Wet Dog Food vs Dry: Is Wet or Dry Dog Food Better for Dogs?

Dry food vs wet food is a common debate amongst dog owners. Both are excellent choices, however, they have major differences. Here we look at the pros and cons of dry and wet dog food to help you decide which is best for your pet.

Wet food vs dry food for dogs

Which is better wet or dry dog food?

Dry dog food is the most nutritionally balanced and economical form of feeding. The ingredients are carefully chosen to ensure all the required nutrients are provided. Its one drawback is palatability or lack of it.

Some dog owners say their dogs will not eat it. This is due to the cooking process, which draws out a lot of the natural flavor. It is possible to add a small amount of gravy to dry dog food or to soak it in warm water for 5 minutes to soften the biscuits and enhance the flavor.

The storage of dry food (meaning any of the kibble-type biscuit foods) is easy. It can be bought in 10-pound bags and easily kept in clean firmly lidded plastic garbage bins. It takes up no refrigerator space and it does not smell. There are no cans to be rid of or to open. Dry food has a long shelf life and can be stored safely for months after opening.

At $1 a day, the cost of feeding the dog for a week works out at $7. There is still nothing wrong with throwing in the baked dinner leftovers (veggies, gravy, meat scraps, or the tail of a lamb chop) to add to the diet.

In growing dogs, food requirements are higher per pound of body weight because food must be provided for growth and maintenance. (By maintenance we mean exercise and warmth). So that 1600 calories, $1 worth of dry food, will also be needed to feed a growing dog weighing 25 pounds.

A dog that is spending a lot of time running around with kids, would have a higher food requirement than a dog that simply lies around the backyard. You would have to increase the total dietary intake by 25 percent.

Owners should keep tabs on the growing dog’s weight.

They should see that the dog grows nicely and is not overfat, remembering that once a dog is fully grown its calorie requirements per pound of bodyweight drop, as they are not needing food for growth but only for maintenance, and in certain cases for exercise.

Once a dog is fully grown and has achieved a nice shape (meaning that it still has a waist) you should weigh that dog.

This is best achieved by first weighing yourself and then scooping up the dog and weighing the pair of you. The difference is the weight of the dog. Repeat this as a weekly exercise, and if the weight goes up it means you are feeding the dog too much.

This simple exercise saves money and alleviates a weight problem that so many people wrongly attribute to dogs being neutered.

How much canned dog food equals dry food?

2 or 3 cans of wet food equal 1 cup of dry food or kibble. Kibble will expand once it reaches the stomach and comes into contact with liquids; this means that one cup of kibble can be enough for one day, whereas a dog eating canned food may require 2 or 3 cans per day.

Is wet dog food good for dogs?

The problem with canned foods is the expensive packaging and the fact that you’re buying a certain amount of water in the cans. There’s a lot of water, in fact. One reliable reference gives canned foods at 28 percent dry matter, as against dry foods (the kibble type of biscuits) at 91 percent dry matter.

Some dog foods have a higher level of water than others. Still, you must understand that you are buying a fair degree of water which means that you are not getting the best value for money, especially if you have a big dog. A dog that has smaller food requirements doesn’t build up to the higher intake and the expense.

We’ve also noticed that low incomes don’t necessarily mean little dogs. It quite often happens the other way around and feeding a big dog on canned food at $1.5 for a 15oz can or $2 for a 24oz one can become a problem. The two advantages of canned food are that it’s palatable and it’s easy.

To maintain a large dog satisfactorily on canned food and enable it to grow satisfactorily in its growth period would be quite expensive.

Canned foods are high in protein, but this in fact can tend to be wasteful. Dogs only require a certain amount of protein and convert the rest to carbohydrates which can be fed to them in the cheaper form at any rate. So with canned foods, you’re paying for a higher level of protein that may not be necessary.

Conclusion of wet dog food vs dry food

When it comes to choosing between canned and dry dog food, there isn’t a clear winner. Both food types have their advantages and disadvantages. Some dogs do well on both kinds of food, while some dogs do better with one or the other. It’s up to you as the pet owner to decide which type of food works best for your dog, based on your observations and your veterinarian’s recommendations.

If you have a dog that’s very active, eats a lot, and needs extra calories, dry kibble is the better option. It’s also more convenient for dog owners who can’t be bothered preparing fresh food for their pets.

Canned food is typically more expensive than dry food and can cause plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth if not used correctly. Dry dog food can be left out for your dog to eat throughout the day, but some dogs won’t drink enough water to compensate for the lack of moisture in their diet.

The bottom line is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Choosing the right food for your dog will depend on a variety of factors, including your dog’s age, weight, activity level, and any special dietary needs. The best way to choose the right diet for your dog is with the guidance of your veterinarian, who can help you select dry or wet food or a mix of both that works for your dog.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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