Have you ever wondered what was better? Wet or dry dog food? Well, it will depend on your particular dog and their nutritional requirements. It will also depend on the pros and cons of these different food types. Some dog owners are set on dry food for the healthier choice, while others state the opposite – wet food is the healthier and happier choice. Some folks even skip the store-bought food altogether and make their own dog food at home.
However, the answer to this question solely relies on your particular dog’s needs and wants. For some dog’s wet food will be best, while some will be better with dry kibble. Each food type offers different nutritional values and each dog has different nutrient requirements. Of course, your preference as the pet owner will also come into play. To help you decide, we will cover the basics of dog food and fill you in on the pros and cons of both dry and wet food. We will also provide you with some of our top dry and wet food options that are proven to be healthy for dogs.
Dog Nutrition Basics: What You Need to Know
For starters, if you just got a new puppy, puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs do. This means you will need to feed them food that is formulated specifically for their puppy needs. This could include amounts of amino acids and the protein content. Adult dogs need only 18% of their calories to come from sources of protein, while puppies need 22% of their calories from sources of protein.
Furthermore, puppies grow best when provided with more fat, so it is recommended that at least 8% of their calories come from fat sources, while adult dogs need only 5%. Fortunately, there are high-quality foods that are formulated just for puppies so you don’t have to worry about these significant differences. With the puppy food, wet or dry, you can rest easy knowing they are getting the nutrition that they need.
Additionally, there are six major nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. First, protein provides amino acids for muscle function and better digestion. Second, fat aids absorption of vitamins and helps to maintain normal, healthy cells. Carbohydrates provide a natural source of energy and are found in fruits that offer beneficial nutrients.
Vitamins and minerals are required for normal functioning of the body, such as growth and strong bones and teeth. Lastly, a crucial element of dog food is the water content because about 70% of a dog’s body is made up of water. Vitamins and minerals are also essential for many benefits of the functions in the body.
Wet Dog Food – Pros and Cons
Wet dog food does offer nutritional benefits for dogs such as:
- Canned food can be more tasty than dry dog food. Some dogs may need wet food as a “topper” to help encourage the picky pup to eat their dry food.
- Canned foods are usually made without artificial colors or preservatives.
- Wet food contains more water than kibble, which helps your pup stay hydrated especially for those in warmer climates. The high-water content also helps to keep your dog feel satisfied and full.
- Most canned foods are richer in protein and fats than dry foods. Dry foods can tend to have more carbohydrate content.
However, wet dog food does have its downsides including:
- Wet foods are more expensive per calorie than dry foods are.
- Canned foods can be more complicated to open and prepare than dry food.
- Canned food cannot be left in your dog’s dish for more than an hour because it can easily develop harmful bacteria.
- Unused parts of wet food must be refrigerated and could stink up your refrigerator.
- Depending on you’re the way your dog eats, wet food can be very messy.
Dry Dog Food – Pros and Cons
Next, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of dry dog food. Just like wet foods, kibble has a combination of benefits and drawbacks. Some benefits of dry food include:
- Dry food is more affordable than wet food.
- Some veterinarians and pet owners believe that dry food helps to clean dog’s teeth.
- There is no special preparation for dry dog food as there is for wet food. All you have to do is simply scoop the food out and into the pup’s bowl.
- Kibble often includes ingredients that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Some also contain probiotic supplements that support the digestive system.
- Once opened, the shelf-life lasts pretty long unlike wet food when opened.
- When you feed your pup kibble, the clean-up is easy.
In contrast, some of the cons of dry food include:
- Isn’t as tasty as wet food.
- Young puppies may have a hard time chewing dry dog food.
- There are many dry foods out there that contain artificial preservatives and colors.
So, Which is Better – Canned or Dry Dog Food?
Essentially, your pup’s food should cover all of their nutritional requirements, whether it’s wet food or dry food. The food you give your dog should be well-balanced, complete, and made from healthy high-quality ingredients. With that being said, there is no right or wrong choice in deciding between canned food or kibble. Make sure to carefully read the food labels and verify that the food meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) minimum requirements for a healthy diet. You can also contact your veterinarian to make sure the food you selected will satisfy all of their nutritional needs for their life stage.
