20 Oct 2022

Types Of Dog Food

PFMA represents numerous manufacturers of different pet foods. These can be complete or complementary, wet, dry or raw foods.  ALL members of UK Pet Food adhere to strict legislation and provide nourishing food for your pet.

Types of Dog Food: Wet, Dry and Raw Foods


These are foods with a high moisture content. They are usually cooked at high temperatures to sterilize them and are then sealed under pressure (although not always). These include cans, foil trays, and pouches and the contents include chunks in gravy, chunks in jelly and meatloaf formats. Frozen or chilled pet foods in bags are also available.


These are foods that have low moisture content. They include extruded foods (shaped pellets or kibbles), flake foods (flaked cereals) and biscuits/mixers. These are often packed in bags, but biscuits which are to be offered as treats may be packed in smaller boxes. Dry foods still contain meat – which may be added in a fresh or dried state. Dry food may be offered dry, or owners may wish to add water or gravy to the food, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.


There is a range of commercially produced raw products available in frozen or freeze-dried formats. Raw pet food products can be complete or complementary. For more information on raw food and a list of manufacturers, please see our fact sheet linked below.

Responsible Raw Feeding.pdf


Complete or Complementary Dog Foods?


These dog foods are nutritionally complete, providing all the nutrients in the amounts and proportions your dog needs. Only complete dog foods are suitable for daily feeding without adding further food products. There is a huge variety of complete dog foods available to owners and they all aim to meet the nutritional needs of dogs.


These foods are designed to be only a part of the diet and they do not meet the known nutritional requirements when fed alone. They must be fed along with an additional food type such as mixer biscuits. Some complementary foods are referred to as treats and can be fed to your dog in moderation.  Some raw manufacturers produce complementary food, which is intended to be mixed with other products to make a complete meal.  

All complete and complementary foods are labelled as such with appropriate feeding guidelines.

The choice of wet or dry or raw is with the owner depending on what they view as the best pet food for their pet. Pet owners will generally choose food on the basis of how much it costs, whether their pet likes it or not, and according to their own interpretation of what their pet will enjoy. Many choose to ‘mix and match’ foods at each meal.

Whichever diet you choose, please follow the feeding guidelines. Remember these are intended as a guide and you may need to adjust the amount you feed depending on a number of factors including age, size, level of activity etc.

Good hygiene practice is always important when handling your pet’s food - in the same way that it applies when handling human food.

Here is your guide for safe handling of all pet food:

1. Only buy products that are in good condition. You should see no visible signs of damage to the packaging such as dents, tears, discolorations, etc.

2. Wash your hands with hot water and soap after handling either your pet or their food

3. After each use, wash your pet’s bowls, dishes and utensils with soap and hot water, rinse properly and dry before the next use

4. Correctly store unsealed containers/open bags to limit any risk of cross-contamination

5. When storing pet food in the fridge ensure raw products are at the bottom. You can find the storage instructions on each package.

When dry food is fed your dog will need more fresh drinking water but this should be available to all pets whatever type of food they eat.


Our latest education poster on feeding commercial raw diets safely. The poster includes hygiene and handling advice from meal preparation to cleaning up. The key is to treat raw pet food with the same high hygiene standards as raw meat. Download it below and print in up to A3 size for your pet shop, veterinary consult room or home.

9498 PFMA Raws Poster WEB AW.pdf


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