Canned Dog Food 

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 13 min.

While dog foods are not necessarily available in the same variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors as human food, there are still plenty of options to choose from. Canned dog food over the years has become one of the most sought-after dog food types in the world. This increased popularity has been linked to a couple of the benefits it offers.

By containing a sufficient amount of protein and fat with fewer carbohydrates, canned dog foods tend to be more palatable than the other dog food types. Canned dog foods are here to stay and in this piece, we’ll discuss what canned dog foods are, their many benefits, and certain drawbacks.

Types of Dog Food

Before diving into the benefits of healthy canned dog food, it is important that we take a first-hand look at some of the various dog food types.

Raw Dog Food

A raw dog food diet simply consists of raw meat with bones and other vital organs mixed in. Since bones are a good source of calcium and phosphorus in dogs, it’s ideal that they are mixed into the raw meat. Most dogs have strong stomach acids and short intestinal tracts that make it easier to consume and digest raw meat, which is why this diet works well for them.

While ideal for many dogs, it’s important that you speak to a veterinarian before transitioning your dog to this diet. Like most diets, there are benefits and risks associated with a raw meat diet, so it’s advised that you seek the professional counsel of a veterinarian before making that important decision.

Home Cooked Dog Food

This diet is ideal for dog owners that want to take full control of everything their dog takes in. Home-cooked dog food offers owners first-hand information about everything their dog consumes. This is done to ensure that the nutritional needs of the dog are met.

Whilst you are in total control of everything your furry friend eats, this dog food type is expensive and time-consuming, but the health of your dog may be worth the time and finance that’s put into the effort. If you ever decide to start feeding your dog with home-cooked food, you need to first familiarize yourself with canine nutrition. This is so that your dog does not miss out on any of the essential nutrients required for growth.

Dry/Kibble Dog Food

This has been identified to be the most sought after dog food type. The reason is not hard to guess either, dry dog food is incredibly economical. Dry dog food happens to be quite durable and does not need refrigerating.

In addition to being incredibly economical, this dog food type has been said to offer immense benefits for your dog’s teeth. Research has revealed that it helps to keep the teeth of your animal healthy as the constant chewing of crunchy food may stop tartar build-up in dogs.

The variety of dry dog foods in the market today has made it difficult for dog owners to pick one that suits them. To get your hands on the best one, it’s important that you read the label of the product carefully to ensure that it contains wholesome foods in the ingredients.

Semi-Moist Dog Food

Dog foods that are shaped like burgers, pork, and other meaty foods are classified as semi-moist foods. Unlike the other food types mentioned above, this has to be the least nutritional food type. Plus, they happen to contain coloring and artificial flavors of all sorts.

While this dog food can be given to your pet as treats to reward good behavior, it should never be seen as a proper meal. Semi-moist dog foods do not contain the nutrients your pup needs to grow.

Canned Dog Food Type

Canned dog food can be expensive, but it has a longer shelf life than most other dog food types. Many dog owners opt for this type of food because they believe it’s worth every penny spent. As clearly mentioned earlier, this dog food type happens to contain more protein and fat than carbohydrates. Canned foods are also easy to digest and only require a little backyard clean up after each meal.

The digestibility and palatability level of this dog food type makes it ideal for dogs suffering from various ailments as well as those that are picky eaters. While this dog food does not help to keep your dog’s teeth healthy, a couple of experts and nutritionists are of the opinion that it could be healthier than dry foods. The high moisture content of most canned dog foods helps to keep your pet hydrated, keeping their body in good health.

While there are a variety of canned dog foods available for purchase right now, many of these foods from various brands and companies do not contain the needed nutrients for growth. And though they last a long time, canned dog foods are still perishable once they have been opened.

Before making the transition to canned food, it’s a good idea to discuss the benefits and risks associated with this diet with a veterinarian.

Benefits of Canned Dog Food

The convenience, palatability, and other unique features have made canned dog food stand out as one of the best dog food options. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of canned dog food.

Offers More Protein

Canned foods are second only to raw meat diets in terms of protein but are much more economical. Also, they can be ideal for dogs that require grain sourced carbohydrates.

While canned foods contain more protein than any other dog diet, it’s important that you remember that dog food labels may misrepresent ingredients. Some claim to contain more protein than they actually have so it’s important that you trust the brand before you buy.

