When it comes to food choices, one dog differs from the other in their taste and preferences. While some prefer eating their kibble, a few want a mix of dry and wet food. Some canines will even vouch for wet food only. A certain section will only eat the food you prepare for them at home.
But, if your dog has always been having dry food without any fuss and suddenly stops eating the same, it could be alarming to you. Before you panic, you need to know that the reasons may not always be complex. Perhaps, your dog doesn’t prefer the texture or taste of the kibble anymore. It’s just being picky. However, if this continues for a while, it may be worrisome. Read on to know more.
Understanding the Difference Between Dry and Wet Dog Food
Before knowing why your dog isn’t eating dry food anymore, it’s important to understand the difference between dry and wet dog food.
The dry and wet varieties of dog food provide a proper, balanced diet high in nutrition—the major difference lies in their processing methods and moisture content.
In wet food, the meat ingredients and other protein sources are ground at first. Then, a gravy containing grains, minerals, and vitamins is added. When the ingredients are blended, they are sterilized and cooked. It’s then canned and sold in the markets. It’s why wet food has an increased water content than dry variety.
The water content in wet food varies anywhere between 60 and 84%. In dry food, it is no more than 3-12%.
Dry food also has similar ingredients to wet food. The difference is that the meat ingredients aren’t added to the gravy. Instead, they are pulverized or reduced to fine particles. It’s done to prepare a dough that may be cooked.
After the dough is cooked, it goes through food extrusion, which involves heating the ingredients at increasingly high temperatures. Then they are forced into a machine, and the kibbles are cut. Then, the kibbles are sprayed with vitamins, minerals, oils, and fats and finally packed.
Both dry and wet food comes with boons and banes. The benefits of wet food are:
- Their increased moisture content helps your dog remain hydrated, especially if he doesn’t drink too much water.
- It appears more flavorful and aromatic than dry foods, being a great choice for picky eaters.
- Wet food provides a feeling of fullness and is a great choice for dogs with increased appetite.
- It’s also beneficial for dogs with dental problems or seniors who have trouble chewing due to weakened teeth.
The benefits of dry dog food include:
- When having kibble, dogs need to chew a lot. It helps in strengthening their teeth.
- Dry food has a greater shelf life than dry food and won’t get spoilt, even if left out throughout the day.
- Since dry food can be stored longer, it’s more cost-effective than wet food. Also, buying dry food in bulk seems cheaper than the wet variety.
- A puzzle bowl is a good option if you have a fussy eater and won’t want to make mealtimes interesting. However, dry foods fit better in the puzzle bowl. Wet foods could make the bowl messy.
These were the boons, and each had their banes as well. In contrast, your dog doesn’t get appropriate moisture content in dry food. In wet food, the risk of spoilage is high. Dry food is more popular among owners due to its cleanliness, cost-effectiveness, and lesser hassles. However, before deciding on the food for your dog, consult the vet first.
6 Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Stopped Eating Dry Food
Well, if your dog has been eating dry food all his life, and stopped eating the same all of a sudden, then it could be concerning. But before concluding, it’s essential to know the root cause. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your dog stopped eating dry food.
1. Your Dog Doesn’t Like the Taste of Dry Food Anymore
It’s one of the easiest and quickest solutions you may arrive at. One fine morning you saw your dog refusing its kibble. You let that pass, but it did the same thing at lunchtime. Now, you add some water to its kibble and offer your dog the same. Lo! He eats it in one go.
Chances are that he is bored of eating the same kibble every day. Adding water changed its texture and made your dog eat the food. If you’ve changed the brand of his kibble, the texture and flavor of the new kibble don’t interest your dog much. Another possibility is that the kibble belonged to an expired batch and may have gone bad.
2. Dental Problems
When you’ve ruled out the non-medical issues behind your dog’s not eating dry food. Then you have to consider the medical issue. The first thing that comes to our mind is dental issues.
Perhaps he has trouble chewing his food, so he refuses the kibble. However, he doesn’t need to chew the wet food a lot. So your dog doesn’t show fussiness when he consumes wet food. Besides, his disinterest in eating solids will result in your dog suddenly developing bad breath. He’ll even drool a lot if he has dental problems. If that’s the case, you should get in touch with the vet at once.
Dental hygiene in dogs is of immense importance, just as in humans. It would help to brush your dog’s teeth three or four times a week and take your canine for a dental check-up at least twice a year. He may require a thorough cleaning or tooth extraction.
3. Digestive Disorders
Dogs mostly eat anything available at hand. It could be leftovers on your plate, anything from the trash can, or plants in the garden. If your dog has an upset tummy, it will show signs of discomfort and won’t be willing to eat kibble. The abdomen could look swollen, and there’ll also be increased flatulence.
Suppose the digestive disorder is limited to a stomach ache. In that case, your dog will find discomfort in kibble and solace in wet food. However, if your dog shows other symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, you must withhold food for 12-24 hours. Talk to a vet as well. When he is healing, wet food like bone broth will help soothe his stomach.
4. He May Be Stressed
Stress in dogs may occur because of umpteen reasons. It could be a change in its living conditions. There might have been alterations in its daily schedule. Their owner has possibly bought another dog home, and the older dog has to compromise his space. The reasons are endless. Besides refusing his food, your dog will also show other signs of stress. These include barking or excessively urinating in places he isn’t supposed to, pacing in circles, etc.
