The Great Food Debate: When it Comes to Pet Nutrition, What is Best?

Most pets exhibit a clear preference for wet or dry food, but that doesn’t always mean their choice is the healthiest. Indeed, every pet is an individual and, as such, requires individual attention when it comes to lifelong nutritional needs. But the question remains, what is truly better for pet nutrition: wet or dry food?

Kibble Conundrum

Pets love dry, crunchy food like we love bread, crackers, or chips. Kibble is certainly economical, easy to store, and packs significant energy, but their carb-heavy/low-moisture content is not ideal for animals who struggle with weight gain, kidney disease, or urinary tract issues. However, many dry kibble products promote dental health benefits.

Moist Goodness

The obvious commercial alternative to dry food is wet food. Higher in protein and moisture, wet food is typically more expensive and has the tendency to be messy. Plus, wet food has fewer calories, so portion size and meal frequency require extra attention.

For pets with health challenges related to protein and water-intake, wet food may be the better bet. Likewise, for senior pets or those with dental problems (such as missing teeth), moist food is easier to chew and digest.

Down to You?

Many pet owners opt for dry food because of its perceived convenience, but both strive to deliver balanced pet nutrition. Beginning in your pet’s early years, we want to work closely with you regarding your pet’s nutritional needs. Sometimes, this means offering your pet both types of food. Many pets see canned food as an extra special treat or a nice accompaniment to their everyday dry food.

Pet Nutrition Basics

It’s important to understand the basics of pet nutrition so you don’t under or overfeed your pet. Pet food labels can be very tricky, but if you’re attempting to shuffle between wet and dry, you should be able to measure and compensate accurately. Moisture content is not accounted for in the way you might expect on pet nutrition labels.

Dry Matter Basis

When comparing the guaranteed analyses of dry food and canned, crude protein levels in wet food are usually lower than those in a kibble product. However, when you take out the nutrient-diluting moisture content using the equation for Dry Matter Basis, the results are actually quite different.

In short, the number of dry nutrients in kibble is approximately 3-4 times the number of dry nutrients in canned food. That means you can generally multiply the number of dry nutrients in wet food by 3 or 4 to find out the guaranteed analysis using the dry matter basis.

At the End of the Day

Instead of choosing whichever product you think your pet might like, let us help you find the healthy choice for him or her. Sure, your pet may voice a strong preference for one or the other, but as long as he or she is getting the right type and number of nutrients, it doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s wet or dry.

As always, when it comes to pet nutrition, care, and happiness, your questions and concerns are important to us. Please contact us if we can help!

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