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Dry vs. wet food: The right choice for your dog’s diet

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From raw food to dry food: Which diet is best for your dog?

Choosing the right food for your dog is an important decision that directly affects their health and well-being. One of the main considerations when it comes to dog food is whether to choose dry or wet food.

To anticipate it: There is no one feeding method that is best for all dogs. The question of the best feeding method is less a question of right or wrong and more a question of personal possibilities and requirements. Which food does my dog ​​tolerate best? How much time do I have to prepare dog food? Does my dog ​​have any illnesses that require a special diet?

To make your personal decision a little easier, we will briefly explain the general and nutritional aspects Advantages and disadvantages the different types of presentation: biologically species-appropriate raw feeding (short: BARF), home-cooked food, dry food (extruded and cold-pressed) and wet food:

Dry dog ​​food

Dry food, also known as kibble, is a popular choice among dog owners for several reasons. First, it offers convenience – it can be easily stored and served, making it a hassle-free option for busy pet parents. Additionally, dry food has a longer shelf life compared to wet food, reducing the chances of spoilage.

Furthermore, dry food is said to play a crucial role in promoting dental health. The crunchy texture of the kibble can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Chewing dry food regularly can also help maintain strong jaw muscles.

Another advantage of dry food is its cost-effectiveness. In general, dry food is cheaper than wet food, making it a budget-friendly option for dog owners on a tight budget.

Dry food for dogs

Additionally, dry food comes in a variety of formulations to meet different dietary needs and preferences of dogs. There are options for puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, and even specialized diets for dogs with specific health conditions. This variety allows pet owners to choose a dry food that best suits their dog's age, size, activity level and any health concerns they may have.

Dry food (extruded & cold pressed)

Advantages Disadvantages
“Convenience”: Dry food is easy to store, measure and feed. It does not require any elaborate preparation. "Low moisture content": Dry food contains little moisture, which can lead to low fluid intake. Some dogs may not drink enough water to compensate for the deficiency.
“Shelf Life & Price”: Dry food has a longer shelf life compared to fresh or home-cooked versions. It is also often a cheaper alternative to wet food. "Health problems": For some diseases such as leishmaniasis, kidney and liver diseases or gout, it can be advantageous to use wet food, as dry food has higher concentrations of certain minerals or ingredients that are not broken down by the body as quickly due to the lower moisture content can be.
“Dental health”: Some dry foods are designed to support dental hygiene by cleaning teeth when chewed. "Food mite allergy": Food mites are a significant source of allergens for many pets. Food mites are only found in dry food because wet food is sterilized, which kills the food mites.
“Dry food extruded”: Raw materials and starches are broken down better through high temperatures and pressure. This means the food can be absorbed better by the dog and is therefore easier to digest, especially for sensitive dogs. "Dry food extruded": The processing process in the production of extruded dry food uses high temperatures, which can render some of the vitamins ineffective. Therefore, extruded food is enriched with vitamins and minerals to ensure optimal nutrition for our four-legged friends.
“Cold-pressed dry food”: Cold pressing does not involve high temperatures and pressure. Therefore, a large part of the nutrients and vitamins are retained. “Cold-pressed dry food”: With cold-pressed food, the starch in the mass is not broken down as much as with extruded food. In simple terms, this means that your dog's stomach and intestines have to work a little harder to digest the food. This can be particularly stressful for dogs with sensitive digestive tracts and can lead to stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and increased defecation.

Wet food for dogs

On the other hand, wet food offers several benefits that may be attractive to certain dogs and their owners. First, wet food has a higher moisture content, which can be beneficial for dogs that have difficulty drinking adequate amounts of water. This can be especially important for dogs with certain health conditions, such as kidney problems or urinary tract problems.

Additionally, wet food tends to be tastier and more flavorful for dogs, making it an excellent choice for picky eaters. The rich flavor and juicy texture of wet food can entice even the most hesitant eaters, ensuring your dog is getting the essential nutrients he needs.

Furthermore, wet food can be very beneficial for dogs with certain dietary restrictions or allergies. Many wet food options are grain-free and made with limited ingredients, making them suitable for dogs with food intolerances or allergies.

Additionally, the soft texture of wet food can be beneficial for older dogs or those with dental problems. Chewing hard kibble can be challenging for older dogs with sensitive teeth or dental problems. Wet food offers a gentle option that is easier to eat and digest, ensuring your furry companion can enjoy the meal without discomfort.

