Selecting the right food for your dog is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and thriving but, with all the different dog food options out there, how do you decide what to feed?
Here are some considerations that may make your choice simple and stress-free.
What’s Better for Dogs: Canned Food or Dry?
When it comes to choosing a food for your dog, there’s no one size fits all solution.
Every animal is an individual, so the choice largely depends on your pet’s health needs, preferences, and lifestyle. With that in mind, it’s important to know what your options are…
What is Dry Dog Food?
“Dry” food usually refers to kibbles, which have a lower moisture content than canned foods and are typically stored in bags.
What is Canned Dog Food?
Canned food includes “wet” forms of dog food in a can or even a pouch. It comes in several different styles, including…
- Pate: A blended food with the same consistency throughout.
- Shreds: Shreds or chunks of meat in a wet gravy or broth.
- Stew: Similar in appearance to a human stew, this style contains meat, veggies, and other ingredients cooked in broth.
Any of these forms are perfectly fine for your dog, so you can choose the one they like best.
However, if selecting shreds or stew, ensure your dog eats all the food, not just the gravy or broth. Otherwise, they’ll miss important nutrients.
What’s the Difference Anyway?
The biggest difference between dry and wet food for dogs is moisture, with dry food averaging only 5-10% water content, and cans containing 75-85% water.
Also, in general, kibble contains more carbohydrates than wet food. Carbohydrates are a necessary component for the cooking process.
On average, canned food also contains a higher percentage of protein and fat. However, the numbers vary depending on brand, recipe, or formulation.
Benefits of Wet or Canned Food
Many dogs find wet food to be more appetizing than dry.
That may be due to a stronger aroma, the taste of the food, and a texture that more closely resembles unprocessed meat.
This can benefit picky eaters, as well as dogs who stop eating during illness or times of stress such as boarding.
The higher moisture content can help with hydration and urinary tract problems.
Most dogs naturally drink enough water to meet their hydration needs, but others may benefit from increased moisture in their food.
However, if feeding canned food specifically for a urinary issue, it’s crucial to make sure the canned diet is appropriate for your dog’s specific medical issue or need.
A higher moisture content can also help your dog feel full without increasing their calorie intake.
Canned food is easier to chew.
This may be more comfortable for dogs who have lost a lot of teeth, or who have very short snouts and difficulty picking up and chewing kibbles.
Many pet parents appreciate the lower carbohydrate, higher protein content of canned foods.
For some dogs, this is exactly what they need in their diet.
However, high-quality dry foods also contain a carbohydrate and protein balance that’s perfectly healthy—so you can choose dry or canned.
It’s most important that the food contains high-quality, safe, digestible ingredients, is from a brand you trust, and is nutritionally complete and balanced.
Benefits of Dry Food
Kibble is simpler and more convenient to feed.
Unlike canned food, which goes bad within hours once opened (or up to five days if refrigerated), dry food is less likely to be wasted if your pup doesn’t eat it all right away.
It also travels well, and is easier to measure for weight management plans.
Plus, dry food is less messy—requiring significantly less cleanup time, and without a strong odor that some pet parents find unpleasant.
Dry food may be better for dental health.
The crunchy texture of dry food can help to scrape away dental plaque.
Conversely, wet food may allow dental disease to progress faster.
Dry food won’t replace other recommended dental care measures but, for a healthy mouth and better-smelling breath, every little bit helps.
Kibble is more nutrient dense than canned food—and more cost effective.
Since kibble contains much less water weight than canned food, it is more nutritionally dense and you generally need to purchase less by volume.
Feeding a canned food-exclusive diet for a large dog may be cost prohibitive, and take up a lot of room in your pantry.
Many dry foods contain less fat.
Dogs need some fat as part of their complete and balanced diet.
However, too much can be bad—especially for dogs with sensitive digestive tracts, overweight dogs, or dogs at risk for conditions such as pancreatitis (a severe illness caused by an inflamed pancreas.)
Feeding Tips for Your Dog
You can choose to feed exclusively dry food, or exclusively canned food.
Many pups enjoy a combination of both…
- Use canned food as a treat alongside your dog’s kibble-based diet.
- Or, use canned food as a topper, added directly to dry food to make it more palatable for picky eaters (just remember to clean up any uneaten food, since canned food can’t be left out all day.)
Regardless of what you choose, remember to focus on quality and feed an appropriate amount to maintain your pup’s weight (and avoid obesity.)
When you feed your dog, it’s a special time for bonding between you and your pet and when you know you’re taking care of their health needs, you’ll have the peace of mind to fully enjoy that bonding experience with your canine companion.
From our family to yours,
Fromm Family Pet Food