Wet dog food has many advantages to your small dog’s overall health. Not only will dogs be more excited to eat it, but it often contains better ingredients to keep your dog as healthy as possible. But, you need to know what the best wet dog food for small breeds is.
Small breeds do not have the same food demands that large breeds do, so you need to approach your dog food shopping with caution.
Large breed food might focus more on joint health, but your smaller dog will need to watch his weight and get good nutrition. This is what you need to know about best canned dog food for small dogs.
Benefits Of Wet Dog Food For Small Breeds
There are many benefits for small breed dogs to eating wet dog food instead of sticking with kibble. In some instances, even wet food is better for puppies as well.
Benefits include: easier to eat, better for young dogs, and better ingredients and a better flavour.
Easier To Chew
Small breed dogs are more prone to dental issues than large breed dogs are. Their teeth are naturally smaller and more fragile. As a result, they may have trouble chewing hard kibble.
Best wet dog food for small dogs is easier to chew, especially if they have lost their permanent teeth already. That said, you need to take more care of their teeth with wet food as it doesn’t clean teeth like dry kibble does.
Healthier For Growing Dogs
Some puppies do not have the best start to life. With inadequate nutrition, they might not grow properly or get to the proper size. For shelter puppies especially, wet food offers the ability to regain any lost calories as well as boosting the nutritional gain.
It is also easier to digest because of the water quantity, so puppies will process it easier. Puppies, just like human children, need the right vitamins and minerals to promote bone growth, keeping them active and healthy their entire lives.
Higher In Protein And Lower In Carbs
Wet food allows for more protein and fewer carbs than dry food does. This is because dry food, by nature, has to contain some carbs as a binding agent for the food.
Since wet food does not need a binding agent, it is easier to make it using real meats and proteins, boosting the percentage of crude protein while lowering the carbs. Generally, dogs do not need carbs in their diet to be healthy and strong, but carbs can cause excess weight gain.
Fewer Chemicals & Better Taste
It is rare that you will see a dog of any breed turn down wet dog food. Because it is made with better ingredients, it smells and tastes better to dogs. It smells like real meat, because it uses real meat.
With fewer chemicals and better taste, your dog will not turn his nose up at wet food, making him more excited for meal time and more likely to finish his meal.
Best Wet Dog Food For Small Breeds 2019
1. Blue Buffalo Homestyle
2. Royal Canin Gastro
3. Hill's Digestive Care
4. Blue Buffalo For Seniors
For Small Senior Dogs
5. Wellness Complete
6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness
7. Natural Balance
1. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Small Breed
Best Wet Dog Food For Small Dogs (Editor's Choice)
Our choice for the best wet dog food for small breeds is the Blue Buffalo wet food made for small breeds. This food is designed to keep your dog at a healthy weight while still giving him all of the nutrition that he needs.
The majority of protein in this food comes from real chicken and chicken broth. The crude protein makes up for 10% of the food as well.
You won’t find much in the way of fillers in this food. The carbs within it comes from brown rice, barley, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. All of those should sit very easily on your little dog’s stomach. This food doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy products so it is allergy safe for sensitive dogs or those with allergies. The carbs that are included are meant to help with energy, keeping dogs moving all day long.
Smaller breeds do not need the same amount of fats that larger breeds do. The fats within this food are entirely healthy. The fat from the chicken is minimal. Otherwise it has salmon oil, which is also a great source of Omega 3 for brain support. The food also has L-carnitine to help metabolize fat, ensuring that your little dog maintains a healthy weight.
Beyond the essentials, this food comes with Vitamin B12, which will help improve gastrointestinal function. The included chelated minerals will also help to boost your dog’s immune system. You will also see that this food is full of blueberries and cranberries as well, adding in some extra vitamins for optimal health.
- Chicken is the first ingredient
- Contains glucosamine and carnitine
- Both Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids
- No fillers
- Natural ingredients
- None found
2. Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat
Our second choice for the best wet dog food for small breeds is the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat dog food. It is easy to plump up on wet food, so giving your dog a low fat option of wet food can make sure that your dog is staying at a healthy weight.
The majority of the protein within this food comes from the pork by-products. It only has 6% crude protein, but unless your dog has a breed that needs a higher amount of protein, that shouldn’t be a problem.
There is a variety of carbs in this food. It has 2.5% crude fibre, much of which comes from the carbs. The carbs come from the rice flour, corn grits, corn meal, and even the powdered cellulose. It might have more carbs than other food, but the intent is to make it easy to eat and easy to digest.
