Can I Feed My Dog Only Dry Food? How To Choose?

Exploring dog nutrition may be problematic for many pet owners due to many choices.

With convenience and nutritional adequacy in mind, many owners consider feeding their dogs exclusively dry kibble.

Thus, one of the most common questions for dog lovers has arisen: can I feed my dog only dry food?

Will this way ensure our furry friends receive a well-rounded and balanced diet? 

This article will give you the ultimate answer to this puzzle and many useful related information! If you love your furry friends, let’s scroll down!

Can I Feed My Dog Only Dry Food?

can i feed my dog only dry food

Yes, you can feed your dog only dry food. Kibble is a convenient and popular choice for many pet owners due to its easy storage, affordability, and clear nutrition.

However, you should consider many factors to ensure your dogs’ health and well-being.

Is It Ok To Feed A Dog Only Dry Food?

Should dogs only eat dry food?
Feeding your four-legged friends only dry food can be healthy if you carefully choose a high-quality, complete, and balanced product that meets their nutritional demand.

Many reputable dry dog foods are formulated to provide all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for a healthy life.

But some other aspects should be factored in when applying this diet to your pets (mentioned in the next section).

Pros And Cons Of Eating Only Dry Food


  • Nutrition balance

Kibble can provide many nutrients for your dogs. You can easily control the nutrients of the products through nutritional labels.

There are now many high-quality products that can help you easily meet your dog’s specific dietary needs based on their life stage and size.

Here are some main components of achieving nutritional balance in dry dog food: protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and omega fatty acids.

  • Dental Health

Chewing on dry kibble requires more effort and promotes chewing. Thus, it helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. 

The abrasive action of chewing on dry food can have a mild scraping effect on teeth, keeping them cleaner.

The chewing motion required to break down dry kibble can stimulate the gums and encourage blood flow, which is beneficial for gum health.

  • Portion control:

Dry dog food is typically easier to measure and control compared to wet or fresh foods.

Its consistent size and density make it easy to measure precise portions using measuring cups.

This accuracy helps ensure your dog receives the appropriate amount of calories for their size and activity level.


  • Hydration concerns:

Kibble (dog dry food) contains a low moisture content (only about 10-12%). This can contribute to decreased water intake in dogs when they don’t want to drink water.

Over time, while dogs don’t consume enough water, their kidneys may struggle to filter waste and toxins from the blood, potentially leading to kidney problems.

  • Lack of variety and sensory stimulation:

Eating the same type of food consistently may lead to mealtime boredom for your dog.

Some dogs may be picky eaters when it comes to dry food due to its texture, taste, or smell.

Moreover, your furry friends sometimes have allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients commonly found in dry food.

Thus, carefully providing variety in their diet can help prevent these issues.

Things To Pay Attention To When Your Dog Eats Dry Food

should dogs only eat dry food

Nutritional Balance

Is it bad to only feed your dog dry food? To minimize the risk, you should choose a reliable brand of dry dog food.

It can be labeled as “complete and balanced” by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) or FEDIAF (European Pet Food Industry Federation).

Another key point is reading the ingredient lists of the product.

You should ensure that dry food contains various quality ingredients, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Avoid products with excessive fillers, by-products, and artificial additives.

For example, protein is essential for muscle development, immune function, and overall well-being:

  • Adult dogs often need 18~25% protein in their diets.
  • A growing puppy will need more protein (about 29%) for their growth period.

Water Intake

Can dogs live on dry food?

Yes, but you should provide them with more water. Since the kibble will not provide the required water, your dog must get extra water from other sources.

Make sure your dog has constant access to clean, fresh water. This is essential for proper hydration, especially when feeding your pets dry food.

Moreover, you can incorporate small amounts of fresh, dog-safe fruits and vegetables into your dog’s diet.

These natural sources of hydration can provide additional moisture and nutrients. You can find a way to add water to dry dog food.

Remember to pay attention to your dog’s water consumption and urination habits.

If you notice changes such as concentrated urine, increased frequency of urination, or signs of dehydration (lethargy, dry gums), consult your veterinarian.

Dental Health

Should you feed dogs only dry food?

Yes, but paying attention to dental health is important when your dog eats dry food only because while dry food can contribute to dental hygiene, it might not address all dental concerns.

Dry kibble’s texture can provide mechanical cleaning as your dog chews, helping to reduce plaque and tartar buildup on teeth

However, it might not prevent these issues entirely, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

Moreover, your pets have varying chewing habits. Some dogs may thoroughly chew their kibble, while others might gulp it down quickly.

Adequate chewing is crucial for abrasive action to clean teeth effectively.

Age and Health

Dogs have different nutritional requirements at various life stages: puppy, adult, and senior.

Puppies require higher energy and nutrient levels for growth, while senior dogs may need fewer calories but additional joint and cognitive support.

Puppies need proper nutrition to support their rapid growth and development.

Their diet should provide essential nutrients like protein, calcium, and phosphorus for healthy bone and muscle growth.

Dogs with health conditions such as allergies, sensitivities, or specific medical needs might require specialized diets.

For example, dogs with kidney disease might need a diet lower in protein and phosphorus.

Thus, paying attention to your dog’s age and health is crucial when they’re eating only dry food because different life stages and health conditions require specific nutritional considerations.

How To Choose Suitable Dry Food For Your Dog

should you feed dogs only dry food

Read the Ingredients List

The first few ingredients on the list make up most of the kibble.

Look for high-quality animal protein sources like real meat or meat meal (e.g., chicken, beef, fish) listed as the first ingredient.

You should also learn how to tell if dry dog food is bad. This ensures your dog gets essential amino acids for muscle health.

Avoid kibbles with fillers like corn, wheat, soy, and excessive rice or other grains. Also, say no to by-products and lower-quality animal parts that may not provide optimal nutrition.

If grains are present, look for whole grains like brown rice, oats, or quinoa. These are more nutritious than refined grains.

Carbohydrates provide energy, but they shouldn’t be the main ingredient.

Research The Brand

Researching the brand of dog kibble is an important step in ensuring you’re providing high-quality and nutritious food for your furry companion.

You should visit the official website of the brand. Look for information about their mission, values, ingredients sourcing, and commitment to producing high-quality dog food.

In addition to reading the ingredient lists,  search for reviews and testimonials from other dog owners who have used the brand’s products.

This can give you insights into real-world experiences with the food.

Avoid Allergens

When a dog with allergies consumes allergens in their food, their immune system can react negatively. 

This reaction can manifest as skin issues (itching, rashes), gastrointestinal problems (vomiting, diarrhea), respiratory distress (coughing, sneezing), or even more severe symptoms like anaphylaxis.

You need to pay attention to the health of your furry friend. Remember and note ingredients that are likely to cause allergies for them during care.

By carefully exploring the ingredients in kibble, you can eliminate this risk. However, if you are unsure, a veterinary consultation is necessary.


Can I feed my dog only dry food? You can! Yet, deciding to feed your dog only dry food requires careful consideration and a balanced approach.

While dry dog food offers convenience, affordability, and a well-rounded nutrition profile, it’s important to consider your furry companion’s needs and preferences.

As with any dietary choice, there are both advantages and potential concerns to be aware of.


Photo of author
Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

Leave a Comment