The Pros and Cons of Wet Food for Dogs

Canned food for dogs
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Proper nutrition is essential for all dogs, and choosing the right food can be an overwhelming task. In addition to the hundreds of commercial dog food brands to choose from, you also need to decide if you want to feed your dog dry food or wet food.

Many dog owners choose dry food for price and convenience. However, more and more owners are feeding wet food for its potential health benefits. This article will look at the advantages of feeding wet food vs dry food?

Pros of Feeding Wet Food to Dogs

There are several reasons why wet food is a good choice for many dogs.

First, wet food is typically much more appetizing than kibble to most dogs. It more closely resembles the fresh meat that dogs crave. Wet food is especially good for picky eaters as an alternative or addition to dry food.

Secondly, wet food may be healthier than dry food for the following reasons:

  • Wet food tends to be lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fat than dry food. High carbohydrate intake may contribute to obesity in dogs, so some wet food can prevent weight gain and even promote weight loss.
  • Wet food has high water content and can help dogs maintain hydration. This is good for dogs that don't drink much water, especially during periods of hot weather.
  • Wet food is typically less processed than kibble, which means protein and nutrients are more bioavailable. Kibble goes through a great deal of processing to form it into small crunchy bites.
  • In general, wet food has fewer preservatives than most kibble because it is sealed in small containers. Kibble usually contains many preservatives to keep it fresh in the bag.

Not all wet food varieties are the same; be sure to check nutrition information and ingredients on the packaging when shopping for dog food. Ask your veterinarian for input about different diets. Read online reviews to see what other pet owners are saying about different foods.

Cons of Feeding Wet Food to Dogs

Dry foods have been generally favored by dog owners for two main reasons: cost and convenience. Wet food is generally more expensive than dry, especially if this is what you are exclusively feeding. Plus, it's messier and more time consuming to prepare. Many owners prefer to just scoop some dry food into a bowl than to open a can or package and spoon out the food.

Another reason dog owners tend to prefer dry food is the odor of it. Dogs may be attracted to the smell of wet food, but most dog owners find it quite unappealing.

Wet food spoils quickly if left out too long, so it's not ideal for dogs that like to graze on their food for several hours. Plus, open containers of leftover wet food must be refrigerated so they don't go bad.

Waste is another concern about wet food. A large bag of dry food creates much less trash than dozens of cans, pouches, or plastic containers.

Finally, there are some potential health concerns associated with wet food diets:

  • Wet food often contains more fat than dry food. This may be too much fat for some dogs, particularly those predisposed to pancreatitis or sensitive to fatty foods.
  • Wet food may increase tartar buildup on a dog's teeth faster than dry food. This will be more noticeable if a dental care routine is not already in place.
  • Cans may be lined with Bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor chemical. Pouches and plastic containers may also contain BPA. Research has shown that BPA from canned dog food can be detected in the bloodstream of dogs and may have negative effects on the body.

Mixing Wet and Dry Food

Many dog owners choose to mix wet and dry food together. This can lower the overall cost of your dog's food while still giving them some of the flavor and health benefits of wet food. Just make sure that you are feeding the appropriate amount of calories.

Semi-Moist Dog Food

There are a few varieties of semi-moist dog food available. Unfortunately, semi-moist dog food typically contains a lot of by-products and sugar, making it unhealthy as a primary diet for your dog. If your dog is extremely picky, it's healthier to feed wet food or mix some wet food into your dog's dry food.

Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Koestel ZL, Backus RC, Tsuruta K, et al. Bisphenol A (BPA) in the serum of pet dogs following short-term consumption of canned dog food and potential health consequences of exposure to BPA. Sci Total Environ. 2017;579:1804-1814.