Feeding your dog is a part of everyday life for a dog owner, but knowing which food and nutritional choices are the best ones for your prized pooch can be difficult. Different vets and pet lovers offer conflicting advice when it comes to which foods are best for your dog, and this can cause much indecision as you stand in the pet food section wondering whether to buy wet or dry food for your dog.
When providing proper nutrition to your dog, the following comparison between wet and dry dog food can help serve as your guide.
In terms of what best represents adequate nutrition, it is important to realize that the needs of every dog breed are different. While some dogs may have health issues that mean that the meat and moisture of wet food is best for them, there are some dogs whose digestive systems simply react better to the composition of dry food. Always let your pet’s health, age and breed play a part in feeding and pet care choices. Be aware too that a food that is entirely suitable for a puppy or a healthy young dog may make a sick or older animal very ill indeed.
In terms of what food to feed, dry food offers the benefits of easy storage, lower costs, and even better dental cleaning while your dog is eating. Dry foods also have more vegetable based protein, which can be great for your pet’s health. Dogs can’t digest some of the common ‘fillers’ found in most commercial dry dog food, however, so care must be taken that you are not simply feeding them empty calories. If your dog gets fat soon after switching to a dry-food-only diet, change brands until you see your pet’s weight reduce, or go back to wet food.
Dry food can also lead to dehydration and kidney problems, so care must be taken to provide your pet dog with a bountiful supply of fresh water if he is fed a dry-food only diet. Change your dog’s water every day or he may not touch it if it has been sitting out for days, which quickly leads to problems such as dehydration and attempting to drink out of the toilet! You can buy a self-refilling dog water bowl from most pet stores, which uses a gravity-fed water bottle to constantly top up the water as your dog drinks it.
Wet or canned dog food must be eaten in a single sitting, but has a long shelf life before opening, has high amounts of animal protein, and is often much easier to eat for dogs who have dental or stomach problems. Wet food also tastes and smells better to your canine companion, making it more palatable. This means that they will eat a smaller amount in order to feel full, with good long-term effects on their weight if your breed is prone to obesity. Wet food is particularly recommended for elderly or sick dogs, who may have problems chewing and digesting dry food.
If you must give older dogs dry food, such as when no other food is available, always soften it first by soaking it in a pint or so of warm (not hot) water for at least 5 minutes before serving it. Just pour in enough water to moisten the food, don’t pour in so much (as I once saw a friend do!) that the kibble starts floating! If your dog still won’t eat dry food, then one successful tip is to make up a thin ‘gravy’ out of beef cubes or any meat-based soup mixed with hot water. Allow the gravy to cool, then pour into your dog’s bowl and mix it well with the kibble. The smell alone may inspire your dog to wolf the whole lot down!
In short, there is no cut and dry answer to whether you should feed your dog wet or dry food, but by paying attention to your pet’s individual circumstances, you can often determine what will best suit his or her needs.