Feeding your dog is one of the most important considerations as a pet parent. The health of your dog is highly dependent on what you feed them, so it’s a vital part of life with pets.
The choice can be a challenge, with an abundance of options, meat types, and brands, which can quickly overwhelm new owners.
One of the choices you need to make is between dry or wet dog food. If you ask owners and experts, you'll undoubtedly receive a mixed bag of opinions, too.
Some people like the compact nutrition and convenience of dry kibble. Other owners like the freshness and palatability of canned dog food. Then there’s the possibility that some dogs prefer one type over the other, which further complicates the matter.
The final decision is about what is right for your dog. Is wet dog food better than dry kibble? We explore this idea more in the article below.
Wet vs Dry Dog Food
Let’s start our discussion with that crucial question: is canned or dry dog food better?
The short answer is that there’s no easy answer. Both types are equally beneficial on a nutritional level. Each exhibits pros and cons, though, and will be best in different situations.
The longer answer is more complicated.
If you take the opinions of owners online, most would say that wet dog food is better. From a nutritional standpoint, this might be true. Wet or canned dog food is better than dry dog food or kibble as it has a better macronutrient balance that’s more suitable for a dog’s healthy diet.
Wet dog food usually has a higher protein content than dry. Wet food is around 28 – 50 percent protein compared to 18 – 32 percent found in the dry food. It is essential for dogs, which require a large proportion of their diet to come from meat.
Since the meat doesn’t need to undergo a drying process, it’s fresher and juicier in wet food than in kibble. Canning also puts the food much closer to freshly cooked meals than having it dried. It does not need artificial preservatives to extend the shelf life, either.
The fat content is also higher in canned dog food vs. dry, at 20 – 32 percent compared to dry foods at 8 – 22 percent. The fat content will not become rancid as quickly in a can. It makes wet food much tastier (and dogs know how delicious fat can be).
Finally, carbohydrates are much lower in wet vs. dry dog food (as it should be). Wet dog food typically is composed of 18 – 57 percent carbohydrates. That’s low compared to the average kibble, which contains 46 – 74 percent carbohydrates.
It's not just from a nutritional perspective that wet dog food is better. It's also from a taste perspective, as well.
There is no moisture in dry vs. wet dog food, and kibble can be tasteless. It can be dry and not as palatable. Compared to the high moisture content of canned food, it’s bland and unappealing.
Wet food makes for a juicy and delicious meal. There is also plenty more meat and varied ingredient choices in wet dog food compared to dry options.
The moisture in wet food also makes the same nutrients occupy a larger volume. Your dog will feel fuller faster and for longer. So, they won’t overeat.
For a dog trying to lose weight, this is vital. You don't need to deprive your dog of food. Your pet will feel full on its own with reasonable amounts of wet food.
Wet food is also a good choice for older dogs. Most senior dogs have oral health problems that make chewing dry food particularly tricky and even painful. Wet dog food makes eating food easier for these animals.
Shelf Life and Storage
Canned food also has a longer shelf life. The canning process creates an airtight seal that keeps bacteria and molds away.
Dry dog food is placed in bags and exposed to the air, though. If even a little moisture gets into the bag, that kibble will start to spoil.
It's important to note that, once opened, wet dog food will spoil more quickly than dry dog food. The high moisture content makes canned food delicious, but it is also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
It’s best to store opened dog food immediately in the refrigerator. Throw away canned food that’s left in your dog’s dish for more than an hour.
The Benefits of Kibble
Canned food certainly is winning over dry, but kibble has its own merits.
Nothing beats dry dog food in terms of convenience. It's easy to take a handful of food from the bag and place it in your dog's dish whenever it feels hungry. There’s no heating or can-opening required.
Kibble is also cheaper than canned food. If you’re on a budget, dry dog food is an excellent way to save money while not sacrificing the nutritional needs of your dog.
Dry dog food packs more calories into a smaller volume. It is fantastic if your dog is a picky eater or has a poor appetite, for example. If your dog is trying to gain weight, kibble is also the more viable option.
Dry dog food has a shorter shelf life than wet, but it’s more convenient to store. You can save it anywhere in your house that's not directly under sunlight. No refrigeration required.
You also don’t have to worry about kibble spoiling as fast when it’s in your dog’s feeding bowl. If your dog is particularly picky, you can leave the dry dog food there with no harmful effects.
The Health Factor
When compared with canned food, it’s untrue to say that dry dog food is the unhealthier of the two options. It's not like comparing a home-cooked meal with junk food, like chips.
Any food you choose is safe and healthy for your dog to consume, whether wet or dry dog food. Both types will satisfy your pet’s daily intake needs; one just has a slightly different nutritional combination than the other.
Given a choice on whether to select wet or dry food for puppies, both are acceptable options. What’s important is that the unique nutritional needs of your little dogs are met.
Wet food is excellent if you have the time to prepare it, as well as the budget. Dry dog food has its uses, too, when you need something convenient and easy to prepare. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s much better to feed your puppies dry food than not feeding them anything at all.
How do I choose between Dry and Wet Dog Food?
If you can't decide why not use them both? Mixing the two types is a common practice known as topping. It's especially tasty for dogs, as far as my pets are concerned.
What’s more important is to find a dog food brand that your pet will eat. Nutrition and calories will be useless if your dog refuses to consume them.