Exploring Different Feeding Methods for Dogs: Dry, Wet, and Mixed

Dry food, wet food, or perhaps a mix of both? The feeding method that is best for our dogs is still very much open to debate.

What remains certain is that the quality of the food matters more than the form it takes. Dog food labeled as complete should provide all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals your dog needs. However, it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages associated with each type of food, keeping your dog's health as the top priority.

Need some help deciding what's best for your pet?  We've put together a handy overview of each feeding method and the pros and cons.

In order to meet the individual needs of your dog, it is best to get detailed advice from your veterinarian.

Wet FoodWet Food
Mixed Feeding Mixed Feeding
Dry FoodDry Food
Wolf of Wilderness

An overview of different feeding types:

You will find a wide range of dog food types on the market, each varying in ingredients, water content, production methods, and other factors. The type and characteristics of the food can influence several aspects including health benefits, taste, price, and shelf life. It's important to consider these factors when making your decision.

Wet Food

Wet dog food typically contains a water content ranging from 60 to over 85%. Since it has more volume compared to dry food, feed manufacturers usually offer it in cans or pouches.

Moist complete food has a more intense aroma and taste than dry food, which makes it very popular with dogs.

Depending on the manufacturer, wet food contains a mixture of different substances. These include, for example, muscle meat, offal, poultry carcasses, plant-based components such as cereals or herbs, as well as fats/oils, vitamins and minerals. Some products also offer a sauce-like liquid bound by gelling agents. For production, the ingredients are homogenized (crushed and mixed evenly) and shaped or processed into pieces.


  • High acceptance, thanks to the intense flavours and aromas

  • Provides more fluids
  • Softer consistency is ideal for senior dogs or those with dental problems


  • Shorter shelf life after opening
  • More likely to lead to poor oral hygiene and promote the formation of plaque and tartar than dry food (although proper alternative dental care can conteract this problem).
  • Less economical than dry food.

Dry Food

Compared to wet food, dry food has a very low water content (maximum 14%), which is why this food has a much longer shelf life.

Depending on the manufacturer, dry food consists of, among other things, dried meat or fresh meat, blood, animal by-products (slaughterhouse waste), vegetable components, fats/oils, as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Dry food is usually higher in energy than the same amount of wet food. In order to achieve the same energy content with wet food, however, the dog would have to eat a significantly larger ration.

Dry dog ​​food is usually manufactured by what is known as extrusion – a process that is widespread in the feed industry. The ingredients are subjected to high pressure with the addition of steam, and pressed through a nozzle into different sizes and textures - typically pellets, biscuits or croquettes.


  • Easy to store and with a long shelf life (does not spoil so quickly)
  • The texture of some kibbles can result in a cleaning action on teeth BUT your dog will still require regular dental care such as brushing teeth with a special Enzyme Toothpaste.
  • Less packaging means dry food is more environmentally friendly
  • More economical than wet food


  • Lower acceptance than wet food
  • Danger of insufficient water intake and dehydration

Mixed Food - Dry & Wet Food Combined

Dog owners often turn to mixed feeding, offering the benefits of wet and dry food. One approach is to give your dog dry food in the morning and wet food in the evening.

However, since the same amount of dry food contains more energy than wet food, there is a risk that you will calculate the daily amount of food incorrectly. It is best to have your vet calculate your dog's needs and draw up a feeding plan. 


  • Combines the advantages of dry and wet food
  • Can offer a more varied diet
  • Flexibility in everyday life and when travelling


  • Danger of over- or undersupply of nutrients (if a feeding plan is not followed)

Semi-moist Food

Semi-moist complete food has an average water content of 15 to 20% – ​​it's softer and slightly more flavoursome than dry food.

Compared to wet or moist food, you will also find this food more often in the form of treats (e.g. sausages).


  • Higher acceptance (most dogs find it tastier!)
  • Easier to digest than regular dry food
  • Higher water absorption than with dry food
  • Especially suitable for senior dogs due to its softer consistency


  • Soft treats usually contain a high proportion of sugar (up to 10%)
  • Usually more expensive than traditional dry food of equivalent quality

Dinner-time accessories


Found the right food for your dog? Now let us help you serve up their meals in style!

