Canned Dog Food: All You Need To Know About It 

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We’ll do our best to answer the questions we believe are in your head right now. We believe we’ve anticipated all your concerns concerning canned dog food and have addressed them appropriately. So, all you need do is sit back and relax.




What’s The Idea Behind Canned Dog Food?

Canned dog food is also referred to as wet dog food and that’s the basic idea. It is one of three types of commercially prepared dog foods. The others being dry dog food and semi-moist food. It comes in a can or a tin as the name suggests.

When put side by side with dry food, canned dog food seems to be the more preferred among people because of its high moisture and protein content. Most people either advocate for wet food over dry food or a mixture of both (with wet food being of a higher quantity).

However, when put side by side with fresh food, canned dog food doesn’t seem to hold a candle. Well, to be fair, it’s not just canned food, it’s commercially prepared food (which includes dry food) but you get the drift.

Canned food seems to be an awesome choice, relatively. But don’t leave yet. Wouldn’t you love to go through the entire thing and make the decision for yourself? Of course you would, so we’re sticking with you on this one.




So What’s It About Canned Dog Food?

There are a lot of people that sing the praises of canned dog foods everywhere. There are also those that are not so impressed. We’ve created an unbiased compilation of all the fine points and the ugly points of canned dog food:


Canned dog food can be quite expensive. Some say it is because manufacturers factor in the cost of the aluminum used in packaging the food (most cans are made of aluminum). Also, going for canned dog food will prove quite expensive because of how frequently you have to restock.

You see, canned dog food does not have a long shelf life. Also, it is not as nutritionally dense as dry kibble because of the water it contains. What this means is that for your dog to eat fresh canned food and get as much nutrient as he needs, you will buy canned foods frequently.



The aroma that wafts out of an opened can of wet dog food beats that from dry dog food any day. And that is definitely one score for canned dog foods. A deliciously smelling dog food should make your dog eager.

Also, dogs eat with their noses first. Almo Nature gives a quick analysis of the difference between taste and smell in human, cats and dogs. They explain this showing how taste and smell ultimately affect each one’s approach to food.

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The long and short is that dogs don’t have so many taste buds (not as many as humans but more than cats). However, these same dogs can smell as far as 150 centimeters away.

So even if dry food and wet food are equally delicious (which is quite debatable) a dog will most likely go for wet food because of the aroma. Aroma means a lot to a dog and most times affects his choice of what to eat and what not to eat.

This is especially good for both senior dogs and invalid dogs. Most of the dogs in these categories have issues with their sense of taste. At that point, they need motivation to eat and dry food will not provide them the motivation they need.

They can no longer taste as well as they used to so they practically depend on their sense of smell. If you get them salivating, they could be tempted to eat something. Purina ONE Natural, High Protein Gravy Wet Dog Food; SmartBlend Tender Cuts Chicken & Brown Rice - 13 oz. 12 pack



Wet foods are generally easier to digest. They are cooked, contain a high moisture content and are usually quite tender. All these qualities put together make for an easy to digest dog food. In fact, your dog doesn’t even need to chew properly for the food to be properly digested.

This is good news especially for a dog that has digestion issues. Some senior dogs have troubles with digesting foods and that’s where canned dog foods can come in.

Because they contain a high moisture content, they make things (by things we mean digestion) go a lot easier. Bowel movement is also part of the digestion process and we all know that water does a lot for everybody in that department.


Easy To Chew

Because canned foods are precooked and tender, they are easier on your dog’s teeth than dry food. This is especially good for senior dogs that have begun to experience some dental issues and find it hard to chew.

Also, dogs that have problems with their jaw or have even lost a few teeth can benefit greatly from wet dog food. They don’t have to stress their teeth cracking on dry stuff. Moisture makes it easier.


Moisture Content

Canned dog foods have quite a high moisture content. This is good news if your dog is not much of a water drinker. He can get a bit of his needed moisture from the food. This does not mean that canned dog food should replace water. It just gives you less of a cause for worry knowing that your dog is getting some of the water he needs.

On the other hand, the fact that it is wet means that your dog will make more of a mess. The only mess that your dog can make if he is eating kibble (dry food) is to leave crumbs. With canned dog food, he could mess up his snout and even smear dog food on surfaces. So, canned dog food could spell extra attention or extra cleaning time for you.

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Remember we said earlier that dry food being equally as delicious as wet food is debatable? Well, here’s the debate. There is a good number of dog parents and dog lovers alike that swear by the palatability of canned dog food.

