Wet vs dry dog food: what’s best?

Updated 27 February 2024
Read time: 9 mins

To feed wet or dry dog food to my dog? If you’re a first-time dog owner or just concerned about your dog’s dietary health, you may have spent time pondering this question. It’s worth consideration, and as the pros and cons of wet and dry dog food are relatively balanced it can be hard to know which one is best for your pooch. Read on as we lay out the differences between wet and dry dog food to help you decide on your dog’s daily menu.

What is wet dog food?


As you may have guessed, wet dog food is the sloppy stuff...- the chunks of meat often drenched in gravy or jelly. It tends to come in cans or small pouches and smells a lot stronger than dry food. By definition, wet dog food is a lot wetter than dry dog food, too - it contains up to 84% moisture, in fact - and therefore needs to be eaten sooner after opening to stay tasty and fresh.

What is dry dog food?

At the other end of the scale is dry dog food, which, in comparison to wet food only contains 3-12% water. Dry dog food is often called ‘dog biscuits’ in the UK, or ‘kibble’ in the USA - and comes in the form of small, brown pellets usually sold in larger sacks or containers than wet food. Generally it lasts a lot longer, too - and isn’t as messy (more on that below).

Wet or dry dog food: what is the best food for dogs?

The thing is, there doesn’t have to be much of a difference between wet and dry food in terms of nutritional content - if you are choosing high-quality food, that is - so the answer over which is the best option for dogs isn’t a straightforward one. There are variations between the two, so it all comes down to which would work best for your particular pooch and you.

Benefits of wet dog food

First, let’s unload the benefits of wet dog food…

      • More appetising                                                                           
        • We’re sure you’d agree that if you were a dog, you’d probably prefer food that smells and tastes nicer and provides varying textures in the mouth. Indeed, wet food is probably more exciting to your dog's palate than dry food. Dogs aren’t quite as choosy as humans, though - so don’t worry if your pooch has a diet of primarily dry dog food as they’ll be perfectly satisfied.
      • Easier to chew
        • Soft, meaty chunks are much easier to munch on than solid pellets, so if your dog has sensitive or small teeth, wet food could be a winner. What’s more, it can also be easier for those with dental disease to manage. If your dog is scheduled for a dental procedure or has just had one, wet food is a good option to ensure they are still getting all of the calories and nutrients they need
      • Keeps dogs fuller for longer
        • Wet food with a lot of moisture is naturally more satiating than dry food, so you’ll have a fuller dog who needs to be fed at a lower frequency.
      • It’s protein rich
        • Wet foods often contain more protein-rich meat, which can be beneficial for those dogs that are very active and need plenty of protein to maintain their lean muscle mass.
      • Better for sensitive stomachs
        • Dogs with sensitive stomachs and those prone to constipation often do better on wet food diets made from all-natural ingredients. Opt for a specially formulated sensitive stomach dog food or one enriched with prebiotics and/or probiotics when possible.

      Disadvantages of wet dog food

      Now onto the downers of wet dog food…

      • It’s messier and smellier
        • Not to the dog - but to us, the human parents. Wet meat chunks are more likely to cling to your dog’s fur beard as they eat, splay about their feeding area and stick fast to their dog bowl when it comes to washing up. Plus, the stronger smell isn’t that pleasant to our human noses.
      • Shorter shelf life
        • Once opened, wet food needs to be eaten quickly - within a few days to still remain appetising to your pooch.
      • Harder to portion
        • Wet food tends to come in small pouches or cans, so the portioning is almost decided for you. If you have specific requirements for how much you feed your dog, this can be tricky to work out.
      • More expensive
        • Wet food is pricier than dry food for dogs, pretty much across the board.

