Common Ingredients of Canned Dog Food Revealed

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Dogs are omnivores with a carnivorous bias. Thus, they have survived for decades on meat and non-meat scraps as well as leftovers of human existence. Commercial dog food was invented a little over one hundred years ago.

The most common ingredients of canned dog food are poultry, seafood, meat, soybean, and feed grains. Wet dog food is processed by grinding protein sources first, and then a gravy with minerals, grains, and vitamins is added. After those are mixed, it is cooked and sterilized to make the canned product.

The numerous canned dog foods in the market can make it daunting for you to select the best food for your dog. Knowing what ingredients high-quality dog food should contain ensures your pet will always be healthy and strong. For this reason, I write this review to help you make the right decision for your dog’s health.

Main Ingredients in Canned Dog Foods

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) promotes honesty and transparency in the manufacturing of feeds. This calls for food companies to indicate all ingredients used on the can. Canned food ingredients may either be natural or synthetic.

Synthetic ingredients are artificially processed, while natural ingredients are gifts of nature.Most people prefer natural and organic ingredients in their dog feeds because they have added nutritional value. A few of the common ingredients in canned dog food are discussed below.

Canned Meat

Protein is typically the top ingredient in most canned dog foods. However, the type of protein is as essential as the amount used. Adequate protein is any that comes from meat sources, though not just any meat source. Quality protein sources for dog food are beef, chicken, or turkey. Foods that depend on corn as the primary protein are not acceptable.

Fresh or frozen quality meat is used for canned dog foods. The meat is first ground into tiny pieces in large batches. The type of meat used is usually listed on the label. And according to the AAFCO, dogs’ nutrient guideline is a minimum protein of 18%.

If you are looking for the best canned dog food types, I recommend checking out Purina One SmartBlend Canned Meat, Blue Buffalo Natural Protein, and Chicken, Carrot and Pea Purina Grade Free on

Is Canned Meat Advisable for Dogs?

In a lot of ways, canned meat is suitable for dogs. It is even better than kibble as it contains more meat protein than dry foods and is processed with fewer carbohydrates.

Due to the air-tight packaging, canned dog food does not contain synthetic preservatives. It also contains more proteins than most feeble foods, and you can feel confident that your dog is getting the best full-meal.


Dog fillers are challenging to define and are often subject to trends. The filler is a method to make a lot of dog food without using a lot of meat. It is mainly used to lower dog feed cost though it is not always beneficial in nutrition to dogs. The popular filler types are brewer’s rice, wheat, and soy.

What is the Best Filler for Dogs?

The best filler for dog food is fibers. Tomato pumice, potatoes, vegetables, and fiber in beans are some of the best fillers to feed your pet. It mainly adds to the bulk of the diet, and well, you also know the advantages of fiber in a diet, right?

The nutritional value does not end at proteins. I recommend fillers such as Purina Pro Plan High Protein corn from that go a long way in providing more benefits to your pet, including energy, proteins, a healthy skin, coat, and boosting their immune system. Animal specialists advise that merely looking at the ingredient label does not tell all you need to know about canned dog food.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables for dogs are great supplements for a healthy pet diet. They are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and E can help any dog lose weight because they promote the burning of calories while fighting disease.

Vitamin C usually helps boost the immune system, while minerals such as potassium are crucial for the heart’s health whereas iron is essential for healthy blood. The fresh fruit and vegetable content in wet foods ensures your dog gets the essential minerals and vitamins required for a healthy life. These are some of the most recommended fruits and vegetables used in wet foods.

  • Apples are an excellent choice for the provision of vitamins A, C, and fiber.
  • Carrots contain beta carotene and are rich in Vitamins A, K, and C. They are suitable for enhanced eyesight, fair skin, and cleaning teeth and gums.
  • Sweet Potatoes are heart-healthy and go easy on the dog’s digestive tract. They also contain more nutritional value than white potatoes.
  • Celery is rich in vitamins and minerals. It generally improves heart health, fights cancer, and can lower blood pressure.
  • Green Beans are also a source of natural plant fiber and Vitamins A, C. K and manganese.

While not all these supplements are found in inexpensive brands, most canned foods add peas, carrots, and potatoes. It’s mainly due to their benefits and to reduce the quantity of meat the manufacturer has to add to the canned food. A responsible dog owner should know what they are feeding their pets.

Synthetic Additives

Canned dog foods are usually free from artificial additives. However, some manufacturers add some vitamins, joint supplements, and probiotics. Also, gums, glycerin, lecithin are other additives used to create the gravy and prevent the separation of ingredients in canned foods.


  • Antioxidant preservative
  • Protect food from decomposition or oxidation


  • Protects food from spoilage organisms and bacteria

Coloring Agents

  • Enhance the appearance of food


  • Enhance palatability of foods

Grain Leftovers

Some grains are suitable for your dog, but that does not include the leftovers on mill floors. Whole-grain rice, oatmeal, and millet are beneficial nutrients. However, brans and grain hulls are not more than the inedible bits that are left after milling. In case you come across anything written hulls, brans, or middlings, please move on.


Just like sugar, salt is added to dog food to enhance the taste. At times, the salt may be listed as iodized salt, which makes it sound healthier. However, too much salt may cause health problems in dogs, similar to the problems excess salt causes in human beings. Quality ingredients have just enough salt that your dog requires.


Not all fat is bad fat, infact, dogs require fat for them to be healthy. Dogs primarily use fats for energy rather than carbohydrates. These fats also contain fatty acids, but not all fats are equally good. It would help if you avoided inferior fats, such as tallow, cottonseed oil, and lard.

