Wet vs. Dry Dog Food: Which Is Right for Your Pet?

Published by
20 min read

Find food that fits your pet’s needs

Find a dog food that fits your pet’s needs

Find a cat food that fits your pet’s needs

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 behavioral needs. Both types of food are good choices, but it's important to look at the benefits of each to decide which is right for your dog.

The Benefits of Wet Dog Food

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

  • Greater water content: Wet dog food is particularly valuable for hydration. If your dog doesn't drink enough or you live in a dry, hot climate, a wet dog food can keep your dog properly hydrated, according to PetMD. Even so, you should still make sure fresh water is readily available for your pup.
  • Helping 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, a canned 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 such as Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Beef and Barley Entree have a richer scent and flavor that could spur an increase in appetite.
  • Satiety: The higher moisture content in canned food often helps a dog feel full. This may be useful in a weight management program for those dogs who appear to have an endless appetite.

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 all day for a dog to eat at their own pace without worry of it spoiling.
  • 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 buildup as the kibble is designed to scrape away these buildups 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 supper, the mental stimulation of getting 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, giving dry in the morning and wet in the evening (or vice-versa) or by giving them  wet food as a "treat" for exceptional behavior. Just make sure you're not increasing your dog's caloric intake when mixing these foods, especially if he's on a weight management plan.

Keep in mind you should avoid mixing different brands, especially if your dog is on a therapeutic 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 monitor their feeding habits to see if he gravitates to one over the other. Just be sure to not change 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.

Contributor Bio

Kara Murphy

Kara Murphy


Kara Murphy is a pet parent and freelance writer in Erie, Pa., Her dog, Maddie, is particularly fond of dry dog food.


Related Articles

  • Water

    Water is the most important nutrient of all and essential for life. Animals can lose almost all their fat and half their protein and still survive, but if they lose 15% of their water, it will mean death.
  • Pet Food Storage Tips

    Where you store your cat and dog food can make a big difference in the quality and freshness once it is opened. Here are some common questions and recommendations for optimal storage for all of Hill’s dry and canned cat and dog food.
  • The Right Diet For Your Pet

    Learn what to look for in healthy pet food & nutrition, including ingredients, quality of the manufacturer, your pet's age, and any special needs they have.
  • Proteins

    Dogs running To make a protein, amino acids are linked together in a long chain. The chain is then bundled into to a three-dimensional structure, like a tangled ball of yarn. Although there are hundreds of different amino acids, only 21 are used in animal proteins.

Related products