Wet Vs Dry Dog Food -
Which Is The Better Option?
The age-old debate between wet vs dry dog food will probably outlive us all. What’s the real truth of it all? Will wet dog food rot your dog’s teeth? Is kibble tasteless and cruel?
We are going to (try and) settle the debate today. Wet and dry - who will win the best dog food debate.
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal
Things To Consider Before Buying Dog Food
Firstly, let’s frame this conversation. It’s all good and well trying to decipher which level of moistness is right for your canine’s nutrition, but there are a few steps to go through first.
How old is your dog?
If you have a puppy of 6 weeks or younger, they shouldn’t be eating any solid food at all yet. Once they reach the 6-8week mark, they can start transitioning to solid food. If dry food, it will need to be moistened first so as not to harm their tender gums.
Likewise, if you have an elderly dog with particular digestion needs or dental issues, you may find that wet or dry food is recommended by your dog’s vet for one reason or another.
What are your dog’s nutritional/physiological needs?
It’s never advised to force your dog to eat dry food if they have a bad case of gingivitis, even if the doggy forums are saying it is better. Likewise, wet food with high sodium content may not be good for ailing dogs with digestion issues. Take it case by case.
How fussy is your dog?
There is no denying that wet food is ultimately more appealing to most dogs. In terms of texture and mouth-feel, it is far more appetising all around. It mimics real food, with distinct juiciness. If your dog has been socialised to eating human scraps and wet food, you’ll have a tough time transitioning them to dry food now. If you have a puppy on your hands and are wondering the best course of action, you have more room for experimentation as to what they truly like.
What Is the Best Dog Food Type?
PRO TIP: Ultimately, both wet and dry food hold the same nutritional value.
Whether you choose wet or dry food can depend on a myriad of factors. Here are just a few:
Pros & Cons of Dry Dog Food
Related: How Long Does Dry Dog Food Last?
Pros & Cons of Wet Dog Food
The Most Important Thing When It Comes To Dog Food
...is not the wet vs dry debate. Ultimately, you have to make the right decision for your dog’s health and for what you can comfortably afford. What is far more important than wet vs dry, is the nutritional content. What is on the food label? What are the ingredients? (2)
Given that Australia’s pet food industry is largely unregulated, concerns have been raised multiple times regarding what exactly is in our dog’s food.
In the cons for wet and dry food, I noted the use of sulphites.
“Thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency can occur when dogs and cats are fed on a diet containing sulphite preservatives. Thiamine deficiency causes severe neurological symptoms and can be fatal.” - ASPCA (3)
Therefore, it is better to keep a weather eye on the ingredients list of any dog food that is sold in Australia before making a purchase.
If you are particularly worried about this, we have written a full guide on the best dog food on the market for your pup.
My Final Thoughts
Wet or dry food is a completely personal decision. They both have their pros and cons. A dog raised on wet food can be just as happy and healthy as a dog raised on dried food. As long as the ingredients are high quality and nutrient-dense, you shouldn’t have much to worry about whichever you choose.
Both wet and dry food brands can offer grain-free options. Grain sensitivity is not particularly prevalent in the dog world. If your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to grain food, you’ll notice stomach upset which should be checked out by your vet. That said, if you search for high-quality foods with high protein content, the grain content shouldn’t be that high anyway.
Yes, absolutely you can! It’s a great way to transition your dog from wet to dry food if you decide that is the better way to go. It also helps a fussy eater over the line of eating dry food more readily. That said, the calories need to be accounted for. Be wary of how much wet food you are adding to the dry food. You may accidentally end up exceeding their daily recommended caloric intake.
The sulphites that can be present to preserve dry food (and wet food) are the main culprits. Be wary if you see any of the following names on the ingredient list of the dog food you intend to buy:
- sulphur dioxide 220
- sodium sulphite 221
- sodium bisulphite 222
- sodium metabisulphite 223
- potassium metabisulphite 224
- potassium sulphite 225
- potassium bisulphite 228
- “Are preservatives in pet food a concern?”. RSPCA. Retrieved March 28, 2021. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/
- Lee, E. “How to Read a Dog Food Label”. Fetch by WebMD. Retrieved March 28, 2021. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/how-to-read-a-dog-food-label#1
- “How is the pet food industry regulated in Australia?”. RSPCA. Retrieved March 28, 2021. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-is-the-pet-food-industry-regulated-in-australia/