Fewer Preservatives

Aside from home-cooked and raw meat dog food, canned food is one of the more naturally-preserved dog diets. As mentioned earlier, canned dog foods can only last for a couple of days and will need to be refrigerated but their sealed nature also means they will keep for a long time if unopened. The sealing process also requires fewer preservatives.

Is it actually wrong to add preservatives to dog food? This is one question that has been asked time and again. Most additives are safe but the biggest downside is that most of the preservatives do not possess much nutritional value. However, it’s important to note that these preservatives allow canned foods to last for a long time and most brands only add enough to be effective, not harmful.

It Is Palatable

With more natural flavor and preservatives, canned dog food actually tastes better than most of the other dog food diets. This diet is ideal for picky eaters as well as older pups that have lost their sense of smell and taste, or their ability to chew. The fact that canned foods contain more protein, actual meat, and fewer carbohydrates also means there are less artificial colors and flavors. As such, canned dog food tends to be a lot more palatable for your pups.

Comes in a Variety

This dog food diet offers your furry friend a variety of meals to choose from. Contrary to what you might have heard or read on the internet, changing the diet or meal of your dog from time to time does more good than harm. Allowing your dog to sample a variety of meals will expose him to more naturally-occurring nutrients. In addition, it helps encourage your pet to try out other foods in the future.

One of the main reasons for encouraging your dog to try out different foods is because few commercial dog foods are complete. While they may claim to offer complete nutrients for your dog, this is unlikely. Since you do not truly know if a particular brand of dog food contains all the essential nutrients like vitamins, protein, and fat, or if there are enough of each, a mixed diet will better benefit your dog. For example, while vitamins are needed, taking in too many can be just as bad as not getting any. Balance is key.

This is why it’s advised that you sample different canned dog foods from time to time to help your friend get all the nutrients they need.

Helps In Weight Loss

High-moisture canned dog foods have been identified to make your furry friend feel full, which is essential for weight loss. Canned foods also contain protein which is essential in maintaining muscle in dogs while doing away with irritating or pesky fat.

Canned Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food

This debate has been ongoing for as long as I can remember. These two dog food types are the most popular dog diets currently available. While they are different in a number of ways, they are both good diets for your dog. In this section, we’ll look at some of the differences between these dog food types.

Affordability and Convenience

In terms of convenience and affordability, dry food has an upper hand. Unlike canned food, dry dog food is easier to clean, less messy, and incredibly easy to measure. Also, it’s capable of sitting days without going bad (though it will lose its freshness after awhile).

Aside from being cheaper, dry dog food happens to be denser than canned food. The reason for this not far fetched – dry food is made up of only 10% of water against the 75% water found in canned foods.

Also, dry food is generally economical and affordable. It can be easily measured and capable of lasting for a longer period of time, thereby preventing waste.

Nutritional Value

While an exclusive canned food diet may be ideal for puppies, older dogs may have a hard time gathering all the essential nutrients needed for growth. Dry foods, on the other hand, are not as ideal as canned foods for puppies. It is, however, a perfect source of nutrients for older dogs.


While most of the dry dog food manufacturers try to make it look tempting by coating it with fats, artificial flavoring, and gravy, dry dog foods are not as palatable as canned dog foods. Since canned dog foods are ideal for picky eaters, palatability is of the essence.


Canned dog foods have been made to last a couple of days after the first use. For this to happen, it has to be refrigerated. Dry foods, unlike any other food type, have been made to last a couple of weeks and surprisingly do not require refrigeration. Artificial preservatives have been added to both to ensure that they are able to last.

Manufacturers of canned foods make use of natural preservatives which are beneficial to the growth of your furry friend. While it is not entirely wrong to add preservatives, one major disadvantage is that many artificial preservatives do not offer any nutritional value.


As mentioned earlier, canned dog food varies and it’s important that your dog samples a few of them. Dry dog food, like the other dog food types, does not come in a wide variety for dog owners to choose from.

Additionally, to ensure that your dog is getting all their essential nutrients it’s good to trust your brand and vary their diet. Since there are not many diets or types to choose from, dog owners that opt for dry food may be giving their dogs an excessive amount of a particular nutrient so adding in additional types of food can be helpful.

