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The Pros And Cons Of Wet Dog Food


With so many dog food options out there, it's hard to know what will be the best choice for your dog. From dry to wet food, raw and homemade, semi-moist to freeze-dried - it can become overwhelming quickly (and that's not even including the hundreds of brands). Your vet is a great resource when deciding on a food that will provide the proper nutrients and fit for your dog. But one of the decisions you may need to make is dry or wet food. So, here are the pros and cons of wet dog food.

How Is Wet Food Made?

Wet dog food is processed in a different way than dry food or kibble. It starts with grinding the protein and meat ingredients together then adding a sauce or gravy containing vitamins, minerals and grains. Once thoroughly combined, the mixture is cooked, sterilized and packaged.

Pros Of Wet Food

There are many advantages to feeding your dog wet food, from taste to nutrient content and more. Here are a handful of the pros of wet dog food:

  • Appetizing and tasty. Wet food is often more flavorful and smelly (in a good way for dogs). This can be helpful for older dogs who may lose some sense of smell, resulting in less interest in kibble.
  • Resembles fresh meat, so is closer to what canine ancestors, like wolves, eat and feeds into those predatory instincts.
  • Good for picky eaters and dogs that may need encouragement eating, like senior dogs or those with health issues.
  • Lower carbohydrates (higher carbs can lead to weight gain and obesity).
  • Higher protein content.
  • Higher water content, which promotes hydration. Wet food can have upwards of 80% moisture, while dry food has closer to 10% or so. This is useful for dogs who don't drink much water throughout the day, those with medical conditions that could benefit from extra hydration (like urinary and kidney issues) and in hot weather. It also allows your dog to enjoy a bigger portion per meal with the same number of calories in the equivalent kibble portion.
  • Tends to provide a longer-lasting feeling of fullness, which can be useful for weight management.
  • Easier to chew, which is helpful for dogs with dental disease, missing teeth, and mouth or jaw abnormalities.

Cons Of Wet Food

Of course nothing in this world is perfect, so wet dog food also has disadvantages. Here are a some of the cons of wet dog food:

  • More costly with fewer variations and choices.
  • Less convenient. It takes more time to prepare meals and must be stored properly in the refrigerator once opened.
  • Spoils more quickly, so can be wasteful if not used in time. Also, not ideal for dogs who like to graze.  
  • Can be harder to portion control, which may lead to weight gain.
  • Less effective at preventing tartar buildup on teeth, so extra attention to dental care is recommended.
  • Higher fat content, which can be troublesome for dogs who are sensitive to fatty foods or prone to pancreatitis.
  • Less green and more wasteful (one large bag of kibble vs. dozens of cans, plastic containers or pouches).
  • Some containers are lined with Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical shown to disrupt endocrines. In fact, research has demonstrated that BPA from canned dog food can be detected in blood and may have negative effects on the body.
  • It's messier, has an odor that may turn off people and is not always a good fit for puzzle toys and brain games involving food.

A Third Option: Mixing Wet and Dry Food

One way to combine the benefits of both wet and dry food is to mix the two together. This lowers the cost of wet food, while providing the flavor and health benefits of it (plus the health benefits of kibble). Just make sure to calculate the proper amount of calories to avoid overfeeding and weight gain.

Again, your vet is an excellent resource when deciding on a food for your dog. They'll be able to take into account your pup's age, health and lifestyle to find a good fit that provides the proper nutrients for your canine companion.

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