, grains, and artificial flavors or colors.
5. Purina Pro Plan Development Canned Puppy Food
|First listed ingredients:||Chicken, Liver, Meat By-Products|
|Crude protein:||10% min|
|Crude fat:||7% min|
|Caloric content:||475 kcal/can|
Purina Pro Plan Development Canned Puppy Food contains real chicken as the first ingredient, with a great protein content of 10% overall to aid in muscle development. It also contains DHA for brain and vision development plus salmon for a natural source of essential omega fatty acids. The food is packed with 23 essential vitamins and minerals for 100% complete and balanced nutrition and is made in the US without any artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. The food has a delicious pate texture that your pup will love and will provide your puppy with the essential nutrition they need for up to 1 year old.
Unfortunately, this food contains meat by-products, which is disappointing as all the other ingredients are great.
6. Royal Canin Small Puppy Wet Dog Food
|First listed ingredients:||Chicken, Pork By-Products, Chicken By-Products|
|Crude protein:||6.5% min|
|Crude fat:||4.5% min|
|Caloric content:||79 kcal/pouch|
Royal Canin Small Puppy Wet Food comes in convenient, single-serve pouches, and contains real chicken as the first ingredient. The pate is highly digestible with irresistible gravy and is made for puppies up to 10 months old. The pate contains antioxidants like vitamin E for immune support and beet pulp for digestive health. The included fish oil is great for your puppy’s skin and coat health, plus the food includes highly digestible proteins for healthy digestion. The food is 100% complete and balanced and a great addition to dry food too.
This food is fairly low in protein and contains some questionable ingredients like pork and chicken by-products. It also contains several filler ingredients such as cellulose, plus contains vegetable oil — not ideal for growing puppies.
7. Purina Puppy Chow Variety Pack Beef & Chicken Wet
|First listed ingredients:||Beef: Meat By-Products, Chicken, Liver Chicken: Chicken, Meat By-Products, liver|
|Crude protein:||11% min|
|Crude fat:||5% min|
|Caloric content:||Beef: 195 kcal/cup, Chicken: 184 kcal/cup|
Purina Puppy Chow Variety Pack contains Beef and Chicken recipe canned foods — 4 cans of each — both of which are 100% complete and balanced nutrition for your puppy. Each recipe features either real beef or chicken for an 11% overall protein content to help with muscle development, plus are loaded with DHA for eye, heart, and cognitive development, and salmon for a natural source of essential omega fatty acids, and vitamin E antioxidant for immune support.
Both these recipes contain meat by-products, which cause gas and diarrhea in some dogs and are not an ideal protein source. Also, several customers reported that both the recipes had a pungent smell that some puppies did not enjoy.
8. Nulo Freestyle Puppy Canned Dog Food
|First listed ingredients:||Turkey, Turkey Broth, Salmon Broth|
|Crude protein:||9.5% min|
|Crude fat:||5% min|
|Caloric content:||404 kcal/can|
Nulo Freestyle Puppy Canned Food is made with real turkey as the first ingredient, with a 100% grain-free recipe. Instead, it contains sweet potato, peas, and lentils to give your pup the energy boost they need. It contains flaxseeds, cod, and salmon oil to give your pooch the omega fatty acids they need for skin and coat development, plus natural antioxidants like blueberries and cranberries. It also has balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth and DHA to support cognitive development.
This food is expensive, and with the cod and salmon oil, has a pungent smell that a lot of puppies simply turned their noses up to.
9. Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Pint-Sized Puppy Plate
|First listed ingredients:||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth|
|Crude protein:||8.5% min|
|Crude fat:||3.5% min|
|Caloric content:||96 kcal/bowl|
The Merrick Lil’ Plates is a convenient single serving of delicious, healthy pate packed with chicken and turkey. The food is grain-free and loaded with prebiotics and probiotics to aid in digestion, and developed with high levels of essential omega acids and glucosamine and chondroitin from salmon for healthy skin and coat development. It’s also packed with healthy vegetables like sweet potatoes and red peppers, and healthy fruits like apples.
This food is pricey, and several customers reported that this food has a strong odor and their puppy would not eat it as a result. Also, it caused gas and runny stool in some puppies.
