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Best Wet Puppy Food

Small Dog for Best Wet Puppy Food Page

What’s the best wet food for your puppy?

The answer to that important question depends on the BREED SIZE of your particular dog.

That’s because…

Large breed puppies have a high risk of developing a crippling and permanent form of hip disease… if they’re fed a diet that contains too much calcium while they’re still growing.1

Notice the serious bone and joint damage visible in this x-ray:

X-ray of large breed dog with bilateral hip disease
Large Breed Dog with Canine Hip Disease

Since the nutritional needs of small and large breed puppies are so different, it’s important to choose a wet food that’s SAFE for your puppy’s breed size.

Top Recommendations

On the page below…

We’ll share The Dog Food Advisor’s best wet puppy foods… each labeled “Best for” to help you choose a food that’s safe for YOUR puppy’s breed size.

And we’ll also answer the 5 most frequently asked questions we get about feeding wet puppy food.


Editor's Choice Best Wet Puppy Food

The Best Wet Puppy Food
for December 2022

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best wet puppy food brands for December 2022.



Wellness Just for Puppy

Wellness Complete Health Just for Puppy

Rating:

Wellness Just for Puppy is one of 8 canned recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, salmon, ground barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley)
  • Life stage: All life stages
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds
  • Price: $$

Wellness Just for Puppy derives the bulk of its meat protein from chicken and chicken liver. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 27% fat and 24% estimated carbs… with a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

An exceptional wet puppy food. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “We adopted a baby Basset hound. We fed wellness puppy to our Cletus 8 years ago. He is thriving today because of it. We wanted the same for Darwin. He’s 3 months old and loves this food. We mix it with the large breed wellness puppy. Highly recommend it and our vet recommended this food to us too. Darwin gives it 2 paws up!”

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Nom Nom Beef Mash Fresh Wet Dog Food

Nom Nom Fresh

Rating:

Nom Nom Beef Mash is one of 4 fresh recipes included in our review of the Nom Nom Dog Food product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Ground beef, russet potatoes, eggs, carrots, peas
  • Type: Grain-free, refrigerated or frozen
  • Life stage: All Life Stages
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds
  • Price: $$$

This Nom Nom recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 19% fat and 40% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

Ideal for those who want to feed a scientifically balanced, fresh-cooked meal that’s designed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

Not cheap. Enthusiastically recommended

Sample buyer review… “Tula gets so excited when it’s mealtime. She no longer has skin issues, her coat looks wonderful and her stools are the best they’ve ever been. I can’t imagine ever feeding her anything but Nom Nom!”

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Instinct Original Wet Puppy Food

Instinct Original Grain Free Wet Puppy Food

Rating:

Instinct Grain Free Real Chicken Recipe for Puppies is one of 6 wet recipes included in our review of the Instinct Original product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, beef liver, salmon, carrots
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small and medium breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This specific Instinct Original recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 46% protein, 27% fat and 19% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

An excellent formula by an established company.

Sample buyer review… “I feed my 5 months old Shih Tzu 8 times from one can. I use it as a topper on dry food. He loves it!”

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Farmers Dog Fresh Beef Recipe

The Farmer’s Dog

Rating:

Beef Recipe is one of 4 fresh formulas covered in our review of the The Farmer’s Dog product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: USDA Beef, sweet potato, lentils, carrot, USDA beef liver
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds

This Farmer’s recipe acquires much of its animal protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 39% protein, 29% fat and 24% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 73%.

A fresh, human-grade recipe custom designed and packaged to fit the nutritional needs of all puppy breeds. As close to a homemade dog food as you can get. Not cheap. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My dog LOVES the food and I love the convenience and nutritional value!”

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Chicken Soup for the Soul Canned Puppy Food

Chicken Soup for the Soul Canned Puppy Food

Rating:

Chicken Soup for the Soul Puppy is one of 3 canned recipes included in our review of the Chicken Soup for the Soul product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, turkey, chicken broth, turkey broth
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, oatmeal, ground barley)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small and medium breed puppies
  • Price: $

This Chicken Soup for the Soul product derives the majority of its meat protein from chicken, turkey and chicken liver. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 27% fat and 24% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

An impressive growth formula. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I love the healthy ingredients of this moist food for puppies; the ingredients seem comparable to more expensive dog food brands, but at a better price. My puppy seems to enjoy it. He’s pretty picky, so for the benefit of his health and my wallet, hopefully he will continue to enjoy it!”