Wet food

Advantages Disadvantages
“Moisture”: Wet food contains high levels of moisture, which can help with hydration, especially in dogs that drink little water. For diseases such as leishmaniasis, kidney and liver diseases or gout, feeding wet food is recommended as the nutrients are added to the body in diluted amounts. "Short shelf life": Opened wet food must be used quickly or stored in the refrigerator as it perishes more quickly than dry food.
"Use of unprocessed ingredients": Wet food can use raw materials that have not previously been thermally treated (fresh or frozen). They still contain all nutrients and vitamins. “Limited storage options”: Wet food is often bulkier and more difficult to store due to its packaging. There is also a lot of packaging waste.
“Food mite allergy”: Food mites are a significant source of allergens for many pets. Since wet food is subjected to a sterilization process, food mites are not found in wet food. "Higher price level": Wet food is often a more cost-intensive type of feeding, as the manufacturing process is associated with higher process costs and the recipe composition is subject to strict quality requirements in order to ensure the consistent consistency, taste and smell.

Homemade food for dogs

Cooking meals yourself is also becoming increasingly popular, whether using the BARF method with meat or a meat-free version. It allows pet owners to have complete control over ingredients, which is particularly important for animals with specific allergies or intolerances. By using fresh, high-quality ingredients, the diet can be made nutrient-rich, which can lead to improved overall health, a shinier coat, and better skin health. Cooking at home also promotes a closer bond between pet and owner as meals are lovingly and individually prepared. Additionally, a home-prepared diet can be more cost-effective in the long run, especially if you use seasonal and local produce. Ultimately, cooking for pets offers a flexible nutritional solution that allows meals to be tailored precisely to the animal's individual needs.

BARF (organically species-appropriate raw food)

Advantages Disadvantages
“Control over the ingredients”: You can choose and control the ingredients. There are no hidden ingredients, thickeners or other additives in the product. "Time-intensive and complex": Preparing BARF meals requires time and planning as the ingredients must be properly balanced and prepared.
“Fresh and natural food”: Raw meat, bones and vegetables provide natural and fresh nutrition. You can adjust meals according to your dog's needs. "Imbalanced Nutrition": Without careful planning and knowledge of your dog's nutritional needs, nutritional deficiencies can occur.
"Potential health risks": There is a risk of contamination with bacteria such as salmonella, both for dogs and humans, as a constant cold chain often cannot be guaranteed. (look here: Dog food: Barfen is a health risk for humans ( )

Home-cooked food

Advantages Disadvantages
“Control over the ingredients”: You can choose and control the ingredients. There are no hidden ingredients, thickeners or other additives in the product. “Time-intensive”: Preparing home-cooked food requires time and effort to properly cook and balance the ingredients.
“Adaptability”: Home-cooked food offers the opportunity to use fresh and natural ingredients. You can tailor meals to your dog's specific needs, e.g. B. for allergies or sensitive stomachs. “Nutrition knowledge required”: Without careful planning and balance, nutritional deficiencies or imbalances can occur.

Nutrition comparison

When comparing the variants in terms of nutritional content, there are some important factors to consider. Dry food generally offers a higher concentration of carbohydrates, which can provide a constant source of energy for active dogs. On the other hand, wet food tends to be higher in protein, which is essential for muscle development and overall health. In return, they also tend to oversupply .

It's important to note that both dry and wet foods can provide a balanced diet when chosen wisely and based on your dog's individual needs. Reading ingredient lists and consulting with your veterinarian can help ensure your dog's nutritional needs are met, regardless of the type of food.

Additionally, it is important to consider the water content in wet food, which can help keep your dog hydrated, especially for those who may not drink enough water throughout the day.

When choosing between dry and wet food options, consider your dog's age , activity level, and any specific dietary needs he may have. Some dogs may benefit from a combination of both foods to ensure a balanced diet that meets all of their nutritional needs.

