Good nutrition plays a big role in the health and lifespan of a dog and every owner wants to give only the best to its pooch. But not everybody is able to spend the same amount of money on dog food, hence there is an overwhelming number of dog food options.
Nowadays, pet industry caters to the needs of every dog, so there is a wide range of flavors, breed specific diets, and foods for various health problems. But most owners want to know about dry vs wet dog food and which one's better?
So far dry food or kibble is the more popular choice for the majority of dog parents, but that doesn't mean that it's superior to wet dog food. When it comes to dogs, most of them go crazy when they smell freshly opened can of wet dog food.
With that being said, it is clear that both wet and dry foods have good and bad sides. Ultimately it is up to you to make the best possible choice for your dog.
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Dry vs Wet Dog Food
The main difference between dry and wet dog food is in the moisture content. Kibble contains around 10% moisture compared to 78% moisture found in the majority of canned foods.
So if you are feeding your dog with kibble, you will have to provide an unlimited supply of fresh water to him. On the other hand, wet food has high moisture content and is great for hydrating a dog that doesn't drink enough water.
Both kibble and wet food contains the same nutrients that are necessary for a great health and well-being of your dog. Still, the important thing to remember is that both dry and canned dog food can be made from low-quality ingredients that won't provide a real nutritional value to your dog.
We will list and compare the most important features of dry and canned dog food in order to help you make an informed decision regarding your dog's diet.
Most Common Ingredients in Dry and Wet Food
When you are trying to find the best food for your dog it is always best to start with the ingredients list. We recommend that you stick with foods that have meat-based protein listed as the first ingredient.
If you check the labels of premium quality dry foods you will notice that the first ingredient is always meat. Furthermore, these are real chunks of meat that provide nutritional value to your dog.
On the other hand, grains like corn, wheat, and rice are necessary for binding the dry formula and creating its texture. In some cases, manufacturers will use fillers like soy and corn to lower the cost and partially replace the protein source.
In most cases, when you look at the wet food label the first ingredient is “meat and animal derivatives”. This means that the food is made from discarded animal parts that people won't eat.
This includes chicken legs, necks, and guts that are the reason why canned food has higher protein count than kibble. Still, not all canned foods are made the same and there are formulas that feature real meat.
Furthermore, since wet food doesn't have the need for consistency and texture it contains less grains than kibble. In most cases that is rice, which is easily digestible and won't cause stomach upset or allergies.
Cost and Convenience
Kibble is a more budget-friendly option, so it's no wonder that it is at the same time the most popular choice of food for most dog parents. And since it contains only 10% moisture it is more calorie dense, hence you won't need much to feed your dog.
It is also easier to store and once opened it won't spoil in a few days. On the other hand, this is so because various additives are incorporated to keep the kibble fresh for longer periods.
One more good thing about the kibble is that you can fill your dog's bowl in the morning and don't worry about the spoiled food. Also, if you like to travel, kibble is a more convenient choice since you won't have to pack a ton.
Wet food contains about 78% of water so you will need larger quantities to fulfill the nutritional needs of your dog. Still, wet food can be a great choice for smaller breeds, but if you own a large dog the cost of all that cans will soon add up.
The biggest downside of the wet food is that once it is opened it is good for only 2-3 days and needs to be stored in the fridge. This is mainly because wet food doesn't contain any additives which is a good thing when you think about it.
Since there are no additives, wet food shouldn't be left in a dog's bowl longer than 2 hours, since you run a risk of contamination. Furthermore, wet food entails frequent trips to the pet store, and all that discarded food and cans aren't good for your pocket and the environment.
Even if you buy a high-quality kibble made from fresh ingredients and flavored according to your dog's desires it won't taste as good as wet food does. This is mainly because kibble is dry and doesn't have that gorgeous smell of meat and gravy.
Canned food smells and tastes better to all dogs because it has the aroma of meat, gravy, and all sorts of flavorings. It is so delicious that even picky eaters don't have a problem licking the bowl clean.
On the other hand, high-fat content in the wet food will pack up the pounds very fast. So you should be careful how much of it you are giving to an already overweight dog.
Dry dog food has a hard texture that promotes chewing, hence it stimulates gums and teeth. All the small pieces that your dog crunches will rub against his teeth and prevent the development of plaque and tartar.
Furthermore, you can now find a specially designed kibble that is tested and proven to remove tartar buildup. However, you shouldn't rely only on kibble if you want to maintain the health of your dog's teeth.
On the other hand, if your dog is old, or already has dental issues eating dry food can cause discomfort. The hard texture can be too much for your dog and he may refuse to eat completely.
Wet dog food has a soft texture that doesn't stimulate chewing and teeth cleaning. Furthermore, tiny bits and pieces can easily remain on the teeth and help with plaque and tartar buildup.
However, older dogs that have trouble chewing can only eat wet dog food, so you should start brushing your dog's teeth regularly. Furthermore, dogs with gum and dental disease will also benefit from soft texture of the wet food, and extra calories will help them gain weight.
Can You Mix Dry and Wet Food?
As you can see both dry and wet food offer different types of benefits so mixing them together seems like a perfect solution. And while it's fine to occasionally mix the two, the better solution is to serve them at separate meals.
This approach can work great if your dog needs to gain weight, but otherwise, you should monitor the calorie intake since wet food is calorie rich. A middle ground solution can be topping the kibble with canned food and giving it as an occasional treat.
On the other hand, if your dog has a sensitive stomach you should stick only to one type of food. Frequent mixing can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, so choose a food that works best for your dog and stick to it.
Ultimately the answer to dry vs wet dog food, which one's better question is up to you to decide. Basically, either one should fulfill your dog's nutritional requirements if it is made from quality ingredients.
You should consider your dog's lifestyle, potential health problems, and unique requirements and pick the healthiest choice at a budget-friendly cost. You can also, use the beneficial aspects of both foods by mixing them together as an occasional treat.
If you have some questions or concerns about switching your pup to a different type of food talk to your vet. He will be able to advise you and even make recommendations based on your dog's unique needs.