This food only contains 2.5% crude fat, because it is intended for a low fat diet. The fat comes from the pork by-products, fish oil, and vegetable oil, but it is in minimal quantities.
This food is made for dogs with stomach issues who also should keep a low fat diet. It can help with issues like vomiting, diarrhoea, or even dogs that simply won’t eat their food. This food is full of vitamins, including Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.
- Blend of antioxidants for a healthy immune system
- Highly digestible proteins and prebiotics
- Excellent for dogs that have digestive issues
- Contains Omega 3, DHA, and EPA
- Comes in a larger can
- Contains pork by-products
3. Hills Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care
Budget Friendly Canned Dog Food For Small Dogs
One of the biggest downsides with wet dog food is the cost. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune to get good food for your furry friend. For small breed wet food on a budget, we suggest Hills Prescription Digestive Care wet food.
The protein in this food comes from turkey and pork liver primarily. The crude protein within this food is 5.6%, which means it is not as high as other canned foods. Though it does not come with chicken, it does include a chicken flavouring.
This food is not overly full of carbs. The fibre content of it is 1.2%, so fibre is not the primary source of carbs. The carbs come from rice, modified rice starch, and flaxseed. It doesn’t contain ingredients that are common sources of allergies, but it does have some corn in it, which some breeds are allergic to.
This is a low fat food. In fact, the crude fat is only 1.2%, making it one of the lowest fat foods that you can get. This is so important for small breeds whose health can be easily destroyed by weight concerns.
This food also contains added antioxidants, which will help control cell oxidation and promote a healthy immune system in your dog. It is made to be easily digestible, which can be important if your dog has experienced any kind of stomach upset. It does have some good digestive enzymes included as well to promote healthy movement throughout the gastric system.
- Digestible protein and fat
- Mixed fibre source for gastro health
- Optimal balance of nutrients
- Antioxidants to control cell oxidation
- Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Not as high in protein as other foods
4. Blue Buffalo Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner
Best Wet Dog Food For Small Senior Dogs
This recipe has been specifically designed for senior dogs with added joint supporting supplements. We highly recommend this product for senior dogs, maintaining that their aged pooches got a new lease of life after switching to this formula.
Chicken is the principle source of protein in this recipe from Blue Buffalo. Chicken, chicken broth and chicken liver ensure that there are enough muscle building amino acids in this formula. Some dogs do develop intolerance to chicken, but luckily this manufacturer has many different flavours on offer, so you can switch recipes until you find one that your dog likes.
Brown rice, barley, oatmeal and sweet potatoes provide complex, slow burning and gluten free carbs for your dog’s energy requirements.
The only source of fat in this recipe is flaxseed. Flaxseed is a reliable source of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. As long as the flaxseed has been ground, it is easily digestible by older dogs.
The Interesting Additions
Again we find the addition of guar gum and a new addition, cassia gum. These two together with carrageenan (a seaweed extract) are all thickening agents. One would assume these thickening agents are essential, given the nature of wet dog food (excess moisture). These thickening agents are preferable to wheat and corn starch which are used as thickeners in some wet dog foods.
There is an abundance of natural fruit and vegetables, in the form of carrots, peas, cranberries and blueberries. These ingredients do wonders for the flavour and are packed full of nutrients.
Essential vitamins and minerals are very well catered for and the minerals are chelated. Remember, chelated means they are chemically bound to amino acids for easier absorption.
- Designed for senior dogs
- Quality named protein
- No wheat, corn or soya
- Chelated minerals
- Alternative non-gluten thickeners
- Only one source of fatty acids
5. Wellness Complete Health Chicken
Most canned dog foods follow a similar recipe; it’s normally only the quality of ingredients, and their proportions, that differ.
Proteins are provided by chicken, chicken liver, and whitefish. Once again a broth has been used, in this case, chicken broth. The nutritional value of broth is minimal; we presume it is there for flavour and added moisture. The chicken liver is rich in vitamin A, D and virtually all B vitamins. The whitefish not only adds quality protein, but also much needed essential fatty acids.
Most dogs are best suited to complex, slow burning and low glycemic carbohydrates, and not very much of them either. Don’t forget, dogs are bred from ancestors who were, to a large extent, totally carnivorous. Be that as it may, modern nutrition dictates that your dog needs a certain amount of carbohydrates in his diet.