Don’t be surprised if your dog refuses his kibble when stressed but licks onto any wet food you give as an alternative. Chewing on the same old kibble could make him more anxious, while the wet food for a change gives him comfort.
5. You Have a Senior at Home
When you have a senior dog at home, he may find it better to chew and digest wet food than kibble, especially if he has less strong teeth and a weak digestive system. So, you may often notice that he accepts his kibble if you’ve added gravy or broth to it.
6. Dry Food Might Make Your Dog Feel Dehydrated
As mentioned above, dry food has low moisture content. So if your dog is eating kibble over a long period, and if he doesn’t get enough water to drink, then he may feel dehydrated. If so, he would show an increased preference for wet food.
What Should You Do To Make Your Dog Interested in Dry Food: 3 Interesting Tips
If your dog has just stopped showing interest in dry food, then there are ways in which you can get him to have his kibble again. Here are some tips that may help you do the same:
1. Ensure That There Isn’t Any Medical Problem
When your dog shows any behavior that doesn’t seem normal, the first thing to do is check and see if there are any medical issues. So, if your pup doesn’t eat kibble, check if its teeth are fine or if your pup is having any digestive problems. If yes, then treat accordingly. Once the underlying problem is solved, your dog will start accepting kibble again.
2. Make Sure Your Dog Does Not Develop Unhealthy Eating Habits
If your dog does not just have dry food but a lot of other things throughout the day, then his appetite may go for a toss. Suppose he has gotten the taste of wet and homemade food and is also used to having treats regularly. In that case, chances are that he may not accept his kibble. So, it’s better to stick to kibble regularly. Add treats or other enhancements to his meal occasionally.
3. Add Enhancements to His Meal
If the texture or flavor of the kibble doesn’t suit your dog much, you can consider adding enhancements. It may be a combination of dry and wet food. Dry food and water will be alright occasionally, especially if your budget is a little tight. You could even try two different brands of kibble and mix them.
Ensure that you do not overfeed your dog by doing the same. Some tasty enhancements you could occasionally add to your dog’s kibble include bone broth, unsweetened plain yogurt, unsweetened canned pumpkin, etc.
Transitioning From Dry To Wet Food
Suppose your dog refuses to eat dry food even after doing everything. In that case, you may have no option but to introduce your dog to wet food. Be slow and gradual in your approach. These are a few things that you must keep in mind:
- Consult a vet first for advice when making a significant change to your dog’s diet.
- Once you’ve got a nod from the vet, introduce your dog to wet food, but slowly. It should be a combination of dry and wet food at first. The wet food should be in measured amounts initially. If your dog has no digestive issues after consuming wet food, you may increase the amount bit by bit.
- If you have just started giving your dog wet food, you should know that wet food cannot be left out in the open like dry food. You would have to refrigerate any open cans or leftovers.
- When you are giving your dog wet food, ensure to maintain proper dental hygiene lest the food particles could get inside your dog’s teeth resulting in plaque buildup in the future.
Ensuring a Balanced Diet with Wet Food: 4 Possible Benefits of Wet Food
If your dog was on dry food for a long time and has transitioned to a wet diet, ensure he’s getting all the adequate nutrients like before. Wet food comes with a whole lot of benefits. Here are some of them:
1. Doesn’t Need Much Chewing
True that proper chewing helps to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. But not all dogs have strong gums and teeth. Wet food is appropriate for dogs with smaller mouths, missing teeth, and misaligned jaws.
2. Keeps Your Dog Hydrated
When your dog is hydrated properly, he will be at a lessened risk of urinary tract and kidney infections. So wet food is great for dogs who consume very little water throughout the day. Also, if you have a dog who stays outdoors most of the time and needs plenty of water, wet food will be one of his best options.
3. Helps to Manage Weight
Because of their increased water content, wet foods are comparatively low in calories. It also gives a feeling of fullness, making it a good choice for dogs prone to obesity or weight gain.
When choosing wet food, choose the best ingredients, like fruits, veggies, and real meat. Avoid wet food that has wheat as fillers.
4. Entice Dogs to Eat
When you have a fussy eater at home who has a problem with the flavor and texture of their kibble, wet food is more apt for them. Its rich flavors and soothing aroma make them ideal for older dogs with a weak sense of smell and lessened interest in eating.
When to Seek Veterinary Advice
If your dog is not eating dry food but eats wet food, you will have to seek veterinary advice if your dog shows the following symptoms as well:
- Excessive drooling and salivation
- Bad breath
- Signs of pain and discomfort
- Pawing at mouth
- Pacing in circles
- Whining or barking a lot
- Swollen or distended abdomen
These are a few signs your dog would show if he has an underlying issue. These include dental problems, digestive issues, and so on. You would need to contact the vet at once in such cases. Once the medical condition is resolved, your dog will return to eating his kibble again.
What are the ingredients that you can mix with dry food?
Some of the ingredients you can mix with dry food to make it appear all the more tasty are wet food, gravy, broth, yogurt, boiled veggies, and so on.
Can water be added to wet food?
You can add water to your dog’s dry food if he isn’t eating the same. That is the cheapest and easiest remedy if your dog isn’t eating his kibble.
Warm water, when poured over your dog’s kibble in small quantities, will help him regain his lost interest in the food.
Both dry and wet food has their share of advantages and disadvantages. If your dog isn’t responding to wet food, the ideal option would be a combination of both. However, when making any dietary changes in your dog, seeking a vet’s advice is important.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.