Diet for certain illnesses

Choosing between wet and dry dog ​​food can depend on various health conditions that pose specific nutritional requirements. Here are some diseases in which the type of food can play an important role:

Wet food / self-cooker

Urinary tract disorders: Wet food has a higher moisture content, which can help flush the urinary system and prevent or reduce the formation of urinary stones. It is important to ensure that the protein content is moderate and that the food should be as low in purine as possible. More information

Chronic Kidney Disease: For dogs with kidney problems, wet food may be preferred due to its high water content to support the kidneys and promote better hydration. It is important to ensure that the protein content is moderate and that the food should be as low in purine as possible. More information

Difficulty swallowing or dental problems: Dogs with difficulty chewing or swallowing often find wet food easier to eat than dry food because it is softer.

Leishmaniasis and Purine Intolerance: For dogs suffering from leishmaniasis, it is often recommended to feed wet food because it has a higher moisture content and the purines are not in a concentrated form. This disease can cause kidney damage, and increasing fluid intake helps relieve strain on the kidneys and promote waste elimination.

dried animal food

Overweight: Dry food often has a higher energy content per gram compared to wet food and therefore needs to be fed in smaller quantities. This can be helpful for weight control as it is easier to dose. However, it is important to carefully control the amount of feeding.

Dental Health: Dry food can help clean teeth as chewing hard kibble can help reduce plaque and tartar. However, it is important to note that this is not a replacement for regular dental care. In addition, certain ingredients in dog food can also influence dental health, which can of course also be implemented in wet food. For example, some feeds contain additives that prevent tartar formation or promote gum health. These additives, like enzymes or specific minerals, can contribute to a healthier oral environment for your furry friend.

Digestive disorders in dogs with sensitive stomachs: When fed wet and raw food, the plant components such as grains, potatoes and vegetables contain less digested starch compared to dry food. Dogs often cannot digest plant substances effectively without prior processing, which can lead to problems, especially when fed raw. Even though the plant ingredients in canned food are more digestible through autoclaving, they do not reach the starch digestion level of extruded dry food, unless the wet food was specifically produced with pre-processed plant ingredients, which is rare. Intolerance to the lower starch digestion can cause digestive problems and increased amounts of food and feces in some dogs.

Dogs with this digestive type benefit from the high bioavailability of the nutrients. This means that you will often find demanding, sensitive dogs or dogs that are very athletic and have a high metabolic rate .

Extruded vs. cold pressed

The debate over cold-pressed and extruded dry food is a recurring topic among pet owners. For an objective discussion, it is important to base it on the facts.

With regard to the manufacturing processes, the main difference is that extruded kibbles (extrudates) have a higher starch breakdown than cold-pressed kibbles (pellets), which leads to improved digestibility and usability of the nutrients they contain for the dog. This usually results in a reduction in the amount of feces compared to cold-pressed feed, where the amount of feces is higher.

Due to high nutrient availability, extruded food is often the preferred choice for demanding and sensitive dogs, provided the quality of the food is high. Despite the name “cold pressed”, the production temperatures of both types of food are relatively close to one another. Both cold-pressed and extruded feed have their place in dry feeding and each show their own successes.

Mixing dry and wet food

A balanced diet is crucial, and variety can help meet all of your dog's nutritional needs. That's why we are of the opinion: In principle, both should be fed alternately

By combining dry and wet food, you can reap the benefits of both types of food. This ensures that your dog receives a wide range of nutrients.

When introducing a mixed diet, it is important to change your dog's food gradually to avoid any digestive problems. Start by replacing a small portion of their current food with the new food and gradually increase the proportion over time.

Changing your dog's diet

Whether you choose dry food, wet food, or a combination of both, it's important to introduce any changes to your dog's diet gradually. A sudden change in food can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea or an upset stomach.

Start by introducing small amounts of the new food into your dog's current diet and gradually increase the proportion over a period of 7 to 10 days. This allows your dog's digestive system to adjust and ensures a seamless transition.

Cost comparison

Cost is often a significant consideration when choosing food for your dog. In general, dry food offers a more cost-effective option as it tends to be less expensive per serving compared to wet food.

However, it's important to note that costs can vary depending on the brand, quality, and your dog's specific nutritional needs. It's important to find a balance between your budget and ensuring your dog gets the necessary nutrients for his overall health.


Ultimately, the decision between dry and wet food for your dog's diet depends on several factors, including their individual preferences, health needs, and your budget. Both options have their unique advantages and considerations.

By considering the benefits mentioned above, such as dental health, digestibility factors and nutritional content, you can make an informed decision that best suits your dog's needs and promotes his overall well-being.

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