Pros and Cons of Canned Dog Food


  • It is palatable thereby making it easier for picky eaters to eat
  • It is easy to digest
  • Canned foods have a longer shelf life
  • It is ideal for puppies and dogs that are recovering from an illness
  • It is ideal for dogs with limited kidney functions as the moisture content (75% water) increases urination for healthy kidneys
  • Contains more protein and fat than any other dog food type
  • It comes in a variety for you to choose from
  • Little or no preservatives added


  • It can be expensive
  • It is not ideal for older dogs as they find it difficult gathering all essential nutrients because of the amount of water
  • Dogs that consume more canned foods require frequent dental cleaning than others
  • Does not help in the build-up of tartar
  • Fewer carbohydrates mean that bigger and older dogs will have to consume more to gain their required calories

Pros and Cons of Dry Dog Food


  • It is incredibly easy to store
  • It is easy to measure
  • Requires little or no clean up after every feeding session
  • With only 10% water, it happens to be more energy-dense than any other food types
  • It is less expensive
  • It offers incredible dental benefits as it prevents tartar build-up in your dog
  • It is formulated with more grains and other grain-based products than any other food type


  • It is not always palatable
  • It contains more artificial preservatives
  • There are not many diet options
  • It is not ideal for puppies

Types Of Dog Canned Food

There is a wide range of canned dog food, from organic canned dog food to healthy canned dog food, low sodium dog food, and more. Here, we will take a look at some of the canned food types.

Low Sodium Canned Dog Food

Like most of the components of a dog diet, sodium is essential. However, like humans, excessive consumption is detrimental to the health of your dog. Fortunately, it is not one of those things you need to worry about as your furry friend has physical mechanisms that help to excrete excessive sodium.

In certain cases though, your dog may need to consume a low sodium diet. In cases like this, it’s important that you opt for a canned food brand that is reputable. This is because some brands do not offer what they claim to.

Some of the best low sodium canned foods you can try out include:

  • Wellness Complete Toy Bread – this is one of the best low sodium canned dog food anyone can get their hands on at the moment. It is currently available for purchase on Chewy and other online stores.
  • Earthborn Weight Control – currently available on Amazon, this canned dog food contains just the right amount of sodium needed by your dog.

Organic Canned Dog Food

As a responsible dog owner, it’s your duty to ensure that your pet gets the most out of every food consumed. This includes reading through labels to ensure that all canned foods purchased are organic and nutritional. Organic foods, as the name implies, are naturally grown and often contain more nutrients than your regular dog diet.

To ensure that your dog gets all the essential nutrients required for growth, it’s important that you opt for organic canned dog food. Some of the best canned dog food include;

  • Merrick Classic Organic Canned Food – ideal for all dogs regardless of age, size, and breed, this is an ideal organic diet that contains; chicken broth, peas, beef liver, deboned beef, etc.
  • Halo West Organic Food – an excellent choice for older dogs alone, this grain-inclusive senior canned dog food is one of the best out there.

Overall, organic canned dog food has been described by most people as the healthiest canned dog food type out there.

How Much Canned Dog Food To Feed Per Day

At one point in your dog caring journey, you probably have asked this question. It’s not something to be ashamed of, most people have asked and others are still asking. In fact, it’s one of the best questions to ask when it comes to canned dog food and feeding your furry friend.

When it comes to how much food your dog should be given daily, there are a couple of things to consider, including the age, size, and habits of your dog. There are actually two popular feeding methods: limited time feeding and free-choice feeding.

Limited Time Feeding

This method involves feeding your dog small meals several times throughout the day. Naturally, you will have to divide the daily ration into smaller portions to ensure they are still eating enough. As always, the daily ration and portions will depend on the size and age of your pet.

For each feeding session, the exact portion of food should be offered. If this portion is not eaten right away, you need to remove it 20 minutes after it is offered and do not serve again until it is time for the next portion. This will indirectly tell your pup that he needs to eat the food when it is offered or else he misses out on it.

Puppies that are 3 months or less should be fed 4 times daily. If a can of food is to be eaten daily, you will need to divide it into equal portions and offer 4 times throughout the day.

Free Choice

This feeding method involves keeping the bowl of your pup always full with canned food. This method allows the dog to eat as much as he wants as well as when he wants to. Albeit easy, this feeding method is not recommended as it makes it extremely difficult to monitor the eating pattern of your pup and may also lead to obesity.

Also, if you happen to have more than one dog, free-choice feeding makes it difficult to find out which dog is eating and which is not.


Although canned dog foods are beneficial to the growth of your pup, they have a couple of disadvantages just like any of the other food types. Notably, canned dog food contains the right amount of protein and fat needed for growth without the cost of a raw meat diet or the time that home cooking requires.