5 Differences Between Wet And Dry Food

Wet food or dry food? Is it all the same? There are many differences, some are more apparent, while others are less obvious.

This post will review several differences between wet and dry food.

Pet Food Price

Wet and dry pet food is composed of packaging, ingredients, logistics, and a host of other cost drivers. Here are a few things that stand out when it comes to affecting the pricing of wet and dry pet foods.

IMPORTANT – Quality Of Pet Food Ingredients

With regard to ingredients, they can be a significant factor in pricing difference between wet and dry food. Check the ingredients of the same brand’s wet food and their dry food alternative to see how similar they are.

As an important side note, pet food ingredients can be highly controversial. Pet food ingredients are even the topic of a great documentry entitled ‘Pet Fooled’. Every pet owner should watch this documentry to get a real inside look at the pet food industry, and the ingredients they contain.

It can be difficult to determine the difference between ingredients but obviously that can play a large role in pricing as well. While it can be confusing, ingredients can have profound effects on the pet’s long term health. Some pet foods are loaded with fillers instead of the healthy ingredients that are important to your cat’s nutrition.

Coming back to the pricing aspect of dry and wet pet food ingredients, some quick product comparisons can help. Just because a pet food is expensive that doesn’t always mean the ingredients are high quality. Obviously wet and dry pet food are manufactured differently, so compare the ingredients between the two so you are aware of the differences.

Whether you ultimately choose wet food, or dry food, spend a few minutes researching the food you are giving to your pets. Make sure the wet or dry food you are feeding them is quality and not reducing their lives through lack of nutrition.

Information is power, and it’s important to make an informed decision about which wet or dry pet food to provide. It’s also important to choose a nutritious line of food. Even doing a quick comparison between brands at the same price point may reveal significant nutrition differences.

Pet Food Package Aesthetics

It’s quick and easy to just pick the most attractive package cover instead of picking the one with the highest quality for the money.

In most cases, dry bags of pet food are especially suseptible to aesthetic marketing. Dry pet food bags usually have a much larger surface area to cover with attractive artwork and suggestive sales messages than small individual wet food cans.

Wet cans of pet food can also increase the aesthetic look too though in multi-packs of cans. In this situation, packages of 12 to 30 or more cans are in a cardboard case that is aesthetically decorated as well. The larger the package the greater the opportunity there is to offer attractive packaging that may or may not measure up to the ingredients.

Pet food package aesthetics and design are truly good examples of where you should not ‘judge a book by it’s cover’. Pet food companies know that many consumers buy based on the look of the package instead of the ingredient contents. If a cover converts well enough they may be able to raise the price even if the pet food ingredients are not up to par.

While ingredients are hard to decode, do your pet a favor and actually compare wet and dry food products based on research, or at the very least reading the ingredients. It may be tempting to just pick the cutest looking package of wet or dry food, but try to see what ingredients are in it instead of looking at aesthetics. Again, compare the dry food ingredients to the same brands wet food ingredients to get a first hand look at which is better for your pet.

Pet Food Packaging Materials

If you are on a tight budget it becomes clear very quickly that dry pet food can be far less expensive than canned food. Canned food for pets is also referred to as wet food.

There are multiple drivers of pet food prices, but one expense that wet food does not share with dry food is the packaging.

Dry pet food typically is packaged in a plastic bag. Wet pet food is almost always offered in a metal container.

When you consider the price of metal versus the price of plastic in manufacturing, one fact becomes clear very quickly. Products with the metal packaging will almost certainly have a higher shelf price than the same product with a plastic container. The simple reality of production is that metal pet food cans are more expensive than plastic ones.

Furthermore, canned pet food comes in far smaller quantites, which increases the production cost. It takes many containers of wet pet food to equal the same weight as a single low cost plastic pet food bag.

Pet Food Logistics, Marketing, And Other Costs

While wet and dry food have logisitics and marketing variances, it’s not likely to cause widespread differences between wet and dry pet food.

There are other costs that can contribute to differences in costs, but these are some of the more obvious ones.

Dry And Wet Food Flavor

Dry food often has a highly appealing flavor that many pets enjoy more than wet food. There are also pets that prefer some wet and some dry food.

Alghough there is no way to be certain, too many pets dry food may seem to taste similar to candy. Cats do not taste sweetness, however, many enjoy dry food regardless. Some dry pet foods can have 2 or 3 times the amount of carbs as wet food if the water from the nutrition information is subtracted.

Like many humans though, pets often like variety in their diet. Pets that like variety may want a combination of wet and dry food in the course of their.

Ability To Eat Pet Food

Sometimes pets will only be fed dry food all their life, and may have never learned how to eat wet food. In these circumstances, sometimes animals that have lost all of their teeth, or who need to wet food with prescriptions may have unique challenges. With that said, dry food may help with teeth cleaning.

After a pet is accustomed to eating only dry food it can be difficult for them to learn how to eat wet food. When pets are young and healthy it isn’t often a problem if they only eat and know how to eat only dry food. Later in life, however, when they may need to eat wet food it may be hard for them to learn, or want to change to wet food.

Eventually later in life, if a pet’s teeth are pulled it can’t easily eat hard crunchy dry food. Similarly, if a pet needs a prescription that is supposed to be taken with wet food it could be a difficult situation.

If the veterinarian approves, it may be worth considering feeding your pets at least some wet food. That way they know how to eat it in case they have circumstances down the road that require them to eat wet food.

Potential Chronic Dehydration

Dry food contains significantly less water than wet food. That’s not a big surprise since wet food’s wet, and dry food’s dry.
What not everyone knows though is that many pets attain a significant portion of their daily water intake through their food.
Some pets don’t drink very much water, relying on the water in their food to hydrate them. If this is the case for an animal they could live in a chronic state of dehydration.

Even with wet food many people add additional water to increase a pet’s water intake. Cat’s like people need water for healthy living and a healthy body.

Dry food fosters a chronic state of dehydration in many pets that do not drink much water on their own. Furthermore, it may be a bacteria risk to add water to dry food.

Alternatively, wet food fosters hydration to pets, with many people adding additioal water to the wet food. It may be a potential bacteria risk if the cat eats the food hours later though.

Always ask your vet before adding water to pet food first.

Shelf life Of Pet Food

The shelf life of wet and dry pet food varies, but it can safely be said that most wet pet food has a longer shelf life than dry food.

Since cans are sealed and airtight, the risk of bacteria or mold contaminating wet food is very low for a long time.

Dry food unfortunately can mold or have risk of bacteria related illness far easier.

Whatever type of food you feed your pets, always check with a veterinarian to ensure it’s healthy, and always perform a visual inspection on the food prior to feeding it to your pet. Definitely also check the expiration date for all food you feed your pets as well to ensure it’s not exired.


As you can see, there are many unique aspects and consideration to wet and dry pet food. Hopefully this post has at least given you a well informed introduction to the topic.

Last but not least, always check with your pet’s veterinarian about whatever type of food you are considering using. Also ask the veterinarian how it affects your pet’s hydration levels. Don’t forget to ask the vet for any improvements or requirements they may suggest.

Kindest regards,

-Randy / Animal Weekly