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A writer on says canned food restored their dog’s appetite. Apparently, the dog had been refusing to eat his dry food and wet food was the solution.

Dogs apparently love their food wet or love wet food. This alone should be reason enough to try it out (on your dog of course).

However, some others argue that we cannot conclusively say that dogs enjoy wet food more than dry food. This is because, wet food depends heavily on its aroma and a dog will eat basically anything that appeals to his sense of smell. Dogs don’t have so many taste buds, so it could be that they enjoy the meal due to its aroma and not its taste.



Because canned dog foods are expected to be consumed within a short time frame, they usually don’t contain too many preservatives (if any at all). Dry foods contain a lot of preservatives to give them prolonged shelf life.

If you are thinking “well, preservatives are not such a bad thing” you’d be kinda right. We say kinda because some manufacturers opt for natural preservatives and those are safe. But some others don’t and that’s why we worry.

Non-natural preservatives have zero nutritional value. That would have been OK if they were not quite harmful. Homes Alive Pets gives some examples of preservatives that are bad news. They include nitrates and carcinogens.

Also, the fact that dry foods can stay for a long time might not always be good news. Because food that is just prepared is always fresher than food that has been around for a long time.

On the flip side, the cans used to package some canned dog foods contain some form of preservatives. The preservatives, BPA (Bisphenol A) and BPS (Bisphenol S) prevent chemicals on the can from seeping into the food which is good. However, these preservatives themselves are known to be hormone disruptors which is terrible news.

Another good news (to counteract the terrible news) is that not all the cans contain BPA or BPS. How do you know which one does and which one does not? It’s written on the can.


Protein Content

Canned dog food unarguably contains more protein than dry dog food. In fact, it is the closest commercial variant of natural food. Canned dog food contains more actual meat than dry food does. Some dry foods don’t contain actual meat but meat substitutes. Wet food contains real meat making it a good source of protein for your dog.

Homes Alive Pets runs a quick analysis on the difference between protein content in dry food and protein content in wet food. To the untrained eye, protein content is higher in dry food than in wet food.

However, a protein test showed that protein is higher in wet food than dry food. Purina ALPO Gravy Wet Dog Food Variety Pack; Gravy Cravers With Beef & With Chicken - (12) 13.2 oz. Cans


Canned Dog Food And Weight Loss

Canned dog food does not contain as much carbs as dry food does. This makes it a better choice for a dog who is beginning to gain too much weight. Aside the fact that it contains less carbs, it also contains a lot of protein.

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Protein takes more time to digest which means your dog will be full for longer. If he feels full for longer, he will eat less. If you connect all the dots you’ll realize that it all adds up to less weight.



Canned Dog Food Vs Fresh Food

As we said earlier, when compared with fresh food or even organic dog food, a good number of people seem to swing in the natural direction. However, there are still a few people that swing the other way. And here are some of the reasons why:

  • Although canned food does not contain as much protein as natural food does, it is generally safer. Some proponents of fresh food are also against such artificial things as cooking. It is general knowledge that cooked food is safer than uncooked food. This is because in the process of cooking, some troublemaking bacteria are killed.
  • Those that have no problem with cooking end up spending quite some time in the kitchen trying to make the food into something their dogs can eat. With canned dog food, all you need do is crack open the can.
  • Also, canned foods are more easily accessible than fresh foods. Every store where food for dogs is sold (or basically anything for dog) carries tons and tons of canned dog food.




Switching Your Dog To Canned Dog Food

Do it gradually. Don’t just stop his dry food servings all of a sudden. Get him acquainted with it by reducing the dry and increasing the wet till he gets comfortable with it.

Alternatively, you could just keep on feeding him a mixture of the dry and the wet. It’s the perfect way to get the goodness of both the wet and the dry dog food.

Now, you have to be careful how you store canned dog food. Once it is open, you can’t leave it out in the open. It has to be refrigerated, compulsorily. It will go bad if you don’t. Even if it is refrigerated, it has to be eaten within days because canned dog food cannot maintain its freshness for a long time.

A number of people are skeptical about canned dog food because it has the tendency to stick to the dog’s teeth. As compared to dry food, that is. So you have to be very particular about his dental health. Brush his teeth and give him dental chew toys to chew on. You don’t want plaque to make an abode in your dog’s teeth.




In Conclusion

We always stress that before you even form a diet change thought in your mind, talk with your veterinarian. There must be something that prompts you to upgrade or change your dog’s diet. Discuss that something with your veterinarian and let them be the one to prescribe the kind of dietary upgrade or change.