Dog Food – Cook it Yourself, BARF, Dry, Wet?

If you love your bike, you push it. If you like your dog, who…? What type of food is best for me and my dog? Here we present four different ways to feed the dog. Each with advantages and disadvantages.

The Agony of Choice

The 4 types of feeding presented here are:

  • cooking on my own
  • BARF
  • wet food
  • dried animal food

Of course, there are other forms of feeding and also mixed forms, but these four already offer a good overview of the subject of dog food.

Cook Your Own Dog Food

The name says it all. The dog owner himself prepares every meal for his dog freshly. Of course, this also includes buying fresh groceries and planning a balanced diet. The advantages of this diet are that the food is fresh and the owner can control the quality of the content himself. The diet can be tailored to the special needs of the dog.

The problem with this type of diet is that the supply of nutrients has to be planned and thought through very carefully. It must be ensured here that the dog receives all the necessary nutrients and trace elements in sufficient quantities. In addition, the preparation of the food is often time-consuming and expensive, since only one or two portions can be prepared at a time.


BARF first stood for Bones And Raw Food and now stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods. This type of diet is based on the natural diet of (wild) dogs and wolves.

With BARF, the dog is fed raw meat, offal, and bones. In addition, the diet is enriched with fruit and vegetables. As with self-cooking, all the ingredients can be selected and monitored by the owner himself. By feeding raw meat, the dog retains more nutrients that are broken down, for example, by boiling or other processing.

The disadvantages of BARFing are that – like cooking yourself – it is very time-consuming. A piece of meat must be defrosted and portioned for each meal. Fruit and vegetables need to be pureed or chopped. Here, too, you have to plan extremely well and have certain basic knowledge in order to be able to ensure that the dog is supplied with all the necessary nutrients.

A disadvantage of BARFing compared to cooking yourself is that the meat is not cooked and the germs on the meat survive and get into the dog. Although this usually does not lead to an infection, it can generally weaken the immune system. Animals that are BARFed over a long period of time often develop a higher risk of contracting infectious diseases or being infested with parasites.

Wet Food

Wet food is the well-known “canned food”. It is produced in bulk and bottled ready to serve. A portion of complete feed contains everything a normal dog needs. The composition is chosen so that all nutrients are sufficiently supplied. As wet food is manufactured in large batches in a factory, the quality is checked regularly. Errors in the composition are thus avoided.

There is a wide range of suppliers for wet food. One difference with wet food is the dosage form. For example, wet food often comes in the form of chunks of meat in the sauce. Meat in small pieces of meat in jelly is also offered.

One benefit of using wet food is the manufacturing process. During the production process, the feed is heated so much that all the germs die off. So there is no risk of infection for the dog. But be careful: Wet food is also a great breeding ground for bacteria as soon as it is opened. It should therefore be used up quickly and stored in the refrigerator.

The quality of wet food can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. If the manufacturer only uses waste, a lot of sugar, and fillers such as corn, you should not expect the dog to do this. With the use of high-quality products and extra gentle preparation, however, the quality of the feed is comparable to self-prepared food.

Dried Animal Food

As the name suggests, dry food is dry food for dogs. It is very easy to dose and practical to use. Dry food is not usually made from the same ingredients as wet food. Because with these ingredients, a lot of water would have to be removed to create a dry mass. Instead, already dry components are used. For examples animal meal, grain meal, and bone meal. These are pressed under high pressure and high temperature into portable pellets. Unfortunately, due to this heavy and lengthy processing, many of the nutrients are damaged and have to be replenished later.

Due to its consistency, dry food is very practical for feeding and easy to transport. The moisture content is about 10%. With wet food and home-cooked food, it is around 70 to 80%. As a result, very little moisture is supplied to the dog. Very few dogs are able to make up for this by drinking. As a result, dogs fed only dry food are more likely to suffer from kidney problems.

Judy Taylor

Written by Judy Taylor

Judy Taylor combines her love of science and writing to educate pet owners. Her articles on pet wellness, published on a variety of platforms, reveal a deep passion for animals. With a teaching background and shelter volunteer experience, Judy brings expertise to the fields of writing and compassionate pet care.

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