There is a long-standing battle between proponents who argue the merits of wet or dry dog food for good dental health in dogs.
But you may be surprised to learn that much of the popular information about this topic is untrue.
Many dog owners follow the logic that wet food is a treat for dogs. They believe that wet dog food causes dental problems for their four-legged friends, just like treats for humans.
But is wet food bad for dogs?
Pros and cons of wet dog food
The following are some common pros and cons to your puppy eating wet food:
- Wet food can be more appealing to dogs who are picky eaters.
- The water content of wet food can help dogs on a diet feel fuller without adding calories.
- Wet food generally has more packaging for the number of nutrients it contains and is less efficient to store.
- Wet food tends to be more expensive than dry food.
- Wet food must be refrigerated once opened and has a shorter shelf life than dry food, making it a less convenient option.
- Wet food won’t clean your dog’s teeth or massage their gums while they eat, while some dry food assists with this.
- If you live in a place without recycling or you don’t recycle, canned food generates more waste than dry food.
Pros and cons of dry dog food
There are also pros and cons related to dry dog food:
- Dry dog food is generally considered less expensive than wet dog food.
- Dry dog food or kibbles are extremely convenient. They are shelf-stable, easy to travel with, and can be purchased in large quantities ahead of time.
- Some dry dog foods can help to clean your dog’s teeth by disrupting the formation of plaque and tartar. Whether dry kibble is effective for your dog’s teeth depends on the type of kibble and the structure of the dog’s face.
- The main con of dry dog food is that it might not be as tasty to some discerning dogs.
5 tips for dog dental care
Whether you use wet or dry dog food, you can use these tips to maintain your dog’s dental health at any age.
Keep age-appropriate chew toys on hand
Keep age-appropriate chew toys made with safe materials on hand that can help your dog satisfy their urge to chew. Adult dogs require sturdier chew toys than puppies to avoid the material breaking down or being ingested.
Consider feeding your dog or puppy a daily dental chew
A daily dental chew, such as rawhide or a specially formulated dental chew, can help maintain the health of your dog’s teeth.
Supervise your dog while they have a dental chew so that you can take it away if small pieces break off, which can be a choking hazard.
Practice preventative dental care at home
Start brushing your puppy’s teeth at a young age and aim to brush once daily to prevent tartar and plaque from building on the surface of the tooth.
Use a specially made toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs, a finger toothbrush, or even cloth and water to gently clean your dog’s teeth.
By physically disrupting the bacteria on the surface of the teeth, you can help to prevent dental disease in your dog.
Never use human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth as they contain ingredients that can lead to diarrhea and GI upset in dogs who will lick and swallow during brushing.
Take your dog for regular dental cleanings
Taking your dog for regularly scheduled dental cleanings at the vet is a great way to maintain lifelong oral health. For most dogs, it is recommended to have professional cleanings once a year.
But some smaller breed dogs may require more frequent visits to prevent tooth loss. Anesthesia is given for canine dental cleanings, so expect your dog to be a little out of sorts for a day or two afterward.
Don’t let your dog chew on hard objects
Some objects that are not suitable for your dog to chew on include ice, hard plastic, metal, or bones. These items can cause dogs’ teeth to fracture or may cause splintering of a non-edible material that the dog could accidentally ingest while chewing.
Dental trauma can cause hefty vet bills and cannot be ignored as it may lead to infection, pain, or disease.
So, is wet or dry food best for your puppy?
Either wet or dry food can be helpful or harmful for your dog depending on the details of their health, age, breed, and circumstances. You may choose to use solely dry dog food, wet dog food, or a mix of both.
If you are still unsure what type of food is best for your dog, consult an online vet to answer questions about your dog’s health and dental care.