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Why Do Dogs Need Dry Food

A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Thursday 17 November 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Why Do Dogs Need Dry Food
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As pet parents, we aim to give quality nutrition to keep our precious furry family healthy. However, choosing the best brand with excellent ingredients that your dog will love to eat can be a struggle. You also need to consider dry and wet food options in the market. Dogs may prefer the taste and texture of wet food, but they also need the benefits of dry food. But, why do dogs need dry food? Is dry dog food good for dogs? Let’s find out.

Differences Between Dry Dog Food and Wet Dog Food 

Before you decide which dog food is best for your furry pal, let’s tackle the differences between the dry and wet types. Although both forms provide nourishment, they can have contrasting qualities and processes.   


So, how does the process of producing dry dog food differ from wet dog food? Dry dog food starts from pulverized protein sources formed into a dough. Special machines shape this dough into kibbles after the cooking process. Then, the kibbles undergo a drying method, spraying them with fats, vitamins, minerals, and other liquid ingredients. 

On the other hand, the process of creating wet dog food begins with grinding meat sources and adding gravy containing vitamins and minerals. Other components, such as grains, are added before cooking. Once cooked, the next step is sterilization to manufacture the canned product.    

Nutritional Content 

Dry kibbles and canned wet food both offer nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to our pets depending on the quality of their ingredients. However, the biggest varying factor between the two is the percentage of water in the formulation. Moisture takes 60-80% of wet dog food. So dry matter, where nutrition is from, accounts for less than half of the overall content. In contrast, dry dog food only has 10% moisture. However, dry dog food contains more carbohydrates while wet food contains more animal protein and fat. 

Flavor and Smell 

Even premium dry dog food brands would not be able to compete with the flavor and smell of wet dog food. This is because the drying process strips off the sumptuous scent of the ingredients of dry dog food. In contrast, wet dog food boasts a mouthwatering smell of gravy and a juicy texture dogs would love. As a result, picky eaters are likely to choose wet dog food over dry ones. However, you’ll need to be cautious with the portions as this type is high in fat which may cause unnecessary weight gain. Nevertheless, there are also best-tasting dry dog foods on the market.

Shelf Life 

Because of its freshness and moisture content, wet dog food has a shorter shelf life than dry dog food. Like any other canned product, it needs to be refrigerated once opened as it can get spoiled quickly at room temperature. On the other hand, you can offer kibbles to your dog and just leave it the entire day without worrying about spoilage. Wet dog food also invites more bacterial contamination and insects when left at the counter compared to dry dog food.  


Because of their small packaging, you’ll need more store runs to replenish your supply of wet dog food. Aside from the refrigeration needed, wet dog food is also more expensive than dry kibbles. So, wet dog food is a more costly route. However, it can be worth the price for dog owners with picky eaters or sick pups who will benefit more from this form. 

Dry dog food is economical as it lasts longer and is more convenient without sacrificing quality nutrition. You can store it or carry it during travel without any problems. Both wet and dry dog food has a wide variety of flavors you can choose from. 

Pros and Cons of Feeding Dry Food to Your Dog 

Now that you know the difference between both dry and wet dog food, is dry dog food better than wet? To help you further in arriving at the best decision for your dog’s sustenance, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of dry dog food. 


  • Convenience. The top reason many dog owners prefer dry dog food is its convenience. It’s easy to store, easy to carry during trips, and has a longer shelf-life. 
  • Budget-friendly. Dry dog food is also less costly than wet food. Plus, they are available in large quantities so you can fetch up supplies less frequently, making you save on trips to the grocery.
  • Dental benefits. Because of the hard texture of kibbles, they help clean your dog’s teeth. But, this shouldn’t replace your dog’s daily proper dental hygiene. There is also soft dog food if your dog is not comfortable chewing very hard dog food.
  • Integration. Dry kibbles are easier to use as treats during training. Additionally, you can integrate kibbles into dog toys and puzzles to level up playtime and stimulate your dog’s cognitive abilities.  


  • High in carbohydrates. Most dry dog foods contain a chunk of meat only, while the rest of the ingredients come from grains. These carbohydrates are processed into sugar in the body to serve as a secondary fuel. Too much amount of carbs and sugar increase the risk of diabetes in dogs. 
  • Preservatives. Dry dog food may contain preservatives to help keep its freshness. Most preservatives are toxic to dogs. However, some brands now offer preservative-free options, which may also affect their shelf life.
  • May contain flavorings or additives. Because this type of dog food goes through the drying process, its sensory appeal to dogs decreases. So, manufacturers use flavorings or additives to make it smell tasty to dogs. 

Pros and Cons of Feeding Wet Food to Your Dog

Like dry dog food, wet dog food can be sourced from various quality ingredients. Alternately, let’s go through the benefits and caveats of feeding your dog canned wet food.


  • Hydration boost. Water is an essential component of a dog’s diet. While most dogs prefer to drink cold water, others are not a fan of drinking enough. Wet dog food is a great option as its moisture will help your pup’s hydration. 
  • Palatability. The aroma and flavor of moist dog food appeal more to dogs. It feels and tastes closer to real raw meat. 
  • Easy on the teeth. Dogs with dental problems or senior dogs with loose teeth will benefit from the soft texture of canned dog food. Similarly, wet dog food is also good for sick dogs who maintain soft diets.
  • Satiety. Dogs feel more “full” with wet dog food compared to dry ones. This helps dogs who need to maintain a certain weight. 


  • Fast spoilage. As previously mentioned, wet dog food needs to be consumed right away or refrigerated to avoid spoilage. This is one major inconvenience of this dog food type. However, many brands offer small one-serving cans or pouches to help resolve this disadvantage.
  • Costly. Dog owners who exclusively feed their pups with wet dog food can attest to how costly it is. Plus, it also takes more time to prepare and store. It isn’t environment-friendly either since it produces quite a large number of waste from small cans or plastic containers. 
  • High in fat, sodium, and phosphorus. Wet dog food has high quantities of fat, so you’ll need to be cautious if your dog is sensitive to fatty foods or has a high chance of developing pancreatitis. Additionally, a study revealed that most commercial wet dog food brands have a higher than the minimum percentage of sodium and phosphorus which may affect the dogs adversely. 

Can You Mix Dry and Wet Food?

If you can spare a little bit more from your budget, you can add wet food on top of the usual dry food you offer to your dog. In this way, you can get the best out of both dog food types. Plus, there’s no need to decide between dry dog food and wet dog food. 

Not only will you level up the taste of your dog’s dry dog food, but also add some hydration from the wet food. Additionally, this is a more cost-efficient strategy rather than feeding the more expensive wet food exclusively. When adding wet dog food, you may ask, how much dry dog food should my dog eat? Check the serving suggestions carefully. You need to be wary of the caloric content of both dog food types to avoid overfeeding and obesity in your dogs. 

Dogs rely on their owner’s decision-making in terms of getting the best dog food. That is why it’s important to know the pros and cons of different dog food types and brands to provide quality nutrition to our pets. If you are still in doubt, discuss your dog’s health, age, and other needs with your vet to get professional advice. 

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