Should I Feed My Puppy Wet or Dry Dog Food?

by Irene Hislop

27 July 2020



The choices available for feeding your puppy can be overwhelming. But one of the first decisions is between two choices – will it be wet or dry dog food for puppy? Each has its fans and its detractors. Is one better than the other? Many dog owners have strong feelings on that! Yet some feed their dog a mix or wet and dry foods to make sure they are covering all the bases.


No single food option is the best for every single dog out there. Even dogs of the same breed can have different nutritional needs. Each owner has to weigh up the pros and cons of wet or dry dog food for their puppy and then consider their choices for whichever they pick. Understanding the pros and cons of wet and dry dog food is the first step to making the best choice for your pet.

Pros of Wet Food for Puppy

  • Puppies will show a lot of enthusiasm for wet dog food. It has a stronger scent than dry. If your pup is easily distracted from their bowl at mealtime, wet food should hold their attention. You are not likely to see any leftovers.
  • Wet puppy food offers your dog more hydration. If your dog is extremely active and not drinking much water, wet food can increase their moisture intake.
  • If your pup seems insatiable and is always actively looking for more food, or gaining weight by eating too much, wet food might help. Dogs feel fuller after a meal of wet food because of the higher moisture content.

Cons of Wet Food for Puppy

  • Wet food is more likely to stick to your dog’s teeth. Daily toothbrushing is important for dogs that eat wet food to prevent tartar from building up and causing tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Storage can be a hassle with wet dog food. Tins generally hold more than one serving, so they need to be covered and refrigerated to avoid spoiling. The tins need to be washed out well before they go in the recycling.
  • If your pup is a messy eater, it is easier to sweep up dry kibble than wet dog food. Those enthusiastic little eaters can make a big mess!

Pros of Dry Food for Puppy

  • Dry food is hard and crunchy. That means it is better for your dog’s teeth. It doesn’t stick in their teeth as much as wet food, and the crunching can help scrape tartar off of their teeth.
  • You have a lot more choices with dry dog food than with wet. It’s a more popular option, which means that more companies make it, and they make more different varieties to suit dogs of every age, size and activity level. When you are deciding about wet or dry dog food for puppy, think about what they will eat as an adult too.
  • If your dog prefers to free feed and nibble at their food throughout the day, you don’t have to worry about dry food spoiling. It can be left out in their dog bowl without going bad.
  • Dry puppy food is easier to store in general. It can go into a large container or bin, or it can stay in the bag in a press. Room temperature is grand.  As long as it is kept dry, it will stay good.
Dry puppy food

Cons of Dry Food for Puppy

  • Very active dogs need ample protein. If you choose a dry dog food for your pup, make sure the amount of protein is adequate if your dog is exceptionally active. Wet foods are generally higher in protein, but you can find dry dog foods such as Red Mills Engage and Leader Supreme with all the protein a hard working dog needs.
  • Dry dog food can be difficult for dogs with dental problems to chew. It is more of a concern for senior dogs. Younger dogs should have good, strong teeth, so it isn’t an issue in deciding between wet or dry food for a puppy.

More to Consider

Deciding between wet or dry dog food for puppy involves many factors. Because wet puppy food has a stronger scent and taste, pups will go for it first if given a choice. That means that once they are used to a diet of wet food, dry can be hard to sell. If you start your pup on wet dog food but later discover that the optimum food for them is dry, it won’t be easy to switch your pup over. If down the road your dog develops a food allergy or your lifestyle changes so that the convenience of dry food is more important to you, your dog is going to need a lot of convincing to eat the dry food.

Of course, this is not really an either/ or situation. Many dog owners give their pets the best of both worlds by feeding a mix of dry and wet dog food. If you do this, it is a good idea to make dry food the bulk of their diet and not offer wet food in every meal. Dogs are well able to pick out the food they prefer and leave the rest in the dish! Mixing the two foods well will help with this. You can also feed a diet of dry dog food and offer wet food as an occasional treat.

Whatever you choose, remember the most important thing is that the puppy food use wholesome, natural ingredients balanced to give your dog optimum nutrition. Your puppy doesn’t care what colour or shape the food is. They want what tastes best, and you want what best supports their growth and development so they thrive.

Irene Hislop

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