      Benefits of dry food for dogs

      So what about the perks of dry dog food? Here are some of the reasons to choose dry food for your dog…

      • Easy to manage
        • The pellet quality of dry dog food makes it easy to sweep, pour, clean and divide into portions, as it tends to come in sacks which you can swiftly scoop your desired amount from.
      • Longer-lasting
        • Dry dog food has a longer shelf life than wet food for dogs. The sack or container must be kept sealed for freshness, but other than that, it can stay good and palatable for weeks on end.
      • More economic
        • As it’s long-lasting and easy to portion out, dry dog food is often seen as the more economic choice for dog owners as it costs less over time.
      • Better for weight loss
        • If your pooch is on a plan to lose those pounds, dog biscuits are better for weight loss than wet food. Again, this is largely because of easier portion control.
      • Cleans teeth
        • Sure, wet food is softer on sensitive doggy teeth, and there are some claims that dry food can get stuck in doggy dentures. On the whole, though, dry dog food has a munchy quality that is beneficial to dental health in dogs and even helps keep their teeth clean. Since kibble doesn’t cake on teeth like wet food can, there is less plaque build-up and lower risk of gingivitis. This is especially important for those breeds prone to dental disease such as Greyhounds, Poodles and Chihuahuas.
      • Cleaner for doggy beards
        • For longer-furred breeds and those with moustaches and beards (Schnauzers, we’re looking at you!), dry dog food can help to keep fur clean and help prevent skin disease around the mouth.

      Disadvantages of dry dog food

      Now onto the reasons why dry dog food might not be for you…

      • Not as sensory
        • Dry dog food is nutrient-dense, and in terms of taste, is perfectly satisfying to dogs. It has to be said though, dry doggy pellets can be a less exciting option when it comes to your pooch’s overall eating experience.
      • In many cases, more likely to contain preservatives
        • A pellet is more of a processed format than wet food in many cases, and is therefore more inclined to contain preservatives. This isn’t true of Pooch & Mutt’s organic dry dog food however, which contains all natural ingredients and no additives.
      • Doesn’t provide moisture or hydration
        • For a dog who exercises a lot but forgets to drink, a poorly dog or an old dog, a wet food with more water content could be a better option than dry food.
      • Tougher on teeth
        • Dry dog food is great for doggy dental health, but it can be tougher to chew on for dogs with sensitive teeth.

      When is wet or dry food better for dogs?

      As you can likely gather, whether to choose wet or dry dog food for your dog is largely a personal choice based on convenience and lifestyle, but it also depends on your dog’s feeding habits or health conditions.

      If your dog is a fussy eater, who often turns their nose up at a meal lacking in taste, you may be more successful getting them to eat a flavour-intensive, natural wet dog food. Should your pooch have sensitive teeth, or if they’re an older dog who could benefit from the moisture content, they may also get more from a hydrating diet of wet food.

      If your dog is a grazer, however, who likes to return to their bowl frequently throughout the day, dry dog food could be more their cup of tea.

      Mixing wet and dry dog food

      “Do I have to choose between wet and dry dog food?” we hear you cry - and we get it - we like to have the best of both worlds, too.

      Of course, there are times when you can feed a dog dry dog food when they usually eat wet, or wet dog food when they usually eat dry. It’s advisable not to change frequently between wet and dry foods, as this can be too much for a dog’s easily upset stomach to handle. Many pet parents do end up feeding both wet and dry dog food though. This may mean some kibble left down throughout the day and a wet meal in the evening, or perhaps offering a bowl that contains both. Many appreciate this compromise (owner and dog alike), and most pooches do well on mixed diets.

      Remember that we don’t have to choose either wet or dry and stick to it. Your dog’s preference may change as they mature, so keep an open mind. When transitioning diets, ensure to do so slowly over 5-10 days to ensure the change is well tolerated.

      The decision is yours

      In conclusion, don’t fret about one type of dog food being healthier or better for your dog than the other - if you choose the right food, they will be getting all the nutrition they need! But by considering the points above, you can ensure your dog has a solid mealtime routine and digests their food comfortably and easily.


      Pooch & Mutt’s wet dog food and dry dog food are both great options for dogs. They contain nutrients, vitamins and minerals and tasty, all-natural ingredients for daily nutrition that will benefit your dog inside and out. Check out our range of nutritious wet dog foods and dry dog foods, or get in touch for more information.


