Wet vs. Dry Dog Food
Finding a dog food that’s both nutritious and appetizing can be challenging for any dog-parent, whether it’s your first time or you’re an old pro. So, when confronted with the dry dog food vs. wet dog food debate, you might find yourself scratching your head. Which one will meet your dog’s needs and get her excited for mealtime every day? We have some answers that should help guide you in the right direction and make your dog pretty happy, too.
Is Wet Food or Dry Food Better for Dogs?
Both wet and dry dog food can be great options for your dog as long as they meet the guidelines laid out by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO establishes nutrient profiles for various species of animals at different life stages. By looking at AAFCO’s Nutritional Adequacy Statement (NAS) on dry or wet food packaging, you can easily tell if a food will be able to meet your dog’s nutritional needs at their life stage. Just look for the phrase “complete and balanced,” which means that the formula has met at least one of the following criteria:
1. The formula meets the nutritional levels for an animal established by the AAFCO nutrient profiles for their life stage.
2. The formula has completed AAFCO-recognized feeding protocol for substantiation.
3. The formula is part of a product family that is nutritionally similar to the product family leader.
Meeting one of these criteria suggests that a dog will stay healthy at their life stage while eating that specific diet. Check out our article on canine nutrition to continue learning about the NAS and other elements of dog food ingredient labels.
All that being said, there are still some differences between wet and dry dog food formulas to consider. Let’s dig into the unique benefits that dry and wet foods have to offer.
Dry Dog Food Benefits
Complete and balanced dry dog food recipes are nutrient-rich and made with tasty ingredients dogs love. It’s easy to scoop out of the bag and measure according to your dog’s recommended serving size. Each bag comes with a feeding chart you can use to determine your dog’s recommended serving size based on her weight, but you may also want to consult your vet to determine the best portion size.
You don’t have to worry about dry dog food going bad from sitting around in your dog’s bowl if she’s a grazer. However, it’s still recommended that you toss any leftovers and wash her bowl after 8-12 hours to avoid microbial growth that could pose a threat to her health. Dry dog food is very shelf stable, especially if you store it in a cool, dark area—a closed bag can last 12-18 months, while an open bag can be used within 3-4 months of opening. This means you can buy dry dog food in bulk and not have to worry about it going bad a few days after opening it. Less food waste and more savings are always a win!
Dry dog food can also be used to engage your dog’s brain. Set aside a portion of your dog’s daily meal and put the kibbles inside a puzzle toy. Your dog will get a mental workout and consume their food more slowly, which can be helpful for pups that seem to inhale their dinner in one big bite. Kibbles are great for training, too, so if you’re potty training your puppy or teaching an adult dog to roll over, you can reward her without adding too many extra calories to her diet.
The biggest drawback to dry dog food is that it can be challenging for dogs who have weak jaws, gum disease or other oral complications. These problems usually crop up with age, so it may be a good idea to talk with your vet about switching your dog to a wet or soft dog food diet that’s easier for her to chew.
Wet Dog Food Benefits
Wet dog food recipes can also offer plenty of nutritional value and deliciousness. In fact, one of the biggest draws of wet dog food is its strong aroma, flavor and resemblance to meat. Wet dog food is, obviously, higher in moisture content, which can help prevent or combat urinary tract conditions. Higher moisture content can help your dog feel fuller faster—chunky wet formulas in particular can be great tools for weight management in overweight dogs. However, since wet food is also nutrient-dense, some formulas can help underweight dogs bulk up to a healthier weight. Looking at calorie ranges and talking with your vet will help you determine which formulas would be best for your dog’s needs.
Wet food can offer benefits to specific life stages as well. Puppies transitioning from their mother’s milk to solid food can benefit from having wet food as a buffer between a purely liquid diet and crunchy kibble. On the other hand, if your dog is older or has trouble chewing, wet food will be much easier for her to eat than a hard, dry formula. And, of course, wet food is great for all the in-between life stages, too! Just be sure to incorporate regular oral care and brushing into your dog’s routine if you feed her a strictly wet food diet. Dogs that only eat wet food have a slightly higher tendency to develop plaque than dogs that eat hard kibble, which is more abrasive.
Some of wet food’s biggest drawbacks are related to convenience and expense. When looking at cans or cups vs. dry dog food, wet dog food tends to cost more for less food. Because it’s stored in cans and cups, it can be harder to buy in bulk unless you have enough room to store it. You should also be careful not to leave wet food in your dog’s bowl for more than 30 minutes – it can become contaminated or go bad from being out, which could make your dog sick. If there is any leftover wet food in the can or cup after giving your dog an appropriate serving, be sure to transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Even then, you shouldn’t keep it around for more than a couple of days to ensure you aren’t feeding your dog rancid food.
Try Mixing Wet and Dry Dog Food
Introducing your dog to both wet and dry food early in life is a great idea. Being familiar with both kinds of food can help later down the line if your dog ever has to switch to a totally wet diet due to oral problems. When and if you do need to switch your dog’s food, it’s important to make the transition slowly. Use our dog feeding tips to learn more about transitioning formulas and giving your dog proper portions.
Rather than giving your dog one or the other, you can serve up both types of food throughout her life. Giving her both wet and dry food can make mealtime even more appetizing without giving up convenience and cost-effectiveness. Try topping her regular dry food with some wet food or mixing the two together. You can talk with your vet or use the recommended serving sizes on the dry food bag and wet food can to figure out how much of each you can feed your dog without exceeding her daily calorie needs. Meal prep should still be quick and easy – and your dog will be more eager than ever to chow down on a tasty combination of flavors and textures.
Check Out High-Quality Wet and Dry Dog Food from the Nature’s Recipe® Brand
If you’re searching for natural recipes with added vitamins, minerals and nutrients, you’ve come to the right place. Whether your dog is big or small, young or old, you can find the right recipe for her needs in the wide selection of wet and dry dog foods from the Nature’s Recipe® brand, including grain-free and healthy skin recipes.
Want to try mixing wet and dry dog food for a tasty experience that fuels your dog’s wag? As an example, if your adult dog loves our Original Chicken & Rice Recipe dry dog food, you could top it with our wet Original Chicken & Turkey Recipe in Broth for extra poultry flavor. Or, if you prefer to feed your dog grain free, you could top Grain Free Salmon, Sweet Potato, & Pumpkin Recipe dry dog food with our Grain Free Chicken & Turkey Stew or Grain Free Chicken Recipe in Broth.
No matter which recipes you choose, you can rest assured that your dog will receive complete and balanced nutrition with every meal – and that she’ll savor every bite. Check out the rest of our delicious, thoughtfully crafted recipes to fuel the wag for a lifetime of fun.
Nature’s Recipe® Original Chicken and Rice Dry Dog Food RecipeLearn More
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