Comparing Wet versus Dry Dog Food

How does can food compare with dry dog food?

This article will partially address this question. We will demonstrate to you two things:

  • How much water and nutrients you are getting
  • The difference in cost between wet and dry food to get the same amount of nutrients

Also we demonstrate the need for guaranteed and dry matter analysis. 


It could take several containers of wet dog food to get the same amount of dry matter and nutrients as dry dog food. This translate to a very high cost difference as demonstrated in this article.

Let’s start!

Here are two made up examples that represent realistic values by Guaranteed Analysis (commonly found on the dog food label). The can food has much more moisture than dry dog food, which is typical.

350grams is selected because that is the approximate weight of one 12 fluid oz of wet can food. 350 grams is approximately 0.77 lbs.

Protein Fat Fiber Moisture
 Wet (350g) 8% (min) 3% (min) 1.5% (max) 82% (max)
 Dry (350g) 23% (min) 12% (min) 3% (max) 12% (max)

Step 2

We’ll convert the numbers to the dry matter basis analysis to remove the moisture. By doing so, it would appear that the wet dog food is superior. Not true! We are not done.

Protein Fat Fiber Moisture
 Wet (350g) 44.4% (min) 16.7% (min) 8.3% (max) 0%
 Dry (350g) 26.1% (min) 13.6% (min) 3.4% (max) 0%

Step 3

Now apply the dray matter figures to 350grams of food to see how much nutrition we are getting. Basically the “Dry Matter” Is the amount of solid you get after removing the moisture/water from the 350 grams sample.

dry matter protein fat fiber
 Wet (350g) 63g 28g 10.5g 5.25g
 Dry (350g) 308g 80.5g 42g 10.5g
Dry/Wet Ratio 4.9 2.9 4 2

The truth be told is the water you are buying in wet dog food is the bulk of the weight.Yes, most people know this. However,  there is so much water that dry food is much further ahead in the absolute amount of nutrients.

We are not done.. Now let’s visit the difference in the cost.


For the sake of cost comparison let’s make up some numbers that are within the realistic range for dog food. Let’s say:

  • $1 per pound for dry dog food
  • $2 for one 12 oz can of wet dog food

Here is an article to a sample of dry food cost comparision

Now let’s proceed to the cost analysis in dollars

dry matter protein fat fiber
 Wet (350g) 63g 28g 10.5g 5.25g
 Dry (350g) 308g 80.5g 42g 10.5g
Dry/Wet Ratio 4.9 2.9 4 2
Dry Food  Cost $0.77 $0.77 $0.77 $0.77
Equivalent Wet Cost $9.80 $5.80 $8.00 $4.00

Wow! To get the same amount of dry substance you need to spend $9.80 on wet dog food versus $0.77 on dry.  To get the same amount of protein, you need to spend $5.80 vs $0.77.


One thought on “Comparing Wet versus Dry Dog Food

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