If your dog has a particular preference for a certain type of food, you might be wondering if their favourite (be it wet food or kibble) is better or worse than the alternative?
We all want to ensure our dog is getting the best food for their age, breed, lifestyle and general activity level. So is there a simple answer to the question of which food is better between wet food and kibble?
This guide from Pat Woodward will help you to understand the key differences.
Put yourself in your dog’s place. That’s right, bury your face as deep as you can in that bowl on the kitchen floor. No, wait! Make sure somebody’s watching before you actually chow down so you can hear their silly baby-talk expressions of approval.
Even better, pretend you couldn’t care less about the food in the bowl when it’s placed in front of you, then go crazy when somebody picks up a piece to feed you by hand. Good boy! ‘Atta girl!
Dog lovers know that just about anything a pooch finds worth investigating can end up in its stomach. Sometimes the only thing better than rolling in the grass of the backyard is eating it. That means the joy of companionship comes with a duty of vigilance that extends all the way to the food dish.
The age-old question of whether it’s better for your dog to eat dry kibble or wet food seems to have as many permutations as the most perplexing mathematical problem. Cost, calories, taste, hydration, even dental health factor into the equation. The options can be overwhelming, so let’s look at some of the considerations.
Kibble and wet food both meet the basic requirements for your dog’s health and nutrition, but canned wet food provides some distinct benefits. The greater moisture content of canned food helps with hydration and promotes a healthy urinary tract.
That rich content of wet food can promote weight loss through a “full” feeling that lasts longer between meals and prevents overeating. Conversely, your dog may be tempted to wolf down his kibble too quickly, which could result in gastrointestinal problems.
Dental Development and Hygiene
That crunch you hear could be the sound of dental development. As puppies grow, harder foods like kibble can aid with the proper growth of their teeth. Kibble also encourages chewing in dogs of all ages, which can help prevent the buildup of tartar and subsequent periodontal disease.
Some dogs, especially as they get older, have trouble chewing hard food. Wet canned food is a good option, or you can soak kibble to soften it up.
Taste and Smell
Dogs may not be known as finicky eaters, but they know what they like. Open a bag of kibble and then open a can of wet food. Now, get out of the way!
The potent aroma of each may not do much for you, but it’s chemically designed to bring a dog running. In general, canned food is both more aromatic and flavorful, which can encourage eating and nutrition for dogs that may have a diminished appetite because of age or illness.
Cost and Convenience
We may tell ourselves that nothing is too good for our canine buddy, but price is a factor in what we feed ourselves, so it naturally comes into play when it comes to our dogs.
Typically, dry food is cheaper than wet food, and if you buy it in bulk, the cost difference is even greater. Dry kibble has an extended shelf life, so there’s less potential for waste than with a can of wet food that can spoil if it has been open for even just a few days. Also, automatic feeders are typically designed for kibble.
The Best of Both
With so many choices, from kibble that you can top with flavour additives to wet foods now, including even fish, your best option may depend on what your dog needs, what it likes, and what works best with your lifestyle.
So don't stress. If the food you are feeding meets these criteria:
- Your dog enjoys it
- It's affordable and conveniently available for you to purchase
- Your dog is doing well on it, physically
- Your dog is maintaining good weight, skin condition and is thriving
Then you, my friend, have chosen the food that is right for your dog. Whether that's wet food or kibble, it doesn't really matter. The right food for your dog is the one that works best for them and for you.
Some people mix and match, combining or alternating dry and wet food. If that approach sounds like something that could work, check it out with your vet first to make sure you’re not short-changing your dog’s health and nutrition.
Now that you’ve put yourself in your dog’s place, you can take your face out of that bowl on the kitchen floor. If you need to wash down that kibble or wet food, you know where the water bowl is.
Pat Woodard is a freelance writer who takes occasional breaks from high country hikes with his German shepherd in Colorado to chase golf balls, rainbow trout, and full-bodied red wines. He's also a longtime radio and television broadcaster, documentary producer, and losing contestant on “Jeopardy.”