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Merrick Classic Grain Free Puppy Plate Chicken Wet Dog Food

Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Plate Chicken

Rating:

Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Plate Chicken is one of 10 wet recipes included in our review of the Merrick Classic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken broth, deboned turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds
  • Price: $$

This Merrick Grain-Free canned food recipe derives the bulk of its animal protein from deboned chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 50% protein, 28% fat and 14% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

An exceptional grain-inclusive canned puppy food. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “This food is high quality and my 11 week old Shih Tzu loves it! So much comes in the can and it’s such a great price. I bought can covers to keep it fresh and one can will last me about a week! Definitely recommend!”

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Canidae All Life Stages Wet Adult and Puppy Food

Canidae All Life Stages

Rating:

Chicken and Rice Formula is one of 4 wet recipes included in our review of the Canidae All Life Stages product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, dried egg product, brown rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Life stage: All life stages
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds
  • Price: $$

This Canidae wet formula derives the bulk of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken liver. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 29% fat and 44% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.

A super-popular, fully-balanced grain-inclusive wet puppy food. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My dog has never eaten new food with gusto until now. He really surprised us by eating without any coaxing. This is the first time, and we were thrilled. No more dry food. We’ve tried everything. Now, if I could get my husband to stop giving him too many treats!”

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Nulo Freestyle Puppy Turkey

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Wet Puppy Food

Rating:

Nulo Freestyle Puppy Turkey, Cod and Sweet Potato is one of 11 canned recipes included in our review of the Nulo Freestyle product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, salmon broth, turkey liver, cod
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small and medium breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This Nulo Freestyle formula derives most of its animal protein from turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 23% fat and 26% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I love the Nulo puppy food. My Chihuahuas puppies and my older chihuahuas really love this food. You can actually see the chunks of vegetables in this food. If the chunks are too big, they are easy to smash and blend in with the food.”

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Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Chicken Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy

Rating:

Homestyle Puppy Chicken Dinner is one of 12 canned recipes included in our review of the Blue Buffalo product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, barley)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds
  • Price: $$

This Blue Buffalo formula gets the bulk of its meat protein from fresh chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 27% fat and 24% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

We also note this above-average puppy food includes omega-rich DHA to support healthy eye and brain development.

A finely-chopped, pate-style formula containing no corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives for optimal safety. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Oh my gosh..my gsd LOVES the taste of this! He literally would eat the entire pallet if I let him. I also feel good about it, because I do a lot of research on my dog’s foods, and it’s really one of the healthiest wet foods out there for dogs.”

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Whole Earth Farms Wet Puppy Food

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Wet Puppy

Rating:

Healthy Grains Puppy is one of 13 wet recipes included in our review of the Whole Earth Farms canned product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, salmon, brown rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice)
  • Life stage: All life stages
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds
  • Price: $$

This Whole Earth Farms canned recipe derives most of its meat protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 30% fat and 22% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.

An excellent, budget-friendly option. And an ideal option for growing puppies, including large breeds. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Top off dry kibble with this tasty blend of wet food for fussy eater. It works! My puppy literally jumps like crazy every time I open the can! She even licks the empty bowl to get the last of it! I’m glad it’s nutritious.”

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Ollie Fresh Dog Food Chicken Recipe

Ollie Fresh Chicken

Rating:

Chicken is one of 4 fresh recipes evaluated in our review of the Ollie product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, carrots, peas, rice, chicken liver
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: All puppies including large breeds
  • Price: $$$

This fresh-cooked recipe draws most of its meat protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 37% protein, 11% fat and 44% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 30%.

Ollie is an exceptional dog food. It’s made with real, human-grade ingredients and it’s professionally designed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist (DACVN).

A top, grain-inclusive wet option for puppies… worthy of its premium price. Recommended with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “Javi, my mini goldendoodle has been LOVING meal time. He licks his bowl clean at every meal. Before Ollie, we’d have to basically beg him to eat.”

