Best Canned Puppy Food Choices

Not sure whether you want to feed canned puppy food or dry kibble? Need advice on choosing the best wet puppy food? Find the answer here.




Although dry puppy food, aka 'puppy kibble', is the most popular choice of food for pups these days, the canned variety does have it's supporters.

It may be a good choice for some pets.... especially young puppies, tiny breeds, older dogs, and those with certain health conditions.

If you want to feed your puppy a canned diet, there are a few things you need to know in order to pick a premium food with the right balance of nutrition.

Just as with the dry kibble, the most important thing you need to consider are the ingredients.


How To Choose The Right Canned Puppy Food

The AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) lay down guidelines for dog food manufacturers to follow, and one of them is that every dog or puppy food must meet some minimum levels of all the basic nutrient components (ie protein, fiber, fat & moisture).

On my Best Puppy Food Choices page (this link will open in a new window) you can see which ingredients are the ones you want to see, and the ones that you don't. It also has information on the recommendations for percentage value of each component.

Here are a few formulas that have what you're looking for......


Wellness Just for Puppy

Merrick Puppy Plate

Newman's Own Organics

Blue Buffalo Homestyle

The type of ingredients don't change very much from dry to canned food, and in short the best puppy foods contain:

  • Whole meat protein source (no by products) that is human grade/USDA Grade 1, and from an identifiable animal such as beef, lamb or chicken

  • Whole grains (unless food is grain-free of course)

  • Fat from a clearly labeled source such as 'chicken fat' for example

The percentage ratios/figures on the page I mentioned above are for DRY PUPPY FOOD, but you'll need to make an adjustment for canned puppy food.

This is because it usually contains between 75% and 80% water (while dry food only contains about 10% water). So, in order to compare 'apples to apples', you want to be comparing the ingredients without the moisture.

Here's a simple way to do this:

  • Find the % given for moisture and subtract it from 100. This gives you the basic 'dry weight' to start from.

  • Find the % figure given on the can/bag for each component individually, and divide it by the 'dry-weight' percentage, then multiply by 100. This gives you the true % figure.

I know this sounds confusing, but it's really very simple. Here's an example:

You know the canned puppy food you're considering contains 78% moisture and 10% protein because it says so on the label. So start out by subtractiing 78% from 100% which gives you 22%

Take the 10 (%) protein figure and divide it by 22, which gives you .45, and multiply that by 100, which equals 45.45... which is 45.45% - that's the percentage of protein in this food.

100 - 78 = 22

10 ÷ 22 = .45

.45 x 100 = 45.45

...... so the percentage of protein is actually just over 45%

You can do this for each ingredient and then you can compare that to dry puppy food to see the differences between them.

Overall puppy or dog food that is canned generally contains a higher percentage of protein than the dry variety, and a lower percentage of carbohydrates.

This makes it a not-so-great choice for large or giant breed puppies who need a below-average and strictly controlled amount of protein (a recommended maximum of around 25%) to prevent potential bone/joint problems caused by too-rapid growth.


Pros & Cons of Feeding Wet Puppy Food

Using canned puppy food does have it's advantages. Here are a few of them:

  • Tastes and smells appetizing, so your pup is more likely to 'dig in'

  • Long shelf-life BEFORE opening

  • It's softness makes it easy for young puppies, or tiny dogs, to eat

  • Often contains less artificial preservatives as the canning process preserves the food itself


And here are some of the disadvantages:

  • High moisture content means less nutrition per mouthful

  • Short shelf-life AFTER opening, needs to be refrigerated and spoils quickly

  • High protein levels make it poor choice for large breeds & can cause tummy upsets in some pups

  • Results in more frequent, and looser, stools

  • The higher price per ounce (or pound!) can make it too expensive for large-breed pups


Sometimes you can strike a 'happy medium' by feeding both dry puppy kibble and wet puppy food, mixed together.

If you have a 'picky eater' or a small breed puppy who needs a bit more protein, this may be a good solution. But try to stick to a ratio of 25% canned food to 75% dry, or at the most a 30:70 split.

Here are some more of the best canned puppy food choices on the market right now. If you've decided that this is the way to go in terms of feeding your little guy, there will be one here that will suit him....


Taste of the Wild Food for All Lifestages

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free

AvoDerm Natural Chicken and Rice

Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix




Evanger's Classic Recipes

Blue Buffalo Longevity for Puppies


Wellness Canned Food for Puppy


Set of 2 Pet Food Can Covers

Of course, using canned food is just one option for feeding your little one. If you'd like to find out more about puppy food check out the pages below, or for info. on the choosing a food/diet for an adult dog CLICK HERE 



› Canned Puppy Food


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