10. Iams ProActive Health Puppy Food
|First listed ingredients:||Chicken, Meat By-Products, Brewers Rice|
|Crude protein:||9% min|
|Crude fat:||8% min|
|Caloric content:||468 kcal/can|
Iams ProActive Health Puppy Food is a delicious pate that contains chicken as the first ingredient and is suitable for puppies 1–12 months old. It’s packed with flaxseeds and fish oils to give your puppy the essential fatty acids they need for healthy skin and a lustrous coat, plus contains all the essential vitamins and minerals your pup needs for optimal growth, including vitamin E for immune support and calcium for healthy bone development.
Several customers reported that their puppies would not eat this food due to the strong smell. Also, it contains meat by-products, with a fairly low protein content and high fat content overall.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Canned & Wet Puppy Food
Your puppy is growing rapidly, and their first year of growth is arguably the most important to their health in the future. For this reason, complete and balanced nutrition is an essential consideration, and the food you choose to feed your puppy is an important factor to think about. Dry food is typically great for adults, but wet food is usually considered for growing puppies. It’s far more easily digestible, typically has a higher concentration of nutrients, is gentle on their developing teeth and gums, and has a much higher moisture content. Naturally, the most important factor to consider with your puppy’s food is the ingredients.
Here are some ingredients to look out for when choosing the right wet food for your puppy:
Puppy Food Protein
Protein is arguably one of the most important ingredients for growing puppies as it aids in their muscle development. Ideally, the protein source should be from an animal like chicken or beef and listed as the first ingredient or at least in the top 3. Ingredients for dog food are typically listed by the highest percentage first, so if a meat ingredient is first on the list, you know that it makes up the majority of the food’s content.
Puppy Food Carbohydrates
Whether you decide to feed your puppy grain-free food or not, they’ll still need healthy carbohydrates in their diet. Dogs are not, unlike cats, obligate carnivores, and while they need a lot of protein, they still need healthy vegetables and fruits too. This can be in the form of whole grains, sweet potatoes, peas, or fruits like cranberries, apples, and blueberries, all of which have beneficial nutrients for your pooch.
Vitamins and Minerals
The food you choose for your puppy needs to be complete and balanced, meaning it has the right ratio of vitamins and minerals for growing puppies. It should contain antioxidants like vitamin E and C for immune support, and minerals like calcium and phosphorus to aid in teeth and bone development.
There are some other vital nutrients to consider too. Omega essential fatty acids are essential for skin and coat health and should ideally come from fish or flaxseed oil. DHA is also present in most fish oils and is essential for eye, heart, and cognitive development.
Ingredients to avoid
While there are ingredients to keep an eye out for to aid your puppy’s growth and development, there are also some ingredients to ideally be avoided. These include:
- Corn doesn’t contain much nutrition for your pup, as is typically used as a filler.
- Meat by-products. Meat by-products are different from meat meals. Meat meals contain healthy, nutritious meats often including organ meats from an identifiable source, while meat by-products are leftover animal parts from meat production. While they aren’t necessarily harmful, they are far less nutritious than whole meats or meat meals.
- Artificial ingredients. These include artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and are not great for your puppy.
- Often used as a filler ingredient, powdered cellulose has no nutritional value for your dog, and is basically powdered cardboard!
Purina ONE SmartBlend Classic Canned Puppy Food contains a delicious and healthy lamb and chicken combination and is our top choice overall. It also contains healthy carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits and is free from poultry by-products fillers, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
The Chopped Ground Puppy Food from Pedigree is the best canned puppy food for the money according to our research. The food is 100% balanced and complete and packed with real chicken and beef, formulated with DHA, plus essential minerals like calcium and potassium.
If you’re looking for a premium choice for your puppy, the Canned Puppy Food from Royal Canin is a great option. The food has multiple protein sources, natural sources of essential omega fatty acids, is packed with vitamins and minerals, and is 100% complete and balanced.
Finding the right food for your new puppy can be challenging, but hopefully, we’ve narrowed the options and helped you find the best option for your new canine companion!
Featured Image Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.