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Wet dog foods are made by mixing a meat or protein source and vegetables with a gravy or jelly that usually contains added nutrients. The food is then cooked and sterilised and packaged in trays, cans, or pouches. Not sure which wet food to buy? We’ve got everything you need to know here.
Wet food can be fed as a sole diet for a dog – as long as it is a complete diet. A ‘complete’ diet is one that contains all the nutrients that a dog needs to thrive – protein, carbohydrate, fats, vitamins, and minerals — in the correct amounts suitable for dogs. Choosing a complete diet rather than a ‘filler’ or ‘mixer’ is important if feeding wet food for dogs or puppies as a sole diet.
After choosing a complete diet, the next important consideration is your dog’s age. A dog’s requirements from their food will vary throughout their life. Puppies need lots of protein and energy as they are growing rapidly, so a wet puppy food will have more of both than a senior dog food, for example. Choosing a diet suitable for your dog’s age is key to good nutrition.
It may also be wise to consider their activity level. Obesity is a very real concern with the modern domestic dog, so choosing a diet dog food may be necessary if your dog is a sofa-loving snuggler.
Wet dog food is often more appealing to dogs, as it tends to smell more intense. Fussy eaters will often prefer wet food as it appeals to their finely-tuned noses. Wet dog diets can also be useful for greedy dogs as it’s bulky and can make them feel fuller after eating.
The higher water content in wet food can be beneficial in dogs with a particular need to be well hydrated – for example those with a tendency to urinary or kidney problems. Of course, fresh water should always be available whichever diet you choose to feed.
Wet food tends to come packaged into portion sizes, which makes feeding very convenient, but it can be hard to adjust portions by small increments unlike with dry food. If your dog is small, or the food doesn’t come in an individual serving, keep the remainder in the fridge.
Dogs with dental problems, or difficulty chewing or swallowing, may find wet food easier. Having said this, if you are concerned that your dog can’t eat properly, always get them checked by a veterinary surgeon.
Feeding a combination of wet dog food and a dry diet is an option and can be useful to combine some of the benefits of both types of food. There are two key points to remember. Firstly, make sure both diets are nutritionally suitable for your dog’s life stage and lifestyle. Secondly, take some time to calculate how much of each you should give – it is very easy to overfeed by giving wet food and ‘topping up’ with dry, or vice versa.
Wet dog foods are generally more expensive to feed than dry diets. As well as the large variety in wet dog food brands, types, and flavours, there is also a range of prices for wet food. Fresh dog food will be more expensive again. It’s worth looking at the feeding guidelines, as some cheap diets don’t have high-quality ingredients, meaning you may have to feed more of them.