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Also Recommended by Our Editors

AvoDerm Natural Chicken and Rice Puppy

AvoDerm Natural Wet Puppy Food

Rating:

AvoDerm Natural Puppy Chicken and Rice is one of 6 canned recipes included in our review of the AvoDerm Natural product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, salmon, rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small and medium breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This AvoDerm Natural wet formula derives the majority of its meat protein from chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 27% fat and 24% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

A superior balanced growth formula. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “After all the foods I have gone through for my German Shepherds (any shepherd owners know what a nightmare this can be) I found Avoderm, love and I recommend it all the time to people. We had pups and I put them on this as soon as they were ready.”

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Hills Science Diet Puppy Small Paws Chicken and Vegetable Stew Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small Paws

Rating:

Puppy Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetabales is one of 4 wet recipes analyzed in our review of the Hill’s Science Diet product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, pork liver, brown rice, wheat flour
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, wheat flour)
  • Profile: Growth
  • Best for: Small and medium breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This Science Diet recipe derives most of its animal protein from fresh chicken and pork liver. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 17% fat and 48% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

Moderate meat content. Reasonably priced.

Sample buyer review… “My puppy had been eating Hills Science dry food. Got this to see if wet appealed to him. He absolutely loves it! I add some dry to it and it’s gone in a flash. Will be convenient for travel.”

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How can I switch to a new food… without getting my puppy sick?

In this video

Dr. Gary Richter shares a simple feeding tip that can help lower your puppy’s risk of getting sick when you switch to a new wet food.

It’s best to transition your puppy to a new food… gradually.

Start by mixing 20% “new” and 80% “old” food together. Then, gently increase that amount to a full 100%… over the next 8 to 9 days.

Transition Schedule Old Food New Food
Days 1 and 2 80% 20%
Days 3 and 4 60% 40%
Days 5 and 6 40% 60%
Days 7 and 8 20% 80%
Day 9 0% 100%

How much wet food does my puppy need?

Since a larger breed requires more wet food than a smaller breed… and because every brand of food contains a different number of calories per cup

There’s no one-size-fits-all feeding plan that’s right for every puppy.

So…

Start with the recommended amount printed on the package. Then, adjust that serving size… up or down… to keep your dog at ideal weight as she grows.

Wet Puppy Food Feeding Guidelines
Example:  Feeding Guidelines – Cans per Day2

When and how often should I feed my puppy?

Once you’ve decided how much wet food your puppy needs each day…

Simply divide that amount into 3 to 4 equal servings. Then, feed those smaller meals to your puppy at regular intervals throughout the day.

For more detail…

This short video explains how to create the best feeding schedule for your puppy.


When can I safely switch my puppy to adult food?

It’s important not to switch your puppy to adult food too soon.

That’s because adult dog food can contain too much calcium… which can increase a puppy’s risk of developing canine hip dysplasia… especially for certain breeds.

Since breeds age at different rates, the table below can help you choose the best time to SAFELY change your puppy to adult dog food.

Breed Size Weight* Switch
Small breed < 20 lbs 9-12 mos3
Medium breed 20-50 lbs 12-14 mos4
Large breed 50-100 lbs 15-18 mos5
Giant breed 100+ lbs 18-24 mos6

 * Weight when fully grown


Wet or dry food — which is better for my puppy?

Wet food can be a gentler way to ease your new puppy from mother’s milk to a typical canine diet.

That’s because…

Wet foods are softer and easier for a puppy to chew than dry food.

And they’re more palatable, too.

After all, dry kibble contains just 10% water. Yet the moisture content of wet dog food is about 75%… similar to real natural food.

Notice the difference between highly-processed dry pellets and fresh wet food in this side-by-side comparison.

Nom Nom Fresh Wet Puppy Food vs Dry Kibble
Fresh Wet Food vs Dry Kibble (Photo credit: Nom Nom Fresh)

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Lauten SD, Nutritional Risks to Large Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years, Vet Clin Small Anim 36 (2006) 1345–1359.
  2. Image Credit: Package label, IAMS ProActive Health Puppy Food with Chicken and Rice, 2022
  3. IAMS: Is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Food? (small)
  4. IAMS: Is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Food? (medium)
  5. IAMS: Is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Food? (large)
  6. IAMS: Is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Food? (giant)
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