Harmful Canned Food Ingredients

Among the harmful ingredients to avoid are color. Some food colors have been associated with health issues. Some processors also add some sweeteners or salt to make the foods more palatable, but these are often harmful to your canine friends.

Avoid choosing canned dog foods that have chemical preservatives, such as ethoxyquin and BHA. Instead, go for foods that are naturally preserved with ingredients, such as rosemary or tocopherols. Additionally, some foods are also preserved naturally by sterilizing at high temperatures to remove moisture.

If your dog loves semi-moist food, they are most likely eating food that contains propylene glycol. This chemical is commonly found in solvents and antifreeze and is also used to prevent food from drying out. It is approved for dog food, but it is a harsh chemical that should be avoided at all costs.

The Process of Making Canned Dog Food

Every type of canned dog food has its unique formula and ingredients. Most canned dog foods, however, are produced in a similar method. To gain an in-depth understanding of wet dog foods, you ought to know how they are made.

1. Assembling of Raw Materials

This is the first step of the process. Different pet food manufacturers have their lists of ingredients, but the standard ingredient is meat. Fresh or frozen meats are grounded into small pieces and then assembled. The meat product is then mixed with vitamins, minerals, and grains at times. Other ingredients usually include fruits and vegetables.

2. Mixing and Cooking

After assembling raw materials, they are blended in a mixer. The temperature in the mixer increases gradually, and the starch ingredients begin to gelatinize while proteins denature. This process helps enhance the flavor and texture of the final product.

Canned dog foods containing carbohydrates are usually cooked at very high temperatures than those with no carbohydrates to make sure that starches are fully cooked.

3. Filling and Sealing Cans

After the products are thoroughly blended and cooked, they are transferred to a seamer or filler machine. The machine fills the cans with food, adds the lids, and then seals them by seaming. This machine can seal up to 600 cans per minute. The machine also blows some steam over the lids making the can vacuum-sealed, which prevents ingredients from spoiling.

4. Sterilizing

The last step is sterilizing the cans. The sealed cans are taken to a machine that heats them to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121.111°C) for about three minutes. This kills any potentially dangerous bacteria. After sterilizing, the cans are allowed some time to cool, labeled, and distributed for sales.

Advantages of Canned Dog Food Over-Dry Food

  • Higher moisture content. If your dog does not drink water, canned food may be an excellent choice for your pet.
  • Palatability. Canned food is typically more flavored and aromatic.
  • Satiety. Wet dog food creates a longer-lasting feeling of being ‘full’ for your pet. It is also essential for weight management, especially for dogs that are always in appetite.
  • Easier to chew. Canned foods for dogs are the best choice for dogs with dental disease or any other oral abnormalities because it is easier to chew than the dry dog foods.

Mixing Canned and Dry Dog Foods

This is another option that would provide the best of both worlds. However, it is crucial to ensure that you also provide the right daily amounts of food to prevent underfeeding or overfeeding. If you don’t know how much food your dog eats, consult your veterinarian for your dog’s daily calorie requirements. They know best how to calculate how much canned or dry food your furry friend can have each day.

Related Articles: In What Ratio Should You Mix Wet and Dry Dog Food?

Canned Dog Food Feeding Tips

Does your dog bark for chopped blends? Does he prefer more or less sauce in the food? Whatever your dog’s wet food preferences are, follow these feeding tips to help make your dog’s mealtime enjoyable.

Feeding 3 oz (8.04g) Cans

Your dog should be fed one 3 oz (8.04g) can per day for every 3 pounds (1.36kgs) of body weight. This meal should be subdivided into two or three meals per day. Depending on the need, adjust the amount required to help maintain your body’s ideal health condition.

If you would like to mix the canned food with dry dog food, keep in mind that 3 oz (8.04g) cans replace about ¼ of dry dog food.

Feeding 10 oz (283.5g) Tubs

It is recommended that your dog should get 10 oz (283.5g) tubs for every 10 ½ – 12 ½ pounds (4.8 – 5.7 kgs) each day. The meal should also be divided into two to three meals in a day. When mixing with dry food, a 10 oz (283.5g) container is mixed with ¾ – 1 cups of dry dog food.

If you feed canned dog food like Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner from to puppies, remember that he/she requires two times as much food as an adult dog.

Fresh Drinking Water

Dogs, just like human beings, require water for good health. Provide adequate and fresh water in a clean container after every meal daily. Also, ensure that you visit your veterinarian from time to time to check up and ensure you have a happy companion.


When canned food is opened, it should be stored in a fridge and used within two or three days.

Avoid Feeding Your Dogs Human Foods

Some of the typical household and human foods are usually toxic to dogs These include chocolates, garlic, onions, raisins, grapes, milk, fatty foods, and other plants. A lot of people’s food should not be fed to your dog. It is not just because of weight gain but because some foods are also hazardous for dogs.

Avoid feeding your dog with these foods to ensure they stay healthy and without any complications. Ensure you get your dog a well-balanced diet by asking your vet for the best food for your dog. This does not mean that you cannot give your furry friend people’s food from time to time as a special treat. But only a little. Ensure the foods are well-cooked, not fatty, or heavily seasoned.

Final Word

Dogs are man’s best companion. You must take great care of your furry friend to ensure they live a healthy and happy life. And that is easy breezy. Just give them the right and balanced diet, help them exercise regularly, and play with them.

The best way to choose the right food for your dog is by reading the ingredients label. Some foods are good, while others may not be the best for your dog breed. Knowing what to look for makes the job much more comfortable. Following your vet’s advice is key to observing and maintaining your dog’s diet. Also, make sure that the ingredients in dog food are the right ones to avoid any complications.