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Home > Dogs > How Much Wet Food Should You Feed a Dog? Vet-Approved Feeding Guide

How Much Wet Food Should You Feed a Dog? Vet-Approved Feeding Guide

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Dr. Tabitha Henson

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Ensuring that you’re feeding your dog the right amount of food is an essential part of being a dog owner. Too much can make your dog obese, and not enough will make them malnourished. Canned dog food has its benefits, but how much wet food should you feed your dog?

There isn’t an overall general rule, but most dog food manufacturers recommend feeding the average dog 3 ounces of food for every 3 to 3½ pounds of their body weight every day.

Here, we discuss this in more detail, and there’s also a feeding chart to help you determine what will work best for your dog.

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What Are the Differences Between Dry and Wet Food?

First, let’s look at the differences between wet food and dry food, so you can have a better idea of why canned food might be good for your dog.

How the two are made and processed is part of the difference. Wet food is made by grinding meat or protein sources together, and then a gravy with veggies, grains, vitamins, and minerals is added. The food is then cooked, sterilized, and canned!

Dry food is made in a similar way, but instead of gravy, the mixture is made into a dough that is cooked. It’s then extruded through specifically shaped holes, which makes the kibble. It’s dried and then sprayed with vitamins, minerals, fats, and oils, and then it’s packaged.

dry and wet pet food on white background
Image Credit: Jiri Hera, Shutterstock

Why Feed Your Dog Wet Food?

Wet food can provide several benefits that dry food doesn’t:
  • Moisture: Canned dog food has a high moisture content, which can help dogs that might not drink as much water as they should. There are also health conditions like kidney disease and certain urinary issues that require extra hydration.
  • Less chewing: Senior dogs or any dogs with dental problems will find wet food much easier to eat than kibble.
  • Tasty: Most dogs love the stuff! Canned food smells and tastes good, and it’s sometimes easier to get dogs to eat wet food when they have experienced a loss of appetite. It’s also easier to eat.
  • Filling: Wet food is low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein, and it can make dogs feel fuller for longer. This also helps when dogs need to lose weight and to prevent weight gain.

While this doesn’t mean that you should immediately replace your dog’s kibble, you could consider feeding your dog wet food in addition to dry food.


How Much Wet Food Should You Feed Your Dog?

There isn’t a solid answer here because how much you should feed your dog depends on their age, size, current weight, and activity level.

Most manufacturers recommend feeding a dog 3 ounces of food for every 3 to 3½ pounds of body weight every day. This amount can be given at one meal or split up into two meals.

First, consider how many times a day you’ll feed your dog. The recommended amount is to feed your dog at least two times a day, with no more than 12 hours in between. You don’t want to go more than 12 hours between meals, as it can lead to stomach upset.

Also, many dog food manufacturers provide a feeding guide with their products, so you can follow this using your dog’s current stats.

The following is a general daily feeding guide:

Weight Canned Food Only Canned Food           +       Dry Food
4 lbs 2/3 can 1/4 can               +        1/3 cup
12 lbs 1 1/3 can 1/2 can               +        2/3 cup
20 lbs 2 cans 2/3 can              +        3/4 cup
35 lbs 2–2/3 cans 1 can                  +         1 1/4 cups
50 lbs 3 1/2 cans 1 1/4 cans         +         1 2/3 cups
75 lbs 4 1/2 cans 1 1/2 cans         +         2 cups
100 lbs 5 1/2 cans 2 cans                +        2 1/2 cups

Remember, every dog is unique, and all the different varieties of canned food will have different ingredients and calories. You can start using a guide like this one, but be sure to adjust the amounts accordingly in order to keep your dog at an ideal weight.

You can also complement this information by using our calculator tool here, and ensure your dog’s happiness and wellness:

The exact amount of calories an individual animal needs to maintain a healthy weight is variable and influenced by many factors including genetics, age, breed, and activity level. This tool is meant to be used only as a guideline for healthy individuals and does not substitute veterinary advice 

Determining Your Dog’s Ideal Weight

Before you determine how much to feed your dog, you need to figure out your dog’s ideal weight.

You can use PetMD’s Healthy Weight Tool by answering a few questions. The results will let you know if your dog is underweight or overweight.

You can also try a calorie counter, which gives you a specific number of calories that your dog should eat daily. You can also take a look at this chart, which provides the calorie ranges of a healthy adult dog.

You’ll want your dog to have an hourglass shape when looking at them from above. The abdomen should be narrow compared to the hips and chest, and from the side, the dog’s chest should be closer to the floor than their stomach. Finally, the dog’s ribs shouldn’t be noticeable, but you should be able to feel them.

You can always talk to your vet if you aren’t sure how much food you should be giving your dog.

shar pei dog eating
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock


Keep Track of Your Dog’s Weight

It’s a good idea to keep track of your dog’s weight; you can use a diary or an app to make it easier. About every 2 to 4 weeks, check your dog’s weight, as this can help you see if your dog is losing or gaining weight. If you notice a significant change, it’s best to talk to your vet.

Remember, if you end up changing your dog’s food, you’ll need to check the calorie amount and reassess how much you should be feeding your dog daily.

Mixing Dry and Wet Food

Mixing wet and dry food is a great way to get your dog to eat kibble if this is something that your pup normally isn’t a fan of. Just adding a few tablespoons of wet food to the dry food can make it more appetizing.

Ensure that both the canned and dry foods are high quality and will provide your dog with a balanced diet. Both foods should address your dog’s current needs—you don’t want to give your dog kibble for a small breed and canned for a large breed, for example.

wet and dry dog food
Image Credit: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

You should speak to your vet if you’re at all concerned about your dog’s weight or diet. Even the best charts and feeding guides might not fit your particular dog’s dietary needs.

Veterinarians can help determine what the right amount of food should be for your pup, and along the way, you’ll be able to fine-tune your dog’s diet. As you get to know your dog’s quirks, likes, and dislikes around food, you should be able to figure out the right amount of wet food to give your dog.

Featured Image Credit: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

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