Your veterinarian may recommend one food over the other if they feel it is necessary for your dog’s needs, however, we see different benefits to both dry and wet dog food. Both types can offer nutrition through protein, carbohydrates, and fiber from grains, fruits and vegetables.
Still Unsure of Whether to Choose Wet or Dry Dog Food?
Here are some factors that may help to influence your decision:
- Feeding choices of previous pets – if the diet from your previous dog was a success, you may simply choose to keep that food choice.
- Ask for recommendations from friends, family, animal shelter staff, or your vet.
- If your dog has specific needs, like overweight options. Wet dog food has high moisture content and can help your dog feel fuller faster with eating less.
- If your pup is extremely active, wet dog food has higher fat content that they may benefit from.
- Senior dogs have difficulty chewing so wet food or moistened kibble can make it easier for them to eat.
- If your dog has any medical conditions that reduces his appetite or their thirst, your vet may recommend that you use wet food.
If you decide you like the benefits of both, some pet owners choose to mix wet food with kibble. This feeding method, known as topping, can bring your pup a blend of tasty flavors and different textures. You can also choose to feed dry food primarily and give your dog wet food as an occasional treat. If you’re worried about not knowing ingredients on labels, making your own food at home is also a healthy choice and you will know exactly what goes in your dog’s food. Ultimately, in deciding your dog’s diet, choose a food that fulfill your dog’s long-term needs and also your preference/lifestyle requirements as a doggy parent.
Top Dog Food Choices
So, you made your decision between wet and dry dog food, but now what? With hundreds of choices available for you, selecting the right food that your pup will enjoy can be challenging. You should carefully evaluate your pet’s unique needs, your budget, and your goals as a pet parent. Here are some of our top dry dog food and wet dog food choices to ensure every meal your pup eats will bring maximum satisfaction and health benefits.
Top Pick: Natural Balance Ultra-Premium Wet Dog Food
This canned food from Natural Balance uses only high-quality ingredients that provides lean protein, vegetables, and easily digestible carbohydrates. This formula is made to provide optimal absorption of key nutrients that will help keep your dog fit and healthy.
Natural Balance Ultra-Premium also contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to healthy skin and coat. A team of qualified Veterinary Technicians work with Natural Balance to answer any questions you may have and work to create the best dog food formulas for your pup. This food is available in 4 flavors, lamb, beef, chicken, and vegetarian.
Best Grain Free Pick: Merrick Classic Grain Free Canned Dog Food
Grain free diets are becoming more and more popular with doggy parents. This is due to the fact that some dogs have food sensitivities to grain. Merrick Classic Grain Free Canned Dog Food is a great grain free choice for dogs. This formula is available in 11 flavors including specific blends for puppies and their health needs.
Furthermore, there are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Each ingredient is crafted and made in facilities in the USA. It provides real meat as the first ingredient and beneficial fruits and vegetables.
Top Pick: Taste of the Wild Canine Formula
Taste of the Wild Canine Formula is our top choice when it comes to total dog nutrition. This formula is great for dogs that are hypersensitive to common protein sources such as beef and chicken. It is packed with a variety of protein packed ingredients like bison, venison, wild fowl, salmon, lamb, and boar. Plus, this formula is also grain-free. Other sources of carbs have been included for a healthier option to food sensitive dogs.
This formula includes vitamin and antioxidant-enriched foods that will provide beneficial nutrients for all dogs of all ages. It is highly digestible with probiotics that survive and thrive in the GI tract. This food is made in the USA with the most scientifically advanced food safety protocols. Finally, the ingredients are from trusted sustainable sources around the world and made with no grain, corn, wheat, filler, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Best Holistic Pick: Blue Buffalo Blue Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Food
The Blue Life Protection Formula offers a blend of meat-based proteins and fats with antioxidant-rich whole grain brown rice. It also has a great ratio of protein and fat content to fiber and moisture for a well-balanced diet. Blue Buffalo includes a variety of protein sources such as fish, lamb, and chicken. It also contains rich vitamins and minerals to support your pups immune system health.
Additionally, there are no unhealthy byproduct meals, soy, corn, or wheat. It only contains natural, healthy grains, fruits and vegetables. It is also formulated with glucosamine to support joint health and overall mobility. There are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to promote a shiny and healthy coat and skin.