Your trusty bag of kibble has a lot of good stuff to help your dog build a healthy body (especially if you’re sticking to a high-quality brand). But if you’re looking to round out your dog’s diet, incorporating wet entrees into the rotation is good for dogs. Carton (Tetra Pak) and canned dinners offer a hearty, savory, aroma-rich meal for your pet that makes dinnertime more enjoyable. Wet entrees are also less processed than kibble but much less expensive than raw diets. Contrary to the myths around wet entrees, dogs can enjoy them every day without worry of upsetting your pet’s gastrointestinal system, especially if you stick to high-quality brands.
If you’d like to try getting wet food into the rotation, there are several ways to go about it. Choose what works best for your budget and your dog’s wellness.
- Serve wet food on its own.
- Mix wet food with kibble, using the 70/30 rule (70% kibble with a 30% topper of wet food is a good option that keeps stool integrity for sensitive dogs).
- Alternate wet meals with dry. (For example, kibble in the morning, a wet entrée for dinner.)
For best results and optimal health, practice rotational feeding. Alternate cans of beef with poultry, lamb, pork and fish. This will make mealtime more exciting for your pet, and your dog’s body will benefit from the unique slate of nutrients and amino acids each animal protein has to offer.
Do dogs benefit from wet food?
Wet food provides a more enjoyable and satiating dining experience. The broths, the gravy and the chunks of meat release more aroma and flavor than dry food. When you think about a dog’s natural drive to seek and experience a wide variety of flavors and aromas, adding wet food to his diet makes a whole lot of sense. Let’s take a deeper dive into that:
First up is their powerful sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell is anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than a human’s. At the same time, their ability to process and analyze scent is 40 times greater than ours.
Then, there’s their sense of taste. Though dogs have fewer taste buds than humans, dogs still experience and enjoy sweet, sour, salty and savory flavors.
When you walk a mile in your dog’s paws, it’s easy to see how the meaty aromas and rich savory broth provide a more satisfying meal.
For further reading, check out Curious about canines: Does flavor matter to dogs?
The natural aroma and flavor intensifiers that wet food provides can solve several feeding issues.
- If your pet needs a little extra coaxing to eat to get enough calories — whether he’s recovering from an illness or dental issues or you have a picky eater in the house — wet entrees can work wonders in getting them fed.
- Wet food is hydrating. For dogs that have urinary issues, the moisture in the gravy and broth can help get them in balance. This is especially true for pets living in arid regions of the country or during summer months.
- If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, the moisture in the wet food can leave him feeling more satiated after mealtime. Plus, the higher protein content can help him maintain muscle.
- Canned entrees have dogs crave: Meaty bites. That’s reason enough for some pet parents.
- Wet foods have less processing than kibble, which generally means more nutritional benefits. That alone is a huge reason to include or exclusively serve tetra packs and canned entrees.
Should you mix wet and dry dog food?
You don’t have to choose one or the other. Some pet parents combine the two before serving. Here are some of the benefits.
- Mixing is a cost-effective way to incorporate wet into your pet’s diet.
- Mixing wet with dry provides a mix of textures, aromas and flavors. When you serve up a bit of crunch with the tender cuts of meat and savory gravy, your dog gets a more three-dimensional, satisfying dining experience.
- Mixing wet with dry provides more nutritional variety for your dog. Each animal protein has a unique profile of amino acids and nutrients. Changing it up is an easy way to optimize the nutritional benefits.
- Limited-ingredient can and carton entrees for dogs with food sensitivities let you match the animal protein to that of the kibble. For example, you can serve a beef kibble topped with a beef wet entree.
- Serving up a mixture of wet and dry food is an easy way to entice your dog when his appetite is flagging. If he’s recovering from an illness or dental issues or just losing interest in his regular food, boosting the aroma factor can sometimes do the trick.
- On the flip side, mixing can be more satisfying to dogs with large appetites. The moisture in the wet food can help your dog feel fuller after the meal.
Tips for mixing wet and dry dog food
- Add a few spoonfuls of wet food and hot water to the kibble, then mix and serve. Store any extra portions of wet food in an airtight container and refrigerate, heating it up on the stove, if needed.
- Keep an eye on the portion. Look at the label and complete a few simple calculations to ensure your furry friend is getting enough and not overdoing it.
- Is your dog more of a snacker and grazer? Consider serving the two foods separately, especially if he doesn’t like it when the kibble turns to mush. Start with a portion of wet food. Once your dog has lapped it up, you can add the kibble.
Caveat: For some dogs, once they experience wet entrees, there’s no going back to kibble!
4 myths and 4 truths about serving wet food to dogs
Some pet parents think of wet food as a treat, akin to enjoying a special entrée at a restaurant. The truth is, dogs can eat wet food every day. Here, we’ll clear up a few more misconceptions about feeding your dog wet foods.
Myth: Too much wet food causes diarrhea in dogs.
Truth: Wet food is softer and can be easier on the canine system.
Wet food is the perfect solution for dogs that inhale their kibble. When they gulp it down without chewing, it’s that much harder for your dog’s body to digest and that can create tummy issues. Wet food is already moist, so it’s that much easier to digest.
Myth: You always have to transition your dog into wet food.
Truth: Less so when you’re feeding your dog a high quality brand.
If your dog is trying wet entrees for the first time, you’ll want to start small on day one, and gradually increase the amount. Once he’s adapted, especially if you’re sticking to high-quality brands like NutriSource, you can move from wet to dry to mixed without worry.
Our wet foods and stews are fortified with a proprietary gut-healing supplement system, Good 4 Life. Its special blend of minerals builds a healthy gut, which will keep your dog’s system running smoothly.
Myth: Wet food makes your dog poop more.
Truth: Not if you’re feeding your dog a bioavailable brand
If your dog is pooping more after switching to wet food, chances are he hasn’t had a chance to adapt yet, or you’re feeding him a cheaper brand that contains fillers (like corn) that can irritate your dog’s system.
NutriSource’s Good 4 Life system not only heals the gut, but it also makes the food more bioavailable to your pet. More bioavailability means less mess to pick up in the backyard!
Myth: You shouldn’t feed your dog wet food every day.
Truth: Dogs can eat wet food every day.
You can choose the method that works best for your budget and your dog’s wellness.
Happy gut, happy mutt!
To get the best results from canned and carton (Tetra Pak) entrees, go for the brand that nourishes and heals the gut. At family-owned NutriSource, we formulate all our wet foods with our innovative Good 4 Life® system. The prebiotics promote gut health and aid in the absorption of the proprietary minerals that give your dog a healthy coat, provide immune system support and improve digestion.
Find NutriSource at your local, independent pet retailer.