The carbs in this recipe come from ground barley, sweet potato and ground flaxseed. All are reliable sources of good quality carbs. Barley is packed with extra nutrients and flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
As mentioned earlier, the whitefish and flaxseed supply all the required omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Yet again we have the thickeners guar gum and carrageenan. These are common thickening and stabilising agents as they are present in all three recipes so far.
Canola oil is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Some nutritionists have noted that dogs absorb animal sourced fatty acids better than plant sourced. This recipe has adequate sources of all fatty acids both plant and animal based.
- Good quality protein sources
- Gluten free thickeners
- Added vitamins and chelated minerals
- No artificial colourants or preservatives
- We found ourselves at a loss to find anything wrong with this recipe. Dogs, like humans, are fickle creatures. There will obviously be dogs out there somewhere who won’t like this wet dog food.
6. Wilderness Wolf Creek Stew Chunky
Another quality product filled with high quality, named protein, in this case chicken, chicken liver, dried egg and chicken meal. The manufacturers have obviously plumbed for a single source protein.
That can be useful if you are trying to find the best canned dog food for small dogs. It can be used as part of an elimination exercise to see whether chicken agrees with your pooch or not. Chicken broth is also present for flavour. There is nothing wrong with the added dried egg. It is considered a valuable ingredient in dog food.
Both potatoes and peas are excellent sources of gluten free carbohydrates. Potato adds calorific value to this recipe, if nothing else. Peas are also rich in plant based protein.
The Rest of the Ingredients
Again we have the thickener guar gum. It seems that this ingredient is just about universal in its inclusion by canned dog food manufacturers. In this case, it is joined by xanthan gum, which is a similar product with similar uses, and potato starch which is also a thickener.
All the necessary vitamins and minerals have been added, and, interesting to note, the minerals are chelated for easier absorption.
Sunflower oil has been added as an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids.
This recipe has a dry matter protein reading of 44%, fats 28%, and carbs 20%. This conforms to our criteria set out above for a good quality wet dog food.
- Single source, named protein.
- Natural Ingredients
- Grain Free
- No gluten thickeners
- Added vitamins and chelated minerals
7. Natural Balance Ultra Premium Beef
So far, each recipe has followed similar guidelines, and this brand is no exception. It appears to be packed with all necessary ingredients to provide all the required nutrition for man’s best friend.
We have a suspicion that the carb content is above average, compared to the others products reviewed previously.
The Three Essentials
This manufacturer has also opted for a single source of animal protein, namely beef and beef liver. As mentioned earlier this is useful if you are trying to determine which flavour your pooch likes. The beef liver also delivers essential vitamins to the formula.
Oat bran (milled whole grain oats) appears to be the principle source of complex carbohydrate in this recipe. This, together with brown rice and potato, make up the total calorie content in this dog food. Potato and brown rice are gluten free, easily digestible carbs.
However besides their calorific input, they are of little nutritional value. Oat bran is particularly noteworthy in that it is a complex carbohydrate that is also packed with vitamins and minerals.
The only source of essential fatty acids in this recipe is canola oil, which is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. The anti-GMO sentiment prevalent in a lot of consumers might cause some to question the inclusion of this ingredient. It appears that certain canola oils come from GMO rapeseed. The fat sources in this recipe appear to rather skimpy.
Carrageenan and guar gum are there again, but this time we have the addition of dried kelp. Recently carrageenan has attracted some controversy. Some have questioned its long-term biological safety, but as far as we know the jury is still out on that question. There are such small quantities present in a can of dog food anyway that we don’t think that its presence poses any serious threat.
Kelp has been used in Asian cooking for centuries, but its nutritional value for dog has, as far as we can tell, never been ascertained. It is used in the food industry as a thickener and we can only assume that this is the case here.
Vitamins and minerals are here in abundance, but the minerals don’t appear to be chelated.
Natural hickory smoke flavour and beef broth have been added and we are sure they will add flavour.
- Single source, named protein
- Complex carbs
- Added vitamins and minerals
- Contains grain
- Above average carbs
A question that has plagued dog owners for ever, and one that comes up every time dog owners talk about dog food, is whether one should choose dry or wet dog food. Wet dog food is also known as canned dog food. Choosing the best canned dog food for small dogs is an arduous task or deciding on feeding strategies based on the differences between wet and dry dog food.
How Do I Even Start to Choose?
When choosing wet dog food for small breeds, you should first ask yourself a few fundamental questions about your dog’s requirements
What Age Is Your Dog?
