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Feeding Dogs: Wet Food versus Dry Food, Which is Best?

Updated on March 25, 2012
Dry food has pros and cons
Dry food has pros and cons | Source

The Importance of Nutrition

The choice of food you feed your dog has a tremendous impact on his health and longevity. Owners who care about their pets should do their best to educate themselves on the best diet for their canine companions and invest on it as budget allows. There is a vast array of foods for dogs on the market, enough to cause head spinning and an overwhelming sense of confusion. Where to start? A good place to start is to sort out if you should purchase wet or dry food for your dog. This should help narrow down the choices considerably. However, it is best to consult with a nutrition expert and your veterinarian before switching foods, especially if your dog has any underlying health problems.

And what about homemade or raw?

Dry Dog Food Advantages

Dry foods has many advantages and this is probably why the majority of people decide to go this route. However, there are also a few disadvantages that should be kept in mind. Let's take a look at some pros and cons of dry foods from both a dog's and human's perspective.

Advantages of Feeding Your Dog Dry Foods

  • Dry dog food is easy to buy in bulk and store
  • Dry dog food may cost considerably less, you get more for the price.
  • Dry dog food helps exercise the dog's jaw and helps satisfy a dog's chewing needs.
  • Dry dog food helps dental health. According to veterinarian Ron Hines, dogs fed dry diets appear to have less tartar build up on their teeth and less gum disease.

Disadvantages of Feeding Your Dog Dry Foods

  • Dry dog food may be less appealing than canned food
  • Dry dog foods often contain grains used as fillers such as corn or wheat.
  • Dry dog food contains less natural nutrients since many are lost in baking process and storage.
  • Dry food is more likely to contain preservatives to make it last longer and prevent it from turning rancid.
  • Dry dog food may not be appropriate for dogs with chewing problems.

Wet Dog Food Advantages

Canned dog food has also its own set of advantages. Those who can afford canned food report several benefits. However, there are also several disadvantages and we will go over some of the most common.

Advantages of Feeding Your Dog Canned Food

  • Canned dog food is very appealing; most dogs find it extremely palatable.
  • Canned dog food may be helpful for dogs who are recovering from a surgery and have lost their appetite or finicky eaters.
  • Canned dog food is less processed compared to dry food
  • Canned dog food contains more protein, moisture and vitamins
  • Canned dog food may help dogs with dental problems as it is easier to eat
  • Canned dog food contains less preservatives

Disadvantages of Feeding Your Dog Canned Food

  • Canned dog food costs considerably more
  • Canned dog food contains about 75% water which means a larger amount of it must be fed.
  • Canned dog food fed over time may cause the tissues around the dog's teeth to recede, causing teeth to loosen and a bad odor to the breath, further observes Ron Hines. If you feed canned you must therefore, brush your dog's teeth and provide dental treats.
  • Canned dog food tends to spoil much quicker than dry food once opened and if not eaten within a certain time frame. However, this is because canned dog food contains less preservatives.
  • Canned dog food however may have a longer shelf life than dry dog food when unopened.
  • Canned dog food may contribute to weight gain in dogs.
  • Canned dog food being more appealing than dry, may pose some challenges. Once a dog gets used to canned food he may be reluctant to switch back to dry.


As seen, there are pros and cons to each type of dog food. If you decide to switch brands of dog foods please remember to do so gradually to prevent a dog upset stomach. Always consult with a veterinarian if your dog has health issues before switching foods. There are many medical conditions that require adherence to certain guidelines and the avoidance of certain ingredients. Read food labels carefully and learn how to compare one brand to another.

What do you feed your dog?

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