One of the first decisions you have to make when bringing your dog home is what kind of food to feed them. Should you choose dry or wet dog food? What’s the difference, anyway?
In general, feeding your dog is easy. Your dog dad or dog mom instincts will kick in, plus your dog will show you more or less when they’re hungry or if they want a bite of that apple you’re snacking on. But while feeding your dog is a piece of cake, there can still be some bumps in the road.
When you’re determining what kind of food you want your dog to eat, your main goal is keeping your dog happy and healthy. This involves choosing what kind of dog food is best for your dog to find the healthiest dog food option on the market.
And along with all these choices, you’ll also have to choose between dry or wet dog food. You may wonder if there’s actually a difference between dry and wet dog food.
One is dry and the other one is wet, right? That’s about it?
Well, there are some advantages and disadvantages that set dry and wet dog food apart.
As a pup parent, there’s no end to how much you’ll learn while you take care of your dog. We know how important it is to make sure you have the best food possible for your furry friend, so let’s dig into the difference between dry and wet dog food.
Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food is one of the most popular ways to feed dogs. It’s commonly referred to as “kibble” and it has a variety of advantages and some disadvantages as well.
Dry food is much easier to serve in the correct proportion to your dog’s weight than wet food, as there is no water content to take into account. This makes it easier to maintain your dog’s weight and prevent health issues down the line.
Dry dog food is also an excellent way to promote your dog’s dental hygiene. Hard food pieces will scrape the plaque off their teeth while they eat, helping to keep their teeth clean, preventing gum diseases and oral health complications.
Dry dog food has a longer shelf life without needing to incorporate so many preservatives and artificial ingredients, and there’s no need to refrigerate after opening it if your dog doesn’t finish all their food.
However, some dry dog foods are still processed at high temperatures to kill bacteria, which also kills nutrients, so it’s important to look for dry food that’s minimally processed or air-dried!
Wet Dog Food
Wet dog food comes in a variety of products, containers, and forms.
Semi-Moist Dog Food
Semi-moist dog food is dog food that’s made up of 65% water. One of the reasons many people use this type of dog food is convenience. You simply open a pouch up and pour it into your dog’s bowl.
While this form of dog food is convenient, it’s important to note a few disadvantages in the product as well.
Semi-moist dog food is known for being packed with sugar, salt, artificial colors, flavor enhancers, and chemical preservatives, similar to preserved human foods.
The excessive use of chemicals helps these foods last longer on the shelf than other foods, but do you really want to feed your dog food that could last as long as their puppyhood? Longer shelf life is appealing, but it’s not worth your dog’s nutrition.
Especially if your dog has weight problems, heart disease, or an underlying health condition, it’s vital to avoid semi-moist dog foods and opt for other forms of wet food, or dry food altogether.
Canned Wet Food
Canned wet food is another popular type of wet dog food and is made of 70 to 80 percent water. It’s typically a bit healthier than the semi-moist dog food option. Canned dog food has a much higher water content than dry food, adding hydration to their meals.
If your dog doesn’t drink frequently, this can be a great way to promote their water intake.
In addition to this, canned foods are often preferred by dogs over dry dog food. However, there are some downsides to using canned dog food. Canned dog food is perishable once opened and can still contain preservatives like semi-moist dog food to make the food last longer.
Canned dog food also tends to be more expensive than most dry dog foods, and isn’t an affordable option for everyone to buy all the time. Canned food also doesn’t provide the benefit of dental hygiene and can make it easier for your dog to develop periodontal disease.
When using canned or wet food, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian about their calorie requirements and how much food they should eat. Dry dog food doesn’t have water included in the ingredients, so the amount of food you’ve been feeding your dog on dry food may be different if you change to wet food.
Which is Best for Your Dog? Dry Food or Wet Food?
Determining whether dry or wet dog food is the best option for your dog isn’t an easy decision. While many dogs prefer wet food over most dry dog foods, they usually contain a higher amount of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
While making your decision, be sure to speak with your veterinarian about what food is best for your dog. They will be able to point you in the right direction and help you make an informed decision about what to feed your dog.
In general, dry dog food has more benefits to offer than wet food, though there are a few other more important characteristics to look for when choosing dog food.
For instance, the quality of ingredients, how the food was processed, and what proportions they are in can all make or break how healthy a dog food is.
If you’re still unsure, here are some qualities to look for in dry or wet dog food that can help you make your decision.
You’ve heard it said, you are what you eat. The same is true for your dog. What you put into their body matters, which means the ingredients that go into their food matter too.
Here are a couple of things to look for when it comes to ingredients. Fresh and natural ingredients are always what you want to see in dog food.
It’s also important to avoid a few ingredients like any kind of meat “meal,” corn, soy, wheat, and other fillers. Wheat isn’t necessarily bad for dogs, but it isn’t nutritious either. Every bite should count when it comes to what your dog eats, so unnecessary ingredients like these shouldn’t be in your dog’s food.
Instead, look for real meats like USDA beef, beef heart, or wild salmon. You can also look for meats like chicken, pork, lamb, turkey, and other fish, though some dogs do have a chicken allergy.
While wheat, corn, and soy aren’t the most nutritious ingredients for your dog, it doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be whole grain ingredients. Look for oats or quinoa instead, which are packed with antioxidants, amino acids, and fiber to fuel your dog and keep them happy and healthy.
You should also find lots of veggies and fruits listed on the back of the box. While dogs certainly need lots of protein, they also need lots of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Fruits and veggies like strawberries, oranges, blueberries, carrots, pumpkin, kale, zucchini, and spinach are excellent foods for your dog.
Many dry dog foods are blasted at high temperatures to dry, which can end up killing nutrients as well as bacteria. Whether you choose dry or wet dog food, both can be processed at high temperatures.
Instead, look for dog food that is air-dried. Our dog food is gently air-dried, so it retains all the goodness and nutrients it had when it was harvested from the ground, without any of the harmful preservatives, chemicals, or artificial ingredients.
Air-dried foods stay fresh so you can give your dog the food they deserve!
Lastly, look for human-grade dog food. Many dog food organizations have standards set over dog food.
For instance, the Association of American Feed Control Officials has regulations set over what foods can be labeled as “natural,” and these regulations are fairly loose and still allow not-so-natural ingredients to slip into the recipe. While these regulations are a step in the right direction, there are still many ways dog food labeled as “natural” isn’t really natural at all.
So, we decided to make all of our dog food here at Sundays human-grade. This means that our dog food follows the FDA standards for human food instead of the standards for dog food. Your dog is a member of your family, so why shouldn’t they eat like one?
Choosing between dry and wet dog food is one of the many decisions you’ll have to make as a dog parent. But we can make the decision a bit easier.
Our gently air-dried dog food is 100% human-grade, with only the freshest ingredients. We never include any artificial ingredients, preservatives, chemicals, or unnecessary fillers, so your dog gets the fuel they need, packed into every bite.
Dry, Canned, or Semi-Moist: Food Choices for Dogs | VCA Hospital
Choosing Food | PFI
Natural | AAFCO