Puppies and elderly dogs have different requirements than healthy adult dogs when it comes to type of dog food. Puppies might find it difficult to chew dry kibble, and elderly dogs with dental problems will find it much easier to chew wet food.
What Is The Size Of Your Dog?
Wet dog food can be quite a bit more expensive than dry dog food. It would work out very pricey to feed a huge dog like a German Shepherd entirely on wet dog food. A small dog like a Chihuahua will eat far less food and it will not hurt your pocket too much.
Special Dietary Requirements
Canned dog food for small dogs is ideal for a dog who is trying to lose weight. The extra moisture content of wet dog food keeps him feeling fuller for longer. The best wet dog food for small breeds will also have all the nutrients necessary for optimal health.
Certain wet dog foods are also aimed at dogs that have specific age-related requirements i.e. senior recipes and specialist food for puppies.
It now up to you to go and start your own investigation and experimentation until, by finding the best canned dog food for small dogs, you will be rewarded with a happy, contented and well-fed dog.
What Should Best Wet Dog Food For Small Dogs Contain?
- Like any dog food, wet or dry, the mixture of protein to fat to carbohydrates must be correct. Wet dog food should therefore be just as high in protein as a dry food and have adequate supplies of essential fatty acids. Canned dog food generally has fewer carbohydrates than dry dog food.
- Protein should be from a named source and not just “meat meal” or “meal” or “animal by products meal”. The source of these ingredients is not known and therefore suspect.
- High quality wet dog food should have added vitamins and minerals to ensure optimal nutritional health.
- Canned dog food should have no artificial colourants or synthetic preservatives.
- Good wet dog food for small breeds would have added fruit and vegetables, like sweet potato and peas, to improve taste and supply anti-oxidants.
What to Avoid in Wet Dog Food?
- Unnamed sources of protein such as meat meal
- Artificial flavours and preservatives
- Excessive carbohydrates
Benefits and Drawbacks of Wet Dog Food
- Dry dog food or kibble is much more convenient than wet dog food. Wet dog food has greater weight than Canned Dog Foodkibble. Kibble also comes in bigger packets and doesn’t need any refrigeration.
- Dry dog food is normally much cheaper, per volume, than wet dog food.
- Wet dog food is normally higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than dry dog food. Canned dog food has no need for fillers and extra carbohydrates to add volume.
- Let’s face it, wet dog food smells and tastes far better than kibble. Most dogs can’t get enough of it! If you have a finicky eater or an older dog whose sense of smell is not what it used to be; one whiff of wet dog food usually does the trick.
- Wet dog food generally has fewer chemical additives.
- Wet dog food has a longer shelf life. However, once opened, the portion dished out must be consumed within a few hours. Because of the lack of preservatives and moisture, wet dog food can become contaminated very quickly. Once opened, the can must be refrigerated and should not stand in your fridge for longer than a few days.
Thoughts About Wet & Canned Dog Food For Small Dogs
As to our original question as to which is better, wet or dry dog food for small breeds, we are sure that we have been able to prove, or at least, provoke some interesting thoughts; that it depends very much on you and your dog’s personal requirements.
Convenience, cost and a host of other factors should be weighed before jumping to any hasty conclusions. What we have proved is that the better quality canned dog food is just as nutritious as dry dog food.
What might work as a sensible compromise is to mix the two types in a practise known as topping. In that way you capture the best of both worlds. The nutritional value and convenience of kibble will be enhanced by the extra flavour and nutrients from the canned dog food.
As we have maintained over and over, it pays to familiarise yourself on how to read dog food labels, and to scrutinise the list of ingredients carefully. Therein, ultimately, lies the answer to the quest for the best wet dog food for small dogs. We have given you tips on what to look for.
Without a doubt, the best wet dog food for small breeds is Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Small Breed. This food is packed full of all of the nutrition that any dog needs, while limiting unneeded fats and carbohydrates. It is a low-risk food for allergies as well, which will make it great for most breeds in general. The only thing prohibitive about Blue Buffalo is that it is not the most affordable.
If cost is a concern, but you still would like good quality wet food for your small dog, then Hills Prescription Diet is a great choice. It may have more filler content and lack some of the protein found in other wet foods, but it still has good ingredients and is easy on the pocket.
When getting canned dog food for your small breed dog, you need to think about what your dog’s needs are. These include weight concerns, dental issues, and overall health. No food is going to be perfect for every dog, but there is a perfect food out there for yours.