Which Is Best: Dry Dog Food or Wet Dog Food?

Two dogs eat from bowl

Our dogs rely on us to make the best food choice on their behalf. But when it comes to picking a dog food, which type is the best choice: dry or canned? Let’s take a closer look at each variety.

dog food in bowl animated


Benefits of Dry Dog Food: Convenience, Crunch and Cost


Benefits of dry dog food at a glance:

  • It supports oral health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup.
  • No refrigeration is required.
  • It has a lower cost than canned food.

Dry kibble does have some advantages over canned foods, including distinct benefits for your dog’s oral health. Crunchy kibble helps keep your dog’s teeth healthy by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. That’s why kibble eaters tend to have better breath than those who chow down exclusively on canned food. Dry food also provides the necessary chew and crunch dogs have craved since their primal pack days, when they used chewing and crunching as stress relief and a show of power.

Unlike canned food, kibble does not require refrigeration after opening and can be left out for free feeders. It’s also easier to pack if you travel with your pet.

Cost is another area in which dry kibble has an advantage over canned food. Because canned food contains a higher percentage of water (usually 70–85%) than dry foods (10% or less), dry food is more economical to feed on a per-serving basis.

 

yellow dog bowls with wet dog food


Benefits of Wet Dog Food: Meaty, Moist and Appetizing


Benefits of wet dog food at a glance:

  • Most dogs love the taste, including picky eaters.
  • It’s more easily digested.
  • Its high moisture content can help keep a dog hydrated.

Canned dog food tends to be more palatable to dogs because it is made primarily of protein and fat, with few carbohydrates. The palatability and digestibility of canned food may also make it the right choice for finicky eaters or dogs with certain illnesses.

The downside of canned food is its soft, smooth texture, which doesn’t give your pooch an opportunity to do the crunching that can help clean their teeth. And smaller dogs that often eat canned food have more crowded teeth, providing areas where plaque and tartar can easily accumulate.

Nonetheless, some pet nutritionists believe that canned food can be healthier than dry. And with its high moisture content, canned food can help keep a dog hydrated, benefiting the urinary tract.

While the meat-based protein in canned dog food is more expensive, for smaller breeds that eat less it may be a cost-effective option.

Remember, canned food is perishable and can only be left opened and out of the refrigerator for a short time. Therefore, any food left in your dog’s bowl for more than one to two hours should be discarded.

 

small dog eating from yellow dog bowl


Making the Right Choice


There is no single right or wrong way to feed your dog. What matters most is that the food you choose is as healthy as possible and is a good match with your feeding philosophy.

If you feed your dog only canned dog food, give them opportunities to crunch on snacks that can help clean their teeth and satisfy their need for a good chew. Likewise, dogs that are fed dry food may occasionally enjoy a delectably meaty treat. Balancing out the crunchy with the yummy is just one more way you can provide the best possible care for your dog.

To help find the right foods for your dog, check out our Food-Finder Tool. With so many nutritious and delicious choices, your dog will have a hard time deciding which is their favorite.

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