5 min read
Wet vs. Dry Dog Food: Which is Best for My Dog?
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Every pet parent wants to make sure that their best buddy is in optimal health. Exercise is essential, but the food you give to them is a crucial part of their all-around well being, too. A healthy diet means an energetic and happy dog.
But should you feed your dog wet or dry food? And is it okay to mix dry and wet dog food together? To help you make the right choice for your fur-family, we'll explore the pros and cons of each, plus what you need to consider before committing to one type of food.
Should I feed my dog dry or wet food?
The short answer: A mix of wet food and dry kibble is usually best — it tastes grrreat and helps keep your dog's teeth clean!
Really, the answer to this question depends on your dog's dietary needs, preferences, and other factors. Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS, one of Wag!'s veterinary consultants, also has some advice on choosing the right dog food:
“Opt for the best quality diet you can afford. It should be minimally processed and rich in meat or fish, as well as grains, veggies, and fruits. The best foods will also contain supplements such as probiotics.”
Things to consider when choosing between wet and dry dog food
Still not sure how to choose the right type of food for your dog? Here are a few things to consider.
Your dog's age
dog's life stage will determine whether wet, dry, or a mix of both
foods is best for them. For example, young puppies that are teething may prefer wet food to dry kibble.
Be sure to choose a food that's appropriate for
your dog's age — check the packaging to ensure the food meets AAFCO's
nutrient profiles for growth (puppies), maintenance (adults), or all
Your dog's weight
your woofer need to lose a little weight? If so, you might want to feed
more kibble than wet food. Wet food tends to be higher in fat, which
could contribute to weight gain.
Related: Best Dog Food for Weight Management
Your dog's size
like Pomeranians have smaller teeth than big breeds, so they'll need a
food that's formulated especially for them. Look for food brands that
offer products made especially for small breeds — a few examples include
Halo, Open Farm, and Merrick.
Your dog's activity level
High-energy breeds, working dogs, and canine athletes
have special nutritional needs. Typically, they'll thrive with a diet
that's rich in protein from high-quality meat sources. Be sure to look
for added supplements and prebiotics to keep Fido fit as a fiddle!
Your dog's dental health
The state of your dog's teeth will also affect whether wet, dry, or a combination of the two foods is best for your dog. Senior dogs
with tooth pain or dental disease will likely prefer wet food to dry.
That said, dry food also helps remove plaque and tartar from your dog's
It may be a good idea to feed your pup a mix of mostly wet food with a small amount of kibble — the wet food can soften the dry food, making it easier to eat. If it's still not soft enough, consider sprinkling some water on the kibble before feeding.
Your dog's overall health history
high-quality diet is essential for keeping your pup in tip-top shape.
Consider your dog's current health status along with their medical
history when choosing a food. For example, dogs with chronic illnesses
like kidney disease may benefit from a prescription diet that includes
both wet and dry options, like Farmina VetLife.
Allergies or sensitivities
If your doggo is allergic to pawpular protein sources or sensitive to certain ingredients, finding the right food can be a lot trickier. Luckily, you'll find a range of limited-ingredient wet and dry foods with novel protein sources on the market. Dogs with sensitivities also tend to be picky eaters, and wet food tends to be more palatable.
Your dog's eating habits
Does your dog finish all of their food in one sitting, or do they like to come back and nibble throughout the day? If this is the case, a good quality dry food may be the right choice. Dry kibble can stay fresh in the bowl all day, but wet dog food can't be left out longer than 2 hours at most.
is likely a concern for you since you're trying to choose between dry
and wet food. Feeding a mix of both can get expensive fast — especially
if you choose slow-cooked dog foods made with human-grade ingredients.
a combo of wet and dry food is out of your budget, try adding a food
topper to your pup's dry kibble instead. Food toppers are super tasty,
packed with nutritious ingredients, and typically cheaper than most wet
Availability of your dog's favorite food
you commit to a food, shop around at big-box pet stores or online
retailers to ensure availability in your area. While low-quality food
brands like Pedigree are available pretty much everywhere, high-quality
foods tend to be harder to find.
Both wet and dry food tends to have a long shelf life — anywhere from 12 to 18 months on average. If you're purchasing wet food in large cans, you may need to refrigerate any remaining portions, which will reduce the shelf life significantly.
Pros and cons of dry food
Thinking about an all-dry diet for your dog? Check out the pros and cons to make the best decision for your fur-family.
Pros of dry dog food
- Super convenient to find and feed
- Longer shelf life than wet food
- Typically cheaper than wet food
- Can be used in puzzle toys for mental stimulation
- Easy to store
- Helps clean your dog's teeth
Cons of dry dog food
- Low in moisture content
- Not as palatable as wet food
- Less aromatic than wet food
- May not entice picky eaters
- More likely than wet food to contain fillers and low-quality ingredients
- Typically contains more preservatives than wet food
- Dry food cooked at high temps may have less nutritional value
- Free-feeding dry food can lead to weight gain
Need a helping paw finding the right dry food? Check out Wag!'s guide to the best dry dog foods!
Pros and cons of wet food
Most pups go dog wild for wet food — but is it the right choice for your dog? Peep our pros and cons list to find out!
Pros of wet food
- Tastier than dry food
- Typically contains higher quality ingredients than dry food
- High moisture content keeps your pup hydrated
- Usually lower in carbs and fillers than dry food
- More likely to appeal to picky eaters
- Grrreat for teething puppies and dogs with dental problems
Cons of wet food
- Typically more expensive than dry food
- Feeding wet food exclusively can harm your dog's dental health
- Leftover portions need to be refrigerated, which means a shorter shelf life
Switching your woofer to wet food? Check out the best vet-recommended wet dog foods!
Pros and cons of feeding a mix of dry and wet food
Thinking about giving your dog a double dose of nutritious goodness with both wet and dry food? Here's a quick look at the pros and cons:
Pros of feeding both wet and dry dog food
- Helps protect your dog's teeth
- Maximum flavor and nutritional value
- Adds texture and variety to your pup's meals, which can appeal to picky eaters
Cons of feeding both wet and dry food
- More expensive than feeding one type of food exclusively
- Can be difficult to know exactly how much of each food to feed
Quick tips for transitioning your dog to a new food
We've covered this topic in depth in our guide to how quickly dogs adapt to new food, but we'll recap some of the most impawant tips below!
- Avoid switching 100% of your dog's food in a single meal — this can cause upset stomach and other digestive issues.
- Over a period of 7 days, gradually mix more of the new food with the old food until your dog is fully adjusted.
- Monitor your dog for signs of allergic reactions, stomach upset, and other problems.
- After a few months on the new diet, assess your dog's skin and coat health to determine whether the new diet is working.
Got questions about your doggo's diet? Use Wag! Vet Chat to get answers from veterinary professionals in as little as 6 minutes!