Dog Feeding Guide: The Benefits Of Mix Feeding Your Dog
Diet and Nutrition
Before we get into the benefits, many of you ask whether it’s OK to mix wet and dry dog food?
The short answer is absolutely.
Mix feeding your dog gives them the best of both worlds and can be a good way to help your dog get the most out of mealtime.
Before you change your dog’s diet, make sure you do your research when you are looking for the best dog food and understand the amount of food you should be feeding your fur friend. Consider your dog's breed, age, size, and any other dietary requirements or allergies when deciding on the specific dog food. Different types and brands offer different benefits and ingredients. No two dog foods are the same.
What is mixed feeding for dogs?
Sometimes referred to as combination feeding or blend feeding, it refers to mixing wet and dry dog food and incorporating both into your dog’s diet. It is a great way to give your pet the benefits of both wet and dry foods.
Although dry dog food is balanced and nutritionally complete, adding wet food helps increase your dog’s moisture intake and gives your dog more variety in their diet. Especially useful when dealing with dogs that are fussy eaters or who regularly turn their nose up at their dog food.
Four benefits of mix feeding your dog
- Mixing wet and dry dog food can make mealtime more exciting
For your dog, the taste, shape, texture, and aroma are often the most important attributes of their food. Many dogs eat the same dry food every meal, and sometimes even for their whole life. Adding wet food to your dog's diet will spark their senses and can make them interested or excited to eat their dinner again. Often dog owners are surprised to discover how much their dog will enjoy a change to their diet.
- Get the benefits of combining wet and dry dog food
Although wet and dry dog foods are complete and balanced, mixed feeding will allow your dog to get benefits from a range of sources.
Dry dog food is great for its crunchy texture which helps to clean your dog's teeth. Dry dog food will often contain more carbohydrates and be packed with nutrients, to help with healthy digestion especially for pets with sensitive digestion. The concentrated nutrients mean meal sizes are often smaller, while the packets can be brought much bigger. Many brands offer bulk 15 or 20kg packets which is a great way to save money. Dry food is known to be more convenient for dog owners during mealtime (quicker and cleaner).
Wet dog food offers an easy way to help increase a dog’s moisture intake and keep them hydrated. Wet dog food generally contains between 70-85% water compared to only 8-10% in dry pet foods. This is particularly useful if you have a dog that doesn’t drink much water or a small breed dog that is prone to urinary infections. However, don’t use wet dog food to completely rule out water from your dog’s diet. Make sure you keep a fresh bowl of water on hand. Wet dog food also typically contains more protein and fat, and is particularly great for growing dogs.
Find out more about the pros and cons of wet vs. dry dog food in our dog feeding series.
3. Help feed dogs that are fussy eaters
If you struggle to get your dog to eat their dry biscuits, try adding wet dog food to their diet. The meaty aroma and texture of wet dog food can be helpful in tempting your dog to eat more of their meal. Make sure you thoroughly mix the wet food through the biscuits with a spoon to disperse the moisture and flavour throughout the meal. Picky eaters are known to only eat the wet food if it is only on top of the dry dog food.
Mix feeding can be helpful for dogs that are watching their weight
Wet dog food is much lower in calories per gram than dry dog food. So adding wet food to your dog's diet can be particularly useful if they are trying to lose weight. As wet dog food products usually have higher protein, lower carbohydrates, and fewer calories compared to a similar-sized portion of dry food. Understanding how many calories you should be giving your dog and portion control is important in losing or maintaining a healthy body weight for your pet. Always follow the feeding guidelines on the labels to work out the percentage of wet and dry dog food to mix.
What is the best way to mix feed my dog?
There are three common ways to mix feed your dog.
- Mix dry and wet food together
- Alternate days (one wet food, one dry food)
- Alternate meals (morning or night wet food, and dry food for the other meal or grazing)
We regularly find dog owners want to know what dogs should eat, how to choose the right dog food, or simply what foods dogs love. One way of mixed feeding is not better than the other, it comes down to personal preference and situation. Some dogs prefer to have one meal of dry food per day and one meal of wet food. Whereas other pets prefer to have wet and dry food mixed together in one meal.
Mealtime and mix feeding must suit you and your dog’s lifestyle, daily routine, and, most importantly, support your dog to eat and maintain a healthy diet.
How much wet food do you mix with dry dog food?
The ratio of wet and dry dog food is about maintaining portion control. Understanding the number of calories, rather than the amount of food, is key to getting the portion right and supporting a healthy diet for your dog.
With different dog food types and brands containing different ingredients and nutrient densities, changing your dog to a mix feeding diet might require an adjustment.
Use appropriate feeding guidelines and food labels to understand the amount of food you should be feeding your dog. Keep your dog’s breed, age, size, and any dietary requirements in mind and measure the total quantity of wet and dry food to avoid overfeeding.
Dry food is higher in calories per gram than wet food, so when you add wet food into your dog’s diet it often appears to be a larger portion. This is because it’s about counting the calories, rather than the quantity of food when feeding your dog. You can always consult your vet if you need more guidance on suitable portion control for your dog.
How to transition your dog to mix feeding
As with any change in diet, it's important to slowly transition your dog when introducing new food to its diet. This is important to make sure your dog’s digestive system can adjust to the new food.
To do this it's best to gradually replace the amount of dry food that you feed with wet or mixed food. You should do this over the course of several days, gradually increasing the proportion of wet food. Make sure to contact your vet if your pet shows any signs of discomfort from the change to their diet.
We recommend choosing high-quality, wholesome food for your dog and speaking with your vet to make an informed decision. But ultimately, you are the best person to decide on the best dog food and whether you should mix feed your dog. You know them best, spend the most time with them, and have the knowledge of their breed, size, age, and habits.
Written by The Pet.co.nz
Written by The Pet.co.nz Team
A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.