With our selection you can respond to the individual needs of your canine friend and make every meal an experience. Whether bowls, trickle-feeders, drinking fountains, storage containers or placemats, it'll taste much better with our accessories.

  • Wet Food
  • Dry Food
  • Mixed Wet & Dry Bundles
  • Snacks
  • Accessories

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How does mixed feeding work and what should I watch out for?

With mixed feeding, you can decide when you want to give your dog which food. So it doesn't matter whether you give dry or wet food in the morning - and vice versa. However, avoid mixing the two feeds directly as they have different digestion times.

Also make sure that you calculate the amount of food correctly. If you don't do this, your dog may end up overweight or underweight.

What should I watch out for if I only feed wet food?

Complete wet food should contain all the nutrients your dog needs. Unlike dry food, wet food does not cause any mechanical wear on the teeth, which may mean that more plaque and tartar forms over time. Therefore, check your dog's teeth regularly and ensure you provide regular dental care. Brushing your dog's teeth with a enzyme toothpaste is the best method to ensure long term oral health. If youur pet really resents toothbrushing, special dental chews, can also help control tartar - as well as providing variety and long-lasting chewing pleasure. Have your vet regularly check your dog's teeth and remove tartar if needed.

What should I watch out for if I only feed dry food?

Dry food is a very practical and economical option but it does have one main disadvantage - the low water content. Sufficient liquid in your dog's body is essential for survival. For example, your dog's kidneys need enough water to flush toxic waste products from the blood. So if you only feed your dog dry food, you should make sure that he or she has 24-hour access to fresh water.

How do I measure the right amount of dry or wet food?

The right amount of food depends on various factors. In addition to your dog's state of health, this also includes age, breed and activity level. For example, a senior needs less energy than a sporty young dog.

You can find out how to correctly calculate the amount of food in the zooplus magazine. Also observe the manufacturer's feeding recommendations on the packaging and, if in doubt, seek advice from your veterinarian.

How long can you leave out wet or dry food in your dog's bowl?

Sat in a bowl, your dog's food will come into contact with bacteria and enzymes from saliva, which can cause the food to spoil. To prevent your dog from eating spoiled food and becoming ill as a result, you should remove the dog food from the bowl after a certain period of time.

Wet food should be removed from the feeding bowl every day. Dry food usually lasts longer, but you should not leave it for longer than two days. In warm weather food will spoil even faster so take this into account.

What is the best way to store dog food?

You can find out how long dog food can be kept before and after opening from the manufacturer's information. However, the way you store food can also have an impact.

While the pack is still sealed, it is important that you store the food in a cool (below 38°C), dry place away from light. To avoid pests getting into the food, you should try to keep bags or packs away from the ground and behind closed doors.

Open cans of food should be kept covered in the refrigerator to slow down spoilage. You should close open food bags to be as air-tight as possible, and keep them in a cool place away from light.

How can you tell if wet or dry food has spoiled?

At first glance, it is not always easy to identify health risks in food. However, certain signs serve as an indication that the food may already have spoiled.

In addition to changes in taste, the most common signs of spoilage include discolouration or a different smell.

At what time of day and how often should I feed wet or dry food?

Although it may be easier for you to feed once a day, most veterinarians recommend splitting daily dog ​​rations into at least two feeding times. This is especially true for large dog breeds that are prone to life-threatening stomach torsion if they eat too much, too quickly.

What time of day you feed your dog is usually unimportant. However, make sure that you give your dog rest after eating and do not go for a walk or play with them immediately after feeding. In general your dog needs at least one hour, or ideally two hours, rest after eating.

What should I consider when changing my dog's diet?

Sometimes you may need to change the type, brand or variety of your dog's food. However, changing the diet too quickly can lead to digestive problems. Any changeover should be done slowly and carefully, gradually mixing the old food with a small amount of the new food.

You can find out what else you need to consider when changing food in the zooplus magazine.