      ‘Age-related digestibility of nutrients depending on the moisture content in aged dogs’, 2021 - National Library of Medicine

      Comments (16)

      I have an 8 month old working cocker and has the diarrhoea

      Gail - Mar 01 2023

      I have an 8 month old working cocker and has the diarrhoea

      Gail - Mar 01 2023
      Pooch Admin

      Hi Gail, If you have any questions please email us at [email protected]

      Team Pooch - Mar 01 2023

      Hi I have a rescue dog that I think is about 6 I have been feeding her on your food dry but not sure how many grams she needs a day she is not an active dog and weighs about 11 kilos I would like her to lose some weight any help would be appreciated by the way she loves your chicken for small dog as she doesn’t like big kibble thanks Jan

      Jan Jenkins - Mar 31 2023
      Pooch Admin

      Hi Jan, we will get one of the team to contact you by email to discuss! :)

      Team Pooch - Mar 31 2023

      Two yorkie. I have given them dry dog food and then little Caesars wet food and just kind of switch them up but the past six months they have been very picky about eating it they beg for food off the table. What should I do?

      Carla - Jun 21 2023

      Hi, I have a dog that’s now a mom to 2 pups, she normally has only had dry dog food since I’ve had her and currently she is now only wanting wet dog food. I tried giving her normal dry puppy food and she will not eat it. I do not want her to go long without eating since she is nursing, so is it bad that I just give her the wet puppy food.

      Kim - Nov 08 2023
      Pooch Admin

      Hi Kim, whilst your dog is nursing we would advise feeding them puppy food, which can be either wet or dry and this will be absolutely fine. :)

      Team Pooch - Nov 08 2023

      All of a sudden my 9 month old puppy will not eat his dry kibble. I have tried to mix with wet and he spits out the kibble. Is it ok to just feed him wet food. He is forty lbs. How much wet should I feed him? Thanks

      Mary Anne - Jan 10 2024

      Hi I have a 3 year old shitzu who has always been a fussy eater. Vet just told me that he has a hard small intestine ☹️, I have him on chicken kibble wich he doesn’t like at all, I have tried mixing the same brand in wet and no luck. Any suggestions for a very fussy dog?

      Fatima - Jan 10 2024
      Pooch Admin

      Hi Mary,

      On looking at the feeding guidelines for our puppy wet food, we would be wanting to feed between 2-3 cartons of wet food per day. This is just a guideline as every dog is different, so please feel free to adjust accordingly. :)

      Team Pooch - Jan 10 2024
      Pooch Admin

      Hi Fatima,
      It might be worth trying them with a different kibble that is fish based, if you want to reach out to the team on [email protected] we can discuss options with you :)

      Team Pooch - Jan 10 2024

      I’ve just inherited my mums 15yr old border terrier who has had a sensitive stomach for a year or so now. We use your wet food as he enjoys it.
      We ration treats and other food. He often has loose stools. Is there anything else we can do?

      Jo - Mar 26 2024
      Pooch Admin

      Hi Jo,
      We would advise double checking the feeding guidelines, as this can cause loose stools, along with whether they have any intolerance’s to any specific ingredients. If your pooch can tolerate some grain, it might be worth adding in our Bionic Biotic supplement and this can help with firming stools in aiding digestion. :)

      If you have any concerns, do reach out to the team on [email protected]

      Team Pooch - Mar 26 2024

      Hi there, my little puppy who is 5 months old and a small breed, started on the super food dry. I have noticed that even after a few weeks on this her stools a still quite sloppy, as you can imagine when she has an accident at home on the carpet its not easy to clean. Will this change in time? Or is there something I am not doing right as she does have a few treats at bed time.

      CHRISTINE - Apr 16 2024
      Pooch Admin

      Hi Christine,

      This does sound like they could have an intolerance to an ingredient within the food and it might be worth taking a look at our Health & Digestion dry food instead, as this is suitable for puppies from 8 weeks old and contains active ingredients to help promote firm stools. :)

      Team Pooch - Apr 16 2024

      Leave a comment

      Never miss a treat!

      Subscribe to our newsletter and get blog articles amongst other treats delivered to your inbox


      close button