Wet vs. dry dog food: which is right for your pet?

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Dog food seems like such a simple thing, but all of the choices available can be overwhelming when deciding what your pal should eat. One of the comparisons you'll confront starting out is wet vs. dry dog food.

First, consider your dog's overall health, age, and behavioural needs as well as your lifestyle. Both types of food are good choices, but one may work better for your pet.

The benefits of wet dog food

Wet dog food, or often referred to as canned dog food, is a great source of things you may not get as much of in dry. This includes:

  • Greater water content: Water is an essential nutrient for dogs to help maintain hydration and for many body functions. If your dog doesn't drink much water, or you live in a dry, hot climate, wet dog food can help keep your dog hydrated, according to PetMD. Even so, you should still make sure fresh water is readily available for your dog.
  • Helps dogs who have trouble chewing: Dogs can have issues chewing hard kibble for a variety of reasons, such as loss of teeth, misaligned jaws, or even a uniquely small mouth. In these cases, wet dog food may be much easier for them to manage.Brown dog eating food out of a blue bowl in the backyard.
  • The smell: Older dogs lose some sense of smell, and therefore might not eat their dry food with the same gusto or interest that they used to. Wet foods often have a rich scent and flavour that could help spur an increase in appetite.
  • Variety: Wet foods often come in a wide range of flavours, textures and forms that can offer variety to pets. Picky eaters, pets that are transitioning to new foods, and even pets that need to lose weight can benefit from wet foods.

The benefits of dry dog food

Dry dog food is packed with nutrients, and well known for being:

  • Convenient: Measured portions of dry food can be left out to allow slow eaters time to finish their food.
  • Economical: Dry dog food can be less expensive to buy in bulk and store than wet dog food.
  • An aid in cleaning teeth: Some dog foods are formulated to reduce plaque, stain, and tartar build-up as the kibble is designed to scrape away build-up on your dog's teeth.
  • Enriching environment: Dry foods are often easier to use in food puzzle toys, which can be beneficial in entertaining your dog while you are at work, and controlling food intake for those "eager eaters". Since your dog is not hunting for their supper, the mental stimulation of getting their food from puzzle toys can improve their quality of life.

The best of both

A third option is to choose both wet and dry foods. You can do this by mixing the foods together in the same bowl, offering dry in the morning and wet in the evening (or vice-versa) or by giving wet food as a "treat" for exceptional behaviour. Just make sure you're not increasing your dog's caloric intake when mixing these foods, especially if they are on a weight management plan.

Watch the video to learn about the benefits of wet food and delicious ways to give your dog a tasty variety at mealtime.

Keep in mind, you should avoid mixing different brands, especially if your dog is fed clinical food. Hill's Pet Nutrition foods are specially formulated to meet the needs of your pet, and by mixing different brands you can dilute the precise balance of Hill's nutrition.

Talk to your vet

If you have any concerns at all about your dog's health or about whether your dog should be eating dry or wet dog food, ask your vet.

Whatever you decide to do as you compare wet vs. dry dog food, make sure you follow these guidelines in changing your dog's food for the smoothest transition. It's also okay to let your dog tell you which type of food he prefers.

When you first start them out on a new food regimen, you should monitor their feeding habits to see if they gravitate to one over the other. Just be sure to not change their food too quickly or too frequently, as it could upset their digestive system. Also, ensure the food you choose is balanced and meets the nutrient needs of your dog's health considerations.