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Dry Vs Wet Pet Food: Pros, Cons, And How To Choose The Best Option For Your Pet

As a pet owner, you know how important it is to provide your pet with a balanced and nutritious diet.

However, with so many pet food options, it can be difficult to determine which is best. One of the most common questions is whether to feed your pet dry or wet food.

Each type of pet food has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to your pet's overall health, nutrition, and well-being.

This BestForPets article will review dry and wet pet food to help you decide which option is best for your beloved canine companion.

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Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)


The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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1. What Is Dry Pet Food?

Dry pet food, also known as kibble, typically contains less than 10 percent moisture. It is made up of finely ground ingredients that have been cooked and formed into small pieces.

Dry foods may include meat, grains, vegetables, fruits, vitamins, minerals, and other additives to provide a complete and balanced diet for your pet.

2. What Is Wet Pet Food?

Wet pet food, also known as canned or pouch food, typically contains over 60 percent moisture. It’s made of cooked ingredients mixed with water or broth and packaged in cans or containers.

Moist foods may include meat, fish, eggs, grains, vegetables, fruits, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements to provide a complete and balanced meal for your pet.

Dry Vs Wet Pet Food

3. Benefits of Dry Pet Food

Dry pet food offers several benefits over wet pet food, including:

3.1. Convenience

Dry food is easy to store, measure, and prepare, and it doesn’t spoil if left out. There’s no need to refrigerate or heat the food before feeding it to your pet. Plus, you can buy it in bulk to save time and money.

3.2. Economy

Dry food is typically less expensive per calorie than wet food, so you can feed your pet more for less and with less waste.

3.3. Dental health

Dry food can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy and clean. Chewing on crunchy kibble helps remove plaque and tartar from your pet’s teeth, which can prevent dental problems and bad breath.

3.4. Enrichment

Dry food can be used in puzzle feeders or slow feeders to stimulate your pet’s mind and regulate their food intake. This can prevent boredom, overeating, and obesity.

Dry Pet Food

4. Drawbacks of Dry Pet Food

Dry pet food has some disadvantages compared to wet pet food, including:

4.1. Palatability

Some pets may find dry food less appealing, especially older pets with impaired taste and smell. Some pets may prefer wet food because of its increased flavor, moisture, and variety.

4.2. Hydration

If your pet doesn’t drink enough water or lives in a hot climate, dry food may not provide enough hydration.

Water is essential for your pet’s health and well-being, as it helps regulate body temperature, aid in digestion, support circulation, and maintain kidney function.

Dehydration can lead to serious issues such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and organ failure.

4.3. Chewing difficulties

Some animals with dental problems or small jaws may have difficulty chewing dry food.

Some pets may struggle to bite or eat hard kibble due to tooth loss, misaligned jaws, or a small mouth size. This can cause discomfort, pain, or choking.

4.4. Carbohydrate density

Due to the processing methods and ingredients used, dry foods may have a higher carbohydrate content than wet foods.

Carbohydrates are not harmful to your pet in moderation, but excessive amounts can lead to conditions such as diabetes or obesity.

5. Benefits of Wet Pet Food

Wet pet food has several advantages over dry pet food, including:

5.1. Palatability

Wet foods are generally more flavorful, moist, and varied than dry foods. They can stimulate your pet’s appetite and prevent boredom.

Additionally, the scent and taste of wet food can appeal to picky eaters or pets with reduced senses.

5.2. Hydration

Wet food provides a source of dietary water that can help your pet stay hydrated and avoid urinary tract issues. Pets that don’t drink enough water or live in dry climates can also benefit from a moist diet.

5.3. Chewing comfort

Pets with dental problems or small mouths may find wet food easier to chew and digest. Wet food is softer, smoother, and requires less chewing effort than dry food.

Pets that have trouble swallowing or processing dry kibble may also benefit from wet food.

5.4. Protein concentration

Wet food often has a higher protein content than dry food, which can be beneficial for some pets with kidney disease or muscle loss.

Protein is essential for your pet’s growth, maintenance, and development. It helps with the growth and repair of muscles, tissues, and organs.

Wet Pet Food

6. Drawbacks of Wet Pet Food

Wet pet food has some drawbacks compared to dry pet food, including:

6.1. Convenience

Wet food needs to be refrigerated after opening and may spoil more quickly than dry food. You need to make sure to use it within the specified time frame or discard it.

Wet food is also harder to transport and store than dry food.

6.2. Cost

Wet food is typically more expensive per calorie than dry food, especially in small portions. You may need to spend more money and buy wet pet food more frequently.

Wet food generates more waste and packaging material than dry food.

6.3. Dental hygiene

Wet food may not provide enough mechanical tooth cleaning for your pet. Wet food doesn’t remove plaque and tartar as effectively as dry food.

This can lead to dental problems and bad breath. If you feed your pet wet food, you may need to provide additional dental care or treats.

6.4. Environmental enrichment

Wet food may not be suitable for slow feeders or puzzle devices. Wet food is messier and more sticky than dry food and may not fit or work properly in these devices.

Due to its high palatability and low satiety, wet food may also encourage overeating and begging.

7. How to Choose the Best Option for Your Pet

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which type of pet food is best. The ideal option depends on several factors, including:

7.1. Age

Puppies and kittens may need more protein and calories from wet food to support their growth and development.

Senior pets may benefit from the moisture and flavor of wet food to maintain their hydration and appetite.

7.2. Breed

Some breeds may have specific dietary requirements or preferences that can be met by either type of food.

Large breeds may benefit from glucosamine and chondroitin in wet food to support their joints, while small breeds may need smaller kibble in dry food to suit their jaws.

7.3. Health

Some health conditions may require a special diet of either type of food or a combination of both.

For example, pets with diabetes may need a low-carbohydrate diet, while those with kidney disease may require a low-phosphorus diet.

7.4. Lifestyle

Active or sedentary lifestyles, as well as indoor or outdoor living, can affect a pet’s nutritional and hydration needs.

Active pets may need more calories from dry food, while indoor pets may benefit from more moisture in wet food.

Pet Food

Here are some tips to help you choose the best food for your pet:

  • Consult with your veterinarian to determine the optimal diet for your pet based on their specific needs. Your vet can recommend the best type, brand, amount, and frequency of food for your pet.
  • Check the labels and ingredients of pet food to ensure it meets nutritional and quality standards. Look for the AAFCO statement, which confirms that the pet food is complete and balanced for your pet’s life stage. Avoid feeding your pet food with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or additives.
  • Experiment with different flavors, textures, and forms of pet food to find out what your pet prefers. Try different brands, varieties, and combinations of dry and wet food until you find one that your pet enjoys and thrives on.
  • Consider feeding your pet a combination of dry and wet food to get the best of both worlds. You can mix them in the same bowl, feed them separately at different times, or switch between them on different days. This can provide variety, balance, and satisfaction for your pet.
  • Observe your pet’s weight, appetite, hydration, and excretion to determine how they’re reacting to the food. You can monitor these indicators with a scale, measuring cup, water bowl, and litter box or poop bag. If you notice any changes or concerns, consult with your veterinarian.


Dry and wet pet food have unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to your pet’s health, nutrition, and happiness. The best choice depends on your pet’s specific needs, preferences, and lifestyle.

The most important thing is to provide your pet with a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their nutritional requirements and keeps them healthy and happy.

Whether you choose dry pet food, wet pet food, or a combination of both, consult with your veterinarian and do your own research before deciding on the best option for your pet.

BestForPets hope this article has helped you choose the best pet food by comparing dry and wet options. If you have any comments, concerns, or feedback, please leave them in the section below. We would love to hear from you!

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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