Mixed feeding your dog

English Cocker Spaniel standing indoors eating from a feeding bowl


Is it better to use wet dog food or dry food? Or maybe prepare your dog food yourself? These are very often asked questions new pet owners ask their vets. Proper nutrition for dogs is the key to their healthy development. So it can be a daunting task to decide what’s best to feed them.


Types of dog food

The most important ingredient that differentiates wet and dry dog food is the water content. In dry foods, the moisture content is around 8%, while in wet foods, this is usually around 75%. This means that the content of nutrients, and hence metabolic energy, is definitely higher in dry foods than in wet foods.


100 grams of dry dog food contains about 370 kcal. The same amount of wet food contains "only" 100 kcal. The differences are therefore significant. This also adds to the amount of food your dog eats. To cover your daily energy needs by feeding your dog only with dry food, you need to feed it about 3-4 times less than if we fed your dog only with wet food.


Wet dog food will definitely have more values and stimuli affecting your dog’s sense of taste. Dry dog food is more difficult to chew, which can be a problem for some animals. There are dogs that are particularly picky, so will only play with dry food instead of actually eating it. This may be due to the difficulty in chewing on hard kibbles. The dog can then treat them as a toy, not food.


Mix feeding - combining wet and dry food

Both types of feed have their pros and cons, which is why pet owners are increasingly choosing to combine them. This is a good solution that can bring many benefits.


Combining wet and dry food brings a number of benefits. When it is necessary to switch a pet to a wet diet, the body will be prepared for such a change. This change can be carried out efficiently, quickly, and most importantly, without any unpleasant consequences.


There is no need to mix the dry food and the wet food in the one bowl when you feed your dog. In fact, you don't even need to serve them at the same time. One of the benefits of dry food is it doesn't spoil easily or leave a strong smell, which makes it perfect to leave out during the day if your dog likes to snack rather than gobble their food down. Then you can serve them their wet food in the evenings.


There are, however, two important points to keep in mind.


Dalmatian adult sitting indoors on a white rug next to a stainless steel feeding bowl


The right amount of food

The amount of dry food, due to its strong dehydration and condensation of nutrients and energy, is not equal to the same volume of wet food. To provide the same amount of energy and nutrients, give the dog a 3.5 times smaller portion than with wet food. When feeding once dry and once wet food, this is important to remember to avoid overfeeding.


With this in mind, after receiving a certain volume of wet food, a dog’s stomach may be “stretched”. After a smaller dry portion, a dog often has the feeling of scarcity and may search and ask for additional help. Some owners now give in and add an additional, sometimes not small, portion of food. These are calories that the body does not need and can easily lead to obesity.


A dog which receives one type of food throughout the week, and is given a portion of moist food during the weekend, may not tolerate such sudden changes. In short, diarrhoea may appear. The digestive tract becomes accustomed to the composition and type of food. So when starting a mixed feeding method, it’s important to gradually introduce the dietary changes. To find out more on how best to introduce new feeding patterns, read more here.


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